People are drawn to untamed places. Sure, we take vacations: travel to Europe or the Caribbean and enjoy that just-perfect cocktail or delightful bottle of wine. But what about when it comes to Alaska — The “Last Frontier?” It’s almost always prefaced as an adventure, which has connotations of wild forests, near-mythical grizzlies and moose, glaciers that dwarf sea vessels and northern lights that summon a sense of wonder. Answer that call of Alaska adventure during a 14-Day Great Alaskan Explorer cruise on Holland America Line.
Depart from Vancouver, British Columbia, one of the most energetic cities on the West Coast. Vancouver is an epicenter of diverse food cultures, hip night venues and an outdoors culture that appreciates trail hikes as much as a proper micro-brewed beer.
Next, while cruising the Inside Passage, marvel at this protected network of waterways and glacier-carved fjords that resemble something from a Norse epic. Become acquainted with local neighbors during the cruise, as humpback whales and orcas may swim alongside.
During your Northern adventure, learn about towns that have carved different histories and cultures upon the Alaskan experience. Explore towns such as Ketchikan, with its fascinating Native Alaskan nations — the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian, hear their tales and experience their arts and craftsmanship. There’s also the community of Haines, which was designated by Outside Magazine as one of the “20 Best Places to Live and Play.” Maybe it’s the rafting, maybe it’s the hiking or having a variety of fish to occupy one’s time on a Saturday morning: salmon, halibut and trout.
During your excursion in Icy Strait Point, learn about the dynamic cannery industry that moved the state’s economy for many years before the advent of refrigeration. Visit the town’s museum and watch a cannery demo to get a snapshot of this time long passed.
While sailing through the Inian Islands, observe the prime feeding waters of sea lions, sea otters and humpback whales. Alaska offers a rare opportunity to see an eco-system extending from bald eagles in the sky, to bears, moose and deer in temperate rainforests, then to aquatic and mammalian life in the seas. This level of direct access is better than any nature documentary on television.
On this leg of your Alaskan adventure, you’ll approach Anchorage — home to 40 percent of Alaskans, including a large military population, Native Alaskan community and oil industry workers. Anchorage celebrates its springtime by planting thousands of flowers. It celebrates its moose by staying out of their way when they enter town. And during colder months, they celebrate the aurora borealis — or northern lights — by gazing skyward at these curtains of energy, draped against the night.
Homer, Alaska, is the next port of call and provides “End of the Road” certificates for those who travel into the vast expanse of the Kenai Peninsula, along the world’s longest street, which protrudes into the ocean. Talk about a road trip to remember!
Next on the Holland America Line cruise is a fishing enthusiast’s Shangri-La — Valdez, Alaska. With rivers and streams, equally ideal for kayaking, you’ll find salmon and halibut in an eternal struggle, or more like a quiet Sunday morning, contending with fishermen.
And rounding out your Alaskan adventure is Juneau, the capital of the state. In many ways, Juneau is indicative of what makes the United States so unique. What other country has tropical, desert-based, urban, rural and near-arctic regions? While there, enjoy grilled local fish, take a glacier hike near ice that shimmers blue or track bears at the Admiralty Island or Chichagof wildlife reserve. Afterward, sail back to Vancouver with memories of your adventure and the sensations it summoned within you.
Are you enthralled by the idea of an epic Alaska adventure, just waiting to be discovered? Give one of our travel agents a call before you do. Their years of experience with industry-leading cruise lines, such as Holland America Line, provides you with exclusive perks and amenities for your adventure in The Last Frontier.