- Tree: Sitka Spruce
- Fish: King Salmon
- Gem: Jade
- Mineral: Gold
- Sport: Dog Mushing
- Bird: Willow Ptarmigan
- Insect: Four-Spot Skimmer Dragonfly
- Flower: Forget-Me-Not
- Motto: North to the Future
- Song: The Alaska Flag Song
- Nickname: The Great Land
- Capital: Juneau
- Highest Point: Mount McKinley, 20,320 ft.
State Flag: Eight
stars of gold on a field of blue, representing the Big Dipper
and the North Star
Statehood Alaska became the 49th
state on January 3, 1959
570,373 square miles is one-fifth the size of the continental U.S.
and over twice the size of Texas.
Mountains Of the nation’s 20
highest peaks, 17 are in Alaska. That includes the legendary Mount
McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America at 20,320 feet. Mt.
McKinley is the tallest mountain in the world from base to peak.
Glaciers Alaska has an estimated
100,000 glaciers, which cover almost five percent of the state.
There are more active glaciers in Alaska than in the rest of the
Pipeline The Trans-Alaska Pipeline
transports approximately 1.8 million barrels of oil a day from the
North Slope to the port of Valdez in Prince William Sound. Oil moves
at a rate of five to seven miles per hour and takes under six days
to travel the 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay to tankers in the port of
Time Zones Alaska has its own time
zone, which is one hour earlier than Pacific Time. The westernmost
Aleutian Islands are on Hawaii-Aleutian Time, two hours earlier than
Alaska Marine Highway System
Alaskan ferries travel a route covering 3,500 miles and serving 30
Bald Eagles The largest known
concentration of bald eagles, over 3,000, converges near Haines from
October through January to feed on late run salmon in the Chilkat
Water Alaska has 3 million lakes,
over 3,000 rivers and more coastline (47,300 miles) than the entire
continental United States.
Parklands Alaska has 15 National
Parks, Preserves and Monuments, and 3.2 million acres of State Park
Lake Hood, located in Anchorage, is the world’s
busiest floatplane base. It averages 800 takeoffs and landings on a
peak summer day.
The state’s record snowfall in a single season
was recorded at Thompson Pass north of Valdez in 1952-53 at 974.5
The nation’s two largest national forests are
located in Alaska. The Tongass in Southeast includes 16.8 million
acres, and the Chugach in Southcentral has 4.8 million acres.
There are more than three million lakes in
Alaska. Lake Illiamna in Southwest Alaska is the second largest
freshwater lake in the U.S.
The 800-mile Trans-Alaska Pipeline has
transported over 13 billion barrels of oil from the North Slope to
the port of Valdez in Prince William Sound since its completion on
May 31, 1977. Oil moves at a rate of 5.5 miles per hour and takes
under six days to travel to tankers in the port of Valdez.
Nearly three-quarters of Alaska sport fishing is
done in the Southcentral region of the state where most of the
state’s population resides.
Alaska is home to 80 percent of all the active
volcanoes in the U.S.
Dutch Harbor/Unalaska is the number one producing
commercial fishing port in the nation.
Alaska has 12 species of big game, including
moose, caribou, black bear, Dall sheep, musk ox, wolverine, brown
bear, wolf, mountain goat, black-tailed deer and elk.
The highest temperature ever recorded in Alaska
was 100° at Fort Yukon in 1915, and the lowest recorded temperature
was -80° at Prospect Creek Camp in 1971.
Alaska is rich with Native, Russian, gold rush and
natural history. It is believed the first inhabitants of Alaska crossed
a land bridge from Siberia nearly 20,000 years ago. Danish explorer
Vitus Bering first encountered Alaska in 1741 on a voyage from Siberia.
Russian whalers and fur traders established the first
white settlement in Alaska in 1784 on Kodiak Island and later in Sitka.
Much of the Russian influence still remains in Southwest and Southeast
In 1867, U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward
offered Russia $7,200,000, or two cents per acre, for Alaska. Many
Americans called the purchase "Seward’s Folly" and considered it a waste
of money. But it wasn’t long before gold was discovered, triggering
several prospector stampedes north.
After the gold rush and during the depression era,
most of America was preoccupied and thought very little of the vast
Alaska territory. But during World War II, Alaska again became a
valuable asset as a strategic staging area in the North Pacific. On June
3, 1942 the Japanese bombed Dutch Harbor and proceeded to occupy the
islands of Attu and Kiska. The yearlong war on American soil was just as
much a war against the harsh weather as it was against the enemy. During
this time the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the Alaska Highway in
only eight months to supply a land route for military equipment and
Alaska became the 49th state on January 3, 1959,
creating the largest state in the union (more than twice the size of
Texas). The nation again recognized the assets in this young state when
oil was discovered and confirmed in 1968 at Prudhoe Bay, North America’s
largest oil field. Today, Alaska is treasured for it’s breathtaking
beauty and vast supply of natural resources.
In many rural villages and communities throughout
Alaska, visitors can learn about the Native lifestyle through guided
tours and cultural centers. Authentic Native arts and crafts, including
ivory carvings, totems, beadwork and baskets, are widely sought as gifts
and souvenirs. Traditionally these products were produced for ceremonial
purposes, but today many Natives craft their items for sale.
Alaska’s Native peoples can be divided into five
principal groupings: Aleuts, Northern Eskimos (Inupiat), Southern
Eskimos (Inuit), Interior Indians (Athabascans) and Southeast Coastal
Indians (Tsimshain, Tlingit and Haida). Nearly 16 percent of the state’s
population is Native. You may experience the Native lifestyle by
visiting the many cultural centers and exhibits. Many of the centers
provide live performances of dance and storytelling as well as exhibits
of artists’ work.
The Russians were interested in the flourishing fur
markets during their ownership of Alaska, and were typically not well
liked by the Natives. Battles between indigenous peoples and Russians
were disastrous for Alaska Natives, as were the foreign diseases that
white explorers brought to the land.
Although Alaska was purchased from Russia in 1867, the
Russian influence is still seen today in the communities of Sitka,
Kodiak, Unalaska and Kenai, where onion-domed Russian Orthodox churches
State Parks, National Parks and Monuments, National Forests
Alaska’s parks, monuments and forests offer extensive
recreational possibilities - hiking, backpacking, camping, wildlife
photography, canoeing, kayaking or just sitting and taking in the
breathtaking scenery and crystal clear waters. Not surprisingly,
Alaska’s state park system is America’s largest, boasting almost 3
million acres and one-third of the country’s state park lands.
Clam digging is a popular local activity in Clam
Gulch, just south of Soldotna on the Kenai Peninsula in Southcentral.
The season is open year-round. Check local listings for low tides. A
fishing license is required.
Visitors travel from around the world to witness one
of Alaska’s famous sled dog races, including the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog
Race, sprint races held during Anchorage’s Fur Rendezvous, the Kuskokwim
300 and the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. Thousands of
spectators gather to watch the excited sled dog teams race down the
If you would like to experience dog mushing for
yourself, you can take tours ranging from half-hour rides to weeklong
excursions into remote areas. The ultimate mushing experience is the
"Iditarider" program. Winning bidders in a telephone auction get to ride
in a musher’s sled for the first 8-9 miles of the Iditarod.
Alaska Statewide Attractions
There are endless options to fill your itinerary. Choosing is
the difficult part. Would you prefer to view glaciers from an eagle’s
perspective or from that of a 30-ton humpback whale? Here is a menu of some of
Alaska’s attractions. You choose the ingredients.
Glaciers, Glaciers, Glaciers
One of the most photographed scenes of an Alaskan vacation is
the towering blue face of a glacier. No wonder three of the top 10 most-visited
attractions in the state are glaciers. Of the 100,000 glaciers in Alaska, many
are easily accessible by car, including
Worthington Glacier on the Richardson Highway
Matanuska Glacier on the Glenn Highway
Exit Glacier on the Seward Highway
Portage Glacier on the Seward Highway
Mendenhall Glacier on Glacier Highway
You can also pack numerous glaciers into a day with a boat
tour of Glacier Bay National Park, Kenai Fjords National Park or Prince William
Sound. Flightseeing trips over ice masses like Sargent Ice Field, the Bagley Ice
Field, Harding Ice Field and Juneau Ice Field allow you to experience the
vastness of the glaciers from the air.
The greatest concentration of glaciers in Alaska is in the
Alaska Range and in the coastal ranges where the annual precipitation is high.
These ancient rivers of ice are always in motion. A glacier is formed when
snowfall accumulates and compacts under pressure into a dense ice mass.
Most glaciers refract all colors of the spectrum except blue, causing them to
appear deep blue.
There are three different types of glaciers: Alpine or hanging
glaciers, which cling to mountain tops; piedmont or valley glaciers, which
result when one or more glaciers join and spread out; and tidewater glaciers,
which are dramatic and spectacular when the leading edges of the glaciers calve
(fall off) into the water. Some Alaskans have been known to use the icebergs
floating in front of tidewater glaciers in their coolers or as a crackling cube
in a cocktail.
Wildlife . . . in every direction
Alaska offers unparalleled opportunities to observe and
photograph wildlife. The variety and impressive numbers of mammals, birds and
marine wildlife in Alaska draw visitors from all over the world.
There are 12 species of big game, including some not found in
the Lower 48. Approximate numbers of some Alaskan mammals are 144,000-166,000
moose; 950,000 caribou; 60,000 to 80,000 Dall sheep; 32,000-43,000 brown bear;
100,000-200,000 black bear; 5,900-7,200 wolves; 2,100 musk oxen; 13,000-15,000
mountain goats; and, 350,000-400,000 black-tailed deer.
Nearly 430 species of birds can be found in Alaska, including
ducks, geese, swans and the millions of seabirds that nest in colonies along
Alaska’s coastlines. Some migratory birds travel up to 20,000 miles on their
round-trip journeys to Alaska. The spring concentration of shorebirds is one of
the most impressive sights in the world.
Alaska is the best place in the country to view our national
symbol, the American Bald Eagle. The Chilkat River near Haines is home to over
3,000 bald eagles each fall when they arrive to feed on the late run of salmon.
Alaska is a birder’s heaven.
Alaska’s shorelines are home to an abundance of marine life,
including stellar sea lions, walrus, whales, seals and sea otters. The world’s
largest colony of seals, numbering over one million, breeds undisturbed on the
Pribilof Islands. Sixteen species of whales have been identified in Alaska’s
waters. Increasing numbers of visitors arrange whale-watching tours during
migration in hopes of witnessing the massive mammal "breach" high above the
water level. Sea otters are amusing creatures to watch. They are playful and are
often seen carrying their young on their chest.
In order to increase your sightings of Alaskan wildlife, it is
a good idea to educate yourself on how, where and when to locate animals. Learn
the details of an animal’s environment to be able to look in the right places.
For example, most mammals and birds are active in early morning and late
evening. This is the reason wildlife-viewing tours in Denali National Park
depart only early and late in the day. You must also look carefully and listen.
Carry binoculars or a spotting scope to scan the hillsides and valleys.
There are few rewards as great as spotting Alaska’s
magnificent animal life in the scenic beauty of their natural habitats.
Historic Mining Towns
Alaska has always attracted fortune-seekers and frontiersmen,
as it did a century ago when thousands of prospectors stampeded north to Alaska
in search of their fortunes.
These adventurous pioneers left a trail of history in the form
of abandoned mining towns, trails and larger-than-life legends. In just one
year, 1897-98, over 60,000 adventurers made their way north to the rich gold
fields of the Klondike. Today you can hike the famous Chilkoot trail, or visit
the towns of Skagway or Dawson City and travel back in time. The Klondike was
not the only gold strike luring fortune seekers north. Juneau, Nome, Fairbanks,
Sitka and many other communities have remnants of a gold mining past. Panning
for gold is a popular activity when visiting these communities.
The vast resources of Alaska have lured entrepreneurs to
Alaska for its deposits of minerals and ores. Early in the century one of the
world’s largest copper discoveries was made along the Chitina River in what is
now Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Now the largest ghost town in the world,
Kennecott was once home to over 500 workers and their families. When the mine
closed in 1938, everyone walked away, leaving behind a large-scale mining
operation and dozens of supporting buildings and homes.
15 Alaska Icons
From Mount McKinley to the Mighty Yukon, 15 Alaska Icons You Have to See
The checklist is impressive: not many states can list the
continent’s tallest mountain, one of the country’s longest rivers, Santa Claus’
home and America’s national symbol on their "must do and see" list. They all
exist in Alaska, and you can see them all in one trip. From the Southeast Inside
Passage to Fairbanks to the tip of the Kenai Peninsula, here are Alaska’s 15
most famous icons.
Beginning in Ketchikan and extending north throughout many of
the Southeast Alaska Inside Passage communities, totemic art can be found in
galleries and ancient totems tower among the trees and rest in museums.
Sitka is home to Sitka National Historic Park, which boasts a
collection of totems near the visitor center and along the walking trail. The
pieces, primarily from Prince of Wales Island, were on display at the 1904 St.
Louis Exposition. Ketchikan has the Totem Heritage Center, which houses 33
totems retrieved from deserted Tlingit and Haida Villages. The Center is a
national landmark and is the largest such collection in the United States. To
get to either of these destinations, drive north to Prince Rupert, British
Columbia and catch the Alaska state ferry, or take a cruise ship shore
Glacier Bay’s Great Whales
What the Tlingit Indians called "Big Ice-Mountain Bay" is also
home to a healthy population of humpback whales. Glacier Bay National Park
& Preserve is one of America’s most revered natural treasures, and the chance to
see these magnificent animals as they breach the glacier-fed waters is a special
treat. Glacier Bay is best accessed by Gustavus, located just outside the park
Visitors can take a ferry or fly from Juneau, Alaska’s state
capital, to get to this awesome destination. From there, any number of private
tours will escort you to the best whale-watching sights.
America’s Symbol, the Bald Eagle
Most visitors to Alaska will surely see a bald eagle before
they leave the state. The bald eagle population is reported to be more than
30,000 in Alaska, and Haines, Alaska, located in Southeast, boasts one of the
largest concentrations of bald eagles in North America. Every October, eagles
flock to the nearby Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. Eagles come for the late run of
salmon; people come to watch and photograph them as they feast. The 48,000-acre
Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve is accessible by road on Highway 7 or via the Alaska
Marine Highway System’s ferry or by cruise ship.
The Chilkoot Trail
A Southeast Alaska Inside Passage vacation would not be
complete without learning about its fascinating Gold Rush history. While hiking
either all or part of the Chilkoot Trail just outside of Skagway, visitors will
find history at their feet, literally. Hundreds of discouraged gold miners
ditched their supplies as they gave up their dreams of Klondike gold and headed
home. Old pick axes, wagon wheels, shovels and countless other items are found
along the 33-mile trail. Less adventurous travelers can walk just part of the
trail, while hardcore hikers will want to take on the once-in-a-lifetime trek.
You can get to Skagway by driving Highway 2 from Whitehorse or by taking a ferry
or cruise into the town’s port.
The Mighty Yukon River
There are several ways to access one of the longest rivers in
the North made famous by Robert Service. Drive to Whitehorse on the upper
reaches of the Yukon or north to Dawson, Yukon Territory. From Dawson, drive the
Taylor Highway into the small town of Eagle, Alaska. Eagle is perched on the
south bank of the Yukon River below Eagle Bluff. The area is quiet and remote
and offers canoe and raft rentals for visitors. From Fairbanks, drive to Circle,
Alaska. Located 50 miles south of the Arctic Circle, Circle was the largest gold
mining town on the Yukon River prior to the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush.
Today Circle is a small, picturesque town with lots of
summertime activities. Canoeists put in and take out on the Yukon, and visitors
come and go on the Steese Highway.
Soldier’s Summit on the Alaska Highway
For the history buff, Soldier’s Summit is a must-see. Located
at Mile 1061 of the Alaska Highway, this site marks the spot where the Alaska
Canada Military Highway was officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on
a blustery November 20, 1942. The Alaska Highway was built in less than eight
months to ensure a safe supply road during World War II. Known for years as the
Alcan, the road was originally for military use only. But it was opened to the
public in the late 1940s. Today, a trail leads from the main highway up to the
original dedication site from the parking area.
It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out why this is a
"can’t miss" for travelers to the North. North Pole is just south of Fairbanks.
Visitors usually stop and take a picture with the giant Santa Claus and have
their Christmas cards postmarked "North Pole."
During the Christmas season, the local post office is besieged
with letters to Santa from children all over the world. There is more to North
Pole than Santa Claus, however. Visitors should take time explore Chena Lake
Recreation Area for boating and swimming.
Astronauts say they can see it from space, but visitors to
Alaska don’t have to go that far to see one of engineering’s modern marvels, the
Trans-Alaska Pipeline. A trip to Valdez allows the best views of the pipeline as
it snakes its way down to the marine terminal at tidewater and unloads its
liquid cargo into waiting tankers. This is not the only way to see the pipeline,
however. A pipeline viewing area is located just minutes away from Fairbanks and
along the Haul Road, a road that parallels the structure.
Mount McKinley (Denali)
Ancient Alaskans called Denali "The High One," for good
reason. Towering at 20,320 feet, Mt. McKinley is North America’s tallest peak.
Glimpses of the mammoth mountain are visible along stretches of the Parks
Highway, with designated pullouts providing the best views. Of course, the
closer you can get to the mountain the better the view, so park your car at the
Denali National Park Visitors Center and hop on a Park Service shuttle bus. On a
clear day, the view is majestic.
The Iditarod Trail
Dog mushing is Alaska’s official sport, and the Iditarod Trail
Sled Dog Race held every March is the longest, toughest test of a professional
musher’s endurance. You don’t have to own a sled to check out the trails
traversed by the mushers and their fleet of dogs. Drive down Joe Reddington Road
in Wasilla to see Iditarod Trail Headquarters. You can stroll the famous trail
or even take a sled ride with any number of tour operators offering summer and
Prince William Sound Glaciers
No trip to Alaska would be complete without glacier viewing.
Some of the best access to glaciers is found in Prince William Sound, accessed
either in Whittier, Valdez or Cordova. Board the state ferry or private day
excursion boats in any of these communities for up close and personal views of
these magnificent rivers of ice.
For the history buff, Kennecott Mine is a must. The mine is
located off the McCarthy Road and lies within Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.
Perched on the side of Bonanza Ridge next to Kennicott Glacier, the mill town
was built by Kennecott Copper Corporation in 1907. When the copper market died
down in 1938, the company essentially abandoned the site, leaving it as a
virtual ghost town. Tours into some of the historic red buildings are available
through private operators.
Homer fisherman call them "barn door" halibut because of their
huge size. Of course, not every angler who visits Alaska will catch the big one,
but respectable halibut are definitely here for the taking from Alaska’s cold
waters. Charter a boat out of Homer, Deep Creek, Dutch Harbor, Seward or many
places along the Southeast Inside Passage to the best fishing spots where the
delectable white fish lurks below.
Kodiak Brown Bears
Kodiak Island is home to world famous brown bears. Known for
their huge size and large numbers, sighting a Kodiak Brownie is the highlight of
more than one traveler’s trip to Alaska. Visitors craving views of the big
beasts can take the state ferry to Kodiak, book cabins in Katmai National Park
and Preserve or hop on one of many privately operated bear-viewing tours.
Kenai River Salmon
What Kodiak is to bears, the Kenai River is to salmon… home to
the largest salmon in the world. In fact, the Kenai offers anglers all five
species of salmon, and anyone can access it by making sure to buy a fishing
license, driving to the Kenai Peninsula and casting a line into its distinctive
green-blue waters. Guided charters are also available along the length of the
One if by Land, Two if by Sea: Cruise Ships and Alaska State Ferries offer
unique Alaska Experiences for Thousands of Visitors Annually
For travelers who ponder whether it’s the destination or the
journey, the elegant solution may be to book an Alaska cruise. A recent survey
done nationally found that 68 million Americans would like to cruise, and it’s
no wonder. A cruise offers all the things most people want in a vacation –
romance, excitement, relaxation, adventure, escape, discovery, luxury, value and
more. It's no surprise, then, that most people who have taken a cruise rate it
above any other vacation choice.
Traditionally, approximately 725,000 people cruise in Alaska
in any given year. That number represents 55 percent of the 1.2 million people
who visit the state. In fact, here are some interesting statistics:
More people will sail to Alaska this summer than live in
the state. Census figures show Alaska has 635,000 permanent residents. All
major cruise lines traditionally bring an average of 725,000 passengers to
Cruising has supported 15,000 jobs in Alaska and will
bring more than $719 million to the state’s economy.
Some 25 Northwest Cruise Ship Association (NWCA)
companies offered Alaska cruises on nearly 430 Alaska sailings this summer.
There are an additional eight companies, not members of NWCA, offering
cruises to and around Alaska. Together, these companies offer sailings
ranging from small, intimate cruise ships with fewer than 100 passengers to
the large luxury liners carrying more than 2,000 travelers to Alaska.
Fourteen of the ships crossed the Gulf of Alaska to dock in Seward, where
about half of all Alaska cruise passengers begin or end their trip.
The 2002 season began April 29th when the Norwegian Wind, once
again, was the first NWCA cruise ship to visit Alaska. In all, Alaska saw three
new NWCA ships and one new cruise line come into the market this year. At
109,000-tons and 2,600 passengers, the Star Princess became the largest cruise
ship to ever visit Alaska. Holland America introduced the ms Amsterdam, a
780-foot, 61,000-ton ship that carries 1,380 passengers. Also new this season
was Celebrity’s Summit, and along with its sister ship Infinity, these two
vessels are the longest ship in the Alaska trade at 965 feet.
The sailing season traditionally begins in April and ends in
late September. During the glorious Alaska summer, cruise ships ply Southeast
Alaska’s Inside Passage. Some ships cross the Gulf of Alaska and sail into
Seward, or Anchorage in Southcentral Alaska, while still others visit exotic
ports of call such as Nome and Gamble on St. Lawrence Island.
Still other cruise ship companies offer day trips out of
various seaport towns around Alaska. And, the Alaska Marine Highway – the
state’s fleet of ferries – offers convenient sailings on a daily basis from
Bellingham, Washington and Prince Rupert, British Columbia on a yearround
With unsurpassed scenery on all of the hundreds of cruise
itineraries available to and throughout Alaska, you simply can’t go wrong. Of
course there is always the opportunity to fly into Alaska and join one of a
number of small cruise ships that operate only within Alaska. But whether you
choose a sternwheeler – nostalgic of a bygone era, a coasthugging yacht, a small
cruise ship, or, a luxurious, five-star cruise ship, cruising offers options to
satisfy every ocean traveler.
A National Scenic Byway: The Alaska Marine Highway
Among the ships plying the Alaska coast, one of the most
venerable is the Alaska Marine Highway – Alaska’s maritime transit system
serving the communities of Southeast, Southcentral and Western Alaska. Grab your
tent, bicycle or kayak and a healthy sense of adventure and prepare to spend
time seeing Alaska by ferry. Whether you camp out with your own sleeping bag in
the onboard solarium or book a stateroom, the ships offer fullservice amenities
and even feature USDA Forest Service interpreters on a number of routes during
the summer to help visitors appreciate the awe-inspiring scenery that waits. The
ferry carries cars, trucks and RVs in order to maximize opportunities to explore
the state by road and water.
Alaska’s Marine Highway is unique in many respects, and its
recent designation as a National Scenic Byway, the first marine route to receive
the designation recognizes it as one of the most beautiful ways to explore
Alaska. The Alaska Marine Highway is a network of ferries serving towns and
villages along thousands of miles of coastline from its southernmost Alaskan
port-of-all in Ketchikan to the far eastern reaches of the Aleutian chain.
Travelers on board the Marine Highway, therefore, have the option to spend as
much time as they’d like in a port community, as well as to connect to Alaska’s
surface road system and the communities those roads serve.
From the Lower 48 states and Canada, ferries can be boarded in
Bellingham, Washington or Prince Rupert, British Columbia, and provides a great
option for those wishing to see the grandeur of coastal Alaska at their own
Reservations for vehicles and passengers are required.
Staterooms aboard most ferries also can be reserved. For a full schedule of
sailings, rates and more information, go to
Luxury and Adventure: Cruise Ships Have it All
Alaska’s cruise partners have gone to great lengths to
accommodate travelers by providing near-limitless itinerary options packed with
viewing and touring opportunities. Some factors to consider include:
Duration: A typical cruise will last between seven and 12
days, but many alternatives exist for both shorter and longer adventures
depending on how much time you want to spend. Land packages can be added on
to the "at sea" portion of your cruise, and shore excursions are also
available to book once you arrive on board your ship.
Routes: Numerous opportunities are available for
travelers interested in round-trip and one-way voyages beginning or ending
as far north as Anchorage in Southcentral Alaska and as far south as
Vancouver, B.C., Seattle, or San Francisco. You may wish to be on board an
Alaska cruise at CelebrityCruises.com for great routes and views of
beautiful Alaska. Itineraries run both north and
south through the Inside Passage and often include excursions across the
Gulf of Alaska and as far west as Dutch Harbor, located on the Aleutian
chain. Most itineraries offer a balanced mix of stopovers in communities
like Sitka, Wrangell, Ketchikan, Juneau, Haines and Skagway in Southeast
Alaska. In Southcentral Alaska, ports of call include Valdez, Cordova,
Whittier, Anchorage and Seward. Along the way you will see pristine national
parks and view spectacular glaciers. Many cruise lines are now offering
specialty packages as well, such as those that feature Alaska’s innumerable
glaciers. A majority of the cruise lines also offer land packages that allow
passengers to head inland by motor coach or on the Alaska Railroad to visit
Anchorage, Denali National Park, Fairbanks and Prudhoe Bay, to name just a
Land package and port opportunities: There are plenty of
opportunities for cruise ship travelers to customize their trips to suit
individual interests. Whether it is wildlife viewing, flying with one of
Alaska’s famed Bush pilots to North America’s highest peak, Mt. McKinley, or
glacier hiking, there is much to see once you are off the cruise ship.
Consider one of myriad unique Alaska attractions such as a working gold
mine, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline or a trip aboard a historic railroad.
Alaska’s Native culture is certainly a "not to be missed" event. Across the
spectrum, Native cultures provide the heartbeat of adventure in the form
thumping drums, mystical storytelling and traditional dance. Take a motor
coach or hop the train and travel into the Interior to explore pristine
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park or a wildlife tour in the shadow of Mt.
McKinley in Denali National Park. Take a trip on a turn-of-the-century
Sternwheeler or witness the unblemished beauty of the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge on Alaska’s northern coast.
Shore Excursions: Once on board ship, you will have the
opportunity to learn about and book a number of shore excursions. The most
popular: The totem poles and cultural tours of Southeast Alaska; glacier
hiking; glacier dog sledding, jeep and canoe safaris, helicopter and fixed
wing flightseeing; rafting, attending the sumptuous salmon bakes, kayaking
beautiful bays and coves, fishing, history tours, rail adventures, gold
panning and gold rush history, city tours, sternwheeler day trips and guided
Ports-of-Call: From big to small, a number of beautiful
and unique communities are featured on cruise routes. Once the ship drops
anchor, explore ports-of-call including Ketchikan, Wrangell, Sitka, Juneau,
Haines, Skagway, Valdez, Seward and Anchorage.
Points-of-Interest: Many of our country’s most beautiful
national parks and glaciers can be viewed only by cruising (or flight
seeing) in Alaska. Check out the Inside Passage, Prince William Sound, Lynn
Canal, College Fjord, Hubbard Glacier, Yakutat Bay, Glacier Bay, Tracy Arm,
Misty Fjord, Sawyer Glacier, the Gulf of Alaska and the Aleutian Chain.
Wildlife Viewing Opportunities: Alaska’s coastal waters
offers exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities. Watch pods of killer
whales in isolated bays. Be prepared to see the water plumes and massive
tails of breeching humpback whales. Schools of porpoise are regular
companions, playing in the bow wave of your ship. Spy hundreds of lounging
sea lions sunning themselves on isolated rookeries. You will see otters,
puffins and other fascinating shore birds, including our national symbol,
the American Bald Eagle, in abundance. Have you camera and binoculars in
hand for the occasional bear or moose foraging along the shoreline.
Area Travel Directories:
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