Alaskan Explorer Cruise
Onboard Holland America's Oosterdam
9 Days | August 17-25, August 24-September 1, or September 21-29, 2019
Starting At $1875
Embark on a convenient roundtrip Seattle adventure, offering spectacular Hubbard Glacier vistas, whale watching and stops in rough hewn Ketchikan and Alaska’s capital, Juneau.
|Cruise Price Includes:
||Ports of Call:
Per Person Prices:
(Based on the September 21 departure)
Interior: $1875 Double…..$3110 SIngle
Oceanview: $2105 Double…..$3565 Single
Balcony: $2415 Double….$4185 Single
Day 1 Arrive Seattle
Today arrive into Seattle. Bounded by the Puget Sound to the west and Lake Washington to the east, and surrounded by forests and mountains, Seattle, Washington boasts a stunning location. But the largest city in the Pacific Northwest is as much an homage to human ingenuity as it is to natural beauty. From logging to shipbuilding to aircraft manufacturing to modern-day software and biotech development, the Emerald City has worn a succession of industrial hats, birthing the likes of Amazon and Starbucks—not to mention music legends Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana—along the way. Transfer via private motorcoach to your downtown Seattle hotel. After hotel check in, the rest of the day is on your own.
Day 2 Board the Oosterdam
Enjoy breakfast this morning at the hotel. There will be time this morning to sightsee on your own around Seattle. Visitors are spoiled for choice of things to do in Seattle, with iconic attractions like the waterfront, Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass and Pike Place Market all easily accessible. “Local” and “sustainable” are words to live by in Seattle, an ethos reflected in the profusion of fresh-seafood restaurants, independent coffee roasters and quirky boutiques that are dotted around the city, awaiting a taste or visit between sightseeing.
Your motorcoach will pick you up this afternoon at your hotel to transfer you to the cruise ship pier. Board Holland America’s Oosterdam and set sail for your 7 night Alaskan Explorer cruise. (B,D)
Day 3 Day at Sea
Today is a day spent at sea. Enjoy exploring the Oosterdam. Holland America Line’s first Vista-class cruise ship, Oosterdam recently had some exciting updates—including completely refreshed suites and new lounge, dining and entertainment venues, such as Music Walk with Lincoln Center Stage, B.B. King’s Blues Club and Billboard Onboard. Guests can choose from among delectable specialty restaurants, hone culinary skills with America’s Test Kitchen and thrill to BBC Earth Experiences. (B,L,D)
Day 4 Scenic Cruising Stephens Passage and Juneau
Stephens Passage is like the best shortcut in the world, a straight line through Southeast Alaska in a landscape that comes with very few straight lines. It’s not only people and ships that use the passage: Concentrated in and around its waters is a greatest hits of Alaskan wildlife, from humpback whales, the whoosh of their breath loud enough to be heard almost a kilometer away, to giant sea lions and their very distinctive smell—well, okay, call it a stink—that can carry just as far. The southern reaches of Stephens Passage start at the edges of Frederick Sound, one of the best whale-watching areas in the state. The sound narrows and as you are funneled into the passage, the mountains come right down into the sea, high tide licking the roots of spruce and hemlock. In tiny bays, guillemots and gulls gather; when they take off at the ship’s wake, the noise is like applause.
After the scenic cruise, arrive in Juneau, Alaska may well be the most remote, most beautiful and strangest state capital in the United States. Surrounded by water, forest and mountain sights, visitors seeking things to do in Juneau indoors and outdoors can hike a glacier, eat fresh-caught fish on a seaside patio and tour a grand capitol building all in one day. The city itself is pleasant, but the real highlight of a visit to Juneau is tracking down some wildlife. You can hike up Mount Roberts to chance upon wild deer and bald eagles. Most sightseeing and whale-watching tours head north to Auke Bay—bring a good pair of binoculars to get the best view of these majestic and surprisingly graceful creatures. If you prefer land mammals, catch a floatplane to a nearby wildlife reserve such as Chichagof or Admiralty Island to spy some bears lolling around. The sleepy, misty city of around 32,000—mostly fishermen and small-business owners—has a frontier town vibe, but welcomes more than a million visitors each summer to its natural attractions, cementing Juneau as Alaska’s number-one tourist destination. (B,L,D)
Day 5 Hubbard Glacier Cruising
Sailors used to worry about falling off the edge of the world. Surely somewhere out there, it all simply stopped, and the only thing left to do would be to fall. But what if you discover that you’ve already fallen, and now you’re trying to get back up? That’s what sailing towards Hubbard Glacier feels like. The glacier is up to 213 feet wide at its face and 164 feet tall, but that’s only the tiniest piece of the ice: The main channel of this frozen river begins 76 miles back, pouring down from around the 11,100-foot mark off the shoulder of Mt. Walsh. Hubbard is the longest tidewater glacier and ends at the ocean in North America. But unlike nearly every other tidewater glacier on the continent, Hubbard is advancing, not retreating; it’s forever pushing a little further into the bay. Chunks of ice that break off become floaties for seals, who like the bergs because orca sonar doesn’t work well among them. The deep blue of the face of the glacier on a sunny day—the color made by compression of ice crystals that can be a foot or more long—is the blue of the furthest stars. The glacier is on the move. (B,L,D)
Day 6 Sitka
The ports of Alaska inspire visions of remote wilderness outposts, legendary gold-rush towns and Native Alaskan villages, all set amid lush forests and frigid, glacier-flanked waters. And while you’ll certainly find these things in and around Sitka, you’ll witness a unique slice of Alaskan history not found anywhere else. Russia controlled Alaska from the mid-1700s until the United States purchased it in 1867, and Sitka was settled as the capital of Russian America under the name New Archangel.
Sailing into Sitka today, you’ll still see vestiges of Russia’s influence, including the unmistakable onion dome of St. Michael’s Cathedral and the Russian Bishop’s House, both National Historic Landmarks. Stop by the visitor center of the Sitka National Historical Park to peruse its interesting collections of Russian and Native Alaskan artifacts, and then join a ranger-led tour of the battlefield where Russia defeated the native Tlingit people.
Sitka also boasts an abundance of epic natural scenery and wildlife. Take a walk up Castle Hill to enjoy an ideal vantage point across the water to the dormant volcano Mount Edgecumbe, and trips to the nearby Fortress of the Bear and the Alaska Raptor Center offer up-close encounters with some of Alaska’s most captivating creatures. (B,L,D)
Day 7 Ketchikan
Alaska’s “First City” of Ketchikan is so named because it’s the first major landfall for most cruisers as they enter the picturesque fjords of the Inside Passage, where the town clings to the banks of the Tongass Narrows, flanked by green forests nurtured by abundant rain.
Ketchikan has long been an important hub of the salmon-fishing and -packing industries—visitors can try their luck on a sportfishing excursion or simply savor the fresh seafood at one of the local restaurants. It is also one of the best spots along the Inside Passage to explore the rich cultural sights of Native Alaskan nations like the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian. You can see intricately carved totem poles at the Totem Heritage Center and Totem Bight State Park, while the attractions of Saxman Village just outside of Ketchikan offers the chance to see Tlingit culture in action, with working carvers and a dance show in the clan house. And leave time to explore the sights in the town itself, including historic Creek Street, a boardwalk built over the Ketchikan Creek, where you can shop for souvenirs, smoked salmon and local art, while exploring gold rush¬–era tourist attractions like Dolly’s House Museum. (B,L,D)
Day 8 Victoria
Of all the cities in Canada, Victoria may be the furthest from Great Britain, but it has the most British vibe. Between sipping afternoon tea, visiting flower gardens and castles and stopping in at pubs, one could easily forget about the Pacific Ocean lapping at the other side of Vancouver Island. The influence of the First Nations culture is also strong here in Victoria, with totem poles taking a front-and-center position on the Inner Harbour and in Beacon Hill Park. Extensive galleries are devoted to the history of the First People at the Royal British Columbia Museum, too, one of Victoria’s top tourist attractions. Other waves of immigration besides that of the English are evident in the streets of Canada’s oldest Chinatown here, as well as on the menus of the city’s many restaurants, pizzerias and tavernas.
Start your visit to Victoria’s sights and attractions at the Inner Harbour. Whale-watching cruises and sightseeing floatplanes take off and return from their excursions here and government buildings, museums, the Visitor Centre and the grand Fairmont Empress provide a dignified welcome. Just around the point, Fisherman’s Wharf offers a lively contrast with working fishing boats, barking harbor seals and busy seafood restaurants serving up the catch of the day. Take time for a jaunt to the famous Butchart Gardens, a truly stunning show garden developed on the site of a depleted quarry. Enjoy afternoon tea or a walk in the park or a shopping trip to Market Square or along Government Street. However you choose to spend your day here or decide where to go in Victoria, the city’s civilized delights will charm you. (B,L,D)
Day 9 Arrive Seattle
Today arrival back into Seattle and depart for home. (B)