NORTH AMERICA TRAVEL SERVICE

Alaska

The largest of the US states, Alaska spans an incredible 586,000 square miles. With its myriad of geographical terrains which split the state into 5 distinct regions and the expanse of water encircling over three quarters of the state, Alaska showcases a world of ecosystems just waiting to be discovered.

Follow a pod of giant humpback whales as they breach into the air, watch the spellbinding grizzly bears as they lead their cubs to food and safety, spot puffins, bald eagles, moose, harbour seals and polar bears as they go about their daily rituals. The wilderness boasts a wealth of wildlife indigenous to their Alaskan habitats. Take to the water for a view from a different perspective. Cruises sweep along the inside passage, calling at intricate ports along the way. For a more intrinsic experience, small ship cruising with Cruise West enables guests to get up close and personal with the flora and fauna and offers the option of taking a raft to less accessible destinations accompanied by professional guides knowledgeable in the terrain. Ocean day cruises venture out to Glacier Bay, Kenai Fjords and Prince William Sound offering a wonderful glimpse of coastal Alaska with dramatic mountain scenery, tidewater glaciers and the water's abundance of wildlife. For the more adventurous, kayaking and rafting along the thousands of rivers and coastal waters enables exploration of destinations difficult or impossible to access by land.

Ascend into the skies for a bird’s eye view. Helicopters, light aircraft and float planes whisk you into the air across land and sea. Circle magnificent Mount McKinley, fly deep into back country wilderness or land on a glacier and tread where few others have been before. From an hour’s pleasure flight to a full day tour fly fishing in the wilderness, Alaska is an inspirational experience which shouldn’t be missed.

Back on land, a self drive or escorted itinerary are the only ways to truly experience the best of Alaska. Traditionally commencing from Anchorage, this small city is a wonderful introduction to life the Alaskan way. Sitting at the base of the Chugach Mountains, Anchorage is alive with arts, culture and speciality shopping. Leaving the city behind, the scenery is transposed to reveal small villages, rugged landscapes and gigantic national parks.

One of the most famous attractions, Denali National Park is home to North America’s tallest mountain. Standing 20,320 feet in the air, Mount McKinley’s magnificence attracts visitors from across the world. Visitors flock to the 6 million acre park, to hike, bike, raft, ski and explore the world's largest protected ecosystem, home to 750 species of flowering plant, 39 types of mammal and 165 bird species.

Take a sternwheeler cruise from Fairbanks, try dog sledding or how about testing your luck panning for gold? Bathe in the naturally heated waters at Cheena Hot Springs, drive into Wrangell St. Elias National Park, North America’s largest national park, which is 6 times the size of Yellowstone, or explore the historic mining town of Kennicott. Sail out of the seaside village of Valdez on a sightseeing cruise to Prince William Sound or Columbia Glacier. No visit to this enchanting destination is complete without exploring Seward, Kenai, Homer, Girdwood and of course, Kodiak Island. The Kenai Peninsula boasts spectacular scenery and idyllic seaside villages but primarily is renowned as a natural habitat for Alaska’s abundant population of marine wildlife and birds.

From a relaxing retreat to intrepid wilderness exploration, from small ship cruising to a soft adventure, whatever way you choose to appreciate this stunning destination, you can be assured that one visit is never enough!

 

Our Top Tips

1. From Girdwood, take an Alpine Air helicopter sightseeing trip over the Chugach Mountain range and land on a glacier.

2. Visit the Alaska SeaLife Centre in Seward. It's a marine mammal rehabilitation facility where you'll view sea-birds, octopus and sea lions and learn about the work of the centre’s ocean scientists.

3. Take a day cruise on Kenai Fjords National Park to view the magnificent glaciers and abundant wildlife.

4. Alaska is mecca for fishermen worldwide. Try your hand at fly, salt or freshwater fishing and even ice-fishing.

5. If you are looking for a beautifully scenic way of getting between Alaska and The Yukon, try the White Pass & Yukon rail journey. Renowned as one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world, the breath-taking panoramas of mountains, gorges, waterfalls and historic points drift by. This is scenery you can only view by rail as it’s not accessible by road!

6. Take a float plane ride from Anchorage to Kodiak Island to see the owners of the island, the half ton Brown Bear!

7. The best time to see the Northern Lights in Fairbanks is between November and April. It’s darkest during these months so the viewing is better.

8. Make sure you visit Denali National Park. Private vehicles aren't allowed in the park so either take a day excursion or, better still, stay in one of the lodges within the park.

 

Grand Alaska


16 Days/15 Nights

Begins in Anchorage and ends in Vancouver

Departures
May, June, July, August and September

Your Tauck Itinerary includes:
• Round trip scheduled flights
• Accommodation for 15 nights as specified
• 14 breakfasts, 13 lunches and 14 dinners
• Air-conditioned motorcoach transportation
• Services of a Tauck Tour Director
• 7-night Alaska cruise

DAY 1 ARRIVE ANCHORAGE

Depart the UK on your chosen scheduled flight to Anchorage. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel for the evening, located in Anchorage.
Hotel: Hotel Captain Cook

DAY 2 ANCHORAGE

Today you are free to explore the vibrant, modern city of Anchorage before returning to the hotel to meet your travelling companions for a welcome reception and dinner.
Hotel: Hotel Captain Cook
Dinner included

DAY 3 HERITAGE & FLIGHTSEEING

Following a brief tour of Anchorage, you'll learn about the lifestyles, traditions, and crafts of Alaska's indigenous tribes on a visit to the Anchorage Museum; hundreds of artifacts share the enduring cultures and histories of people from across the circumpolar North. Next it is on to Lake Lucille to board a floatplane which offers aerial sightseeing en route to Talkeetna, near the base of Mount McKinley. The next two nights are at Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge in Trapper Creek.
Hotel: Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

DAY 4 TRAPPER CREEK & A JET BOAT ADVENTURE

Begin the day with a visit to the private homestead of Joanne Porterfield, nestled in the Alaska wilderness. Located in Trapper Creek, her family gardens and farm have flourished here in the shadow of Mount McKinley for more than four decades. Next, take a jet boat cruise into untamed wildlands, where the views of Mt. McKinley are made richer by the insights of a trained naturalist. Returning to the lodge late afternoon, you'll enjoy dinner and an evening at leisure.
Hotel: Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

DAY 5 DENALI BY RAIL & IDITAROD HUSKIES

Today's rail journey takes you from Talkeetna to Denali National Park, where you'll visit the Husky Homestead and meet a former Iditarod champion. Dinner is in your choice of restaurant at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge.
Hotel: Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

DAY 6 DENALI NATIONAL PARK

A highlight of any Alaska travel experience is a visit to Denali National Park, a six-million-acre UNESCO Biosphere Reserve dominated by North America’s highest mountain – 20,320 ft Mt. McKinley. Look for grizzly bears, moose, caribou, Dall sheep and other Denali denizens on a Tundra Wilderness Tour accompanied by a local guide. There may be time for some free exploring before enjoying a fun Denali dinner show featuring tales told through music.
Hotel: Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

DAY 7 COPPER CENTRE

Depart Denali this morning, travelling through high alpine country with views of the Alaska Range peaks, to your wilderness lodge in the small town of Copper Center - considered the gateway to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. A regional favourite, Alaskan Salmon is on tonight's menu for dinner.
Hotel: Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

DAY 8 WRANGELL-ST. ELIAS NATIONAL PARK

On a private tour you'll discover Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, which is home to more glaciers and mountains above 16,000 feet than any spot in North America, and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today you’ll also view the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which transports crude oil from wells at Prudhoe Bay in the north to the port city of Valdez. Back at the lodge there is time to walk one of the hiking trails or perhaps go whitewater rafting before dinner.
Hotel: Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

DAY 9 VALDEZ & PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND

This morning it's a drive through the Chugach Mountains where the plants and wildlife are amazing, followed by a stop at Worthing Glacier, before arriving at Valdez. Sea conditions permitting, you'll cross Prince William Sound by private boat to Whittier. Keep watch for whales, seals and soaring eagles as you enjoy the mountain views. Next you board your Princess ship in Whittier to start the 7 night cruise portion of your itinerary.
Hotel: Aboard your Princess Ship
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

DAY 10 AT SEA - HUBBARD GLACIER

It's a day of scenic cruising as you journey toward Alaska's Hubbard Glacier, arriving mid-afternoon. Known as the Galloping Glacier this is North America's largest tidewater glacier. Soaring 40 storeys high, its blue color is created by the denseness of the ice, which absorbs all colors of the spectrum except blue. Tonight, join the ship's captain for a welcome reception.
Hotel: Aboard your Princess Ship
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

DAY 11 AT SEA - GLACIER BAY CRUISING

Your inspirational journey continues as you cruise the waters of Glacier Bay, west of Juneau. Your ship cruises along shorelines and islands completely covered by ice some 200 years ago. By the time naturalist John Muir visited the area in 1879, the ice had retreated some 30 miles to form the bay you'll be exploring. Rugged mountains, spruce and hemlock forests, deep fjords, emerald waters and crisp fresh air are the day's companions, possibly along with sea otters, porpoises, seals and bald eagles. Early evening, enjoy the company of your fellow Tauck cruisers at a private cocktail party followed by dinner.
Hotel: Aboard your Princess Ship
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

DAY 12 SKAGWAY & A VINTAGE RAIL JOURNEY

On arrival in historic Skagway, the gateway to the Klondlike region, you'll disembark for a tour of the town and a ferry ride to Haines on the Lynn Canal; the deepest and longest fjord in North America. Here you'll begin a quiet rafting trip through the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, home to world's largest congregation of bald eagles. Next you'll travel back in time on the exciting White Pass & Yukon Route narrow-gauge railway, which was built in 1898 during the gold rush. This vintage rail excursion heads up steep grades, around cliff-hanging turns, and over high bridges.
Hotel: Aboard your Princess Ship
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

DAY 13 JUNEAU

Arrive in Alaska's capital city of Juneau, set on a narrow strip of land between the Coast Mountains and the Gastineau Channel, for sightseeing that includes a stop at the Mendenhall Glacier. Gather insights on the traditions of the indigenous Tlingit people of the Pacific Northwest during a private cultural presentation before enjoying your afternoon at leisure. Spend a free afternoon in Juneau where a ticket is included for a scenic gondola ride on the Mt. Roberts Tramway; departing from downtown Juneau and rising 1,800 ft into Mount Roberts.
Hotel: Aboard your Princess Ship
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

DAY 14 KETCHIKAN

Today you'll dock in Ketchikan, the ancestral home of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian tribes, for an inside look at the role that Tlingit heritage plays in the local culture. See some of the city’s numerous totem poles, and watch local totem carvers at work at Saxman Native Village; catch a performance of traditional Tlingit and Haida dances. You'll also have time to explore this colourful town on your own. Perhaps with a walk along its historic boardwalk lined with eclectic houses and shops or take in the waterfront promenade.
Hotel: Aboard your Princess Ship
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

DAY 15 AT SEA - INSIDE PASSAGE

Enjoy spectacular views of the fabled Inside Passage from your stateroom, or a variety of decks and lounges, on a full day of cruising amongst the densely forested islands and coastal communities of this renowned waterway. This evening, join your fellow travelling companions for a farewell cocktail party before a delicious dinner.
Hotel: Aboard your Princess Ship
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

DAY 16 JOURNEY HOME

Your cruise itinerary ends in Vancouver, where you disembark the ship and transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK. Alternatively, you may choose to extend your holiday with a stay in Canada.
Breakfast included

Prices

From £5460 per person based on twin occupancy of Standard rooms / Inside Cabin in low season. Other prices available on request.

Winner of ‘Top Tour Operator to the USA & Canada 2012’ voted by readers of Selling Long Haul magazine.

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