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Alaska Cruise with Denali Explorer

Reference CTS9863
13 nights from
£3399 pp
June – August 2020
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Embark on an unforgettable adventure!  Witness some of the most spectacular scenery in the world as you cruise the famous Inside Passage north to Alaska. Disembark in Seward, Alaska and begin your land adventure. Alaska is home to the highest mountain in North America and Alaska’s Big Five: grizzly bears, caribou, Dall sheep, wolves and moose.

Based on June 2020 departure – other selected dates available June – August 2020.

Return flights from the UK
1 night pre-cruise stay in Vancouver
7 night Alaska Cruise on-board Holland America Line ms Westerdam
All meals & entertainment on-board ship
Accommodation for 3 nights in Seward - Seward Windsong Lodge
Alaska Sealife Center Admission
2 lunches & 1 dinner
The Real Alaska Day Tour with lunch including transfers from Seward Hotel
8.5 hr Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise with Dinner on Fox Island
Scheduled Coach Transfer with limited driver commentary
ABTA and ATOL protection

Itinerary

Upon arrival into Vancouver international Airport make your way independently to your downtown hotel.  Remainder of the day is at leisure.

Morning at leisure, then after lunch make your way independently to the Cruise Terminal where you will board your cruise ship ms Westerdam for a 7-night Alaska Cruise.

Alaska’s Inside Passage is a protected network of waterways that wind through glacier-cut fjords and lush temperate rain forests along the rugged coast of Southeast Alaska. Arguably one of the greatest cruising routes in the world, the Inside Passage stretches through stunning landscapes, from Misty Fjords National Monument to famed Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve.

Sailing the Inside Passage offers opportunities to spot some of Alaska’s most iconic wildlife, with humpback whales and orca plying the bountiful waters alongside the ships, bald eagles soaring overhead and brown bears lumbering on the shoreline.

Numerous ports along the way recount Alaska’s colourful history. In Sitka, an onion-domed church marks Russia’s onetime foothold in the Americas; Ketchikan provides a glimpse of the Native Alaskan experience, with historic totem poles and native-arts galleries; and the legendary town centre of Skagway bustles as it did at the turn of the 19th century, when it served as the rowdy Wild West gateway to the Klondike Gold Rush.

Alaska’s “First City” of Ketchikan is so named because it’s the first major landfall for most cruisers as they enter the picturesque fjords of the Inside Passage, where the town clings to the banks of the Tongass Narrows, flanked by green forests nurtured by abundant rain.

Ketchikan has long been an important hub of the salmon-fishing and -packing industries—visitors can try their luck on a sportfishing excursion or simply savour the fresh seafood at one of the local restaurants. It is also one of the best spots along the Inside Passage to explore the rich cultural sights of Native Alaskan nations like the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian. You can see intricately carved totem poles at the Totem Heritage Centre and Totem Bight State Park, while the attractions of Saxman Village just outside of Ketchikan offers the chance to see Tlingit culture in action, with working carvers and a dance show in the clan house. And leave time to explore the sights in the town itself, including historic Creek Street, a boardwalk built over the Ketchikan Creek, where you can shop for souvenirs, smoked salmon and local art, while exploring gold rush­–era tourist attractions like Dolly’s House Museum.

Juneau, Alaska may well be the most remote, most beautiful and strangest state capital in the United States. Surrounded by water, forest and mountain sights, visitors seeking things to do in Juneau indoors and outdoors can hike a glacier, eat fresh-caught fish on a seaside patio and tour a grand capitol building all in one day.

The city itself is pleasant, but the real highlight of a visit to Juneau is tracking down some wildlife. You can hike up Mount Roberts to chance upon wild deer and bald eagles. Most sightseeing and whale-watching tours head north to Auke Bay—bring a good pair of binoculars to get the best view of these majestic and surprisingly graceful creatures. If you prefer land mammals, catch a floatplane to a nearby wildlife reserve such as Chichagof or Admiralty Island to spy some bears lolling around.

The sleepy, misty city of around 32,000—mostly fishermen and small-business owners—has a frontier town vibe, but welcomes more than a million visitors each summer to its natural attractions, cementing Juneau as Alaska’s number-one tourist destination.

At the height of the Klondike Gold Rush, the port town of Skagway served as the primary gateway to the legendary gold fields, and quickly grew into Alaska’s largest settlement. It was then a raucous frontier hub packed with trading posts, saloons and guesthouses. As the gold rush faded into the 1900s, so did Skagway—but today it has been reinvigorated as a gateway for a new kind of visitor: those looking to explore Alaska’s colourful history, pristine wildlife and unrivalled natural beauty.

At every turn, you’ll find yourself immersed in gold rush lore, from the infamous Red Onion Saloon that still keeps a pistol that Wyatt Earp left behind en route to the Klondike, to the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, a classic narrow-gauge railway that traverses rugged mountains and passes cascading waterfalls and towering glaciers as it connects Skagway to Whitehorse deep in the Yukon. Much of the town has been preserved as part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, where rangers offer free walking tours around the historic district. Here you’ll also find a vibrant local community, home to a rich collection of local galleries, curio shops and restaurants serving seafood plucked fresh from nearby waters.

Frosted crags descend into mossy forests and a 457-meter-deep (1,500-foot-deep) fjord at this World Heritage Site, which is also one of the planet’s largest biosphere reserves. Stone, ice and water continue to collide, sculpting a dramatic landscape that is the crown jewel of south eastern Alaska’s natural wonders.

The area’s first European explorer missed it all—but with good reason. When Captain George Vancouver sailed here in 1794, a vast shield of ice, more than 1,200 meters (3,937 feet) thick, dominated the area. In one of the fastest retreats on record, the glaciers shrank back 105 kilometres (65 miles) by 1916. The formerly glacier-squashed land is rebounding now, rising 30 millimetres (1.18 inches) each year. Visitors can observe this rebirth: A spruce-hemlock rain forest has sprouted near the mouth of Glacier Bay. Farther north, the more recently exposed land shows sharper edges and thinner vegetation. Still, it’s enough to encourage the return of wildlife, from bald eagles to bears, moose and humpback whales.

While the national park is open year-round, most travellers prefer the warmth of late May to early September. Even in summer, be prepared for any weather—especially rain! Pack a hat, gloves, wool or fleece layers, a warm coat and waterproof gear if you want to admire the landscape from the open deck of your ship.

Disembark from your cruise ship today in the picturesque community of Seward, nestled between the Kenai Mountains and Resurrection Bay. Seward attracts many visitors during the summer months and is the gateway to majestic Kenai Fjords National Park. The easiest place to start is at the Visitor Reception Centre. We have included admission to the Alaska Sealife Center - Alaska’s only public aquarium and ocean wildlife rescue centre. During your visit to this ‘window on the sea’, you will have close encounters with puffins, octopus, sea lions and other sea life while peeking over the shoulders of ocean scientists studying Alaska’s rich seas and diverse sea life.

Today enjoy a full-day tour of Seward. First, take in the fascinating history and breathtaking beauty as your guide shows you the sights of Seward. Then, head out to Exit Glacier in the Kenai Fjords National Park. A short walk along the nature trail takes you to the face of the glacial ice. A hearty lunch will be served at nearby Resurrection Roadhouse before you travel to the Seavey homestead and experience IdidaRide’s 1.5 hours Wilderness Dog Sled Ride and Tour. (Lunch included today)

Today we have arranged for you to take a full day cruise into Kenai Fjord National Park. This cruise travels through the pristine waters of Resurrection Bay for up close encounters with wildlife. The wildlife cruises will be guided alongside large bird rookeries and sea lion colonies, providing stops for pictures and to view passing whales and sea otters. You will also have the opportunity to view several types of glaciers, including the enormous Bear Glacier, which is the largest glacier in the Kenai Fjords National Park. A deli-style lunch is included onboard. Late afternoon (23 May - 23 Aug only) enjoy an exclusive visit to Fox Island for Dinner! Salmon/Prime Rib, salad, veggies, rolls, mashed potatoes, cookie. (Lunch and dinner included today)

Early this morning, depart Seward aboard a comfortable motorcoach. The driver will provide narration as you travel along scenic Cook Inlet and Turnagain Arm. Few roads in the United States can offer the diversity of scenic landscapes and unique natural features all concentrated in one area. Overnight in Anchorage.

Enjoy a guided day tour with the opportunity to view Alaska’s black and brown bears in their natural habitat. You’ll fly by floatplane 70 miles southwest of Anchorage to the entrance of Lake Clark Wilderness Preserve, site of Redoubt Bay Lodge to view resident brown bears up close from one of the lodge’s covered pontoon boats.

Check out of your hotel early and make your way to the airport for your flight back to the UK.