THE LATEST ADVENTURES IN ALASKA
See more of the Last Frontier with the new itineraries aboard a Holland America cruise
Those searching for something unique in an Alaskan adventure--from mild to wild--need look no further than the Holland America cruise line. Long known as an innovator at sea and on land in the Last Frontier, Holland America is adding a number of ports, shore excursions, land-based add-ons and more for 2010 that will make viewing the largest state better than ever.
Since many towns can only be reached by water (or seaplane), seeing Alaska by cruise ship is an ideal way to travel. Also, there are many add-on land-based options by train, plane, helicopter, car, and motor coach that allow you to experience Alaska the way the locals do.
All About the Alaska Adventurer
In 2010, Holland America will offer a new 14-day cruise, called Alaska Adventurer, with an expanded line-up of seven-day itineraries, more glacier viewing opportunities, new ports of call, off-beat shore excursions, and more land-based tours. The line will offer eight ships with almost 150 total departures from May 3 through September 24, 2010, with the new 14-day sailings in and out of Seattle and the more traditional seven-day offerings sailing from Seattle, Vancouver, and Seward.
The 1,380-passenger flagship "Amsterdam" will have a home-port in Seattle and sail the 14-day itinerary from May 17 to September 6. The ship will be the first of a major cruise line to call in Anchorage, offering a full day and evening in Alaskas largest city. Passengers will also enjoy the new ports of Homer and Kodiak. The ships leisurely itinerary also features the Inside Passages famed Tracy Arm Fjord, with the twin Sawyer Glaciers, Yakutat Bays Hubbard Glacier, and calls on Ketchikan, Skagway, Sitka, Juneau, and Victoria, British Columbia.
Three other ships will be homeported in Seattle for 2010, with a total of 63 seven-day Alaskan Explorer cruises sailing roundtrip out of this unique city; pre- and post-cruise stays in Seattle are very popular. From May 9 to September 24, weekly departures from Seattle include: the 1,432-passenger "Zaandam" on Fridays; the 1,316-passenger "Rotterdam: on Saturdays; and the 1,918-passenger "Oosterdam" on Sundays. The "Zaandam" and "Rotterdam" visit Hubbard Glacier, while the "Oosterdam" heads to Glacier Bay. All cruises call on Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Victoria, and offer cruising by Vancouver Island and along the Inside Passage.
Glacier Bay Inside Passage & Glacier Discovery
Four ships will be home-ported in Vancouver, also popular for pre- and post-cruise visits. The 1,432-passenger "Volendam" departs on Wednesdays and the 1,916-passenger "Zuiderdam" has Saturday departures, with seven-day Glacier Bay Inside Passage cruises featuring Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Glacier Bay National Park, and Tracy Arm Fjord. The 1,270-passenger "Ryndam" and 1,258-passenger "Statendam" will sail 36 Glacier Discovery cruises between Vancouver and Seward (Sunday departures), with the northbound itinerary calling on Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier National Park, and Prince William Sounds College Fjord. The southbound route from Seward reverses the schedule, with a call at Haines replacing Skagway. At the end of the 2010 cruising season in September, the "Ryndam" and "Statendam" will feature two more Glacier Bay Inside Passage sailings with port and glacier variations.
Glaciers & Guides
As a long-time operator in Alaska, Holland America continues to be granted more Glacier Bay permit entries than any other major cruise line. Many Seattle cruises feature Hubbard Glacier in Yakutat Bay, which is the largest tidewater glacier in North America. Several itineraries visit College Fjord, with 10 huge tidewater and valley glaciers named for Ivy League colleges. Still others sail by the twin Sawyer Glaciers in narrow Tracy Arm Fjord.
Alaska travel guides sail onboard every Holland America ship in Alaska, sharing their knowledge of local history, culture, art, flora, and wildlife with passengers. Native interpreters also board Holland America ships in Glacier Bay and by Hubbard Glacier, providing perspective on the Huna and Yakutat people of the area.
Holland America offers 250-plus shore excursions in conjunction with their cruises. The array of mild to wild options includes: history and culture tours (including Russian history in Sitka); sea kayaking; fishing; dog sledding; wildlife watching; seaplane tours; a photography tour in Haines; and a five-course tasting meal featuring Alaska seafood prepared by a local Ketchikan chef. The new ports of Anchorage, Homer, and Kodiak can include a wide range of mild to wild activities, as well as varied cultural and culinary explorations with great new and long-time favorite shore excursions on the docket for cruise ship passengers.
Often, the seven-day cruises are combined with a land tour to create what Holland America calls a CruiseTour. For 2010, there are an incredible 31 different CruiseTours being offered, ranging from 10 to 20 days (this timeframe includes the seven-day cruise). CruiseTours can feature visits to the Kenai Peninsula, Denali National Park, Fairbanks, the Arctic, and the vast Yukon Territory. Many CruiseTours offer two days in Denali (Double Denali), which doubles the chances of seeing wildlife and Mt. McKinley.
Gray Line of Alaska, which is a division of Holland America and operates many CruiseTours, also offers several unique pre-planned self-drive tours that include a rental car, planned itinerary, hotel reservations, and select tours along the way. The round-trip car tours have proven very popular out of Anchorage, Homer, and Valdez.
Ports of Call
Alaska cruises offer some of the worlds most unique ports of call and embarkation cities. Here's a sampling.
Just steps from the wilderness, Anchorage is home to Alaskas largest selection of native art and some of the freshest seafood served in fine restaurants and frontier saloons. The newly expanded Anchorage Museum is well worth a visit.
The Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center has lots of historic artifacts, while the Hammer Museum has more than 1,500 hammers.
With a breathtaking location at the tip of the Kenai Peninsula, bustling Homer features the Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center and the famed Homer Spit in Kachemak Bay.
A new Holland America shore excursions permits passengers to participate in volunteer work and scientific data collection aboard an exploration vessel out of Auke Bay. Volunteers typically document humpback and orca whale spottings and collect water and plankton samples.
Highlights here can include salmon dinners, historic totem poles, and the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center.
Home of the famed (and huge) Kodiak brown bear and with 7,500 years of native Alutiiq cultural heritage, Kodiak was a Russian fur trading hub starting in the late-1790s and served as the first capital of Russian America (Sitka followed).
Ideal for pre- or post-cruise stays, Seattles is one of the nations most interesting waterfront cities.
The gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park, Sewards bustling harbor and artsy downtown district make it one of Alaskas most scenic communities.
Once a Russian trading town, Castle Hill marks the spot where Russia sold Alaska to the United States.
The White Pass & Yukon train trip follows prospectors of the 1898 Klondike gold rush.
Visit Vancouver for a pre- or post-cruise visit and see all this metropolitan city has to offer.