Sightseeing: Portage Glacier cruise, Sternwheeler Riverboat Discovery III, and Iditarod Dogsled Visitor Center.
Scenic Highlights:Chugach National Forest, Portage Glacier, scenic Tahneta Pass, Matanuska Glacier, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve, Trans-Alaska Pipeline, Chena & Tanana Rivers, recreated Athabascan Indian village, and Denali National Park.
Services of a professional Tour Director; crew member service while cruising the Inside Passage on Holland America’s MS Zaandam or MS Statendam.
- While wildlife in Alaska is frequently seen, early season (May & early June) and late season (September) departures offer even greater opportunities for viewing a variety of wildlife. Departures after mid-August should enjoy blazing fall colors.
- Visiting and participating in activities in these locations is subject to favorable weather conditions.
- Cruise itineraries are provided by Holland America, and are most up to date at time of printing. Your travel documents will contain the most current information.
Relax today or do some independent exploring. Your Tour Director is on hand this evening to answer any questions.
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)
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)
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 5Fairbanks–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 6Denali 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 7Denali 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 8At 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 9Scenic 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)
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)
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)
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 13Scenic 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)
Disembark this morning and transfer to Vancouver International Airport for your return flight home. Please schedule homebound flights after Noon. (B)
Transportation:Journey on the Alaska Railroad from Fairbanks to Denali National Park; Holland America’s MS Zaandam or MS Statendam; private, deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach while touring.
2 continental breakfasts, 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
With Cosmos, there’s no better way to get to know your destination than through the eyes of your Tour Director. Averaging over a decade... we’d like you to meet a Tour Director, who is representative of the type of expert that will be with you on your vacation.
Years of Experience: 10 years
Born in Salisbury, England, I left England at the age of nine and ended up in Los Angeles. Some of my hobbies include travel, flying (I have my license to fly small, single-engine planes), gardening (growing my own fruits and veggies is awesome), and landscaping (it gives me a chance to learn about different trees and plants). My advice to travelers is to come with an open mind and look forward to learning new things. What makes other places so special is that they're not home!