Welcome to Fairbanks, the state’s second-largest city. Enjoy time at leisure to relax or to do some independent exploring. Your Tour Director is on hand this evening to answer any questions.
Morning sightseeing features the highlights of this historic Alaskan city and includes a visit to the Alyeska Pipeline and the chance to learn about the Gold Rush heritage of this community. Board the STERNWHEELER RIVERBOAT Discovery III for a leisurely cruise on the Nenana and Tanana Rivers, and visit a recreated ATHABASCAN INDIAN VILLAGE. Listen as the ship’s guides discuss the wildlife, history, geology, and customs of the region.
Day 3Fairbanks–Denali National Park
Today we make our way from Fairbanks to DENALI NATIONAL PARK. Stop in the town of Nenana, where they drove the golden spike in 1923 to signal the completion of the Alaska Railroad. Your afternoon and evening are free for exploring on your own. Take advantage of the park service programs, along with optional activities that can be purchased.
Day 4Denali National Park
A free day for independent activities. A hike along the many wilderness trails might be good fun. Also take advantage of several optional outings, including a wildlife tour to seek out grizzly bears, caribou, moose, and Dall sheep; a raft trip down the Nenana River; or a helicopter ride over the park. Your Tour Director will have plenty of other suggestions.
Day 5Denali National Park–Anchorage
Board the world-famous ALASKA RAILROAD for a memorable journey as you wind along the Susitna River to Anchorage. Sit back in comfort and enjoy spectacular scenery through wide windows. Be sure to take advantage of the domed-roof car and, if the weather cooperates, you will have the opportunity to view Mount McKinley from the train.
Today begins with city sightseeing of Anchorage. Visit the ANCHORAGE MUSEUM, where you will see a quality display of artifacts from Alaska’s native people. Enjoy a free afternoon in Anchorage to explore.
Day 7Anchorage. Seward Excursion
Travel this morning to Seward, “Gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park,” on the Seward Highway, a designated National Scenic Byway. Included is a visit to the Alaska SEALIFE CENTER, a research facility that offers an up-close experience with marine wildlife from the Gulf of Alaska. Witness a stellar sea lion gliding past underwater viewing windows, puffins diving in a carefully crafted naturalistic habitat, and harbor seals resting on rocky beaches. After your Seward sightseeing, transfer to your ship. (Dinner)
Day 8Cruising: Gulf of Alaska
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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 9Glacier Bay National Park (Scenic Cruising)
This Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site protects a unique ecosystem of plants and animals living in an ever-changing glacial landscape. Witness an amazing spectacle of thunder and flying spray as tremendous slabs of ice break off and “calve” into the sea, making for lasting memories. National Park rangers accompany the ship to add expert commentary to the day’s events. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Nestled on the shore of America’s longest fjord, Haines enjoys a spectacular setting. You may choose to fill your day with a float trip through Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, home to the largest annual gathering of bald eagles. Or, stop by the Sheldon Museum, art galleries, and local shops in town. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
No roads lead to Juneau. Accessible only by air and water, Juneau is located at the base of two towering mountains in the heart of Alaska’s Inside Passage, and is home to a rich Gold Rush history, Native culture, wildlife, and a wealth of natural wonders. Step ashore to shop for gold nuggets; visit the stately Governor’s Mansion; saunter through the swinging doors at the Red Dog Saloon, the city’s famous watering hole; or visit mighty Mendenhall Glacier, an impressive river of ice that is 12 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Ketchikan clutches the shores of the Tongass Narrows, with many shops and houses built right out over the water in the town that calls itself the “Salmon Capital of the World.” Experience Native Alaska firsthand. Meet the spirits of the raven, whale, and eagle as you view the largest collection of totems in the world at Saxman Totem Park or Totem Bight State Historic Park. Or explore Creek Street, now home to contemporary art galleries and quaint boutiques. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 13Inside Passage (Scenic Cruising)
The Inside Passage is one of the most scenic sea lanes in the world, and one of the few where deep-draft vessels can sail close to steep mountain walls. The scenery is unbelievable, with forests in a hundred shades of green and tumbling turquoise glaciers. The Inside Passage is a lifeline to the outside world. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Disembark this morning and transfer to Vancouver International Airport for your return flight home. Please schedule homebound flights after Noon. (Breakfast)
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