Saturday, August 2, 2014

Alaska and the Yukon - The Journey Begins

Tomorrow we leave on our next adventure, a cruise and land tour of Alaska and the Yukon.  Normally we plan and book our cruises pretty far in advance, but even though this was booked six months ago, it is different in several ways.  First of all, it was an impulse decision.  Just after New Years I received an e-mail advertising this  cruise / land tour, showed it to Val and within two days we had booked it.  The second thing was that we never really wanted to do a land tour, we wanted to explore Alaska on our own, but the itinerary looked interesting and we decided to just do it.

We will once again be cruising with Holland America and this time we will be on the Statendam for the first time.  Since neither of us likes to fly very much we have decide to drive to Vancouver, BC where our trip begins.  Our plan is to arrive in Vancouver a day early and explore the city a bit as we have driven through Vancouver many times, but have never really explored it.  From Vancouver we fly to Whitehorse in the Yukon where our land tour begins.  We will spend 13 days on land visiting Whitehorse, Dawson City, Fairbanks, Denali and Anchorage.  From Anchorage we will travel to Seward to board the ship and start the cruise portion of our journey.  On the ship we will visit Glacier Bay, Haines, Juneau and Ketchikan before sailing through the Inside Passage and returning to Vancouver where our trip began.  On this trip we will be traveling by car, plane, bus, train and ship so I think we have all modes of transportation covered.  Here is a detailed itinerary of our trip from the Holland America website.

Vancouver  - July 8
Overnight at the luxurious Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel
Whitehorse  - July 9
Fly to Whitehorse on Yukon's own Air North and meet your Journey Host to learn about your upcoming adventure
Whitehorse – July 10
Yours to explore - choose from optional excursions such as local sightseeing or wildlife viewing adventures
Dawson City – July 11
Follow the route of Klondike gold stampeders in style to Dawson City, with an included lunch stop in historic Minto
Dawson City – July 12
Today enjoy optional excursions and a nostalgic Yukon River paddle-wheeler cruise aboard the Klondike Spirit
Fairbanks – July 13
Your journey continues as you board a short flight bound for Fairbanks, Alaska's Golden Heart City
Fairbanks – July 14
Take a step back in time aboard the sternwheeler Riverboat Discovery (lunch included), and pan for gold at historic Gold Dredge 8
Today it's off to Denali for a leisurely three night stay at this magnificent national treasure
Venture deep into Denali on the Tundra Wilderness Tour (snack included), the best way to see wildlife and hopefully Mt. McKinley too
Explore on your own or take optional excursions with an entire free day in Denali
Anchorage  - July 18
This morning, board the luxurious domed rail cars of the McKinley Explorer bound for Anchorage
Anchorage  - July 19
Explore on your own or choose an optional excursion in Alaska's largest city before bidding farewell to your Journey Host
Seward  - July 20
Enjoy a scenic rail journey along Turnagain Arm aboard the cruisetrain en route to Seward before embarking your ship
Enjoy a leisurely day of cruising
Glacier Bay  - July 22
Cruise the ice-studded fjords of this national treasure for a full eight hours as a Park Service Ranger narrates
Haines  - July 23
The best of two ports - stay in Haines for an uncrowded experience,
Skagway  - July 24
or go to Skagway for excursions and shopping
Juneau  - July 25
Enjoy a full day of exploring Alaska's capital-choose from exciting shore excursions and still have time to shop
Ketchikan  - July 26
Explore this uniquely Alaskan port, famous for its rich native culture, salmon fishing, and scenic Misty Fjords
At Sea – July 27
Relax and enjoy a full day of scenic Inside Passage cruising and immerse yourself in Holland America Line elegance
Vancouver  - July 28
Your Land + Sea Journey concludes this morning in Vancouver

This looks like a great trip, several of our friends have taken an Alaskan cruise in the last few months and had a great time and I'm sure we will too.

I am writing this the day before we leave, but when you read it, we will already be home.  After my experience with our Chicago trip I know I will not be able to keep up with this on a daily basis while we're traveling so I will keep a journal and publish that, along with some of our pictures when we get home.

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