Alaska: America’s Last Frontier
Updated: Jan 4, 2021
The Land of the Midnight Sun. The Great Land. The Great White North. Alaska is a place of many names. It was called Seward’s Folly when the United States purchased it in 1867 from Russia for an astounding sum of two cents an acre for a total of $7.2 million. Alaska by any other name would still be a spectacular land of adventure and wonder.
The 49th State is six times the size of Texas. This vast expanse is a landscape of three million lakes, three thousand rivers, eighteen hundred islands, seven of the tallest mountains in North America and more than one hundred thousand glaciers. Yet, its enormity is only part of what impresses.
Amid this pristine wilderness, wildlife of every type abounds. Ninety eight per cent of the world’s bear population is found here. Four hundred seventy one species of birds reside in Alaska. And an enormous number of whales, seals and other marine mammals as well as fish call the waters of Alaska home.
Along the coast, mile upon breathtaking mile of glaciers tower above the icy waters, breaking off to form mammoth icebergs with a thunderous crash into the sea. Whales leap out of the frigid depths only to plunge back in a spray of white foam. As bald eagles circle overhead and Dall sheep hug the mountain ledges, seals and sea lions lounge on floating ice basking in the sunlight.
Inland, Alaska offers an array of sights that defy description. Reaching McKinley National Park via glass domed rail cars or motor coaches, visitors are enthralled by the soul searing beauty. Dense forests, vibrant plush tundra, cascading streams, snow-capped mountains, crystal clear blue skies reflected in pools of heaven kissed lakes are but a few treasures found in this six million acre wilderness.
Cultural and historical experiences flourish in Alaska as well. Legends and lore of the native tribes are artistically portrayed by music, stories and totems. The pioneers of old come alive along the gold rush trails of 1898. Partake of the raw splendor depicted in literature by authors Robert Service and Jack London. The thrill of observing up close Alaska’s favorite sport of dog sledding cannot be equaled.
Speaking of dog sledding, Alaska interests her visitors with activities that range from the mild to the wild. From simply taking in the view from the deck of a cruise ship to helicoptering down onto a glacier, there’s adventure for all tastes and levels of ability. Enjoy learning from naturalists and native storytellers. Visits historical towns and sites as Sitka, Ketchikan and Fairbanks. Venture further into the Yukon and Canadian Rockies. The options are infinite and remarkable….
The awe inspiring fore mentioned opportunities awaiting you in Alaska are but a few of the places that beckon tourists during the short mid-May to mid-September season. Alaska tourism has been booming, according to the Alaska Travel Industry Association. All segments were up in 2019, with cruises especially strong (1,331,600 passengers from May to September 2019, 163,000 more than in 2018).
When you’re planning to visit the Great Land of Alaska, deciding how you will get there is no small feat. Do you want to travel in first-class, intimate luxury or do you prefer a more informal, relaxed, action environment? Do you explore the Alaskan shore or the inland territory? Should you travel along the coast or the Inside Passage? Are you looking for up-close wilderness experiences or unmatched contact with indigenous peoples?
Cruise tours provide the best of both worlds. Combine a seven-night Alaska cruise with a three to nine night stay on land. Cruise lines such as Holland America, Princess, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean and Seabourn offer an abundant and diverse selection of cruise tour combinations that can fit any preference and travel time.
With all of these choices, all you have to do is decide what you want to see and where you want to go.
Allow an Alaska cruise tour professional to assist you with planning your Alaska vacation. By doing so, you take advantage of our incomparable knowledge and expertise. Get to know America’s Last Frontier as few do.
“It’s the great, big, broad land ‘way up yonder,
It’s the forests where silence has lease;
It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.”
---Robert Service, Spell of the Yukon
About the writer:
Nancy Holmes Ploener is a Luxury Cruise Advisor with Suite Dream Cruises, LLC, an affiliate of Gifted Travel Network- a Virtuoso member agency. She works one-on-one with clients who want to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. Her specialty is helping her clients see the world from the vantage of luxury cruising.