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15 Mar

Alaska Cruise Destinations

By Mike Carter

Holidays2 is pleased to offer cruises to Alaska with Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Alaska has the longest stretch of coastline in the United States, the largest area of national parklands and the highest concentration of glaciers. Your cruise will enter either Glacier Bay or Sawyer Glacier so you can view the majestic sites of these glaciers as you hear the sounds of the carving of the ice as it crashes into the bay.

Your home for the seven nights of the cruise would either be the Norwegian Pearl or the Norwegian Jewel, both vessels are approximately 93,500 tonne cruise ship and can accommodate approximately 2,394 passengers. Both vessels have 17 dining choices, 15 bars and loungers, spa's and fitness centres, swimming pools and onboard entertainment. The dress code on NCL is smart casual.

The cruises depart in the best time to visit Alaska from Mid May to Mid September. The days are longest and the temperatures are warmer. The season is ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, river rafting, flight seeing and world famous fishing. Dress in layers with good comfortable shoes or boots and a windproof jacket.

Norwegian Cruise Lines depart from the city of Seattle in Washington State which is a short coach journey from Vancouver or fast ferry from Victoria, which makes an Alaskan Cruise a great ending or beginning to your holiday to Canada.

Seattle is a beautiful city in-itself to visit and a couple of nights pre or post cruise would make a great addition to your holiday. Start your day with a cup of coffee and a pastry at a nearby Starbucks. The company's original store is located downtown on the corner of Stewart and Virginia Streets in the Soames-Dunn Building. Take a walk through Pike Place market where traders bring their fine Washington State wares to sell and is the location of some great restaurants. Close by on Pier 59 is the Seattle Aquarium with its 40 foot, 55,000 lb viewing window which allows you to view Pacific Northwestern wildlife in their 120,000 gallon aquarium. Take a view from above by taking the Seattle Great Wheel on Pier 57 which is 175 feet high and built 40 feet out over Elliott Bay. Another great view of Puget Sound, Mt Rainier and Olympic National Park can be found at the top of the Space Needle, 605 feet high and with 360 views. The Needle can easily be reached from downtown by the Monorail built for the World Fair. 

Sport fans have a lot of choice in the city with the Seattle Mariners Baseball team at Safeco Field, and the Seattle Seahawks NFL Team and Sounders Soccer team at Centurylink Field. 

After departing Seattle, the cruise ships first port of call is usually Juneau, The capital of Alaska since 1959 and can only be reached by airplane or boat. The cruise ship docks within walking distance of the city.Take a walk along historic South Franklin Street - the turn of the century buildings have been turned into gift shops, restaurants and bars. Other historic sites include the State Capitol Building and the Saint Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church. A short drive from Juneau will take you to the Mendenhall Glacier, within the Tongrass National Forest, the largest National Forest in the United States. Watch ice carve off the face of the glacier. You can take an excursion by air over the Glacier to see the pure majesty of the location. 

Continue north through Favorite Channel and then the Chilkoot Inlet to the town of Skagway. From 1897, Skagway was the starting place for more than 40,000 Gold Rush stampeders heading to the Yukon by way of the Chilkoot Trail. Five times a day National Park rangers lead a free 45 minute walking tour of the historic district, stopping at historic buildings like the Mascot Saloon Museum, the first cabin built in Skagway and one of the towns oldest brothels !. 

Skagway is the departure point for the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad.You can experience the breathtaking panorama of mountains, glaciers, gorges, waterfalls, tunnels, trestles and historic sites from the comfort of vintage parlour cars. At the top of the route you can see the White Pass at 2,885 feet, which is the international boundary between the United States and Canada. 

Your highlights of the cruise would be the locations of either Glacier Bay or the Sawyer Glacier depending on your cruise itinerary. Sawyer Glacier is reached through tight fjords with many sharp turns which bring you into the bay with the glacier at its head, Seals can sometimes be seen on small floating pieces of ice. Glacier Bay is the iconic location for many Alaska Cruises as many glaciers have come together to form a unique ecological landscape. 

Ketchikan is located at the southern tip of the Inside Passage, it was founded as a salmon cannery in 1895 and the historic town still shows signs of its heritage. The downtown area has many attractions including historic Creek Street, a boardwalk road built over Ketchikan Creek. 

Victoria, the capital of British Columbia is normally your last  stop on your voyage. The city has a very English influence with one of the many attractions being Afternoon tea at one of the many restaurants or even the Fairmont Empress hotel near the Inner Harbour which has played host to the practice for the past 95 years. Close to the city is Butchart Gardens, over a century ago, Jennie Butchart began building one of the world's premier floral show gardens, 55 acres of gardens makes a great location to while away the hours. 

Another popular excursion from Victoria, is a trip to see the orca  pods which frequent the seas around the city. Depending on the time of year, you can also see Gray, Humpback and Minke Whales as well as Seals, Sea Lions and Porpoises. A Marine Wildlife tour usually includes a trip to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve, which is the most southern part of Vancouver Island and of Canada on the Pacific Coast and is the first Marine Protected Area. 

You return to Seattle in the early morning and following breakfast, you disembark and make your way to the airport to travel home or continue your holiday in US or Canada. 

Contact Holidays2 for further details on your Alaska Cruise. 

07 Feb

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25 Jan

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18 Jan

Visit Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper

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04 Jan

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15 Mar

Alaska Cruise Destinations

By Mike Carter

Holidays2 is pleased to offer cruises to Alaska with Norwegian Cruise Lines. Alaska has the longest stretch of coastline in the United States, the largest area of national parklands and the highest concentration of glaciers. Your cruise will enter either Glacier Bay or Sawyer Glacier so you can view the majestic sites...

20 Feb

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19 Feb

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