by Amy Mutscher

Book Early for Your Ideal Alaska Vacation

North American destinations are making a dramatic comeback with revived tourism from long-delayed travel plans. Alaska is at the top of many bucket lists, and many people no longer want to wait for “someday” to arrange their trip. With so many ways to explore “The Last Frontier,” you’ll want to plan early to get the right combination of land and cruise accommodations and the most coveted shore excursions at each port on the journey. Take a look at some of the most popular activities to add to your itinerary.
Fresh salmon is on the menu

Taste Alaska

The Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890s transformed the sleepy town of Skagway into Alaska's largest settlement with the establishment of trading posts, saloons and guesthouses. Today’s Skagway handles the rush of visitors each summer with delicious local food choices. Spend a day on a behind-the-scenes culinary tour hosted by a resident chef who will show you how common ingredients are elevated to dramatic and delicious entrees. You’ll also learn the science behind the preservation process as you prepare an Alaska salmon fillet for smoking. Next, harvest fresh herbs from the garden to use in a decadent lemon verbena ice cream. After a hands-on demonstration, taste your smoked salmon and lemony dessert before a leisurely stroll back to the ship.

See magnificent glaciers in Tracy Arm

Glacier Exploration

Among the most popular locations to view glaciers is the fjord known as Tracy Arm. This slice of the enormous Tongass National Forest is known for steep cliffs, ice-covered mountains and temperate rainforest. As you cruise Tracy Arm on a high-speed catamaran, an on-board naturalist provides an informed narration about the area. Your boat will take you to the majestic Twin Sawyer Glaciers where you can have a look at the fascinating face of South Sawyer Glacier and view the beautiful North Sawyer Glacier, which cannot be approached by large cruise ships. Visitors often spot water mammals like seals, dolphins and whales and lucky watchers may spot bears and mountain goats ambling through this pristine area.

Alaska's whale-watching tours are unbelievable

Outdoor Recreation

Your cruise to Alaska wouldn’t be complete without a day dedicated to absorbing the unspoiled wilderness. With so many ways to explore Alaska, an experienced travel agent can help you decide on your itinerary by advising you about the most popular and best-loved excursions that would be a good fit for your group. Adventurous types may catch a floatplane to a wildlife reserve such as Chichagof or Admiralty Island. Visitors of all ages and mobility levels like whale-watching tours that offer heated cabins as well as open decks to breathe in the salty sea air. Extend your stay in Alaska with a cruisetour extension in Denali National Park, which you can reach by rail that begins directly from the ship.

Plan the ultimate family vacation

Discover Holland America Line

There’s a lot to consider as you choose an Alaska cruise and the advantages you get from Holland America Line are significant. There are real advantages to being an early booker. On select dates, you can enjoy a premium package that includes shore excursions, a drink package, specialty dining and Wi-Fi. Plus, you could get 50% reduced deposits, crew appreciation and up to $300 onboard credit per stateroom. Kids sail free on select itineraries making it a great way to gather the extended family to celebrate a milestone birthday or golden anniversary.


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