An Alaska cruise is on the bucket list of both seasoned travelers and those just starting to explore the world.
Every year, Holland America Line carries thousands of guests deep into the Frontier State where they get up close to the glorious glaciers, meet fun and fierce creatures and see nature at its finest. This past season, Holland America Line launched the Land+Sea Journeys program, an exciting new approach to the popular CruiseTours.
In 2014, the Land+Sea Journeys run May through September and are simplified with just 12 options ranging in total length from 10 to 20 days in two distinct series: Yukon+Denali Land+Sea Journeys and Denali Land+Sea Journeys. All Land+Sea Journeys combine a three- to seven-night Holland America Line cruise with an overland adventure that includes a one-, two- or three-night stay at Denali National Park as a centerpiece of the Alaska experience.
Part of the enhanced program is ensuring that guests get to see more of Alaska’s and Canada’s interior. To accomplish this, the two-day bus journey and hotel overnight was replaced with one-hour flight connections between Dawson City, Yukon, and Fairbanks, Alaska, featured on all of the Yukon+Denali Land+Sea Journeys itineraries. The flight brings these iconic destinations closer together than they’ve ever been – allowing Holland America Line guests to experience the “must-see” highlights of Alaska and the “seldom seen” wonders of the Yukon with its rich Klondike Gold Rush history.
There’s also a new McKinley Explorer dome rail schedule between Anchorage and Denali that departs later in the morning northbound to Denali and arrives before dinnertime nearly three hours earlier heading southbound to Anchorage, Alaska, giving guests plenty of time to sample some local cuisine in the evening.
To get the most out of the Alaska experience, guests can take advantage of the Triple or Double-Denali Land+Sea Journey that features two or three nights in this exceptional national park. On all Denali Journeys, the guided six- to eight-hour Tundra Wilderness tour is included as a comprehensive overview of Denali National Park with its abundance of wildlife and the opportunity to see Mount McKinley, the highest mountain peak in North America. For adventure-seekers, there also are plenty of optional excursions to go hiking, rafting, flightseeing and fishing.
Guests who also want to see the Yukon in Canada can take a one of five Land+Sea Journeys in the Yukon+Denali series that range in length from 10 to 20 days and travel roundtrip Vancouver, British Columbia, or between Vancouver and Anchorage, Alaska. During these journeys, guests will enjoy scenic cruising throughout the Inside Passage and/or Glacier Bay before calling at Ketchikan, Juneau, Haines or Skagway. In addition to Denali National Park, the overland portion includes Whitehorse, Fairbanks and Dawson.
Another key change to out Alaska program in 2014 is Holland America Line’s acquisition of the McKinley Chalets hotel property at Denali through our subsidiary Holland America–Princess Alaska.
It was announced this fall, and the agreement to purchase McKinley Chalets Hotel is part of an enhancement program that also will see modifications to Holland America Line’s Alaska hotels at Fairbanks, Skagway and Whitehorse. The renovations, which will take place over the next few years, will include extensive room updates and upgrades to soft goods and hotel décor. The acquisition of the McKinley Chalets hotel property at Denali, combined with the company’s existing adjacent property, now gives Holland America Line a 68-acre riverfront campus at the gates of Denali National Park.
Guests looking to take a 2014 Alaska cruise and a Land+Sea Journey can choose an adventure on ms Amsterdam, ms Oosterdam, ms Statendam, ms Volendam, ms Westerdam, ms Zaandam and ms Zuiderdam.
Holland America Line knows what a gem the region is, and now the rest of the world will soon see. Discovery Channel is airing an exciting mini-series starting Jan. 20 called “Klondike” that tells the tale of the gold rush in the Yukon. Guests who take a Denali+Yukon Land+Sea Journey will see this area first-hand.
And if you’re in the New York area, check out the Klondike Times Square Exhibit.
Will you be watching “Klondike?” Let us know what you think after it airs!
To read more from Bill, visit the Q&A session previously featured on the blog.