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Sunday, February 11, 2007

New Shore Excursions Connects Travelers With The Real Alaska

Some of our favorite shore excursions for cruise and cruisetour guests.


Whether you long to glide along the Alaskan coastline in a 20-foot open-air fishing boat, travel by float plane to Anan Creek for a once-in-a-lifetime bear-viewing, or explore the wines and cheeses of British Columbia’s Fraser Valley, taking an Alaska shore excursion is an ideal way to complement a cruise or cruisetour itinerary through the Land of the Midnight Sun. Most excursions are suitable for families and many are available for guests with disabilities.

Some of our favorites include Helicopter Flightseeing & Glacier Trek; Musher’s Camp and Dog Sled Adventure; Alaska Bear Adventure by Floatplane; Tatoosh Islands Sea Kayaking; and the Eagle Preserve Float Adventure - a float trip through the world famous Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. If you are visiting the Yukon, take the opportunity to explore majestic Kluane National Park by foot, cultural cruise, fishing tour or river rafting, and rugged Tombstone Territorial Park, by motor vehicle or hiking one of three trails with a guide. For Cruisetour guests seeking an authentic Alaska experience, the Anaktuvuk Pass Adventure, takes guests to the remote Nunamiut Eskimo village of Anaktuvuk to discover their way of life. This excursion is available as a post-tour from Fairbanks.

Here are more of our favorite and unique shore excursions....


Juneau, Alaska

Dog Sled Summer Camp - Visitors have the chance to learn about Alaska’s state sport, dog mushing, as they view an exact replica of an Iditarod Race checkpoint and experience the thrill of riding behind a team of highly trained Alaska huskies in a wheeled summertime training sled.

Rainforest Canopy & Zipline Expedition - A thrilling opportunity to enjoy gliding among the rainforest treetops along more than 6,000 feet of ziplines through an old mining area. The adventure also includes crossing aerial suspension bridges with breathtaking views.

Mountain Zip & Rainforest Bike Ride (Princess Exclusive) - A unique eco-adventure combining the thrill of gliding from tree to tree, suspended over the lush rainforest, with an exhilarating downhill bicycle ride through the Tongass National Forest.

Mendenhall Glacier Explorer - An opportunity to enjoy an extended visit to Juneau’s marquee attraction, the famous Mendenhall Glacier. The excursion offers visitors the most time at the glacier of any tour, allowing extra time to learn about the dramatic beauty of the Juneau Icefield.

Ketchikan, Alaska

Anan Creek Bear Watch – Nature lovers can travel by float plane to one of the only places in the world to watch – and photograph – both brown and black bears feeding on salmon. Guests also may spy bald eagles perching in the surrounding trees waiting for scraps left by the bears, seals feeding on the harvest in the lagoon, and mink, marten and wolf wending their way through the wilderness.

Exclusive Skiff Touring – Guests can get closer to the beauty of Alaska aboard a private 20-foot, open-air skiff and customize the Alaskan adventure of their dreams, whether that includes fishing for salmon, halibut, or crab; scouting for wildlife; or hiking the ancient forest. A personal guide navigates and narrates, taking travelers to special, out-of-the-way places favored by the locals.

Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s Tour – Guests set sail on the same vessel seen on the Discovery Channel's™ popular Deadliest Catch™ program, modified for safety and comfort, on the calm, protected seas of southeast Alaska. Seasoned fishermen share their stories of the Bering Sea and its plentiful catches. As lines are pulled up, species brought to the surface are placed in a live tank for observation or gently released back into the wild.

Historical Steam Paddle Wheel Waterfront Cruise – Guests who board an authentic steam-powered sternwheeler are transported back in time to the days of gold fever. Steam engines from 1884 power the paddle wheel, musicians dressed in period-wear entertain, and a naturalist reviews the area’s history, including Creek Street, the town’s former red light district, and Whiskey Cove, where rumrunners hid their whiskey during prohibition.

Totem Bight State Park and Lumberjack Show – This tour combines Southeast Alaska’s rich native heritage and the rough-and-tumble pursuits of hardy pioneers. At The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, lumberjacks put their skills to the test in an action-packed competition. Guests also visit Totem Bight State Park and walk through a hemlock forest to an old Indian campsite filled with ancient totem poles.

Totems, Native Heritage and City Highlights – This tour combines the best of Ketchikan’s culturally rich heritage, natural beauty and bawdy past. It includes visits to Potlatch Totem Park, where indigenous natives first settled; Deer Mountain Eagle Center, which features storytelling, totems, a bonded pair of American Bald Eagles and other birds of prey; and visits to the Creek Street haunts of bootleggers and gamblers.

Neets Bay Bear Cruise (Princess Exclusive) - Passengers travel in a unique high-speed boat on a search for great views of black bears feasting on spawning salmon in remote Neets Bay. Visitors may also spot whales, porpoises, seals, eagles and a variety of seabirds in these nature-rich waters.

Remote Beach Trek (Princess Exclusive) - Visitors journey to a remote beach aboard a one-of-a-kind high-speed landing craft. Customized to take advantage of the day’s best locations, the excursion features a naturalist-led tour of the rich natural life found along the shoreline.

Paddle Wheel Waterfront Cruise - The authentic stern-wheeler “Alaska Queen” takes visitors on an entertaining cruise along Ketchikan’s active and historic waterfront for a journey back in time.

Potlatch Park & Heritage Tour - A comprehensive tour of Ketchikan’s cultural riches, including a re-created 19th-century Alaska Native village at Potlach Park. This new attraction features beautifully carved totem poles and a clan house depicting how Natives lived in the 1800s.

Skagway, Alaska

White Pass Railway and City Highlights – Guests board an 1890's-style parlor car and retrace early gold seekers’ original route – built over 100 years ago – up to the Yukon’s White Pass Summit in Fraser, British Columbia. Other highlights include the historical areas of Brackett Wagon Road, Pitch Fork Falls, Dead Horse Gulch, the Tormented Valley, downtown Skagway and the Gold Rush Cemetery.

Yukon Exploration – Guests travel into the Yukon by deluxe motorcoach along the historic Trail of 98 Degrees to the White Pass Summit and into the Yukon. This excursion features visits to Moore Bridge, Bove Island, Tormented Valley, and Carcross, and a photo-op at the “Welcome to the Yukon” sign. A stop at Caribou Crossing Trading Post includes lunch and a visit with Yukon Quest mushers and their playful pups.

Yukon Exploration and Suspension Bridge – This excursion includes the same features as the Yukon Exploration excursion, but also features a stop at the Yukon Suspension Bridge, located above the rapids of the Tutshi River. Guests experience jaw-dropping views when traversing the bridge at nearly 57 feet above the rapids.

White Pass Bennett Lake Adventure - A one-of-a-kind adventure to a historic outpost of the Klondike Gold Rush. Limited to small groups, this tour features transportation on the famed White Pass & Yukon Route railroad to the abandoned town of Bennett, once a vital stop for gold seekers, where participants can step back in time and enjoy a hearty prospector’s meal.

Glacier Discovery By Helicopter - An extended glacier discovery with flight routes and landing zones that are customized daily to ensure the best tour for the day’s conditions. Participants may explore Chilkat Glacier, Ferebee Glacier or Meade Glacier on an unforgettable walking tour.

Klondike Summit, Suspension Bridge & Salmon Bake - A chance to experience the heights of the Klondike Summit, take in the natural beauty of the area and the churning Tutshi River at the Klondike Suspension Bridge, and enjoy an Alaskan-style feast at a salmon bake.

Garden City Highlights - Discover why Skagway is known as Alaska’s Garden City with visits to two unique attractions: the new Skagway Sculpture and Flower Garden - where participants can reflect on a million-dollar collection of artwork from some of America’s finest sculptors in a Zen-like environment - and Jewell Gardens, the town’s dazzling organic show garden.

Icy Strait Point, Alaska

Hoonah Sightseeing and Tribal Dance – Hoonah is Alaska’s largest Tlingit village, and this excursion offers guests the opportunity to glimpse authentic Alaska life. A local guide details the experiences of Huna Tlingits who were forced from their ancestral lands of Glacier Bay by the advancing glaciers, those who lived through the epic fire of 1944 that burned the entire village to the ground, and more. At the Native Heritage Center Theater, the Huna Tlingit perform and dance in their colorful regalia, proudly sharing their history through interpretive song, dance and storytelling.

Victoria, British Colombia

City Lights, Wine & Chocolate - Golden Princess passengers can make the most of their evening in Victoria and savor the city’s nighttime views along with a visit to Church & State Wines to sample local wines paired with exquisite chocolate truffles.

Heritage Highlights by Vintage Car - An opportunity to explore Victoria’s fascinating historic downtown, neighborhoods and major sites in style from the comfort of a restored vintage car, complete with chauffeur

Vancouver, British Columbia

Chef and Chauffeur with Airport Drop-off – After debarking the ship and claiming their luggage, guests embark on a culinary adventure through some of the best food and wine experiences that the Fraser Valley has to offer. This first-class culinary adventure includes secrets gleaned from trail-blazing local chefs, farmers, fishermen, winemakers and cheese artisans, all of whom produce common things uncommonly well. Farms and vineyards include Swift Aqua Culture, Farmhouse Natural Cheeses, Limbert Mountain Farm, Fort Wine Company, and either Vista D' Oro or Domaine de Chaberton. An al fresco gourmet lunch is included.

Private Excursions

Looking for something really special? Then a private excursion might be what you wnat to consider. Prive excursions options include a Custom Hummer Adventure in Juneau or Ketchikan; an Exclusive Ketchikan by Land option with transportation in a private stretch SUV; Exclusive Ketchikan by Sea with a private 20-foot custom-built open-air skiff; Exclusive Ketchikan by Air with travel by private floatplane; Skagway’s Custom Classic Cars where passengers will explore in a restored vintage Cadillac; and the Alaska Up-Close Exclusive Cruise Adventure in Sitka while sailing aboard a new 30-foot catamaran. Each tour includes the services of a private guide/chauffeur who will lend local expertise and suggest possible routes. Tours can accommodate between four and 10 guests, depending on the excursion.

For more infomation on Alaska Shore Excursions, Alaska Cruises and Cruisetours visit www.alaskacruisetoursonline.com or www.cruisetravelermagazine.com


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