Alaska is a unique destination brimming with history, adventure, and natural beauty. Whether you’re traveling there for the first time or the tenth, consider exploring the magnificent coastline and the splendid interior – all on a single vacation. This is easier than you may think because several cruise lines – including Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean – offer Alaskan “cruisetours” that combine a cruise and a land tour in one convenient, memorable vacation package.
Most cruisetours include a seven-day cruise of Alaska’s Inside Passage, calling on popular ports like Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Sitka. All have interesting history and culture, gorgeous surroundings, and lots of options for fun and thrilling excursions on shore. To see icebergs being calved from glaciers of glowing blue-green ice, look for itineraries that also call on Glacier Bay National Park or Hubbard Glacier. These rugged areas are generally not accessible by road, so cruising is the best way to see and appreciate them.
As for the land portion of a cruisetour, the length can range from three to 10 days or more. The focus is often on Denali National Park, one of Alaska’s scenic treasures. Stunning views of the Alaska Range include Denali, the highest mountain peak in North America. The park’s pristine landscape is also home to wildlife like bears, moose, Dall sheep, caribou, snowshoe hares, and a variety of hawks, eagles, and falcons.
As an alternative or in addition to Denali, some land tours visit Wrangell-Elias National Park or the Kenai Peninsula. Some will even take you to the Canadian Rockies, including famously photogenic spots like Banff National Park and Lake Louise.
Your land travel land will use some combination of luxury rail cars and motorcoaches, always accompanied by a professional guide. Most of the accommodations are charmingly rustic lodges in serene natural settings, with simple but comfortable furnishings.
The Alaska cruisetour season begins as early as mid-April and extends into October. High season, with the warmest daytime temperatures and long hours of sunlight, is June through August. If your schedule makes it possible to enjoy a cruisetour in April or May, you can see the wonder of emerging spring in Alaska; in September or October, you can view beautiful fall colors as winter approaches.
Talk with Anita, your professional travel advisor, to discuss the details of Alaska cruisetours and select a cruise line and itinerary that appeal to you.
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