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HOLLAND AMERICA STATENDAM
Alaska: Glacier Discovery Cruise
Experience your dream-come-true vacation cruise to the rustic towns and glacier-filled waterways of the state they call The Last Frontier: ALASKA!
Vancouver, BC, Canada - Our cruise began in Vancouver. We spent four fun-filled days there before our cruise even started. If you can spend a week or even a day in Vancouver before or after your cruise, do it! You will not be disappointed. This city of one-half million residents is the largest in British Columbia and has one of the mildest climates in Canada. It is surrounded on three sides by water and sits nestled against the Coast Mountain Range. The views are stunning.
Stanley Park covers 1000 acres in the heart of this energetic town and Vancouver's Chinatown is the second largest in North America. There are eleven miles of coastal beaches to enjoy including a clothing-optional Wreck Beach for those who enjoy European sunbathing. Totem poles can be found throughout the city telling the stories and history of the people. Whether you take a short drive to the mountains for a panoramic view or spend your time visiting the many museums, art galleries, theaters, and parks, Vancouver has something for everyone.
Ketchikan, Alaska - Known as Alaska's first city, with a population of 13,700 year-round residents, Ketchikan is known as one of America's top, small arts communities with shops and galleries featuring local artists. The city is built over the water with weathered wooden stairways and walkways clinging to the dark and rocky hillside. Be sure to visit Creek Street and the historic redlight district where "ladies" in period clothing will entice you from the windows and doorways of vintage "establishments." We also enjoyed the horse-drawn trolley tour around the town. The guides are both informative and amusing. Don't let the daily rain stop you from having fun. It is all part of the Alaska experience.
Juneau, Alaska - Juneau was founded as a gold-mining camp and even today has no highway access to the rest of Alaska even though it is the state's capital! Our guide told us that Juneau schoolchildren even have to fly to their "away" sports games. The historic downtown, whales swimming just offshore, and world-famous Red Dog Saloon offer photo opp after photo opp but the Mendenhall Glacier, just 12 miles away is the major Juneau attraction. The Mendenhall Glacier Blue Glacier Express buses run from downtown to the glacier visitor center every half hour. From the visitor center, the gigantic glacier appears close enough to swim to.
Skagway, Alaska - Skagway may be the country’s best preserved Gold Rush town. The park service rescued 15 buildings from the Gold Rush era. The most famous building is the Arctic Brotherhood Hall. Just 23 blocks long and 4 blocks wide, Skagway gives you an idea of what 1800s Alaskan life might have been. The year round population of only 800 hosts over 500,000 tourists each year. Walk the boardwalks, tour the buildings, smell the lilacs or take a day trip on the turn of the century parlor cars of the Narrow-Gauge White Pass and Yukon Railroad that climbs from sea level to 2865 feet.
Glacier Bay – Glacier Bay is THE place to witness glacier calving. It has more calving than any other place in the world. It is truly a pleasure to see chunks of ice as big as a house calve off and fall to the water below with a thunderous roar and incredible splash. Dress warmly and plan to spend the day on deck with your camera.
College Fjords - College Fjords features glaciers that flow down 3700 feet to a mile from the mountains to the sea below and tower over you as you view from the ship’s deck. The fjord contains five tidewater glaciers, five large valley glaciers, and dozens of small glaciers. Glaciers on the left are named for women’s colleges and glaciers on the right are named for men’s colleges. This is a great place to see sea otters and harbor seals swimming or napping on the ice chunks passing by the ship.
Seward, Alaska / Alaska Railroad Cruise Train – Our cruise ended in Seward so we purchased tickets aboard the Alaska Railroad Coastal Cruise Train that runs daily between Seward and Anchorage. The four hour train ride was spectacular. The picturesque dome car offers great panoramic windows from your private table as you pass the Resurrection River Divide, Lower Trail Lake,Moose Pass, canyons, waterfalls and glaciers on your way to Anchorage. This was definitely a highlight of our Alaskan adventure and we highly recommend adding this to your vacation experience.
Anchorage, Alaska – Located on the Cook Inlet and surrounded by the Chugach Mountains, Anchorage is Alaska’s transportation hub. Filled with restaurants, saloons, museums, art galleries, the Alaska Native Heritage Center, and shore excursions from fishing, to glacier boat cruises to flightseeing to bear viewing, Anchorage is a big city with a small-town feel.
Holland America HMS Statendam - Our experience aboard the HMS Statendam was excellent. Captain Arnold was the most visible and personable Master we have encountered. He personally greeted each guest, hosted birthday parties, attended Lido Deck concerts, made drinks for passengers in the Crow's Nest, and willingly shared his vast knowledge with anyone who asked. The 720 foot ship is designed for fewer passengers in greater comfort. The Pinnacle Grill made us excellent steaks and the food in the dining room and buffet were very good as well. This ship offers many good places on deck for viewing the wonders of an Alaskan cruise.
Click here to watch our video >> Holland America Glacier Discovery Video
We were the guests of the Holland America Statendam and the Alaska Railroad Cruise Train in 2009.
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