Your Alaska Vacation
The call of Alaska has lured many with its arctic song. Ever since the 1890’s, Alaska travelers have come to see glaciers, wildlife and wilderness beyond belief. Back then, vacationers boarded steam ships in Seattle to navigate the inside passage on a cruise North to Alaska. Once they arrived safely on Alaska’s shore, they set out to explore Alaska’s interior using all modes of transportation in search of Alaska’s greatest treasures.
Travel by Cruise Ship
Over a century later, the basics of traveling to Alaska have not changed all that much. Still, the best way for most people to experience Alaska is with a Gulf of Alaska cruise and land tour combination. You’ll be glad to know cruising has come a long way since the pioneer days.
Gulf of Alaska cruises depart Vancouver, B.C. and explore Alaska’s inside passage as they visit the port towns along the panhandle of Alaska. Only Princess features Glacier Bay on every voyage. Alaska cruise vacations offer unparalleled luxury and relaxation along with unmatched scenery. Because there are no roads leading to Glacier Bay National Park, cruise ships are the only way to experience Alaska’s glacier-carved fjords and monumental rivers of ice up close.
Many cruise itineraries continue north across the Gulf of Alaska into College Fjord where sixteen great tidewater glaciers are named in honor of some of the nation’s greatest colleges. Nothing compares to the sight of a monumental glacier calving house-sized icebergs into the sea. The cruise concludes in the tiny coastal town of Whittier where passengers disembark the ship.
Discovering Alaska by sea is just one half of the adventure. Beyond the reach of cruise ships is a wilderness too stunning to be ignored. Your vacation does not have to end with a cruise. Land tours of four to nine days can be seamlessly added to a cruise to allow travelers to travel directly to Denali National Park. The heart of Alaska boasts the tallest peaks and the largest National Parks in North America – plus grand lodges built by Princess to showcase this scenic wonderland.
For more information on cruises and cruise tours, visit www.princess.com.
Fly into Anchorage or Fairbanks, Alaska
Another popular Alaska vacation option is to fly into Anchorage or Fairbanks. Either location is a great place to start an Alaska vacation. All of the major towns and cities are only 3 to 4 hours by jet from Seattle. During the peak summer months, several major airlines serve Alaska. Alaska Airlines handles most of the jet travel within the state.
Once you are in Alaska, you will find most of the communities are served by local air services or charter airlines ranging from turbo prop planes to seaplanes.
Many enjoy kicking their Alaska vacations off with a cruise. Gulf of Alaska cruises depart Vancouver, B.C. and follow Alaska’s inside passage.
Drive the Alaska Highway
Customize your Alaska vacation with a road trip that provides the freedom to set your own itinerary and linger in places you want to see more.
Ride the Alaska Ferry System
Operated by the State of Alaska, the Alaska Marine Highway System services 3,500 miles of Alaska’s coastline year round. The Alaska Marine Highway system begins in Bellingham, WA and travels the fabled inside passage visiting many of the colorful coastal towns along the way. Traveling to Alaska aboard the ferry allows visitors to experience the coast up close and personal while enjoying a custom itinerary. You can also bring your vehicle on the ferry. There are lounges, food service facilities and observation areas both indoors and on deck.
Vehicle and cabin reservations are essential. You must plan your stop-over ports before making your original reservations. Visit the Alaska Marine Highway website for rates, schedules and information.
Drive the Alaska Highway
The classic way to travel to Alaska is on the famous Alaska Highway. This 1520-mile road trip takes you from lower British Columbia, Canada into the heart of Alaska’s interior. Officially, the highway ends in Big Delta Junction, about 100 miles south of Fairbanks. Nevertheless, travelers can continue on the Richardson Highway to Fairbanks.
The advantage of highway travel is the freedom to determine your own itinerary and to linger in places you most want to see. The highway is in much better condition than in the old days, and the journey can be made safely and comfortably with plenty of services along the way. The disadvantage is the length and cost of the trip. Gas prices are expensive in the north and distances are immense. From the lower 48, it is over 2,000 miles to Fairbanks.
Experience Alaska by Train
An Alaska Train Vacation with Princess Lodges is an ideal way to explore Alaska since train travel is convenient, allows visitors to enjoy scenery without logistical worries, and Alaska train tours include overnight accommodations. Although there is no train line connecting Alaska to the lower 48, once in Alaska, the Alaska Railroad is a wonderful option for traveling through the state. Princess offers a variety of Alaska train tours out of Fairbanks or Anchorage on our own luxury railcars.
Princess’s glass-domed railcars follow the historic route of the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Fairbanks through the Denali area. Together, the Princess train experience and Princess Lodges make the perfect Alaska vacation package for independent travelers. Any combination of train legs and lodge overnights can be packaged into a perfect Denali train tour.
What are you Waiting for?
Alaska, the Great Land, is a vast land of epic proportions rich with incredible wildlife, stunning scenery, and worldwide wonders like the northern lights, Denali, Wrangell St.-Elias National Park and immense glaciers. How will you see it all? Rest assured—our friendly reservations agents are ready to help you create the Alaska vacation of your dreams, whether you explore via plane, train, automobile…or ferry!