26 Jan 20210 Comments
Can you guess what the top domestic vacation was for North Americans in 2019? If you said “Alaska,” you are correct!
More specifically, the winner was Alaska cruises. According to a Travel Leaders Group survey, 38 percent of respondents booked a cruise to Alaska. In fact, it was the top destination three years in a row.
One of the most popular ways to experience Alaska is with a land and sea cruise tour. You may choose the land portion prior to or after your cruise, but I recommend the pre-cruise option to my clients. This way, you can explore the wonders of nature up-close, followed by relaxation on your cruise ship as it travels a southern itinerary along the Alaskan coast. A typical land tour includes Denali State Park and Anchorage. The more adventurous fly into Fairbanks to begin their Alaskan adventure and journey southward.
The Gold Rush town of Fairbanks is the gateway to the Arctic. One of my clients selected the Arctic Circle Air and Land Adventure; with it, came stunning views of the Yukon River Valley and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. They landed just east of the gates of the Arctic National Park and explored the amazing tundra with its stark landscape. Upon their return to Fairbanks, they were awarded an Arctic Circle Adventure Certificate.
The two sister cruise lines Princess and Holland America are the industry leaders for Alaska cruise tours. They each built their own lodges (Wilderness Lodge and McKinley Chalet) at the doorstep of Denali State Park. In addition, they operate the largest fleet of glass-domed railcars in Alaska – providing comfortable seating with amazing views, spacious observation lounges, leisurely dining and outdoor viewing platforms.
Your final stop on the land excursion is Anchorage, which is near the Whittier cruise port where you will embark for your cruise experience. One of the highlights of the cruise is spending an entire day among the spectacular scenery and wildlife of Glacier Bay – a UNESCO World Heritage site. The National Park rangers onboard provide expert and insightful narrations on what can be seen from the deck. You might witness a breaching humpback whale or a family of bears feeding on salmon along the shoreline.
Depending on the cruise itinerary, the ports of call in Alaska could include Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan. Skagway is home to the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. While there, you can take a Yukon Dog Musher Adventure Tour.
Juneau is one of the ports of the Inside Passage, which is one of the greatest cruising routes in the world. It is a protected network of glacier-cut fjords and lush temperate rain forests. Ketchikan is known as the “Salmon Capital of the World” and it is truly the beginning of the last frontier, located at the southernmost entrance to the Inside Passage. The cruise ends in Vancouver, British Columbia, where you will disembark. You might spend a night there to explore the city or fly home.
Undoubtedly, there are many wonderful experiences that await you on a land and sea tour of Alaska. You may even opt to include your children and grandchildren on the experience, as these family connections and memories will last a lifetime. Due to their immense popularity, advance planning of between nine to 12 months is recommended. So, make it a project, get all the travelers involved, and enjoy the fun and anticipation together.