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    Embarking on Alaskan Cruises

    Boarding an Alaskan cruise for your next vacation is an excellent way to see and experience the true American wilderness. As you embark on these journeys, you will have the opportunity to see unique spots unlike anywhere else such as large and beautiful mountains, natural Alaskan wildlife such as bears, whales and sea lions, famous bays and so much more. With a shorter season than typical cruise lines, running from May through September, cruises to Alaska are typically in high demand, making them a bit more costly to enjoy than other cruises. In addition to on-board activities and amenities, passengers are also able to enjoy one-of-a-kind shore excursions throughout different ports of call in Alaska.

    Boarding an Alaskan Cruise

    Alaskan cruises can be boarded in several different locations. Your may opt to board your cruise in California which may be a longer journey than other popular ports for cruises to Alaska including Vancouver and Seattle. In addition to different departure destinations, various cruise lines provide activities themed towards children, families and adults.

    Cruise Destinations Within Alaska

    Alaska cruise lines offer a little something for everyone to enjoy. With stops made at ports such as Juneau, Ketchikan, and Skagway, guests have the opportunity to experience the wonder of both small and larger Alaskan towns. Some cruise lines that sail to Alaska include the Norweigan Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and the Disney Cruise Line.

    During your stop in Juneau, Alaska's capital city, you are able to view popular spots such as The Mendenhall Glacier and the historic Saint Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church. A trip aboard the Mount Roberts Tramway will take you to an observation deck which is an amazing 2,000 feet above Juneau, providing you with some of the most breathtaking views of the city and its natural wonders. Ketchikan, Alaska's first city, is known for its Totem Heritage Center, Misty Fjords National Monument and eclectic houses found on Creek Street. The Skagway, Alaska port of call is home to the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park where you can experience the lives of prospectors and miners.

    Additional Alaskan cruise destinations include Stika, Tracy Arm and more. No matter when or where you choose to visit, Alaska offers a little something for everyone to enjoy in all its majestic wonder.

  • One of the most exciting aspects of visiting Alaska is the unparalleled view of one of nature's most amazing feats – the glacier.

    Winding down from mountains and fjords, these massive rivers of ice are often on the move, some dropping their bounty into the sea in a most spectacular fashion. The process is known as "calving," and some tidewater glaciers shed enormous chunks of ice several times an hour.

    In most cases, the cascading wall of ice you see is several hundred years old. While these newly formed icebergs rapidly melt in the relatively warm water, some are large enough to support seals and other wildlife looking for a free, albeit temporary, ride.

    GLACIER BAY AND COLLEGE FJORD

    Some of the best glacier viewing can be found in Glacier Bay and College Fjord – two of the most popular destinations on Alaska cruises.

    Glacier Bay

    Home to 16 active tidewater glaciers, Glacier Bay is a stunning network of inlets that channel the frozen tide toward the sea. Don't be surprised to find company along the way – humpback whales enjoy the ample supply of herring and shrimp in Glacier Bay.

    College Fjord

    Up the coast in the northwest pocket of Prince William Sound you'll discover magnificent College Fjord. Named for the Ivy League schools that were represented by a group of scientists who explored the area in 1899, College Fjord beckons like a shimmering diamond.

    INSIDE PASSAGE

    Alaska's coastline is filled with wonder, and our Inside Passage cruises offer the chance to journey through one of the state's most magical attractions – Tracy Arm.

    Tracy Arm

    Located 50 miles southeast of Juneau, the awe-inspiring Tracy Arm is sure to enhance your glacier-viewing adventure. With an Inside Passage cruise, you'll sail past snowcapped mountains, dazzling waterfalls and steep granite canyon walls that disappear into deep and narrow fjords.

    Of course, the only thing better than seeing glaciers is actually touching them. Why not explore an optional combination helicopter/hiking tours that put you square on the surface of these massive ice beds. You can also take a flightseeing tour over glaciers, kayak around them, and even ride a dogsled across one.

    The Great Land - Alaska - one of the last true frontiers left on Earth where you can still completely immerse yourself in nature and untouched wilderness. Alaska: where whales, seals and otters frolic in the pristine bays, where glaciers calve and crash into the sea by day, and shimmer under the glow of the Northern Lights at night. Alaska: where you can stand on the edge of the Arctic Ocean and see grizzly bears with their cubs, moose and caribou roam, eagles soaring with countless other bird species, all thriving in their natural habitat. A region so rich in splendor and natural wonders, that anyone who is fortunate enough to visit this Alaskan wonderland is forever inspired by the experience.

    Wherever in Alaska your preferred vantage point might be: sipping cappuccino from a luxurious balcony stateroom as the resplendent scenery of the Inside Passage unfolds before you at every turn. From a sea kayak, touring the tranquil waters of Clover Pass, amongst seals and jumping salmon. In the comfort of a cozy fireside chair inside a wilderness lodge. Traveling by train to rarely-seen locations in Alaska's interior aboard the custom-designed, glass-domed railroad cars or even perched atop a glacier on a helicopter flight-seeing shore excursion. Alaska offers a plethora of exciting pre-cruise, post-cruise and shore side excursions guaranteed to make an extraordinary Alaska cruise vacation even more unforgettable.

    Alaska boasts more national parks and natural wonder than any other state, and is truly a land of unspoiled scenery and unheralded adventure for all who experience this unique destination. From the first native inhabitants to the Gold Rush pioneers and prospectors, each historic milepost along the way up and down and across the interior of this storied land has a story to tell. And whether you travel to Alaska as a couple, explore the Yukon with a group of friends or invite the whole family along for an Alaskan vacation, the possibilities for awe-inspiring enjoyment and a lifetime of memories are as vast and limitless as the The Great Land itself.

    Denali

    Denali National Park and Preserve defines the Alaskan Experience. Towering above it all is Mt. McKinley, the highest point in North America. At 20,320 feet, its summit beckons more than 1,000 climbers each year who brave the elements for the chance to scale its majestic face. Denali encompasses 6 million acres of forests, tundra, glaciers and mountains. Moose, caribou, sheep and bears free to roam a wide area of land untouched by man. There are ample opportunities for animal watching, whether it is a grizzly foraging for berries or a golden eagle soaring through the crisp, clean Alaskan air. Denali is one of the few places where visitors come in contact with the Alaskan tundra - a "vast, rolling, treeless plain." The tundra starts at 2,500 feet and extends up along the massive Alaska Range. Muldrow Glacier, which descends 16,000 feet from the upper slopes of Mt. McKinley, comes within one mile of the road.

    Gates of the Arctic

    Deep in the heart of a great state known for remoteness and beauty there is an unblemished land epitomizing those words. North of the Arctic Circle in Brooks Range lies Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, a maze of glaciated valleys and jagged peaks that nurtures a surprisingly diverse and stunning ecosystem. A popular destination is John River, which cuts through the center of the park and is ideal for a wilderness float trip. In the southwestern region, the Noatak River flows down from Mount Igikpak, which tops off at 8,510 feet and is the park's highest point. Mountain and rock climbing are popular sports, especially during June and July, when the sun never sets. Other activities include canoeing, kayaking, fishing and cross-country skiing. Alpine meadows, forested lowlands and arctic tundra vegetation support wildlife - such as caribou, moose, Dall sheep and black and grizzly bears. More than 130 species of birds are here, including eagles, hawks, falcons and owls.

    Glacier Bay

    Spread across an impressive 3.2 million acres in southeast Alaska, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve offers an inspirational glimpse of what Mother Nature does best. The head of Glacier Bay is Tarr Inlet, where scientists have found exposed rock believed to be more than 200 million years old. The Tarr Inlet is home to Grand Pacific Glacier, an active body of ice slowly making way toward Margerie Glacier, which it last touched in 1912. Johns Hopkins Inlet is home to no less than nine glaciers. Framed by rocky slopes stretching skyward more than 6,000 feet, these wondrous bodies are eclipsed only by mighty Mount Fairweather, which at more than 15,300 feet is the highest point in southeast Alaska. In northeast Glacier Bay, the snow-covered Takhinsha Mountains feed active Muir Glacier. The brilliant blue glow of a calving glacier and the thunderous roar of ice crashing into the water below are sights and sounds to remember for the rest of your life. With such diverse landscape, the park provides a variety of habitats for animals.

    Kenai Fjords

    Magnificent Kenai Fjords stirs the souls of artists inspired by locations like this. The ice-sculpted "Alaska's playground" begs to be explored. Long, intricate trails afford some of the best views, including an up-close encounter with scenic Exit Glacier, the most famous of more than 30 glaciers surrounding spectacular Harding Icefield and the crown jewel of Kenai Fjords. This unrelenting blanket of white is punctured by peaks of high, rocky mountains, which are best viewed at the crest of the steep, 4.5 mile-long Harding Icefield Trail. In addition to hiking, nearly every other outdoor activity can be found here, including kayaking, river rafting, mountain climbing, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, tours by land, air and sea - even dogsledding. Glacier viewing is popular in the most impressive of the park's seven long fjords - Aialik Bay, where glaciers launch icebergs into the sea. Resurrection Bay holds the perfect opportunity to see humpback whales, orcas, seals, sea lions, otters, porpoises, and puffins. Blue-green Kenai River is perfect for trophy-size fishing.

    Wrangell-St. Elias

    With its grand vistas and boundless landscapes, Wrangell-St. Elias exceeds even the most imaginative expectations for a park with the distinction of being the nation's largest. Stretching along the Canadian border in south central Alaska, this land is quilted with wandering rivers, lakes, glaciers and some of the most dramatic mountain ranges to be found in North America. Nine of the 16 highest peaks in the country are here, including the park's namesakes - Mount St. Elias and Mount Wrangell, an active volcano that last erupted in 1911. River rafting, sport fishing, horseback riding and mountain biking are some options to appeal to the adventurer. Or stroll along one of many meandering trails or  tour historic Kennicott Copper Mill. See a portion of the legendary Alaskan pipeline. Two main roads provide easy access to remote points of interest. A flightseeing tour of the park provides a bird's-eye view. With more than 150 glaciers making their way down the slopes of three mountain ranges, Wrangell-St. Elias is a living, thriving national treasure.

    Giants of the Sea

    For most, the concept of Alaskan wildlife doesn't extend beyond polar bears and salmon. But those who venture north know there's nothing like the sight of a 40-ton humpback whale breaking the surface of the water for air. During the summer months, more than 2,000 humpbacks are known to feed in the waters off Alaska, offering visitors plenty of chances to enjoy the splendor of these magnificent giants of the sea.

    Putting On a Show

    Killer (orca) and beluga whales are equally abundant, as are the sociable Pacific white-sided dolphins, which often entertain with their acrobatic leaps and somersaults. In Prince William Sound, seals and sea lions congregate along the shore and on chunks of glacier ice floating in the water. But the animal that seems to be enjoying itself the most is the irresistible sea otter, which often can be seen swimming on its back or hugging a friend as they frolic together in the water.

    Salmon-Rich Waters

    Another active denizen of the sea is the salmon, famous for its gravity-defying leaps up waterfalls and streams in order to spawn. While this arduous trek only occurs at the end of an adult salmon's life, it never fails to coincide with feeding time for the brown bears that inhabit the Alaska coastline.

    "Denali Big Five"

    Grizzly and black bears can be found farther inland, in places like Denali National Park and Preserve, where a plethora of berries keeps these permanent residents well fed. In addition to bears, Denali is an ideal place to observe the wide-antlered caribou, moose, gray wolves and Dall sheep, the latter identified by its curled horns. Together, these wondrous animals constitute the "Denali Big Five," a sightseer's dream.

    A Birdwatcher’s Paradise

    Flying high above it all is the majestic bald eagle, which boasts a wingspan of up to eight feet. Some 40,000 bald eagles reside in Alaska today, with most nesting near water for easy fishing. They are one of more than 300 species of birds that can be found here, each a delight to observe and photograph.

    Other signature birds include the horned and tufted puffins, which thrive on the western end of Prince William Sound and along the Kenai Peninsula; the docile kittiwake, which nest in colonies along Glacier Bay; and the red-tailed hawk, a fixture at Wrangell-St. Elias.

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