DESPITE A SHORT SAILING SEASON (May through September), Alaska attracts a million cruise passengers annually, ranking it among the five most popular cruise destinations in the world. Most lines plying Alaskan waters sell out far in advance, and that’s true for the two largest operators in the 49th state, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises. Headquartered in Seattle and Santa Clarita, California, respectively, these two lines handle a quarter-million Alaska visitors yearly, employing mid-sized, full-service ships that hit the highlights of Southeast Alaska’s virtually roadless 1,000-mile-long Inside Passage. This seashore gallery is rife with monumental glaciers and fjords, towering snowy peaks and abundant wildlife; and its rustic ports retain elements of their Native American and pioneer heritages.
Departing primarily from Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, Princess and Holland America assign about half their fleets to Alaska each summer. But what really sets these two lines apart is their land tours, which seamlessly extend a standard seven-day cruise into an overland exploration of interior attractions including Denali, America’s tallest peak. Princess owns five lodges, 10 deluxe train cars and 359 motor coaches in Alaska. Holland America, Alaska’s largest private employer, boasts similar land operations that roam as far as the fabled Yukon. Holland America is the more traditional and premium of these two operators, while Princess carries the most passengers of any cruise line in Alaskan waters.
Alaskan cruising attracts some of the world’s largest ships, including Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Bliss (4,004 passengers) and Royal Caribbean International’s Ovation of the Seas (4,180 passengers). Disney Cruises also ventures up north, with onboard parka-clad cartoon characters a big hit with kids.
Passengers seeking higher-end, all-inclusive, smaller and far pricier luxury cruises have some stylish options in Alaska as well. Windstar Cruises’ 212-passenger Star Legend will run a score of 12-day upscale adventure cruises between Seward and Vancouver in 2019. Silversea Cruises’ 16 Alaskan sailings cover the same waters starting May 27. Crystal Cruises’ 848-passenger Crystal Symphony sails the Inside Passage from Vancouver with National Geographic experts on its expedition team, and Seabourn Cruise Line’s 462-passenger Seabourn Sojourn serves up eight Alaskan cruises, each with a Caviar on the Ice deck party.
For adventure cruising on even smaller boutique ships, UnCruise Adventures fits the bill. Its yachts (22–90 passengers) make 142 departures on 11 itineraries from Seattle and points in Alaska, providing guided hikes and kayak trips in spectacular Glacier Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site. In 2019 UnCruise’s first departure is early — April 6 — and its last is late: Sept. 28, constituting the longest season in the industry.
Whatever the size or style, Alaskan cruises — with calving glaciers and breaching whales — are well north of ordinary and well worth sailing.
United Airlines is making its MileagePlus program more flexible for its frequent-flyer customers in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and global travel restrictions.
Looking for a truly unique travel experience and considering a new vehicle? The Volvo Overseas Delivery Program is the perfect solution to create your own adventure of a lifetime. Volvo allows you to custom order your new automobile tailored to fit your needs and desires. They will fly you to Sweden to pick up your Volvo so you can drive and explore Scandinavia and Europe on your terms for up to two weeks.
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
Hamilton Hotel, in downtown Washington, D.C., offers its rooms for use as home offices for people who need safe, clean work environments outside of their home. Guests can make booking by calling the hotel directly at 202.682.0111.
While we wait patiently for the go-ahead to travel, Crystal Cruises offers some home-bound programming with [email protected]. The virtual cruise experience was created to appease the wandering traveler’s eye and inspire future vacation plans, all from the comfort of home — a growing theme in the industry, but a novel idea in the cruising world.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
A new report shows the country’s most miserable airports: Newark (EWR), Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and LaGuardia (LGA) rank near the top of the list.