|Alaska is also one of our favorite destinations. The scenery is magnificent. You'll see glaciers up to 6 miles wide and 200 to 300 feet high. You'll hear what the Indians called "glacial thunder" as 20 story buildings of ice drop into the sea right next to your ship. You'll see bald eagles, dolphins, puffins and maybe even a bear or moose. You'll see mountains that shoot straight up from the ocean. Mist and glacier covered peaks are everywhere. Be sure to take your video camera.|
|Royal Caribbean/Celebrity, Princess & Holland America offer the most cruises to Alaska and all offer cruise tours in conjunction with their cruises. We rate Royal Caribbean and Celebrity as the top cruisetour, Princess is #2 and then Holland America. There are cruisetours from 10-19 nights, we recommend at least a 12-night cruisetour that includes a 7-night cruise and a 5-night land tour that visits Anchorage, Talkeetna (near Denali National Park), Denali National Park, and Fairbanks. The cruisetours go Northbound (cruise first then the land tour) or Southbound (land tour first then the cruise). The Southbound cruisetours have gotten very popular and usually cost more. We don't think there is enough difference to justify the price and the Northbound Cruisetours have excellent schedules that mesh very well with the domed railcar schedule. We recommend the Northbound tours as a better value.|
|Celebrity's Infinity or Summit, and Radiance of the Seas from Royal Caribbean are the nicest ships to Alaska until you get into the luxury class. They also usually cost less than Princess or Holland America.|
|On Celebrity the cabins are large and tastefully decorated. Many have private verandahs, our favorite way to travel. The Infinity or Summit and Radiance of the Seas have similarly sized cabins. Vision and Legend of the Seas and most Princess ships do not have large cabins. Balcony cabins on Holland America can be quite pricey since they have so few of them.|
This is the map for a typical 12-day cruisetour, on Celebrity's Summit,
which is our most popular and top rated cruisetour. Costs start from about
$2,000 for an inside cabin, about $2,500 for an oceanview cabin , and
a cabin with a private verandah is about $3,000 per person. Air fare is
This classic cruisetour (the actual tour number changes from year to year) starts with a 7-day northbound cruise from Vancouver to Seward and finishes with a land tour of the interior of Alaska. Southbound tours are also available with the same destinations. Southbound tours will cost on average an extra $200 to $500 per person so they are not as good a value.
Day 1 will be a transit day. You will arrive in Vancouver, B.C., Canada in order to board the ship. Once all passengers are aboard the ship will depart for her first leg of your journey.
Day 2 you will stay aboard ship as she makes her way through the Inside Passage along the Alaska and Canada coastline. Keep a close eye out for the wildlife and don't be surprised to find Orcas or "Killer Whales" swimming along side the ship.
|On Day 3 you will visit the unique town of Ketchikan. Be sure to visit Creek Street and Dolly's House. Dolly was famous during the goldrush days (or infamous) for her horizontal refreshments. Today Dolly's is a museum only.|
|Day 4 you will experience Skagway. Be sure to take the Streetcar tour! Steve, the owner, is also known as "the singing conductor". The tour uses historic cars which are old White tour buses that used to be used in National Parks like Glacier and Yosemite. The buses hold about 15 people and are circa 1930s and have been restored for tour service in the summers.|
|On Day 5 you will see Juneau, the state capital of Alaska. You can see Mendenhall Glacier, go kayaking or take a fishing charter. My son will never forget our Juneau fishing charter when he caught a 20 pound King Salmon and got to steer the boat on the way back in. We had the salmon smoked and express mailed back home to enjoy for months.|
|On Day 6 you will be taking a scenic cruise of Glacier Bay or Yakutat Bay which is home of Hubbard Glacier the longest tidewater glacier in Alaska. It is 75 miles long by 6 miles wide when it drops into the bay and 300 feet high. This glacier is the granddaddy of Alaska glaciers - it is impressive! Many cruise lines do not go into Yakutat Bay.|
|On Day 7 you will be cruising College Fjord in Prince William Sound. This is the bay where the Exxon Valdez had that horrible oil spill. It is also home to College Fjord with a large number of tidewater glaciers side-by-side for miles.|
|Day 8. Upon arrival in Seward, your Tour Director will greet you at the pier. A deluxe motorcoach will take you on a scenic drive to Anchorage, where you will spend the afternoon touring the city, including a visit to the Alaska Native Heritage Center." Your evening is free to explore this cosmopolitan city.|
|Day 9. Enjoy the Alaskan scenery as you travel by glass-domed traincar to the quaint town of Talkeetna. Your afternoon is free for optional activities, including fishing, jetboating or Mt. McKinley flightseeing. Spend the night at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge.|
|Day 10. In the morning, enjoy the nature trails that surround the lodge before you depart on our Wilderness Express glass,domed traincars to Denali. These new domed rail cars from Royal Caribbean/Celebrity are used exclusively in Alaska and are the nicest available. The evening is yours to explore Denali or choose an optional land excursion,tt such as white-water rafting, helicopter flightseeing or dining at the Cabin Nite Dinner Theater. Retire for a restful night at your Denali hotel.|
Day 11. Start your day with an exciting seven-hour Tundra Wildlife Search" deep into Denali National Park.
Denali National Park is the home of Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America. The Indians call the mountain Denali, "The Great One." Denali has the highest vertical rise (over 20,000 feet) from the surrounding elevation of any mountain in the world. This is a spectacular sight! (I have several photos of Denali that I took and enlarged hung in my office.) Denali is near the Arctic circle so the growing season is very short. Vegetation does not grow very high as a result. The colors of the vegetation in these valleys and surrounding mountains give rise to names like the polychrome mountains. They are beautiful and unique compared to any National Park I've ever seen.
|Don't be surprised if you see lots of Grizzly Bears from the safety of your bus. We had one Grizzly walk along side our bus, completely ignoring us. We saw a red fox with two squirrels in her mouth taking them back to her pups. Denali is well worth the trip alone. Make sure you make time for the 7-hour tour of Denali. You will be very disappointed with the shorter 3-hour tour which we do not recommend. You will miss the bear viewing area and much more. It goes only a very short distance into the park. In the afternoon, enjoy amazing views as you travel by glass-domed traincar to Fairbanks for an overnight stay.|
|Day 12. In the morning, you'll embark on a tour of Alaska's second largest city and recapture the frontier spirit at the El Dorado Gold Mine. Board the Riverboat Discovery sternwheeler for a cruise along a scenic river. You'll stop at an Athabascan Indian Village, see a bush pilot demonstration and watch a sled dog team in action. Your evening is free for optional land excursions like an Arctic Circle flight to Fort Yukon.|
|Day 13. Time to return home. Depending upon the flight path you may see Mt. McKinley on your trip home as well as get an arial view of Alaska's terrain.|
Prices for the 7-day Alaska cruise without a tour start around $1000 per person for an inside cabin, $1500 for an outside cabin and $2000 for an outside cabin with a private verandah during peak season. Air fare and is extra. We'll always try to find you the best specials available. The Alaska season is May to September with the lowest prices in May or September which are the fring months for weather (more risky it can be cold and rainy). June to August is peak season with the highest prices. Early to mid-June often offers some nice values with good weather.
See our Cruise Price Estimator for more on how to estimate your total cruise costs. Remember the land tour is extra and depends on the length of the tour - typically from 3 to 10 more days.