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Alaska By Ship

When was the last time you saw an eagle descend from the sky, or stood in awe as a glacier cracked and an ice berg emerged?

Imagine your sense of wonder as you glide past glacier after glacier or your first sight of a cresting whale. While we have much to be proud of in our Alberta parks, I think Alaska is mother nature's most spectacular show piece.

This year over 30 ships are providing you the incredible delights of warm, pampering service combined with the awe of this magnificent journey.

Remember, there are no roads to Glacier Bay, nor to many other top Alaskan attractions. That's why exploring these pristine areas by ship is such a privilege.

Cruising Alaska offers us breathtaking views of Alaska's natural wonders, as well as nights of thrilling entertainment, fine dining, pampering service, and an endless variety of activities.

From the moment you depart the convenient port of Vancouver, this will be the vacation you have only dreamed about.

As you cruise along the Glacier route, you will experience a magical, unspoiled land where walls of ice rise up from crystal blue seas and landscapes of wild flowers give way to snow-capped peaks.

Alaska is a mecca for lovers of wildlife and vast wilderness. It is a place where you see sea lions gathering to bathe in the sun and the bald eagles circle overhead searching the waters for salmon. And you might see humpback or orca whales as they acrobatically breach the water's surface.

You'll be spellbound by the beauty of the Inside Passage. You'll pass quiet bays, wooded islands, innumerable mountains and waterfalls cascading from granite cliffs - a panorama interrupted only by sightings of sea lions and whales frolicking in the waters around you.

Even more fun can be had as you visit ports as interesting as Ketchikan, southerly most port on the Inside Passage route and known as the "salmon capital of the world". This port is also renowned the world over for its famous totems. Enjoy a stroll down famous Creek Street, the towns "red light" district; visit Misty Fjords, America's newest national monument or attend the "Salmon Bake" and sample the local fare.

Juneau, Alaska's capital and your first taste of the gold rush era, is a contrast of wild, natural country and thriving city. Explore the fascinating City Museum, quaint St. Nicholas Church and stop at Juneau's favorite watering hole, the Red Dog Saloon.

The treasures beyond the city limits will beckon you too. Tour Mendanhall Glacier by motorcoach or helicopter. This river of ice, with craggy rock sentinels 3,000 feet above sea level is a natural wonder.

Skagway, a magnet for gold-seekers in the late 1890's, was referred to as the "roughest town on earth" with its over 80 saloons. You can relive the racy Klondike days in this colourful turn-of-the-century town where cancan dancers and other entertainers in 1890's garb will welcome you or take an authentic horse drawn taxi into town and explore the "Trail of 98" museum.

The plank sidewalks, false front buildings and narrow-gauge White Pass and Yukon Railroad will make you feel as if you were back in the days of the Gold Rush.

On northbound cruises, you'll also visit Sitka. When Alaska was still Russian territory, this was her glittering cultural centre in the West. Today, evidence of Russian culture can be found in the priceless icons and paintings of the onion-domed St. Michael's Cathedral. Remnants of Sitka's Indian culture are preserved in the National Historic Park.

A cruise to Alaska us the ideal vacation for couples, families, single people, honeymooners and fun-lovers of all ages and interests.

And there is no other way to do it with so much ease, affordability and excitement than by modern cruise ships.

Sid Kaplan

Cruise Vacations Guide

Sid Kaplan has extensive experience in the travel business. He owned and operated a large retail cruise only agency in Canada and his wife has 25 years experience working for major cruise lines. Their website is Cruise Vacations Guide which offers advice and tips to those looking to create memorable cruise vacations. Shore excursion and land tour information is also provided. Cruise, hotel, car rental and vacation adventure booking online.

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