To experience the real Alaska, come to where the mountains are taller, the rivers mightier and the wildlife more plentiful than any place else on earth. This is cruising Alaska. A rugged, untamed wilderness where the forests go on forever and the summer days never end. Alaska is a pristine wilderness of ice-blue glaciers, snow-capped mountain peaks and huge whales breaking the surface of crystalline waters.
Preserved as a National Monument, Glacier Bay is an extraordinary collection of glaciers in a contained region. Only two ships per day are permitted to enter the bay during the summer months, when whales come here to feed. The ice in Glacier Bay fell as snow, hundreds of years ago, on the icefields in the mountains above. Compressed by its own tremendous weight, it slowly flows through valleys to the sea, where in some cases, it breaks off in great chunks called calves, to float free as icebergs and "bergy bits."
Seventy-five miles long and covering over 1,350 square miles in area, Hubbard Glacier is the largest tidewater glacier in North America. It is also one of the most impressive, a 500-foot wall of ice rising sheer and jagged from the ocean. You may hear the rumble and see the monumental splash as the glacier breaks off in great ice chunks, known as "calves."
Protected from the open sea by forested isles, sheltered from the windy mainland by the tallest coastal mountains in the world, this tranquil 1,000-mile waterway winds from British Columbia to Alaska's Gulf. The deep, calm waters of the passage meander between dense pine forests where wild game and soaring eagles abound, with occasional rustic towns along the way.
Alaska's capital can't be reached by road. You fly or sail here to enjoy its greeting of dockside flags and flowers. It is surprisingly urban and cultured for being so remote. Visit the museum for insights into Inuit culture and crafts. Drive up to Mendenhall, the only glacier inside city limits! Or get an aerial view from a helicopter. Fish for silver salmon, or just enjoy some off the grill--then kick back at the Red Dog Saloon.
Ketchikan is the salmon capital of the world. The canneries are busy, and the stream below Creek Street's rustic boardwalk bustles with life. Visit the ancient grove of Totem Bight, the largest collection of authentic totem poles anywhere. Make a flight to nearby Misty Fjords--a breathtaking vista of Alaska's unspoiled wilderness and America's newest national monument, or, try a little salmon fishing.
When Alaska belonged to Russia, Sitka was the capital and center for its fur trading empire. Today, Sitka's Russian heritage and magnificent setting make it an enchanting destination. The city features a harbor studded with islands, a backdrop of mountains, and spectacular Mt. Edgecumbe, a volcano often compared to Japan's Mt. Fuji. Sitka displays its past in such attractions as St. Michael's Cathedral with its striking onion-shaped dome, the Russian Blockhouse, and world famous New Archangel Dancers. Visit the Historic Park, with a ruined Indian fort where Tlingit Indians battled Russian settlers in 1804.
Skagway was born during the great Alaska gold rush. Those were the days when Skagway had 80 saloons and was known as "the roughest town on earth." The city's rip-roaring past will come alive when you walk down Broadway, a main street so authentic it is part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park! Special shore excursions explore Skagway's fascinating history. Take a train up to White Pass and follow the old path to gold and glory in the Yukon, or take a scenic flight to view the amazing wonders of Glacier Bay National Park.
Prim and proper, neat and clean, friendly little Victoria island is like a breath of fresh air. Its British heritage is apparent in the double-decker buses, the Royal British Columbia Museum and High Tea at the Empress Hotel. Go out to the renowned Butchart Gardens, where sunken floral beds reflect international themes.
Famous for its succulent Kobe beef and cosmopolitan flair, this booming port town sits between the Rokko Mountains and Osaka Bay. It contains a remarkable cultural mix of Swiss chalets, Moslem mosques and Russian Orthodox churches tucked between traditional Japanese buildings. A cable car ascends to the summit of Mount Rokko, a national park.
Sprawling between the mountains and the beaches, Los Angeles is quintessential California. Whether your taste runs to fashionable Beverly Hills, the mega-entertainment of the movie studios, or the sizzle of homestyle Mexican food on Olvera Street, the city of angels is worth exploring.
Sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge and into San Francisco's broad bay will surely be a highlight of your cruising life. Once docked along the Embarcadero, you're just a short walk from Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, North Beach and other attractions that make this one of the world's favorite cities. The scenic Napa Valley wine country is nearby, too.
Located in the midst of mountains and water, Seattle's scenery is truly a sight to see. Along with the alluring appearance of Seattle it also entails plenty of entertainment and attractions. If you're a sports fanatic, Seattle offers games by the Seattle Seahawks, Sonics, Angels or the Rainier's. If you acquire more of an artsy taste, Seattle also provides museums such as the Bellevue Art Museum, Frye Art Museum, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Asian Art Museum, and the Henry Art Gallery. For those of you who are more into Science and History, you'll be more interested in the Burke Museum, Museum of Flight, Museum of History and Industry, Pacific Science Center, Seattle Aquarium, etc. No matter what your preference includes, Seattle accommodates all.
The city of Seward is located in southern coast Alaska in Kenai Peninsula Borough at the top of the Resurrection Bay. The city of Seward was founded back in 1902 as the end of the Alaska Rail Road which was built 1915-1923. The name of Seward was derived by Abraham Lincoln's secretary of state, who arbitrated the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. The city of Seward suffered from 90% of the waterfront industry due to an earthquake in 1964. Due to this earthquake, six feet of the shoreline dropped along with the harbor and fuel docks.
Huge department stores brim with shoppers, neon flashes from dusk to dawn, and the entire world pays heed to the slightest fluctuation on the Nikkei Index. From the Imperial Palace and Meiji Shrine to the fabled Ginza district, 20th-century Tokyo is an intriguing composite of East and West. Yuppies sporting Walkmen bow formally in greeting. Women in kimonos and Dior suits stroll side-by-side. Geishas play samisens while disc jockeys play the Top Forty. Japanese houses of wood and paper stand in the shadow of towering steel and mortar. Not far away, one of the world's most impressive sights soars 12,388 feet to its snow-clad peak: Mount Fuji, the majestic symbol of Japan.
In Vancouver, you're never out of sight of towering peaks--or of the sea. It is a prosperous city adorned with flowers lining the streets and lush greenery like Stanley Park. Museums offer fine collections of the dramatic Northwest native arts. Vancouver's Chinatown is the second-largest in the world. The waterfront Gastown district recalls the city's colorful past as a premier Pacific port since the days of the Clipper ships.
The town of Whittier is located in the middle of southern Alaska at the top of Passage Canal. The town of Whittier is well known for being ice free year round, marine activities, and port for South-central Alaska. The town is located on a fan-shaped delta that is surrounded by Whittier Creek and a mountain ridge on the eastside. Its shape was derived by the Learnard Glacier, Shakespeare Glacier, and creeks traveling from Portage Pass.