From Anchorage to Fairbanks, see what the "Great Land" of Alaska has to offer on this exhilarating vacation. In Alaska, wildlife viewing is abundant—from bald eagles to Dall sheep to Beluga whales—and this tour gives you the opportunity to see spectacular scenery and wildlife. Begin your trip in Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, with time to explore the city’s sites. Travel into Chugach National Forest and board your cruise to Portage Glacier. Next: see breathtaking scenery as you travel to Fairbanks via the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve and the Matanuska Valley, a lush farming region where cabbages can grow to weigh more than 70 pounds in the 24-hour daylight. In Fairbanks, Alaska’s second-largest city, cruise down the Chena and Tanana Rivers aboard a sternwheeler riverboat. Then ride the legendary Alaska Railroad to Denali National Park for free time to explore on your own, or you can opt to hike, whitewater raft, “flightsee” Mount McKinley, or helicopter land on a glacier.But wait, there’s more: visit an Iditarod Dogsled Center to learn about this epic race; then transfer to Seward for your Holland America Alaska cruise. Watch for spouting whales, soaring eagles, barking seals, and other wildlife as you cruise Alaska’s Inside Passage. Marvel at glaciers and witness the amazing spectacle of thunder and spray as tremendous slabs of ice break off and “calve” into the sea. Disembark in Vancouver, British Columbia—the ideal ending to your Alaska cruise and land vacation.
Day #1 Anchorage. Relax today or do some independent exploring. Your Tour Director is on hand this evening to answer any questions.
Day #2 Anchorage. Journey down Turnagain Arm, where mountains rise out of the sea, and keep an eye out for Dall sheep, bald eagles, and beluga whales. Travel into Chugach National Forest and board your boat for a CRUISE to Portage Glacier. A National Forest Service interpreter will be on board to explain the glacier. This afternoon and evening are free in Anchorage for independent activities. (CB)
Day #3 Anchorage–Fairbanks. Travel through Palmer in the Matanuska Valley, a lush farming region where cabbages can grow to weigh more than 70 pounds in the 24-hour daylight. Over scenic Tahneta Pass, with vistas of Matanuska Glacier, then travel along WRANGELL-ST. ELIAS NATIONAL PARK & PRESERVE and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which runs 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. The area boasts glaciers larger than the island of Manhattan, and is home to nine of the 16 highest peaks in North America. Along the way, see spectacular scenery. (CB)
Day #4 Fairbanks. This morning, take the included cruise down the Chena and Tanana Rivers aboard the STERNWHEELER RIVERBOAT Discovery III. Stop at a recreated Athabascan Indian village and learn about their history. Afternoon and evening at leisure in Fairbanks.
Day #5 Fairbanks–Denali National Park. Ride the rails from Fairbanks to DENALI NATIONAL PARK. The afternoon and evening are free in Denali for independent activities, such as a walk in the park, attending one of the free national park programs, Mount McKinley flightseeing, a helicopter landing on the glacier, or the Denali Dinner Theatre.
Day #6 Denali National Park. A free day in DENALI NATIONAL PARK. Your Tour Director will recommend activities, including a river float trip, helicopter or fixed-wing flightseeing, and hiking.
Day #7 Denali National Park–Anchorage. Journey south this morning and stop at the IDITAROD DOGSLED VISITOR CENTER to learn more about this epic race. After arrival in Anchorage, transfer to Seward and board your cruise ship this evening. (D)
Day #8 At Sea. A relaxing day at sea provides time to explore the ship’s many amenities. Animal and marine life are abundant in this area and, with a little luck, you may spot a pod of mighty yet graceful killer whales. (B,L,D)
Day #9 Scenic Cruising: Glacier Bay. Glacier Bay has more actively calving tidewater glaciers than anyplace else in the world. How does it feel when a colossal chunk of ice splits off a glacier and crashes into the sea? The sound is like thunder. The impact shoots water hundreds of feet into the air. You hold your breath as you capture the moment photographically. Then, you wait for it all to happen again. (B,L,D)
Day #10 Haines. Nestled on the shores of America’s longest fjord, Haines is in a spectacular setting. Fill your day with a float trip through Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, which protects the habitat of the nation’s avian symbol, or board an optional high-speed catamaran for access to shopping and excursions in Skagway. Stroll the wooden sidewalks past charming false-front buildings and colorful saloons. Visit the Red Onion Saloon with its honky-tonk piano and costumed barmaids. To complete the picture of those rip-roaring days, visit the nostalgic Trail of `98 Museum. (B,L,D)
Day #11 Juneau. Located at the foot of grand mountain peaks on Gastineau Channel, Alaska’s capital city of Juneau has massive Mendenhall Glacier and the Juneau Icefield at its back door. (B,L,D)
Day #12 Ketchikan. Built out over the water and up weathered stairways, Ketchikan clings to the shores of Tongass Narrows and drapes the mountains with a hospitable air. (B,L,D)
Day #13 Scenic Cruising: Inside Passage. Cruise through the awe-inspiring scenery of the Inside Passage. Keep your cameras ready for spouting whales, soaring eagles, and other wildlife. (B,L,D)
Day #14 Vancouver. Disembark this morning and transfer to Vancouver International Airport for your return flight home. Please schedule homebound flights after Noon. (B)