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2018 Cruise Tour Dates
June 3-13 . . . June 18-30 . . . July 30-Aug 11 . . . Aug 8-18
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Day 1 – Arrive Anchorage All groups on Southbound Cruise Tours will arrive in Anchorage on this day and will transfer to the Hotel Captain Cook for overnight lodging.
Day 2 – McKinley Wilderness Lodge This morning after breakfast, you will depart your hotel in Anchorage and travel by scenic motor coach to the Mt McKinley Wilderness Lodge. You’ll find towering Mt. McKinley and the Alaska Range simply stunning. The lodge is located approximately one hour from the town of Talkeetna, which is nestled at the base of Mt. McKinley and is also home to the Talkeetna, Chulitna & Susitna Rivers. Some residents say Talkeetna means “Where three rivers meet” but established in 1919 Talkeetna is now more known as the base camp for climbers preparing for their attempt to ascend Denali. The evening here is yours to spend at your own pace. Your Princess Tour manager will see to your comfort and point out the sights as you travel and provide you options for meals and sightseeing during your travel and on arrival at the lodge.
Day 3- Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge
This morning is free to relax or opt for an excursion in the park. Then, take a scenic motorcoach journey to Denali National Park and check in to the beautiful Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge. The name ”Denali” means ”The Great One” in the native Athabascan language. At 20,320 feet above sea level, Denali is the highest peak in North America and is surrounded by one of the world’s most spectacular wildlife sanctuaries. Denali National Park is home to many types of wildlife including caribou, moose, wolves, Dall sheep, bald eagles, and the mighty grizzly bears. Enjoy a scenic float down the Nenana River or an exhilarating jetboat safari. Hike in the back country, hoot and holler at the Music of Denali Dinner Theatre, or visit an Iditarod champion’s dog kennel and hold the puppies!
Day 4 – Alaska Railroad to Whittier – Board Princess Cruise Ship This morning, you board the Direct to the Wilderness rail from Talkeetna to Whittier where you board your Princess Cruie Ship. Open-air viewing platforms on the train allow you to step outdoors for the perfect snapshot or breathe of fresh air. Dining choices include an elegant dining salon with picture windows and a menu of tasty Alaskan specialties or a club car serving delicious snacks and beverages in a more casual setting. Upon arrival into Whittier, step out of the rail car and onto your awaiting cruise ship. You set sail this evening. 11 Night Cruises have two nights at Denali Princess Wilderness Lode and The Natural History is included.
Day 5 – Scenic Cruising – Hubbard Glacier
Nicknamed the “Galloping Glacier,” this east Alaskan glacier is rapidly advancing toward the Gulf of Alaska into a pristine area known as Disenchantment Bay. It is the largest tidewater glacier in North America, Hubbard Glacier measures 76 miles long and plunges 1,200 feet into the depths of the bay. Its immense beauty and phenomenal blue hues are enchanting, even from afar. But it’s when your cruise ship draws closer that its towering surface really impresses, dwarfing even the uppermost deck on your ship at a whopping 40 stories high. There, with the snow capped mountains serving as a glorious backdrop, you’ll have a prime viewing spot from which to witness the glacier calving, as it often expels icebergs the size of 10-story buildings-imagine the splash! The area around Hubbard Glacier is also renowned for its wildlife, where whales, harbor seals and otters swim, brown bears, moose and black-tailed deer roam ashore, and a wide variety of seabirds soar gracefully across the sky.
Day 6 – Scenic Cruising – Glacier Bay National Park
Princess is one of a select few cruise lines permitted to cruise the pristine waters of Glacier Bay. Just west of Juneau, this breathtaking national park and preserve boasts some of the world’s most spectacular tidewater glaciers, such as Margerie Glacier, which often drops colossal chunks of ice into the sea. During your scenic cruise, friendly Park Rangers will join the ship to share their knowledge of this amazing place. They may even be able to help you identify Glacier Bay’s abundant wildlife, including humpback whales, sea otters, porpoises, harbor seals, black bears, mountain goats, bald eagles and large colonies of seabirds. Take in the awe-inspiring scenery as you enjoy an unforgettable day of sailing through this dazzling park, where you’ll glide along emerald waters and past calving icebergs, and can breathe in the crisp, fresh air to your heart’s content.
Day 7 – Port of Call – Skagway, Alaska
Skagway was the gateway to the gold fields for the thousands who flocked to Alaska and the Yukon with the hope of striking it rich. Skagway may have boasted the shortest route to the Klondike, but it wasn’t the easiest. Over 100 years ago, the White Pass route through the Coast Mountains and the shorter but steeper Chilkoot Trail were used by countless stampeders. Many a would-be miner perished on the treacherous Chilkoot Trail. The gold rush was a boon and by 1898, Skagway was Alaska’s largest town with a population of about 20,000. Hotels, saloons, dance halls and gambling houses prospered. But when the gold yield dwindled in 1900, so did the population as miners quickly shifted to new finds in Nome. Today, Skagway has less than 1,000 residents. It still retains the flavor of the gold rush era.
Day 8 – Alaska’s Capitol City – Juneau
In 1880, it was slow going for Joe Juneau and Richard Harris as they searched for gold with the help of Native guides. After climbing mountains, forging streams and facing countless difficulties, they found nuggets “as large as beans.” From their discovery came three of the largest gold mines in the world. By the end of World War II, more than $150 million in gold had been mined. Eventually the mines closed, but the town Joe Juneau founded became the capital of Alaska and the business of gold was replaced by the business of government. Some 30,000 people live in Juneau. Its total area makes it one of the biggest towns, in size, in the world. Today Juneau is famous not only for gold and government but also for its breathtakingly beautiful glaciers and stunning views of both water and mountains.
Day 9 – In Port: Ketchikan, Alaska
Ketchikan is known as Alaska’s “First City” because it’s the first major community travelers come to as they journey north. Located on an island, it began life as an Indian fishing camp. The name Ketchikan comes from a Tlingit phrase that means “eagle with spread-out wings,” a reference to a waterfall near town. In the early 1900s, when gold was Alaska’s claim to fame, fishing and timber industries were established here. The growth of these industries helped make this Inside Passage port Alaska’s fourth-largest city. Ketchikan has the world’s oldest collection of totem poles at Totem Heritage Center. With its abundance of salmon it is also a sportfishing paradise. Sightseers are impressed with both the scenic town and its surroundings.
Day 10 – Scenic Cruising – The Inside Passage
Today you have time to enjoy the ship – from duty free shopping to the fitness center – to the many dining options available. Relax at beautifully appointed Solarium or try your luck at the Casino. You will also want to spend time on deck and enjoy the beauty of the Inside Passage, watch for whales and sea lions, enjoy views of the forested shore line and passing islands as you cruise south and back to the Lower 48.
Day 11 – Vancouver and Depart for Home This morning, arrive into Vancouver and disembark the ship. Transfers will be provided by the cruise line to the airport where you will board your flight back home.