7-Day Alaskan Cruise – Seward to Vancouver
Fly in to one of Southcentral Alaska’s oldest communities to begin this wonderful Alaska Cruise. A cruise/tour for those that have a “smart phone” and want to learn how to take better pictures as well as for serious photographers. Seward is ground zero for the Klondike Gold Rush Iditarod National Historic Trail, a dogsled route that connected the Kenai Peninsula’s ice-free port with Nome during frontier-era winters. Explorers from Russia, Britain and the United States all frequented this area before Seward’s official founding in 1903. Today this mellow town welcomes visitors to Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park, not to mention the 127-mile Seward Highway, honored as an All-American Road, stretching north to Anchorage. In town, favorite stops remain the Alaska SeaLife Center, a research aquarium open to the public, and the steep, stony 3,018-foot Mount Marathon, which hosts one of America’s oldest foot races on July 4th.
7 – day Alaska Cruise – Seward to Vancouver
From calving glaciers to foraging wildlife, Gold Rush history to native cultures, no one knows the Great Land better than this preferred supplier. Enjoy the real Alaska—plus exceptional onboard programs and entertainment—in classic cruise style. This itinerary includes ports such as:
SEWARD: Seward is ground zero for the Klondike Gold Rush Iditarod National Historic Trail, a dogsled route that connected the Kenai Peninsula’s ice-free port with Nome during frontier-era winters. Explorers from Russia, Britain and the United States all frequented this area before Seward’s official founding in 1903. Today this mellow town welcomes visitors to Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park, not to mention the 127-mile Seward Highway, honored as an All-American Road, stretching north to Anchorage. In town, favorite stops remain the Alaska SeaLife Center, a research aquarium open to the public, and the steep, stony 3,018-foot Mount Marathon, which hosts one of America’s oldest foot races on July 4th.
Kenai Fjords National Park: Even by Alaskan standards, Kenai Fjords National Park is amazing — a place where natural wonders combine for breathtaking results. The park showcases sensational seascapes, tidewater glaciers and a host of wildlife and perhaps the best way to experience it is on a day boat with the original tour operator of Kenai Fjords National Park. Commonly seen animals include humpback whales, sea lions, sea otters, harbor seals, orcas and numerous species of seabirds. You can upgrade to do a tour to the only glacier accessible by road.
At Sea (Gulf of Alaska): The truly deep tangle of trees begins in British Columbia: The world’s largest coastal temperate rainforest stretches from Vancouver Island and the Canadian mainland here up through Alaska’s panhandle. Glaciers sculpted this stunning wilderness; in fact, their high-water marks remain visible. The massive sheets of ice smoothed and rounded any terrain under a mile high. The peaks, sharp and craggy, slice the air at over 4,495 feet in height, give or take. Glaciers remain a huge draw, of course, frosting mountain ranges and shearing icebergs into the ocean—watch for baby seals resting on them from May to early July! And don’t forget to survey beaches for coastal brown bears, which can grow up to three times bigger than inland grizzlies, thanks to all the available salmon.
Glacier Bay: Cruise the ice-studded fjords of this national treasure for a full eight hours as a Park Service Ranger narrates. This World Heritage Site, 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 southeastern Alaska’s natural wonders.
Haines (Skagway), Alaska: There’s a reason Haines is known as the adventure capital of Alaska. Although many cities in Alaska feel different than those in “the lower 48,” Haines is more unusual than most with its unique rustic feel. Haines is a hotspot for rafting and hiking, salmon, halibut and trout fishing in the Chilkat River or kayaking on Chilkoot Lake—as well as heli-skiing in the winter. During the late fall and early winter, thousands of bald eagles migrate through this area to feed on the salmon, an event that is celebrated by the Alaska Bald Eagle Festival in November. The memory of prospector days lingers on with opportunities to pan for gold, while the Indian Arts gallery, with its totem pole carving studio, offers a glimpse of an even older Haines; which is also known for its wildlife and stunning natural surroundings.
EAGLE PRESERVE FLOAT ADVENTURE – Otional: Your adventure begins with a spectacular drive up a National Scenic Byway, through the awe-inspiring Chilkat Valley to the heart of the preserve. After a riverside picnic, you will board an 18-foot inflatable raft and enjoy a peaceful, no white water, float down this ever-changing river. 7,000-foot peaks tower above you in this preserve. This is an unforgettable adventure into the grandeur of Alaska.
A STROLL THROUGH HISTORIC HAINES – Optional: Stretch your legs while you learn about the history, Native Culture and present-day lifestyle of the residents of Haines — an isolated Alaskan town. Your local guide will show you the highlights of historic Fort William H. Seward, founded in the early 20th century to anchor America’s border claims during the turbulent Gold Rush era. Sights include the old barracks buildings, the parade grounds, Soap Suds Alley and Officers Row. These buildings overlook the nine-acre parade grounds.
FRESHWATER FISHING ON CHILKOOT LAKE – Optional: A short motor coach drive brings you to Chilkoot Lake — one of the most picturesque locations in southeast Alaska. Set off on a fishing expedition aboard a comfortable, 28-foot pontoon boat. There are no hatchery fish on the lake — only wild stock. Depending on the season, several varieties of wild salmon and Dolly Varden are the likely catches.
Skagway, Alaska: 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 colorful history, pristine wildlife and unrivaled natural beauty.
WHITE PASS SUMMIT SCENIC RAILROAD – Optional: Take an unforgettable round-trip journey aboard the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. Against all odds, this iron trail was built through some of the North’s most ruggedly beautiful terrain and more than 110 years later is still in operation. Ride in a comfortable, restored or replica vintage rail car to the summit of the White Pass, through two tunnels, over sky-high trestles, and remote valleys. Pass Bridal Veil Falls, Inspiration Point and Dead Horse Gulch as your guide announces all points of interest and tells the story of the Klondike Gold Rush. At the White Pass Summit at 2,865 feet, the train makes a loop and heads back down the pass, allowing everyone to experience the excellent views during this round-trip rail journey. This narrow-gauge railroad is an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
WHITE PASS RAIL, KLONDIKE HIGHWAY & LIARSVILLE GOLD CAMP – Optional: Stop at historic Liarsville, a gold rush trail camp nestled beside a waterfall at the foot of White Pass. Liarsville is named for the journalists sent here to report on the Klondike Gold Rush, whose articles included tall tales of the prospectors’ exploits. Browse the authentic camp exhibits, including antiques and garments left behind by the prospectors and those who profited from them. A cast of ‘sourdoughs’ and dance hall girls will entertain you with a hilarious melodrama and a poem by Robert Service, the Bard of the North. You’ll also have a chance to try your hand at the art of gold panning in the Liarsville gold fields, where you are guaranteed to find some gold to keep.
FOOD SCIENCE: A HANDS-ON TASTE OF ALASKA IN PARTNERSHIP WITH FOOD & WINE MAGAZINE – Optional: You’ll visit the historic Skagway Inn to meet the chef and owner. He takes you on a behind-the-scenes look at the science that transforms your farm and seafood items into delicious meals. You’ll start by harvesting items from the garden to use in the kitchen; then, you’ll prepare an Alaska salmon fillet for smoking, learning how the preservation process works. You’ll conduct experiments using common food items and learn how simple changes can have dramatic results while working with local foods and ingredients for a hands-on experience; and learn about foods that were typically eaten during the Klondike Gold Rush. Sounds like a lot of fun and a wonderful experience – especially for the foodies!
Juneau, Alaska: Juneau 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.
EXCLUSIVE MENDENHALL GLACIER, RAINFOREST GARDEN & STATE MUSEUM – Optional: What is it like to live in the forest and how does it shape the lives of its inhabitants? The answers begin with a short drive through downtown Juneau’s streets en route to Tongass National Forest Mendenhall Glacier, located in the Tongass National Forest, where you’ll spend 90 minutes exploring the surrounding trails and waterfall offering fabulous views of the glacier. Allow time to enter the Visitor Center to check out the various exhibits and short film on the Juneau ice field. At the Juneau Rainforest Garden, experience an intimate botanical oasis. Take a self-guided stroll among seasonal wildflowers and lush rainforest flora and learn about Native uses of the endemic plants you see. Enjoy a light snack amid natural science displays. The resident hosts will answer any questions you may have about Alaska’s natural environment. The last part of the outing takes you to the state-of-the-art Alaska State Museum. Here, you will gain an understanding of Alaska’s development.
Ketchikan, Alaska: It is also one of the best spots along the Inside Passage to explore the rich cultural sights of Native Alaskan nations. The Totem Heritage Center and Totem Bight State Park.
SAXMAN NATIVE VILLAGE, DANCE PERFORMANCE & TOTEM PARK – Optional: This Saxman tour provides exclusive access to the Beaver Clan House, a working Native carving center, and a chance to view the traditional Native dancers first–hand. View bald eagles and other birds of prey up close at the Alaska Raptor Center exhibit and check out the amazing collection of totems in the courtyard. Shopping opportunities await you in the General Store before the drive back to the ship.
Scenic Cruising the Inside Passage: Numerous ports along the way recount Alaska’s colorful 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 center 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.
Vancouver, B.C: Hemmed in by mountains and sea, Vancouver seduces visitors with its combination of urban sophistication and laid-back attitude against a backdrop of glass towers and modern sights and plentiful green spaces.
VANCOUVER HIGHLIGHTS WITH AIRPORT TRANSFER: However, if you choose to stay in Vancouver after your cruise, we will be happy to put that extended experience together for you. Many may enjoy a rail tour of the Western Canadian Rockies ending in Banff or Calgary. Call Kathryn or Sandra at 352-277-7300.