Ships and Trains and Dogsleds — Oh My!

See Alaska in depth on a Land & Sea Vacation package.

Princess Cruises Alaska land and sea packages offer unrivaled glacier viewing opportunities

Princess Cruises’ 2017 Alaska land and sea packages offer unrivaled glacier viewing opportunities

Photo Credit: Danny Lehman

The first time I cruised Alaska—in 1988, at a time when only two cruise lines regularly offered cruises to Alaska—I sailed the Inside Passage on a Princess Cruises® ship. I marveled at the wide blue and white expanse, the wildlife and the history of the Alaska Natives. Highlights included a helicopter ride to Mendenhall Glacier, where we stomped around in our moon boots and slickers and experienced real quiet; and a magical Zodiac ride through a bald eagle preserve, on which we gazed skyward for a glimpse of the majestic birds and their nests.

All of that is still possible. But now Princess Cruises, which has been offering cruises to Alaska since 1969, has opened up the rest of the 49th state with extensive Alaska land and sea packages. That means your inner adventurer can get up close and personal with the great outdoors and with wildlife like bears, moose and caribou.

Imagine this enhanced vacation: First, you take the line’s signature seven-night “Voyage of the Glaciers” cruise between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Whittier, Alaska. This popular Gulf of Alaska cruise features two glacier-viewing experiences, visits to the UNESCO-protected Glacier Bay National Park, plus a stop either in College Fjord or at the Hubbard Glacier. Ports include Juneau, the gateway to the Mendenhall Glacier; Ketchikan, home to the world’s largest collection of totem poles; and Skagway, which is rich in gold rush history.

Throughout your week aboard the Coral Princess®, Star Princess® or Island Princess®, you’ll enjoy immersive onboard culinary and cultural experiences. In 2017, you can take advantage of the new Cook My Catch program, which allows you to return from a fishing excursion and have the chef prepare your catch; get cuddly at Puppies in the Piazza, where real sled dog puppies are brought on board for snuggling; and learn about the Last Frontier via lectures by naturalists and park rangers.

Scenic rail travel through the wilderness is a captivating part of an Alaska land and sea package vacation.

Scenic rail travel through the wilderness is a captivating part of an Alaska land and sea package vacation.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Princess Cruises

Then, instead of disembarking and heading straight to the airport, you continue your Alaska land and sea package vacation as you head north via the line’s exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness® domed rail service for three- to six-day stays at its premier wilderness lodges, Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge,® your gateway to six-million acre Denali National Park, and Mount McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge,® where you can view soaring 20,310-foot Denali—North America’s tallest peak.

Excursions from your land bases include a wildlife safari, a round of golf in the midnight sun, a trip to an Iditarod champion’s dog kennel, and a visit to Alaska’s largest museum, in Anchorage.

If you prefer to travel independently after your cruise, Princess offers the On Your Own option, which lets you custom-design your exploration the heart of Alaska.

Now is the perfect time to plan your Alaska cruise for next cruise season (May through September). Call 877-396-7159 to talk to a AAA Travel Counselor about Princess Land & Sea Vacations available in 2017.

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Janice Yip-Hudson, AAA Travel Counselor, Daly City, Calif.

Today, people's lives are so busy. We're thinking three days ahead just to get through our to-do lists. I love helping my clients plan vacations where they have nothing to do but relax; where time stands still, and you're just on vacation.

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