Combine a deluxe Alaska Cruise experience through the Inside Passage including stopovers and sightseeing opportunities in Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway as well as sightseeing cruises within magnificent Glacier Bay and College Fjord onboard deluxe **** cruise ships. Our self-drive tour extension starts in Anchorage and includes famous Denali National Park with towering Mt. McKinley - inherited by more than 300 Grizzly Bears -, Talkeetna and Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city. Enjoy some classic outdoor experiences like hiking, fishing, flightseeing and gold panning with a incredible scenic cruise along Southeast Alaska’s Inside Passage. We gladly customize any of our packages. Simply - the Best of Alaska!
Vancouver is a dream-like mountain ringed city blessed with a huge natural harbor that remains ice-free year round. Wide open spaces, beautiful beaches, tall skyscrapers and an enchanting rainforest all mingle together to create a most relaxed and stress-free setting. Most folks come here to get away from it all, and enjoy fantastic cuisine, world-class entertainment, and unlimited shopping opportunities. For art lovers and treasure hunters, no visit to Vancouver would be complete without spending time at Granville Island, boasting a fabulous farmer's market, shops, eateries and art galleries. And Vancouver's Chinatown is one of the largest in North America. Thanks to its natural beauty, recreational activities and thriving artistic and gastronomic scenes, Vancouver is a leading destination for visitors from around the globe. And it's a fantastic departure port worth exploring on either end of your Alaska cruise vacation.
Your choice of departure. All it takes to get the inside story of Alaska's beauty is a trip through the Inside Passage, Alaska's "water highway", where majestic fjords compete for your attention with mountain masterpieces carved by the glaciers. Small fishing villages along the coast dot breathtaking panoramas, and the protected waters are perfect for spotting wildlife
Ketchikan boasts the largest collection of original 19th-century totem poles in the world. Be sure to spend some time at one of the 3 totem pole parks in the area - Totem Heritage Center, Saxman Totem Park and Totem Bight State Park - each brimming with majestic, multi-colored Tlingit and Haida totems amid a spectacular rural setting. History buffs will want to trace the steps of the early setters with a stroll down Creek Street, a suspended boardwalk populated by colorful houses, once a hub for brothels, and now home to a variety of eclectic shops. With a population of approximately 7,800, Ketchikan is the 5th largest city in the state, despite being only 12 blocks long. Because the city takes so much pride in its native roots, it's impossible not to feel its influence wherever you roam, be it in the city center or off the beaten track. Billed as the "Salmon Capital of the World," Ketchikans economy is - and always has been - primarily based on salmon fishing.
If you seek natural beauty, Juneau has it in droves. The Mendenhall Glacier, a half-mile wide, 1,800-feet deep ice field, is the most accessible glacier in Alaska and, for many, the most breathtaking. Offering panoramic views of the city, the Mount Roberts Tramway whisks Guests up to an observation deck that is approximately 2,000 feet about Juneau, providing arguably the best picture-taking opportunities in the state. Guests looking to explore the natural and cultural roots of Juneau need look no further than the Alaska State Museum, which recounts not only the native people of Alaska and its early settlers, but also the natural wildlife that can be seen throughout the region. From June through October, the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery offers visitors an intimate glimpse of breeding salmon as they make their way up a 450-foot fish ladder. Historic sites include the Saint Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, the state's oldest operating church, and the Red Dog Saloon, built during the city's mining era, which is home to swinging saloon doors, saw dust floors, live music and unique memorabilia.
Originally home to the Chilkoots and Chilkats Native Americans, Skagway came to prominence when gold was discovered approximately 600 miles along the Klondike River at Rabbit Creek in 1896 setting off what would be known as the Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890s. During this time, hundreds of thousands of gold prospectors settled into the area in search of fortune. Because of its proximity to the Yukon where gold was plentiful, Skagway acted as the gateway to the treasure, and the town grew both in size and structure because of this sudden economic boom. By 1899, gold rush fever had passed. Do not miss to take a ride along the late19th-century White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad and travel the very same route in a vintage train car that the miners of yesteryear traveled in as they set out in search of gold. The Skagway Museum and Archives displays a diverse collection of age-old treasures from the town's illustrious history, wonderfully curated in a historic granite building.
Glacier Bay was first surveyed in 1794 by a team from the H.M.S. Discovery, captained by George Vancouver. At that time, the survey showed a mere indentation in the shoreline. The massive glacier was more than 4,000 feet thick in places, up to 20 miles wide, and extended more than 100 miles to the St. Elias mountain range. By 1879, however, naturalist John Muir discovered that the ice had retreated more than 30 miles forming an actual bay.Glacier Bay National Park includes numerous tidewater glaciers -several are actively calving icebergs into the bay. The show can be spectacular. As water undermines the ice fronts, great blocks of ice - up to 200 feet high - break loose and crash into the water.
The Johns Hopkins Glacier calves such enormous volumes of ice that it is rarely safe to get within two miles of its cliffs. Watch out for humpback whales, orcas, puffins and murres at the Marble Islands, mountain goats high on the cliffs, and harbor seals on the icebergs.
College Fjord is located in the northern part of Prince William Sound, just thirty miles west of Valdez. The enormous ice field, resplendent with sixteen tidewater glaciers, is a breathtaking landscape enclosed by steep walls of ice and mountains which rise from sea level to 10,000 feet. The fjord contains five tidewater glaciers (glaciers that terminate in water), five large valley glaciers, and dozens of smaller glaciers, most named after renowned East Coast colleges (women's colleges for the NW side, and mens colleges for the SE side). College Fjord was discovered in 1899 during the Harriman Expedition, at which time the glaciers were named. In 1964 College Fjord was the epicenter of the Good Friday Earthquake, the most powerful earthquake in U.S. history. From one place, it is possible to see eight of College Fjords Glaciers at once. The area is abundant in wildlife, including Dall sheep, mountain goats, bald eagles, sea otters and whales, just to name a few.
Disembark Cruiseship - Anchorage
Arrival at the Seward Cruise Ship Terminal located at the head of Resurrection Bay in one of Alaska's oldest communities - named after William H. Seward the man who bought Alaska from the Russians. Saltwater bays, blue glaciers, majestic mountains and alpine valleys make this historical city and it's surroundings one of the most memorable to visit. Note: some cruise ships dock now in Whittier, gateway to Prince William Sound. Scenic motorcoach transfer along Turnagain Arm to Anchorage. Alaska's largest community is located at the upper end of Cook Inlet in the Gulf of Alaska. Time to explore Anchorage: The Alaska Native Heritage Center is the place to learn about Alaska's indigenous people. Exhibits feature traditional art and artifacts, the impact of Alaska statehood, and contemporary art and issues. Outdoor exhibits recreate the traditional structures of native Alaskans, including the Tlingit, Athabascans, Inupiaq, and Yup'ik. Overnight: Anchorage
Anchorage - Talkeetna
Pick up your rental car in Anchorage. Enjoy sweeping views of snowcapped mountain peaks in the distance while traveling from Anchorage on the George Parks Highway to Wasilla - home of the Iditarod Headquarter "The Last Great Sled Dog Race on Earth". Continue to Talkeetna: Talkeetna was established as a mining town and trading post before either Wasilla or Anchorage existed. Several of its old log buildings are today historical landmarks. The community is internationally recognized as the base for many of the climbing expeditions that challenge Mt. McKinley, Mt. Hunter and Mt. Foraker during the summertime, so it is not unusual to find a larger number of international visitors walking these quiet streets. Driving distance 120 miles. Overnight: Talkeetna
Talkeetna - Denali National Park
Continue your tour along the Alaska Range through Denali State Park with countless wildlife viewing opportunities. Arrive at Denali Village. The parks office provides many informative ranger-naturalist programs, slide shows and sled dog demonstrations. Denali, the “Great One”, is the name Athabascan people gave the massive peak that crowns the 600-mile-long Alaska Range. The Park and Preserve was created 1980 from the former Mt Mc.Kinley National Park. At over 6 million acres, the park is larger than the US State of Massachusetts. It exemplifies interior Alaska’s character as one of the world’s last great frontiers for wilderness adventure and it remains largely wild and unspoiled, as the Athabascan knew it. Driving distance 110 miles. Overnight: Denali National Park
Denali National Park
Early (pre-reserved time) shuttle bus departure - the park road is closed for private vehicles - for a full day wildlife observation and sightseeing tour to the Eielson Visitor Center, Wonder Lake or Kantishna within the shadows of Mt. McKinley - with 20.320 ft. the highest mountain in North America. The views from here are just spectacular. Watch for grizzly bears, moose, caribou, wolf, lynx, wolverine and fox roaming throughout the park or observe one of the 150 different bird species which inherit the Denali National Park area. Many hiking trails along the ridges and throughout the valleys are easily accessible from the road. Park ranger at the visitor center are conducting interesting campfire talks, sled dog demonstations and short guided nature walks on a regular basis. Return to the Park entrance anytime during the day. Overnight: Denali Park
Denali National Park – Denali Highway – Wrangell St Elias National Park
The 134-mile-long Denali Highway links Paxson on the Richardson Highway to Cantwell on the Parks Highway. The first 21 miles of the Denali Highway from Paxson and the first 3 miles from Cantwell are paved. The driving conditions varies, depending on highway maintenance and weather conditions. Maclaren Summit, the second highest highway pass in the state, represents the only significant grade. When the Denali Highway opened in 1957, it was the only road link to Denali National Park and Preserve (then Mount McKinley National Park) until the completion of the Parks Highway in 1972. The Denali Highway provides great scenery, mountain biking trails, fishing, hunting, bird watching and interesting geography. Those traveling in the early morning and late afternoons will enjoy the best wildlife viewing opportunities of moose, bears, wolves, caribou and fox are all spotted along the road and in the rolling countryside in this sub-arctic region of Alaska. Overnight: Copper Center
McCarthy/Kennicott (Day Tour)
Take your time when you drive on the famous McCarthy Road deep into Wrangell / St. Elias National Park. Beyond Chitina, the 60-mile gravel road follows the abandoned Copper River and Northwest Railroad bed to the Kennicott River. Drive slowly, as traffic and weather may create ruts and washboard surfaces. In some places, old railroad ties may surface, along with their anchoring spikes, creating unexpected hazards. The road is narrow in places, and slower moving traffic is encouraged to allowing passing at road turnouts. Under normal summer conditions, most two-wheel drive vehicles can make the trip. In wet weather, the road often becomes muddy and slippery. Portions of the road may be subject to washouts after heavy rains. The road finally ends at footbridge across Kennicott River. From there it is about a 1/2 mile walk to the historic community of McCarthy and only a short transfer away from the Kennicott Copper Mines. Overnight McCarthy / Kennicott
Wrangell St Elias National Park - Anchorage
After a relaxed morning drive back to the Richardson Highway winding along the Alyeska Pipeline. Stopover at Copper Center with a historic roadhouse dated back to 1898 the first lodging place in this area. Scenic drive on the Glenn Highway along the rugged Chugach Mountains towards Palmer - located in the heart of the Matanuska Valley. The valley is famous for their gigantic grown vegetables and fruits. Scenic stopover at Matanuska Glacier, one of the few you can drive to and explore on foot. Overnight: Anchorage
Time to explore Anchorage: The Alaska Native Heritage Center is the place to learn about Alaska's indigenous people. Exhibits feature traditional art and artifacts, the impact of Alaska statehood, and contemporary art and issues. Outdoor exhibits recreate the traditional structures of native Alaskans, including the Tlingit, Athabascans, Inupiaq, and Yup'ik. Most people visiting Alaska are interested in spending time outdoors. The Public Lands Information Center is a great place to start your adventure. Representatives from the various agencies are all on hand to answer your questions about where to go, what to do, how to get there, and special permit, license, or gear requirements. You can pick up free maps and brochures or purchase recreation passes and guide books. The Anchorage Alaska Public Lands Information Center is also a museum of sorts, offering exhibits on the natural history and culture of Alaska.End of tour or individual program extension.
Wildlife viewing is generally good during May/June and September because larger mammals such as Moose and Grizzly Bears are feeding in lower elevations. July/August are prime Brown - and Grizzly Bear viewing months (Kodiak Island, Katmai, Coastal Regions) because bears are feeding on salmon. For detailed information on Alaska’s wildlife viewing areas and for seasonal information please refer to our websites.
Most cruise fares do not include: 1.) Gratuities 2.) Alcoholic Beverages 3.) Shore Excursions 4.) Gambling 5.) Personal Items 6.) Spa or Beauty Treatments 7.) Travel Insurance 8.) Personal Items 9.) Port Transfers 10.) A small fee may apply for onboard Gourmet Dining Experiences. Please contact us for additional information.
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