How Princess Cruise Tours Work in Alaska

Alaska is full of endless adventures and wonderful travel experiences, and one of the best ways to see this state is by going on a cruise tour. Princess cruise lines is one of the largest cruise companies in Alaska today. They have more than eight cruise ships sailing the inside passage every week, as well as own and operate more than five hotel properties in the interior of the state. Princess was the first major cruise line company to start running tours in Alaska, and because of this they have become well established in this state. Princess has a wonderful product when it comes to cruising the inside passage. This is due to having wonderful ships in their fleet as well as an over all wonderful staff on every ship. However, the land tour portion of their product is run a bit differently and has started to take a downward turn in the last five years.

As a tour company they have made some major cut backs on how they run every tour through out the years, and it has led to a less satisfactory interior tour for many people. Granted, the Princess type of land tour is geared toward the independent traveler, but it leaves many people questioning where they need to be from time to time. The most common tour pattern people buy when traveling with Princess is the in-depended tour itinerary. What this consist of is a schedule day to day outline that you will need to follow this itinerary gives bus numbers to look for and hotels properties you will stay at. This type of tour is more of a means of transportation and hotel stays for every guest, and in short it is more of a tour of Princess hotel properties throughout the state. This type of tour has very little structure to it and gives you the traveler more independence at every city and town to fill the time as you see fit.

Princess does own some very nice hotel properties though-out this amazing state. Some of them are not worth your time to stay at compared to others. One of their best locations is the Denali Princess hotel, located right in the center of down town Denali, it gives you the option to be within walking distance from restaurants and other attractions in this beautiful location. On the other hand they own some properties that are in the middle of no where, set far away from any town or amenities of any kind.

This would be lodges such as the Mt. Mckinley view Lodge (or now or the Keni Princess Lodge. These properties are very nice, but if you are looking to be in locations where you are not restricted to just the hotels you should look at other tour outlines that do not include these properties. Princess has a lot of good aspects to their land tours for independent type of travelers that do not like defined tours. However, if you are looking for more of a structured tour and need a dedicated tour guide, Princess land tours are not for you. They have very few fully guided tours as they have made cutback on the tour staff. As an inland tour company they offer tour driver guides at every location, as well as train host guides along your journey north bound or southbound.

When booking a cruse tour with Princess cruises it is important to understand the details of your itinerary. They offer many different tour patterns and options, some of these are very good and others are not worth your time and money.

Exploring The Alaska Interior

There are adventurous travelers and there are travelers who really enjoy being pampered more than a great adventure. I have vacationed the complete spectrum, I have pinched pennies while vacationing in Gatlinburg Tennessee and stayed in a very expensive vacation home with a private maid in Saint Jean de Luz, France. I will admit that the vacation home with a private maid was a nice way to experience France.

But, I am an adventurer at heart probably born from my days as a kid where I grabbed a fishing pole or net and waded creeks and ponds to see what was there. My favorite type of travel is where you see things up close and personal with exposure to the people, culture and wildlife. This might require you to hop on a rubber landing raft and land on a beach where no one lives or it might require you to reach down and pet a whale. Adventurers run between 8 and 98 years old generally.

Today’s adventure takes you to the interior of Alaska. There are three ways to explore the Alaskan interior. You can do it on your own with a tent, rent an RV and do your own thing. Or, you can take a tour which is more organized and pampered. Both of these are adventures because you will be seeing things seldom seen by anyone else on either option.

If you are seriously interested in renting an RV you should do this well in advance. RVs are already available for rental in 2008 and 2009!. Go Here. If someone has taken an RV trip we would love to get some details of your trip and include it in our adventure blog. We really don’t have any details to describe an RV trip so we are going to focus on the tours available after taking a cruise.

There are three ways to experience Alaska after a cruise other than buying a tent and hitting the road on your own.

1) You can be part of a complete and experienced Tour Package which will handle all of your arrangements and take you to the most common destinations such as Denali National Park, Dawson City, Copper River before or after your cruise. These are usually part of your cruise package so we will discuss tours done by several cruise companies this week.

2) The more adventurous tours which include white water rafting, camping and more will be discussed next week. Make no mistake though, seeing wild Alaska is an adventure no matter how you do it.

3) You can stay at a hotel in Anchorage and take day trips. Most of these available options will be discussed next week also.

If you are taking the northbound cruise these tours would occur after your cruise. If you are taking a southbound cruise these tours would occur after your cruise. There are too many tours to list them all so I will list the ones that should appeal more to the adventurous travelers. If you want more information on all of the tours available go here. For simpler comparison all of the tours listed are for a southbound cruise, you would take your tour first and then take your cruise.

Princess Cruises Great Land History & Wilderness

This description is for a southbound cruise. You would start your trip with the tour and then take a ship going south to Vancouver.

Day 1 – Anchorage Meet your fellow travelers and tour guide to begin your trip

Day 2 – Anchorage/Denali Travel by rail from Anchorage to Denali National Park’s Princess Wilderness Lodge and enjoy a music show in the evening.

Day 3 – Enjoy a morning trip deep into Denali National Park. The rest of the day is free to spend however you like, relaxing or taking an optional excursion

Day 4 – Relax or take an optional excursion in the morning. Take the train back to the Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge.

Day 5 – Take a riverboat cruise from Fairbanks and enjoy a trip to the El Dorado Gold Mine. Spend the evening in Fairbanks exploring on your own.

Day 6 – Travel from Fairbanks to Dawson city and relive the Klondike Gold Rush. Enjoy Diamond Tooth Gerties in the evening.

Day 7 – Enjoy the history tour of Dawson City and the Gold Rush. In the evening you are free to enjoy anything you desire.

Day 8 – Enjoy a beautiful train ride to the Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge

Day 9 – Copper River. Enjoy a full day to choose from optional excursions to enjoy the Wrangell-St. Elias National park, America’s largest national park.

Day 10 – Take a motor coach sightseeing trip to Valdez. Then enjoy a catamaran crossing of Prince William Sound. Arrive in Whittier where you will board your ship and set sail.

Holland America

Day 1 – Arrive in Anchorage and check into your downtown hotel

Day 2 – Take a scenic luxury rail ride to Denali National Park and stay at a Denali lodge.

Day 3 – Enjoy a long Denali Tundra Wilderness Tour and luxury rail ride to Fairbanks

Day 4 – Tour the Dalton Highway and cross the Arctic Circle. Stay overnight at Coldfoot.

Day 5 – Pass through the Arctic National Park as you entire the land of the midnight sun. Stay overnight at Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Circle.

Day 6 – Enjoy an Arctic Circle/Prudhoe Bay tour while looking for king eiders and phalaropes. Fly to Anchorage after your tour and spend the night at a fine hotel.

Day 7 – Enjoy a scenic motor coach ride from Anchorage to Seward and board the ship.

Cruise West

Day 1 – Arrive in Fairbanks and enjoy a wine and cheese reception at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge

Day 2 – Enjoy breakfast and a riverboat cruise on Chena and Tanana Rivers, a tour of Fairbanks and admission to Alaska’s Museum of the North. You can also take an optional flight above the Arctic Circle which is about 100 miles away.

Day 3 – Enjoy your breakfast in a domed rail car on your way to Denali National Park. After you reach Denali you will take a bus to North Face Lodge for lunch and enjoy dinner and an overnight stay. You will have leisure time to view wildlife and the incredible scenery.

Day 4 & 5 – Spend two more nights exploring Denali and staying at the North Face Lodge. More time to enjoy optional activities at Denali than most tours. This is your chance to explore on your own or with a guide.

Day 6 – Enjoy dinner on board the domed rail car as you leave Denali and travel to Anchorage.

Day 7 – Enjoy a city tour of downtown Anchorage and a lunch tour of the Anchorage Museum of History and Art. In the afternoon you have the choice of visiting the Alaska Native Heritage Center and dancing to a native drum presentation or see life-size replica village sites including the Aleut, Alutiq and Yup’ik/Cup’ik cultures. You have a choice of seven restaurants for dinner with the Anchorage dine around program.
Day 8 – Fly from Anchorage to Juneau where you will stay at the Goldbelt Hotel with time for exploring on your own.

Juneau Alaska Cruise Tours – Juneau On A Budget

Juneau Alaska cruise tours can be one of the most memorable parts of your Alaskan cruise. But you don’t have to break the bank to see some of the best Juneau has to offer.

Juneau is a quaint, historic little city of some 30,000 residents, located on the magnificent Inside Passage of lower Alaska. The city itself is situated on a narrow straight known as the Gastineau Channel.

One either side of the channel are lush, magnificent Alpine peaks, often capped in snow, and still being carved by glaciers. Many of the glaciers connect to the Juneau Icefield, the largest icefield in North America.

The slopes of mountains themselves are covered with amazingly verdant temperate rainforest. Waterfalls are everywhere, and frequent rainfall keeps the city and its surroundings lush and green.

Juneau on a Budget

Many Alaska cruise tours out of Juneau can run in the hundreds of dollars, and some are well worth every cent. But if you don’t have the budget for that kind of extravagance, you can still see some of the most spectacular sights in Juneau.

In fact, I have created an agenda that will cost under $35 for an adult (about $25 for kids) and which will take you from the highest peak in town to the most amazing sight in the city.

Your adventure begins right as you exit your cruise ship at the Juneau docks. Look for the kiosk marked “Mt. Roberts Tramway”. It is located at 490 South Franklin Street, immediately adjacent to the docks.

Tickets can be purchased at the kiosk for $24.95 per adult, and the tram departs every ten minutes from the same location. The tram travels up a cable some 1,800 feet from the waterfront below, dropping you off in the middle of beautiful and lush temperate rainforest.

The top of Mt. Roberts boasts a restaurant, nature center, theater, live bald eagle exhibit, and miles of amazing hiking trails. Take in a free film about native culture entitled Seeing Daylight at the Chilkat Theater, then check out the nature center and gift shop before departing on one of the many available hikes, which offer stunning views of Juneau, the Gastineau Channel, and the seemingly endless array of snow-capped peaks that spread out as far as the eye can see.

Finally, descend the tram right back down to your ship and have lunch onboard, enjoying a view of the city and mountains as you eat.

Mendenhall Glacier: See it Up Close

The massive and magnificent Mendenhall Glacier is the only glacier within the city limits of any North American municipality.

Busses depart from the cruise ship docks to and from the glacier throughout the day, leaving every 30 minutes or so. Look for the blue busses marked “Mendenhall Glacier Express”. Fares are around $5 each way, and take you directly to the glacier visitor center. (Make sure to check with the bus driver to confirm when the return busses will be leaving.)

From the visitor center, you can walk directly to the small lake in front of the glacier. It is a stunning and beautiful sight, and probably the closest you will ever get to a glacier

There are several hikes to choose from that run from the visitor center, but note how long you have until your cruise ship departs. If you have time and are in decent shape, the East Glacier Trail is about 3.5 miles long and takes you past waterfalls, through rainforest, and by some amazing views of the glacier, looking down on the massive river of ice.

If time is a factor and you have to choose one hike, I would advise taking in the view from the top of the tramway, then heading to Mendenhall glacier for the hike. The hikes from Mendenhall can afford you absolutely stunning views of the glacier, offering a perspective of a glacier that is far different from those you will have aboard your cruise ship.

Also, watch for brown (grizzly) bears feeding in the stream beneath the visitor center, especially in later summer, when the salmon have returned to spawn.

Seeing the grizzlies at Mendenhall is a truly amazing sight, probably the closest you will ever get to a grizzly outside of a zoo.

Finally, catch one of the blue busses back to the cruise ship docks, enjoying the tour of downtown Juneau on the way back. Thus ends perhaps the most memorable day of an amazing Alaska cruise, and all for under $35.

Travelogue – Alaska, North to the Future

‘North to the future’ is the motto proudly owned by Alaska. If the future looks like the 49th state of the United States then the future is breathtaking and utterly alive. Bountifully wild, seemingly endless and totally natural- Alaska is unarguably one of the last frontiers because it is one of the places least encroached by humans. In the ‘Great State’, a brown bear expertly catching a leaping salmon from the river with its juggernaut jaw is a common appearance.

Instead of skyscrapers, which gratefully Alaska has none to boast of yet, there are mighty glaciers that are massive and seemingly surreal. It is safe to compare the first time you see a glacier to may be the first time you ride a plane or graduate college. It is that feeling of disbelief that it is happening, that feeling of discovering something completely unknown, that butterfly in the stomach phenomena. How else can you react to the sight of millions of acres of ice formed through thousands and thousands of years tinted a deep, gleaming, sharp blue? A lucky day is when one sees a glacier shift, shedding a chunk of ice the size of a bus to form an iceberg.

Rather than driving a boxy car, one can choose to ride a boat or kayak and row in one of Alaska’s 3 million lakes. It is not so hard to find orcas and humpback whales breeching in the ocean as they scavenge for their next meal. Even sea lions are friends with seals which usually lie on icebergs, their fat bellies facing the sun.

In Alaska there are no billboards crowding the sky, however seabirds and bald eagles hover freely as they hunt for food. An alternative to congested city housing is the spacious alpine glow of mountains and perpetual trees that line the land. That is the real prime estate. So, if Alaska is indeed the future, then the future is actually a frozen time in the past. The time in which people have not savagely taken over, well, everything. It is the time in which people respected nature and built their lives around it instead of taking over it.

Alaska truly is one the last frontiers. And the future for this Great Land probably means that sooner or later it will look like any state in the US or heck any city in the world, lined up with strip malls, a parking lot with SUVs, skyways with depressing traffic and a Pizza Hut delivery in each block. So before the inevitable ‘future’ happens explore Alaska. There are fewer things worth doing than visiting this place.

Check the internet for the right

TO GET TO FAR FAR AWAY:

Alaska’s an out-of-the-way destination which is one its appeals but also makes for a costly trip. Accommodations are expensive and so is transportation. The practical way to see Alaska is to go on a cruise. From the Philippines you can fly to Seattle or Vancouver and take a cruise ship from these ports. Alaska season for tourists is only from May to September because after that it gets too cold and there is only 3 hours of sunlight. Consequently in Alaska, during the summer, the sun still sets high at 9:00 pm!

The usual cruise takes 7 days and goes to 3 cities in Alaska. Cruise-ships also pass what is known as The Inside Passage which is the coastal highway between mainland and coastland. This route means you can get close to glaciers that outline the passage. The ocean view from a cruise-ship is spectacular and you can see whales, seals, birds, dolphins and your occasional lighthouse from the luxury of your staterooms.

These cruise lines go to Alaska: Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival.

EXPLORATIONS:

Juneau
It is arguably the cosiest city in the US. Juneau has a mix of historic downtown cling, 360 views of snow capped mountain peaks, an amazing waterfront and a shopping haven of luxury brand items and Alaskan craft. The city is also the cruise-ship capital of the world. It’s also a gateway to many attractions including Glacier Bay National Park and Admiralty Island National Monument.

Icy Straight Point
A quaint fishing village located near the largest indigenous community, the Tlingit village, in Alaska. There is a beach in Icy Straight to dip your feet in while sipping one of the best beers in the world, The Alaskan Amber. The longest zipline in the world is also found here with an amazing eagle eye view of the city as you zip down the mountain.

Ketchikan
Dubbed as the ‘Salmon Capital of the World’ this is home to Misty Fjords National Monument. Thisscenic town is also home to plaid wearing lumber jacks and blacksmiths. If you’re not from PETA and like fur a lot you can stroll into one of the shops that is wall to wall covered with every kind of ‘sleeping’ furry animal and buy yourself a genuine fur coat or gloves.

Skagway
A first class Alaskan borough that was a superstar town back in the gold rush of the late 1800s. When one enters Skagway it feels like it’s still the 18th century. Brothels with busty women in red corsets and feathers still do peek-a-boo shows. There are pubs everywhere serving lots of beers as a guitar playing country man sings. There are horse carriages that are parked alongside 1920 Cadillacs. You can hike here or ride the historic White Pass train and relive the ride gold miners took a thousand years ago.

Sitka
This pleasant town is the where the Russians became the first non-indigenous settlement in 1799. Russia would later sell Alaska to the US for US$7.2 million in 1867. It is also known as the cultural centre of Southeast Alaska and is the only city facing the Pacific Ocean. There are lots of Russian memorabilia’s for sale here.

FRESH FOOD:

Huge King Crabs dripping in butter are easily available here. It’ll probably take you an hour to get to all the legs. There also the sweet tasting Dungress crab which is amazingly fresh. Reindeer hotdogs are juicy to the bite and can be bought in one of the hotdog stands.

Halibut is cooked any way you want, the best is still breaded, fried and served with chilli fries. Salmon is bountiful so you order your meal or catch them.

Alaska Cruises – Top 10 Alaskan Cruise Shore Excursions

Alaskan cruises have so much to offer you onboard – casinos, fine dining, entertainment, and other typical outdoor cruise adventures. However, shore excursions are an important part of all cruises. With the diversity of Alaska, there are many beautiful shore excursions that you can take. Depending on where your cruise goes in Alaska, you may be able to do all or most of these on one single cruise.

1. Alaska Glaciers

Visiting glaciers from one or more of the stops on your Alaskan cruise can be a breathtaking and beautiful experience. You can see the glaciers up close, and hike to them or take tours. Going on tours of glaciers, and learning about the diverse plant and animal life found in and around them can be one of the best experiences of your Alaskan cruise.

2. Alaskan Flightseeing

Flightseeing is something that comes standard with just about any Alaskan cruise shore excursion destination. Flightseeing is sightseeing by plane, and it came about because of the overwhelming and breathtaking beauty of the Alaska, but the inaccessibility to see much of this state in an afternoon. Each time you’re off the boat, you’ll probably have a chance to do some flightseeing, whether you’re taken to glaciers, national parks or monuments, or simply for a look at the actual land that you’ve been cruising around.

3. Fishing

Alaska’s coast is known for its fishing – and its seafood. At just about every stop, you’ll have the chance to do a shore excursion that includes fishing. You can do so from land, from docks, or even from smaller fishing boats. Most of the time, you’ll also be able to sample what you’ve caught as well!

4. Mining Tours

Much of current Alaskan history is based around the mining industry. Many ports’ shore excursions include a chance to tour a mine or learn about the history of that particular mine. You’ll be able to see them first hand as well as purchase mining memorabilia. Some towns even have fairs to celebrate their mining history, so you might be lucky enough to visit during that time of the year for a special treat.

5. Museums

Every town has a history, but in Alaska, the cities seem to seep with history. You can take a historical tour of cities or small towns in Alaska on most shore excursions. Most cities also have historical museums that you can visit, and some even offer guided tours.

6. Historical Village Tours

This kind of excursion includes tours of small villages, which can be very different from tours of large cities. You can see the way that ancient people lived and worked in Alaska, and also learn about the American history that is found in all of these places as well. Village tours are very popular when it comes to shore excursions on Alaskan cruises, because the small villages of Alaska are places where the history is still living.

7. Monument Tours

Monument tours are exciting off ship excursions as well. There are lots of monuments that you can visit while in Alaska, and you can often see these by bus, boat, or plane. Many times, you’ll be as excited by the scenery surrounding the monuments as by the monuments themselves.

8. Rain Forest Tours

A rain forest in Alaska? Who knew! Alaska’s rain forest can be found in several stops along your Alaskan cruise. You can take rainforest tours or helicopter or flightseeing tours of these areas. You can learn even more about the area and the rainforests as well, on your shore excursions.

9. Hiking or Biking

You can get out into the beauty of Alaska and take hiking or biking tours of the surrounding areas on your on shore excursions. You can experience the beauty first hand, by being a part of it. Usually cruise lines will have bikes to rent or hiking trails to suggest to you.

10. Dog Sledding

Lastly, dog sledding is an important sport in Alaska, and you can witness it first hand during any time of the year, by visiting dog kennels, learning about the sport, or even trying it out for yourself. Make sure you include this activity and some of those listed above on your next Alaskan cruise!

Alaska Cruises With Celebrity Cruises

There is nothing more breathtaking than sitting on your balcony, travelling through glacier filled waters with snow topped mountains cascading throughout the landscape before you. Celebrity Cruises can offer you this and so much more should you choose to travel to Alaska with them. There are dozens of different itineraries to choose from, depending on where you would like to depart from and if you are looking for a simple cruise or a cruise tour that includes a little bit more.

With Celebrity Cruises, you have 5 ports of departure including Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver and Seward, Alaska. These ports of departure are pretty standard between all the cruise lines which send travellers to Alaska; it is your choice. Many people like to combine their departure city into their vacation and do a little land exploring before departing to sea.

You also have the choice of cruises lasting anywhere between 7 to 18 nights. This is important to weigh carefully. If you have never been on a cruise before, you may not be wise to spend 18 days on a ship if you are not 100% certain you will enjoy the experience. Start off slow in the case with 7 days to get your feet wet so to speak.

Yet another choice you are able to make with Celebrity Cruises on their Alaska cruises includes the ship you wish to travel on. They have three ships to choose from, each of which offers different levels of amenities and services to better accommodate your stay. The names of the ships currently operating in Alaska are Celebrity Mercury, Celebrity Infinity and Celebrity Millennium.

Lastly, you have the option to book what is known as a cruise tour with Celebrity Cruises. What this means is that you are not only booking the passage from your port of departure but you are also booking guided tours of Alaska for each of your daily port stops. If you are not interested in booking a package deal like this than you of course have the option to book on shore excursions with the local tourist companies. Popular Alaska cruise tour activities include guided tours through glacier fields, the Denali National Park, ice climbing, kayaking, bear watching, dog sled racing, helicopter flights over the glaciers and so much more.

An Alaska cruise with Celebrity Cruises is one of the most popular routes on offer today. More and more people of all ages are beginning to see what Alaska offers is so unique they want to experience it for themselves. On any one of their cruises you have the opportunity to visit Anchorage, the capital city of Alaska and so many other cities of importance as well.

No matter where you choose to depart from Celebrity Cruises offers top of the line amenities, extraordinary tours and itineraries. Get away from travelling from bus station to train and let Celebrity Cruises take you through Alaska in their luxurious ships. You will experience culture and history like you have never seen before. Alaska will leave a lasting impression on you and Celebrity Cruises is sure to be your cruise line of choice as you travel throughout other parts of the world.

Alaska Cruise Reviews – Alaska Offers Diverse Attractions

Being the largest state in the United States, Alaska is also one of the most diverse states in the country. The miles and miles of Alaskan coastline draws in tourists from around the world and has become the one of the most popular vacation destinations because of its natural unspoiled beauty.

Perhaps the reason for Alaska’s popularity is because of the diverse attractions that Alaska offers. Icebergs, glaciers, and ice fields are among the many natural wonders that can be found in Alaska. Aquatic life is also a major attraction in Alaska, watching killer whales in their natural habitat, or seal and dolphins playing gleefully in the cold Atlantic waters. If cruising the coast of Alaska is a lifelong dream, cruising the coastline will be a dream come true.

Cruise ships are not the only way to cruise Alaska; when you sign up for an Alaskan cruise, you have your choice of transportation. Train rides; day trips by bus, and even helicopter rides are the options that you have. There are many different travel guide companies that can offer you any service that you require, and many of them offer specials and discounts for using their services.

There are many different travel companies that offer tourist guides, however, it is important that you research each one to make sure that they offer all of the services that you are interested in. by reading the Alaska cruise review, you will be able to determine which one is best for you.

Alaska cruise reviews can be found in many travel magazines. Because Alaska is such a huge vacation destination, you are bound to find many different reviews regarding attractions in Alaska.

If you have not found what you are looking for in Alaskan vacations, doing a simple Google search will yield you thousands of links to information that you request. It is simple and easy to use, and the best part is that you can do it from the comfort of your own home, anytime you want.

A Must See On Your Alaska Trip

When you start to plan out what places you are going to visit when you travel through Alaska make sure you stop in the town of Talkeetna. This quaint little town if full of life all summer long and is known to be a small drinking town with a climbing problem. It is located 2 hours north of Anchorage by road, just off the parks highway about 14 miles down the Talkeetna Spur Road. This small Alaskan community of less then 500 is often said to be the inspiration behind the television series “Northern Exposure” The town is also the main staging area for climbers waiting to start their climb up Mt. McKinley, and the Talkeetna area is probably the best location on the highway or rail system to view “the Mountain”. The area also offers visitors the chance to experience what living in the true small-town Alaska is like, yet offers easy access and a number of nice lodging choices. The area surrounding Talkeetna is also often referred to as South Denali Park due to its strategic location near the Southern border of both the National and State Parks.

The Town of Talkeetna has some wonderful quint places to stay. The largest but best place to stay in this town is The Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, it is located just 1.8 miles from the town center of Talkeetna. And on a clear day, the lodge offers one of the best views of Mt. McKinley from the south side of the mountain grounds. In side the town of Talkeetna there are a bunch of great bed and breakfasts that you can stay at. My favorite is located at the Road House. This is not only the best place in town for breakfast but it makes for a wonderful B&B experience. If you are interested in staying a bit out of town about 45 minutes north of Talkeetna is McKinley Princess Lodge, another nice property, particularly if you have your own transportation. Note both lodges are served by the Park Connection motor coach, but the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge is usually a better choice if you are traveling to Talkeetna by railroad or need connecting bus service between Talkeetna and Seward.

Talkeetna is without a doubt, an area that offers some of the best flight seeing trips in Alaska. We suggest fixed-wing flight-seeing trips that operate out of the town of Talkeetna. Many other options, including jet-boat trips, fishing and wagon rides, and much much more. There is never a shortage of things for you to do in this little town.

And out of all the amazing places to eat in Alaska I would argue that Talkeetna has some of the best food around. The Road House is one of my favorite places for their huge breakfasts. It is so big that the TV show “Man vs Food” filmed a show their. Another wonderful place to eat is a place called the Wildflower Cafe. This was started by a man who was the head chef at the white house under Gorge Bush. This place is nothing short of amazing. The west rib pub is not going to be your best bet for good food but if you want to meet up with people that just got off of climbing the Mt, then this is where you will find them. I would say go their and hear the stories of they have to tell and drink an Ice Ax with them. You will feel like a true Alaskan!

Best Alaska Day Cruise Destinations

In Alaska there is a lot of great sightseeing to be had. Unfortunately much of it must be done by water or air. In this article I will help outline the top destinations for day cruising in Alaska as well as what you can expect on your journey.

When you are going to be on a day cruise it is important to remember to make plans for accommodations after your cruise is over. Each of these destinations does offer many wonderful accommodations options from Hotels to the stylish bed and breakfast. It is however important to make reservations ahead of time because during the peak season accommodations can be difficult to find.

The peak cruising season for each of these destinations is May through August. In May and June you can expect a good chance for the sun to be out. In July it will be on and off again type weather and in August there is a good chance you will find the rain. None the less, whether it is sunny or overcast a day cruise in Alaska is still a lot of fun.

Popular Alaska day cruise destinations:

Whittier – Whittier is a small town close to Anchorage that is now accessible by car or train. Through Whittier you will have access to all the beauty that can be found throughout the Prince William Sound. It is a well protected port with many amazing Glaciers nearby. There are several day cruise options out of this port and even a ferry that will take you all the way to Valdez if you like.

Valdez – From Anchorage you can reach Valdez by air, car or the ferry out of Whittier. Valdez also offers access to the amazing Prince William Sound with its crystal clear waters. Out of Valdez you are likely to see Glaciers, whales, puffin otters and more. Being one of the furthest ports from Anchorage can be a drawback of this day cruise destination but the beauties of the scenery will more than make up for it.

Seward – Seward is probably the most popular cruising port in Alaska. The large cruise ships will dock here because of the easy access. From Anchorage you can access Seward by car, tour bus or train. There are many Alaska day cruise options here including stop on private islands such as Fox Island. You will have the chance to see otters, sea lions, puffins, orcas and humpback whales. At this popular Alaska port there is never a dull moment.

Homer – Homer is known mainly as a fishing port however, there are still some day cruise options here. Homer can be accessed from Anchorage by car or air. There is a water taxi that will take you from Homer to the secluded town of Seldovia. There are private boats for hire that will allow you access into Tutka Bay and other secluded area nearby. Out of Homer you can expect to see many sea otters, puffin, humpback whales, beluga whales and even the occasional pilot whale.

One thing you will find that all of these great day cruise destinations have in common is the amazing experience to be had by all who participate. You will see sea life, most likely a glacier or two, possibly some orca or humpback whales but for sure everyone will witness the amazing landscapes and scenery Alaska has to offer. A day cruise in Alaska will definitely be an experience to remember.

What Are Wildfire Attractions in Alaska?

No vacation in Alaska is complete without a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife tour. Bird watchers can catch over 450 species, including puffins, bald eagles, osprey, loons and owls. Carnivore lovers may spot lynx, coyotes, red fox, arctic fox, wolves, grizzly bears, polar bears, black bears or brown bears.

Going on an Alaskan cruise? Perhaps you’ll see beluga whales, orcas, blue whales, humpback whales, seals, walruses, sea otters and more! Other mammals to look out for include moose, caribou, sheep, bats, pikas, arctic hares, martens, minks, muskrats and muskox. There are many wild Alaskan tours to help you catch a glimpse!

Whale-watching is one of the main tours that people take in the state of Alaska. “The time the cruise ships are up there is when humpbacks and orcas are feeding, so there’s a good chance you’ll see them,” says Robert Blythman, director for Carnival Cruise Lines.

He says some excursions, like the Whale Watching and Wildlife Quest in Auke Bay, comes with a money back guarantee. “It’s a 100 percent guarantee that you’ll see the otters,” Blythman added, noting that there are 70,000 of these playful critters swimming in Alaskan waters.

He personally recommends the Sea Otter Quest from the town of Sitka. Humpback whales and killer whales can be seen surfacing and breeching the Inside Passage, which is a popular Alaskan cruise route, or in Prince William Sound, the Kodiak archipelago, Glacier Bay National Park and Kenai Fjords National Park. Humpbacks sometimes disappear for thirty minutes at a time, but the orcas usually move in pods with the ships.

Beluga whales are most easily seen in Cook Inlet and Turnagain Arm, near Anchorage. Many drivers pull over between Beluga Point (Mile 110) and Bird Point Scenic Overlook (Mile 96) for a magnificent view of these endangered whales. Bowhead whales, the state marine mammal of Alaska, can be seen in the Arctic Ocean and the Northern Bering Sea.

Another group of wildlife spectators in Alaska come for the bears. There are roughly 100,000 black bears and 30,000 grizzlies, which represent 98% of the total US grizzly population.

You can take a $100 “Bear Search” from the port of Icy Strait Point or take a $300 – $1,600 fly-in to more remote locations, like Pack Creek (Admiralty Island) or the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary. At Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park, grizzlies often feed on spawning salmon during the summer months, which you can see from a viewing deck.

You can catch a glimpse of grizzlies sleeping or browsing on a Denali National Park bus tour. The Kenai River occasionally has fishermen and bear meeting points. Black bears generally congregate at Anan Creek, south of Wrangell.

Polar bears live along the Arctic Ocean and down the Bering Sea coast. The Alaska Zoo in Anchorage is the easiest place to see this elusive creature.

While you may want to choose animal-specific private tours in Alaska, there are a few sights you definitely don’t want to miss! The tours at Denali National Park range from a four-hour Natural History tour, to an eight-hour Tundra Wilderness tour, to a twelve-hour Kantishna Experience tour.

The Anchorage Zoo houses many endangered animals in a captive setting, while the Anan Wildlife Observatory in the Tongass National Forest and the Denali National Park showcase animals in their natural environments. The Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve is a breath-taking experience just off the Haines Highway.