For spectacular scenery, wildlife and outdoor adventures, all on an epic scale, Alaska is the ultimate destination for nature lovers. The southeastern panhandle, with its fjords, forests, glaciers and few roads, is ideal for cruising. But a journey to the far reaches of North America is not complete without going inland. Only in the untamed wilderness, in remote frontier towns, and in sight of towering mountains, is the greatness of “The Great Land” revealed in full. A Celebrity Cruises Cruisetour lets you experience the best of Alaska by combining a cruise with a small-group guided tour of the interior.
Every Celebrity Cruisetour vacation package features a seven-night cruise aboard the Celebrity Millenium. Sailing between Vancouver, Canada, and the historic port town of Seward, Alaska, the ship calls on the eclectic state capital of Juneau and quaint coastal towns. Rich in gold-rush history, vibrant indigenous culture, and fishing, life in these communities revolves around the sea and outdoor activities like kayaking and hiking are in easy reach. Onboard, you can relax, recharge and enjoy the exceptional cuisine, luxurious accommodations, and great service that are the hallmarks of every Celebrity cruise.
In Alaska’s Inland Passage, the intricate waterway that weaves through the hundreds of islands carved by glaciers, the views are all around. This elaborate coastline of misty fjords, bays and coves, and rainforest is home to a diverse array of wildlife – from bald eagles to migrating whales – and one of Alaska’s greatest natural dramas: the advance of Hubbard Glacier. Stretching seven miles across and forming a wall of blue ice 350 feet high above the water line, the glacier alone is a breathtaking sight. Even more memorable is watching and feeling the power of “white thunder,” when a giant piece of ice cracks off the glacier’s face and tumbles into Yakatut Bay.
At the head of Resurrection Bay, the sea voyage and the inland journey of a Celebrity Cruisetour intersect in the picturesque seaport of Seward. From here, you’ll travel with a small group by luxury motorcoach and train across the vast expanses of open land, through forests, along glacial inlets and rivers, and across mountains to towns and cities in the wild. Throughout the tour, lodges and inns extend frontier hospitality in a cozy comfortable and authentically Alaskan setting.
This is not a typical tour. The itinerary mixes a selection of carefully curated activities with ample free time to pursue your own interests, like exploring local arts galleries, dining at a new restaurant, meeting a champion sled dog, or embarking on a flightseeing trip. Leading the way is your tour director, who serves as both knowledgeable guide and concierge, ready with ideas and suggestions to personalize your trip. Whether you have just a few days or a whole week, Celebrity Cruisetours showcase Alaska’s essential places and sights on tours of 2 to 6 nights, offered before or after the cruise.
An overnight visit in Denali National Park is featured on every Celebrity Cruisetour. Across the park’s six million acres of unspoiled taiga forest, alpine tundra and snow-capped mountains, bears, moose, wolves, Dall sheep, birds and other native species roam free. Towering above it all is the tallest mountain in North America, known as the “Great One.” A ranger-led ride on the park’s lone road is the best opportunity for spotting wildlife in a habitat that has been virtually untouched by man. Denali’s more accessible front-country offers all kinds of fun activities – biking, hiking, river rafting and more – and quiet time in pristine nature.
Everywhere in Alaska, nature is always part of the experience. Its largest city, Anchorage, blends cosmopolitan excitement and outdoor living. Here you’ll find great museums, including one dedicated to the history and culture of indigenous people, an eclectic restaurant scene, a growing number of craft breweries and some 250 miles of city trails. In some neighborhoods, it’s not unheard of to spot moose ambling down the street.
Fairbanks, the second-largest city, began as a remote outpost on the Chena River whose fortunes turned on gold. You can still pan for gold in nearby streams, take a ride on an old-fashioned riverboat and bask in the light of the Midnight Sun. The Golden Heart city is also the gateway to the Arctic Region whose remote villages maintain longstanding Alaskan traditions.
In the smaller towns, you’ll meet more of the men and women who make Alaska unique. With an unofficial motto of “where the road ends and life begins,” Talkeetna is tiny but with an outsized reputation for quirky local characters, including its late feline mayor. Talkeetna also draws all kinds of adventurers, especially mountaineers from around the world seeking to conquer the heights of nearby Denali.
Girdwood is a popular resort town in an alpine valley surrounded by seven glaciers. The region’s premier hotel, the luxurious Alyeska Resort, is set at the base of Mount Aleyska. The cable ride to the mountaintop restaurant and lookout is a top area attraction. Year-round residents include artists, extreme athletes and politicians who share the trails and views with visitors who come to explore the Chugach Mountains and National Forest each summer.
Bigger than Texas, California and Montana combined, Alaska is a challenge to visit on your own. A Celebrity Cruisetour is the ideal way to make a cruise vacation an extraordinary exploration of some of the most beautiful territory on Earth. If you’re going to go the distance, experience everything the Great Land has to offer.
Book your 2018 Celebrity Cruise to Alaska with Klingerman Travel and enjoy one or more of these perks: classic beverage package, prepaid tips, unlimited high-speed internet, and $150 to spend on board. Plus, exclusive through Klingerman Travel, guests receive one complimentary dining experience for two in an onboard specialty restaurant ($90 value) if booked by 12/30/17. Contact Klingerman Travel for booking details: 860-739-0043; 301C Flanders Rd, East Lyme, CT 06333. For more information, visit klingermantravel.com.