My Alaskan Cruisetour Adventure
By Jennifer Crivelli, Senior Cruise Consultant, The Cruise Web.
Alaska is the largest state in the United States, over twice the size of Texas. Yet the majority of cruises to Alaska only visit the lower sixth of the state, including the major cities along the Inside Passage. To truly experience Alaska, you need to head inland, into the wilderness and away from the coast. The best way to do this is through an Alaska Cruisetour.
I recently visited Alaska on a Royal Caribbean 11-night Alaska Cruisetour starting from Fairbanks, Alaska aboard the beautiful Radiance of the Seas. Our flight landed in Fairbanks late in the evening and despite the late hour, the sun was shining bright. After our transfer to the Pike’s River Lodge, we enjoyed a late dinner on the outside deck overlooking a river, while the sun remained high in the sky. Visiting Alaska makes you appreciate the black-out curtains, provided in our private cabin at the lodge.
The first morning, we headed down the Nenana River on a stern wheeled paddle boat named Discovery I. While cruising the river, we learned about the history of Fairbanks, the Iditarod, and the Athabascan Indians. We enjoyed a dog sled demonstration at Trail Breaker Kennels by David Monson, the husband of the late Susan Butcher. Susan Butcher was a four time Iditarod Champion whose family continues to breed and train racing huskies at their homestead along the river. We then continued our journey at the Athabascan Indian Village, an outdoor museum dedicated to teaching visitors about the Athabascan Indian culture and survival in the Alaskan wilderness. Next, we headed to Glitter Gulch, the little town at the entrance to Denali National Park.
The next morning we embarked on the Tundra Wilderness Tour of Denali National Park. The tour took us 60 miles into Denali, past the end of the paved road. During our tour we were amazed by the site of Mt. McKinley, including her peak which is not visible 70% of the time. As we continued through the park on our National Park Service bus, we saw moose, wolf cubs, Dall sheep, eagles, a lynx, and caribou. Though we missed seeing the grizzly bears, the afternoon tour did see one. That evening, we took the optional “flightseeing” tour to Mt. McKinley and experienced amazing views of the mountain at sunset.
After an amazing day in Denali, we headed to Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage. Along the way, we stopped to see a section of the Alaska Pipeline and learn about the importance of the oil industry to the state. We spent the afternoon walking along the Cook Inlet taking in the sights of Anchorage. Early the next morning, we boarded Royal Caribbean’s glass-domed railcar for the scenic trip to Seward. While we enjoyed our breakfast on the lower level, we passed by waterfalls and glaciers. We were relaxing in luxury on the upper level when we saw black bears along the edge of a glacial icefield. Upon arrival in Seward, we visited the Alaska SeaLife Center to learn about puffins, whales, seals, otters, and the other marine wildlife that we may see on our cruise aboard the Radiance of the Seas.
During our cruise, we explored Hubbard Glacier and visited the towns of Juneau, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, and Skagway. These are the ports of call visited on many of the 7-night Alaska cruises, but the true Alaska experience was during the additional 4-nights that we spent in the heart of Alaska. An Alaska Cruisetour is the absolute best way to experience all that Alaska has to offer.