EXPLORING ALASKA – THE GREAT LAND
If exploring Alaska – The Great Land is on your bucket list, and it definitely should be, here a few examples of how you can plan a trip that fits your schedule and how you like to travel. The season is short and runs from May through September, so you will need to do your research and planning to get the most out of your trip. Alaska is so vast that no matter how, when or where you choose to go, you will find extraordinary sights beyond anything you have imagined.
The major cruise lines send some of their ships to Alaska for the summer. Two of the most well-known are Holland America and Princess. They have been cruising Alaska for many years and have a variety of itineraries.
Depending on your time frame, they have cruises for 7 days, 10 days and even longer. The obvious answer to why take a cruise is the fact you pack once and stop at many of the favorite stops in Alaska. You take your hotel with you. You can choose a basic cabin or one with a balcony. There are different levels to fit all lifestyles.
There are multiple venues for meals and snacks, so you can find something at almost any time of day. If you choose not to ashore, there are options for things to do on the ship also. There are pools, both for everyone or adults only. Some ships have climbing walls, basketball courts and skating rinks.
Your time in every port depends on the ship’s schedule. If you don’t want to take their shore excursions, you must be disciplined enough to be back on the ship when you are told to do so. The ship will not wait for anyone who doesn’t conform to this and will leave at the appointed time.
While it is mostly like an all-inclusive resort, you will still have to pay for your individual drinks (unless you sign up for one of their drinks packages).
There is a charge for wi-fi and depending on the package, you will have to pay for each device.
In making phone calls from the ship, I learned this lesson personally. When you are in international waters, the cost for a phone call is extremely high.
Did You Know – Juneau is the only state capitol in the United States you can’t drive to. Taking a cruise that includes this stop enables you to visit this isolated state capitol. It’s also your opportunity to see Mendenhall Glacier. While you are there you can see a real result of climate change as it is pointed out how far the glacier has retreated. It gives you pause as to how we have altered nature.
Even on a rainy day as it was the day I visited; you can’t help but be in awe of something as magnificent as what nature has created.
SMALL SHIP CRUISING
There are also cruise companies who specialize in more educational cruising. They don’t feature all the activities of the larger cruise ships, but specialize in getting up and personal with wildlife. They go ashore in zodiacs and explore areas the larger ships can’t access. An example of this type of experience is https://www.nationalgeographic.com/expeditions/destinations/north-america/ocean/alaska-cruise/
They don’t have the facilities of the larger ships with activities for all ages. This is a cruise more suited to older children and adults who won’t miss the multiple food venues, pools, etc.
CRUISING AND LAND PACKAGES
These are the longer cruises which incorporate some type of 7-day cruise with land packages including Denali, The Yukon and other places in Alaska. These cruises are not round trip as the shorter cruises. You will depart from say Vancouver and return from Anchorage. These itineraries enable you to see more highlights since you will not have to return to your embarkation point.
They are, by definition, longer. If you have the time, these cruises are excellent options to see more of The Great Land, both from your ship and from travelling on land.
Did you know – Denali is the highest peak in North America at 20,310 feet and the northern most mountain over 19,685 feet in the world.
If setting sail doesn’t float your boat, there are land packages out there to give you a great Alaska experience. Two of the best suppliers who have been doing this for years are Tauck and Collette.
Tauck has many different programs in Alaska, but one of the most popular is a program geared for families called Bridges. On their Alaska tour, they guarantee:
“Alaskan family fun sunrise to sunset… meet champion Iditarod sled dogs… take a flightseeing tour over Denali National Park… go jet boating, wilderness hiking, kayaking… take a rail trip… spot Alaska’s magnificent wildlife…. learn about native Alaskans and their rich cultural heritage…”
This adventure can be shared by multi-generations and the memories will last a lifetime, especially for your children sharing this experience with their family.
Collete, while they don’t have tours geared toward families, they have their exclusive Small Group Explorations. These tours are limited to around 16 passengers, so you can Access places you’ll never forget – like destinations that larger groups can’t always reach. You will stay in culturally reflective accommodations. There is also the promise built-in free time.
I have done the cruising and land options. Every port or stop held numerous opportunities to explore and learn about our largest state. On my next journey, I will be able to choose different options and get to know Alaska that much better. I guarantee when you go once, you will want to return. I DID!
Contact me at https://unique-journeys.com/ and together we can start you on a path to your next great adventure.