By Georgina Cruz
Looking for a cool place to escape the summer heat in the Treasure Coast? You may wish to check out an Alaska cruise –where temperatures typically range in the 50s and 60s –sometimes in the 70s—in the summer and cool, pristine natural beauty surrounds you.
Alaska (or Alyeska, “the Great Land,” as its native peoples called it) has spectacular coasts that can best be explored via cruise ship –with the ship as a comfortable base from which to watch Alaska’s scenic panoramas go by and from which to set out to explore the ports of call. And there is sure plenty to see! Here are just a handful of Alaska’s attributes and superlatives:
— The world`s largest marine highway, the Inside Passage, stretching for more than 1,100 miles from Bellingham, Washington, to Skagway, Alaska.
— More than 50 major glaciers, 1,000 islands and 10,000 miles of shoreline — in Southeast Alaska alone.
— The tallest peak in North America: Mount McKinley.
— The largest national forest in the country, the Tongass National Forest, with more than 16 million acres.
— The highest concentration of brown bears in the world, on Admiralty Island.
— The largest collection of totem poles in the world in Ketchikan.
— The largest gathering of eagles in the world in the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve near Haines, with about
4,000 each winter. The state also boasts the largest concentration of bald eagles: some 15,000.
The natural beauty of Alaska once caused environmentalist John Muir to observe that it is a place to “wash your spirit clean.” Here are two ships that will ply Alaskan waters this summer –Alaska’s cruising season is from May to September. One of the ships caters typically to couples and the other one attracts mostly
- Silver Shadow – Silversea Cruises’ yacht-like Silver
Shadow, with a maximum capacity of 382 guests, features seven-day voyages from Vancouver, Canada to Seward, Alaska and vice-versa this Alaska cruising season. Ports of call include Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Sitka and the ship does scenic cruising at the Hubbard Glacier. Silversea’s clientele consists mostly of well-heeled, well-traveled couples in their 40s to 80s. Accommodations in this ultra-deluxe ship are all suites (with the majority of suites boasting a private veranda) and feature butler service in all. Meals are open seating and feature fare inspired in Relais & Chateaux and wines and other beverages are poured on a complimentary basis. Organized activities including trivia contests, golf putting competions, afternoon musical teas and port lectures are offered during the day and evening programs include musical revues and music for dancing.
Optional excursions include whale watching tours, helicopter flightseeing programs and more. Complimentary transportation into town is offered in most ports and a complimentary train transfer is offered between Seward and Anchorage and vice versa. For guests who have extra time and would like to explore the interior of Alaska and other points of interest in Canada a variety of optional land packages is available and include a program to wildlife-rich Denali National Park. Visit www.silversea.com.
- Disney Wonder – Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder,
the line’s second ship in its fleet of four vessels, is a premium-category cruise ship with capacity for 2,400 passengers. She offers seven-day Alaska cruises this season roundtrip from Vancouver, Canada. The Disney Wonder is a very popular ship with families as she features a robust roster of activities for all ages and extensive supervised facilities for children and teens. Ports of call include Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan and the ship does scenic cruising in Tracy Arm. Disney Cruise Line has announced a new selection of Port Adventures available on Alaska sailings this year. The new excursions offer something for everyone in the family to enjoy, from alpine forest adventures to hands-on experiences showcasing Alaska’s rich heritage. Among new experiences are the Family Gold Exploration and the Mendenhall Glacier and Mine Ruin Exploration in Juneau, during which guests experience an encounter with an eccentric prospector mining the hills. Families trek to the miner’s camp for stories around the campfire, leaving with tips of the trade and a keepsake from the prospector himself. Onboard activities include games, contests, port talks, and more, and entertainment includes lavish production Broadway-style revues with Disney character appearances and variety shows. Accommodations include interior cabins (with a “virtual porthole” with camera-generated views of outside the ship and whimsical Disney characters), ocean-view, cabins with verandas and concierge staterooms with verandas. Visit www.disneycruise.com.