The remoteness of Alaska’s wilderness is the major drawcard for cruisers.
A seven-day cruise with Holland America Line aboard the newly refurbished Westerdam is one of the best ways to see the highlights of the wild country.
The voyage, which departs from Vancouver, first sails through Alaska’s picturesque Inside Passage. This spectacular network of protected waterways is visually stunning as the ship plies through the glacier covered fjords. Sailing this passage way offers guests the opportunities to see some of Alaska’s best wildlife – everything from humpback whales, orcas, bald eagles as well as brown bears plodding along on the shoreline.
There are a number of ports of call where guests can visit some sites that show Alaska’s colourful history. Places such as Sitka have monuments like an onion-domed church which marks Russia’s onetime foothold in the Americas, juxtaposed with Native American totems and art galleries.
Next, it’s onto Tracy Arm, a fjord near Juneau named where steep cliffs and snow-capped mountains surround the stunning region. Because of the lush rainforest which creep to the banks of the inlet, visitors often see bears and mountain goats roaming the area. It’s also the place to watch chubby baby seals resting and waiting for their mothers on the ice floes.
This is also the place to see the magnificent twin Sawyer Glacier.
Other ports of call on this epic journey include a visit to Juneau, the capital of Alaska. The misty city only has a population of around 32,000 residents – mainly fishermen and small business owners – but now welcomes more than a million cruise tourists a year. It’s a the prime place for hiking trails and often, hikers will find bald eagles soaring above them or shy deer wandering through the forest.
Also, on the itinerary is Skagway, a town which served as the primary gateway to the legendary gold fields. It was once a raucous hub packed with trading posts, saloons and guesthouses. But as the gold rush came to a close, Skagway became a quiet town. Today, it’s a major tourist destination. The city has preserved much of its past and it is one of the best places to sample Alaskan seafood.
Speaking of seafood, one of the final stops of the voyage is a visit to Ketchikan, famous for its salmon-fishing and packing industries. It’s the place for visitors to try sport fishing like the locals do or try some of the specialty seafood restaurants.
After a day of exploring, the Westerdam offers guests a haven of premium luxury and a place to relax. The ship has refurbished suites in rich gold and blue hues. From an interior cabin, to the Pinnacle Suite, all are well appointed and comfortable.
Guests won’t be short of entertainment. Holland America has the exclusive Lincoln Centre Stage which showcases live chamber music performances, as well as the B.B King’s All-Stars Band which brings the best of Memphis blues music at sea.
Seeing the wonderful sights of Alaska onboard the Westerdam, is an unforgettable holiday.