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Thanks to movies and television, the United States may be the one country anyone in the world is familiar with. And yet, all the films and shows ever made cannot even begin to fully capture what this country is all about. After all, with 50 states flanked by two oceans and covering an incredibly varied terrain, the country is too large a place to explore. In fact, with all the different peoples who have come to this “New World” in search of the American Dream, the US is simply a larger-than-life melting pot. From endless desert to soaring mountains, centuries-old towns to bustling cities, the US always has something cookin’.

Anchorage

The largest city in Alaska and a great introduction to the state. No wonder many cruisetours begin and end in this major metropolis.

Attractions
  • The state-of-the-art Alaska Native Heritage Center - with its own smokehouse, a carving center, and traditional village structures and other features introducing you to native Alaskan culture.
  • Resolution Park for a breathtaking view of the Talkeetnas and the snow-covered Alsaka Range.
  • The Imaginarium, the award-winning, hands-on science center to learn about the Northern Lights, oil exploration, bears and other local features.
  • The tiny town of Whittier for a glimpse of untamed Alaska. It’s at the base of the Chugach Mountains, in the shadow of a towering glacier and surrounded by snowcapped peaks.

College Fjord

This fjord is famous for some of the most impressive and certainly the largest tidewater glacier collection in the world. Winding down from mountains and through valleys and fjords, these massive rivers of ice are often on the move, periodically dropping their bounty into the sea.

Attractions
  • Prince William Sound, 3,000 miles of shoreline for one of the most scenic archipelagoes of tidewater glaciers in the world. Witness Glacier Calving, when the mammoth glaciers (some several hundred years old) shed enormous chunks of ice, making a thundering noise as it crashes into the sea. Prince William Sound also hosts the largest gathering of migratory birds and a wealth of marine wildlife, including Humpback Whales.

Denali

This city is best known for Denali National Park, Alaska's most popular destination, an area just slightly larger than the entire state of Massachusetts that is filled with wildlife. It’s your chance to see nature in the wild: spot a bear loping across the tundra or a moose silently grazing.

Attractions
  • The Denali Natural History Tour or The Tundra Wildness Tour for a bit of adventure, history and wildlife.
  • More adventure via whitewater rafting, helicopter flightseeing or even heli-hiking, where you’re airlifted to a remote location by helicopter and then hike in the wilderness.

Fairbanks

"Alaska's Golden Heart," the city of Fairbanks sits just 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Here you can pan for gold, take a leisurely cruise down the Chena River or take off on an amazing Arctic Circle Flightseeing Tour.

Attractions
  • A cruise to the Athabascan Indian Village on the Riverboat Discovery Sternwheeler and/or a tour of the El Dorado Gold Mine.
  • A flightseeing tour across the Artic Circle.
  • Alaskaland, a 44-acre park, for a glimpse of the old pioneer life with centuries-old log cabins.

Hubbard Glacier (Cruising)

The longest river of ice in North America, the Hubbard Glacier is also one of the most active glaciers in Alaska. Most cruises give guests the best views possible of this massive blue ice wonder, all 1,350 square miles of it, from just about anywhere on the ship.

Attractions
  • Seeing this active glacier up close. Take photos as your ship edges slowly through iceberg-strewn waters towards this fabulous natural wonder.

Icy Strait Point

Icy Strait Point is located near the city of Hoonah, the largest native Tlingit Indian settlement in Alaska, and very near Glacier Bay National Park. It is not uncommon to spot a humpback or an orca while you’re walking along the shore.

Attractions
  • The Historic Fish House for a bit of Alaska History and some of the freshest seafood you’ve ever tasted: wild salmon, halibut, crab and other Alaskan delicacies.
  • A helicopter adventure, looking for whales, eagles, bear and other local wildlife or a flightseeing tour in a propeller airplane over the incredible Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, one of America’s premier natural wilderness areas. Mountain biking, ocean kayaking, alpine hiking or deep-sea fishing in this beautiful wilderness are also great options.
  • The beautifully landscaped Alaskan Botanical Garden.
  • The Native Tlingit historical park, museum and theater for an interesting look at Alaska Native culture and history.

Inside Passage (Cruising)

Cruising through the Inside Passage, considered one of the most beautiful parts of Alaska, is really what has made Alaska cruising so popular. This trip captures so much of what people love about Alaska: massive glaciers, misty rain forests, ghostly blue fjords. And spirited communities that celebrate their varied heritage. From the lush greenery of Tongass National Forest - the world's largest and northernmost temperate coastal rainforest - to the brilliant blue glaciers, you'll see jaw-dropping beauty everywhere you look.

Attractions
  • Hubbard Glacier, one of the most active glaciers in the area and a great place to experience the majesty of a glacier up close. Sheets of ice separate themselves from the ice field in a process known as "galloping." When the ice finally crashes into the sea, you can hear a loud cracking sound, similar to a starter pistol. This process is known as "calving," and the sound echoes for miles.
  • The incredible landscape of the Inside Passage, home to diverse wildlife - orca, mountain goats, bald eagles, bears, puffins, sea otters and most especially the breaching humpback whales with their awesome acrobatics: these 40-ton beasts can hurl themselves into the air, almost completely escaping the water. If you're especially lucky, you could see them swimming together to create a bubble net, trapping and eating fish by the giant mouthful.

Juneau

One of America's most beautiful state capitals, the Alaskan capital of Juneau was once a gold mining town but its true riches include some of Alaska's most spectacular scenery. With the looming summits of Mt. Juneau and Mt. Roberts providing a gorgeous backdrop, it faces the water from the mainland side of Gastineau Channel. Several magnificent fjords are located along the channel coast, and the majestic Mendenhall Glacier, a favorite of visitors, is nearby.

Attractions
  • Mt. Roberts Tramway, a short, six-minute ride to the top of Mt. Roberts, for a bird’s eyeview 1,800 feet above the city.
  • Mendenhall Glacier, 12 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, and worth the view from a cruise ship. There are also hiking trails into the area.
  • Aerial sightseeing via helicopter or floatplane to view he amazing glacial landscape and watch for bear, mountain goats, and moose. Once you've landed, take a once-in-a-lifetime dogsled ride.
  • Panning for gold in the authentic setting of Gold Creek. “Guaranteed gold in every pan!”
  • World-class hiking through glacial waterfalls and the largest temperate rain forest in the state. Sportfishing in waters abundant with king and silver salmon. Wildlife-watching in a high-speed catamaran ride over Auke Bay to look out for humpback and killer whales, sea lions and porpoises.
  • Admiralty Island, for the world's highest concentration of brown bears. If you’re lucky enough to see one, it is a memory of a lifetime.

Ketchikan

Alaska’s ‘First City,’ Ketchikan originated as an Indian fish saltery, but the town's major growth began when it became a supply base and entry port for miners during the 1898 Gold Rush to the Klondike. Much of the town's colorful past is still in evidence, especially in the nearby Indian villages, where you'll see colorfully carved totem poles and hear the fascinating legends that surround them.

Wander along the restored gold rush era streets, to discover the infamous Dolly’s house. Dolly Arthur practiced the world’s oldest profession and her home today offers you a unique and fascinating insight into an important, if not much discussed, aspect of frontier life.

Attractions
  • A great day’s fishing in the ‘salmon capital of the world!’
  • The Totem Heritage Center to explore the history of totem poles and see some terrific examples.
  • A seaplane view of the sheer granite cliffs, plunging 1,000 foot waterfalls, crystalline lakes and low-hanging mists of Misty Fjords.
  • A kayaking trip to the beautiful Tatoosh Island, keep a lookout for bald eagles, seals and sea lions.
  • An exciting wildlife air/land adventure, not to be missed by the nature-lover or photographer.
  • A guided mountain-bike tour to explore the famous Inside Passage.

Seward

One of Alaska’s oldest and most scenic communities, Seward is considered the ‘gateway’ to Kenai Fjords National Park.

Attractions
A dog sled ride for a true Alaskan-style adventure.
The Alaska Sealife Center for beautiful local marine life in its natural habitat - learn about the complex Alaskan ecosystem while enjoying the antics of sea lions, otters and porpoises.
The Resurrection Bay Wildlife cruise where you might see seals, sea otters, puffins and whales.
The Kenai Fjords National Park with easy access to the Exit Glacier, which can be reached by foot once in the park.

Sitka

The site of Russia's initial foray into Alaska, Sitka has perhaps the richest history of any Alaskan town. Explore the fusion of Russian and Native American cultures, while enjoying the unspoiled landscape at the gateway to remote Southeast Alaska. Both the local residents and abundant wildlife add to Sitka's authentic feel.

Attractions
  • Sitka National Historic Park, site of the historic battle between Russian invaders and the Tlingit locals in 1799. The park still has remains of the Tlingit-built fort and an impressive collection of totem poles.
  • The Russian Bishop’s House, built in 1842 for Russian Bishop Saint Innocent Veniaminov, who translated a portion of the Bible into Tlingit for the Alaska natives.
  • The Sheldon Jackson Museum, which houses an impressive collection of over 5,000 pieces of native art.
  • The Alaskan Raptor Center for a close encounter with wild birds such as eagles, owls and hawks.
  • Hiking through the landscape, saltwater fishing, sea kayaking, or simply strolling along the coast investigating the many tide pools.

Skagway

At the northern end of southeast Alaska’s Inside Passage, the spirit of the gold rush lives on in the small town of Skagway, with its wooden sidewalk, horse-drawn carriages, old-fashioned saloons and spectacular natural beauty. Wander up the boardwalk on Broadway and visit the Trail of ’98 Historical Museum, which houses the finest collection of Gold Rush artifacts in Alaska.

Attractions
  • A chance to travel on the White Pass and Yukon Route, the ‘Scenic Railway of the World’. Climbing to the 2,865-foot summit in vintage-style parlor railroad cars, you’ll experience a breathtaking panorama of towering mountains, spectacular glaciers, deep gorges and cascading waterfalls.
  • A helicopter ride away from civilization to the Chilkat Glacier system, where frozen river of ice surge between high mountain peaks.
  • Horseback riding through the historic town of Deya for one of Alaska’s most breathtaking valleys.
  • A cruise to a remote beach at Glacier Point, where you can board a 31-foot canoe and explore spectacular icebergs.
  • A helicopter ride to the Valley of the Glaciers, where you can hike across this huge sheet of ice while your guide points out crevasses and other features.

Talkeetna

Talkeetna is known as a mountaineering town where thousands come to climb Mt. McKinley, which looms majestically in the background. Cruisetours to this quaint town allow for plenty of time to explore the area and get to know this beautiful corner of Alaska.

Attractions
  • Hiking in the area for some terrific scenery or a taking an exciting jetboat ride or flightseeing around Mt. McKinley for a truly spectacular view of this impressive mountain. After a full day of exploring, you'll return to the Talkeetna Alaska Lodge, a magnificent wilderness retreat. There, you can relax while you enjoy amazing panoramic views of Mt. McKinley and the Alaska Range, while sitting in front of the 45-foot high stone fireplace.

Tracy Arm Fjord

Nestled between 3,000-foot high granite walls, the narrow, twisting slice of ocean called Tracy Arm Fjord weaves through the Tongass National Forest for roughly 35 miles. The shoreline is spotted with waterfalls created by melting snowcaps and trees sprouting at odd angles from rocky outcroppings. You will have ample time to admire the landscape and perhaps catch sight of a few native animals as you cruise through this port. You can even even see fjord’s many icebergs up close as the ship maneuvers around them!

Attractions
  • The Sawyer Glaciers at the end of Tracy Arm – not the most famous glaciers in Alaska, but many visitors find them the most dramatic. Framed by mountains on either side, the glaciers are often bathed in a light mist that amplifies the blue hue of the ice.
  • The locals: black and brown bears, wolves, deer and moose. Look for seals and whales in the fjord’s icy waters, and frequent bald eagle appearances overhead.