When you think of a spectacular Alaska vacation, what comes to mind? Witnessing glaciers calve into the sea? Riding the world-famous Alaska Railroad? Seeking out wildlife in Denali National Park? Or maybe it’s cruising through the sea to watch for seals, sea otters, birds, and even whales. Whatever it is, this tour through Alaska is sure to delight!
Board the Alaska Railroad to Denali National Park and seek out grizzly bear, caribou, moose, and more on a wilderness expedition. Take a cruise on Prince William Sound and along Columbia Glacier, the second-largest tide-water glacier in North America. Just imagine the gorgeous scenery you’ll see! You’ll also take a cruise on Kenai Fjords National Park to see glaciers calving into the sea and hear the thunderous roar. Photos and videos cannot adequately capture the experience—you must witness it in person. On both cruises, be sure to watch for wildlife.
See the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Terminal near Valdez, take a sternwheeler cruise in Fairbanks, visit the home of four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser near Anchorage, and enjoy a 7-night cruise with ample opportunity to take in Alaska’s awe-inspiring glaciers and majestic scenery. Explore the remote and rugged beauty of areas such as Glacier Bay, Juneau, and Ketchikan via Alaska’s impressive Inside Passage. Watch for spouting whales, soaring eagles, barking seals, and other wildlife. Marvel at glaciers and witness the amazing spectacle of thunder and spray as tremendous slabs of ice break off into the sea. Be sure to grab your camera and get ready for a trip that will leave you breathless and inspired—a travel experience of a lifetime.
Arrive in Anchorage
Welcome to Anchorage! Meet your Tour Director this evening between 5 pm and 8 pm in the hotel reception area.
Meet your fellow traveling companions at this morning’s welcome orientation. Travel through Palmer in the Matanuska Valley, where cabbages can grow to an amazing 70 pounds in the 24-hour daylight, up over Tahneta Pass for wonderful vistas of Matanuska and Worthington Glaciers. Stop at Bridal Veil Falls before arriving in the seaside port of Valdez, often referred to as the “Switzerland of Alaska.”
Valdez – Cruise on Prince William Sound
Board your boat for a cruise on Prince William Sound and along the 3-mile face of Columbia Glacier, keeping a watchful eye out for wildlife, including seals, sea otters, birds, and even whales! Before returning to Valdez, see the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Terminal, where supertankers are loaded with crude oil from Prudhoe Bay.
Great scenery all the way as you travel along Richardson Highway. Stop at Delta Junction, a living history homestead with a museum, original roadhouse, and farm animals. Then, head west on the Alaska Highway to Fairbanks, the state’s second-largest city.
Visit Gold Dredge #8 and ride the narrow-gauge railroad. Then, try your luck as you pan for gold. Later today, board the sternwheeler discovery for a cruise on the Chena and Tanana Rivers, with a stop at the Chena Indian Village to learn about Athabascan Native culture. You will also have the chance to meet Iditarod mushers and their famed dog teams to learn about breeding, training, and the big race! This evening, enjoy a special Alaska salmon bake.
Fairbanks-Alaska Railroad-Denali National Park
Board the world-famous Alaska Railroad for a journey through untamed wilderness. Today’s ride ends at Denali National Park, where North America’s highest peak, 20,320-foot Mount McKinley (Denali), majestically dominates the park’s 6 million acres. The afternoon is free. This evening, enjoy dinner at the Murie Science & Learning Center followed by an exclusive presentation on Denali National Park by a local Naturalist.
Denali National Park
Morning at leisure. Optional activities include a float trip down the Nenana River and a helicopter ride over the park. Then, dress comfortably for a wilderness expedition into Denali National Park to seek out grizzly bear, caribou, moose, and other wildlife.
Denali National Park-Big Lake-Anchorage
Continue your exploration of Denali National Park as you head south toward Anchorage. Stop along the way at Happy Trails Kennels, home of four-time Iditarod Champion Martin Buser and his dogs. Meet an Iditarod competitor and learn how they race and care for their dogs. You will also see a demo on mushing, complete with a mock Iditarod checkpoint, and get a chance to play with the sled dogs! Upon arrival in Anchorage, take a city sightseeing tour. This evening, your Tour Director hosts a special farewell dinner.
After your cruise of Kenai Fjords National Park, transfer to the pier to embark on your Holland America cruise ship, the MS Statendam (sailing on the May 17 departure and every other week thereafter) or MS Oosterdam (sailing on the May 10 departure and every other week thereafter).
Scenic Cruising: Gulf of Alaska
Enjoy breathtaking scenery as we travel the route of Alaska’s Marine Highway. The entire shoreline of the Gulf of Alaska is a rugged combination of forests, mountains, and tidewater glaciers. Be on the lookout for Alaska’s wildlife including whales, seals, otters, puffins and more.
Glacier Bay National Park (scenic cruising)
This Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site protects a unique ecosystem in an ever-changing glacial landscape. Witness the spectacle of thunder and flying spray as huge slabs of ice break off and “calve” into the sea—making for lasting memories. National Park rangers accompany the ship, adding expert commentary to the day’s events.
Nestled on the shores of America’s longest fjord, Haines enjoys a spectacular setting. You may choose to take a float trip through Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, home to the largest annual gathering of bald eagles, or maybe visit the Sheldon Museum, art galleries, or local shops in town.
Visit one of the most remote capital cities—Juneau. Accessible only by air and water, Juneau is located at the base of two towering mountains in the heart of Alaska’s Inside Passage, and is home to a rich Gold Rush history, Native culture, wildlife, and a wealth of natural wonders. Shop for gold nuggets, visit the stately Governor’s Mansion, saunter through the swinging doors of the historic Red Dog Saloon, or visit mighty Mendenhall Glacier, an impressive river of ice that is 12 miles long and 1.5 miles wide.
Experience Native Alaska firsthand. Meet the spirits of the raven, whale, and eagle as you view the largest collection of totems in the world at Saxman Totem Park or Totem Bight State Historic Park. Or, explore Creek Street, now home to contemporary art galleries and quaint boutiques.
Inside Passage (scenic cruising)
Sit back and relax as you cruise through the beautiful and awe-inspiring scenery of the Inside Passage. Keep your cameras ready for spouting whales, soaring eagles, barking seals, and other wildlife.
The tour ends this morning. Guests depart on individual schedules.