World News Tomorrow – Travel
Take one of the most popular cruise destinations, and then squeeze its season into a third of the year, that’s what you’ll find when booking a cruise to Alaska. It’s a cruise destination like no other, showcasing a side of the USA that’s rarely seen. Whether its stunning scenery or something more adventurous, an Alaskan cruise has it all.
Alaskan sailings are only available mid May to mid September, however with high demand, there are over a dozen different cruise lines to choose from. Princess Cruises start their departures from Anchorage, Seattle and Vancover and generally the length of the cruise is 7 days.
During the cruise, there are several port stops including Juneau, Skagway & Ketchican, where you can take part in the organised shore excursions or explore the different sights at your own leisure.
Juneau is the capital of Alaska and is only accessible by sea. One of the many attractions whilst visiting Juneau is the Glacier Gardens. Glacier gardens is Southeast Alaska’s premier rainforest garden. The gardens began as a stream restoration project and soon became a unique botanical garden set with the Tongass National Forest.
The Tongass is the largest temperate rainforest in the world with approximately 17million acres of protected habitat. Glacier Gardens maintains roughly 50 acres of that land and has a fascinating ecosystem and diverse plant and animal life.
Skagway was the gateway to the gold fields for the thousands who flocked to Alaska and the Yukon in the hope of making it rich. Today the town still retains its flavor of the gold rush era, including the Red Onion Saloon.
Built in 1897, the Red Onion Saloon operated as one of the finest bordellos in Skagway. Today you can enjoy a drink or something to eat in the bar & restaurant, take a look around the Red Onion Brothel Museum which is filled with many antiques from the gold rush days or take the ‘Ghosts and Goodtime Girls Walking Tour’ where you can join one of the fun-loving madams from the Red Onion Saloon on a guided tour Skagways historic streets and back alleys.
Ketchikan is known as Alaska’s ‘First City’ because it is the first major landfall for most cruisers as they enter the fjords of the Inside Passage. Ketchikan has long been an important hub of the salmon fishing industry, visitors can try their luck on a sport fishing excursion or simply savour the fresh seafood at one of the local restaurants.
It is also one of the best spots to explore the rich cultural sights of Native Alaskan nations like the Tlingit, Haida & Tsimshian. You can see intricately carved totem poles at the Totem Heritage Centre or just outside Ketchikan, the village of Saxman offers you the chance to see Tlingit culture in action, with working carvers and a dance show in the clan house.
Alaska has some of the most breathtaking, dramatic scenery in the world but it has so much more to offer with its history, wildlife and endless adventures, this is just the ‘tip of the iceberg!’
Clair Slater for World News Tomorrow.