How was your June this year? If it was ho-hum, at GetAway Travel, we’ve got plans in the works to give you a humdinger of a June in 2022. Thinking about our Alaska cruise is just what you need to keep moving forward and anticipating the future. Alaska is not just salmon and snow — it’s breathtaking scenery, fabulous shopping and food, history that will keep anyone interested and Native American culture.
Let’s talk about Canada
Wait, we were talking about Alaska! Most Alaska cruises start out in Canada so it’s a nice vacation bonus to spend a bit of time there. A number of the cruise lines use terminals in Vancouver so an extra day before you board ship gives you some great opportunities. You’ll think you are in Australia when you first arrive at the waterfront because the distinctive sail-like repeating roofs on Canada Place mimic the Sydney Opera House. The convention center usually houses art and cultural exhibits and at dusk the sails are awash in different vibrant colors that change in animated sequences.
There’s great shopping not far from the waterfront, plenty of beaches, the Vancouver Aquarium, take a tram ride to the summit of Grouse Mountain or visit the acclaimed Vancouver Art Gallery.
On to Alaska
You are going to cruise on what is called the Inside Passage. It is deep enough for cruise ships to sail close to the coast line to give you a great scenic snapshot of the country side. GetAway Travel’s cruise in June means daylight of about 17 hours and temperatures in the high 60s during the day. But, fair warning, it can get as warm as 80 degrees, it’s cool on the glaciers and in the evening the temps can drop into the mid-40s.
Although we said Alaska isn’t all salmon, remember fish exporting is big deal so stopping in Ketchikan means a possible tour of one of the historic canneries.
Although Ketchikan has the informal title of salmon capital of the world, original Norwegian settlers to the area made their money halibut fishing. Downtown shops feature the work of local artisans including the fabulous totem poles of one the Tlingit (pronounced Klinkit) one of three native tribes that call Alaska home.
A big bonus while browsing the downtown shops is being able to see just some of the world’s largest collection of totem poles. A large number of them are clustered at the Heritage Center in the city, but there are small totem parks throughout the area.
No matter what you do in Ketchikan, you will be surrounded by fabulous scenery. Take a floatplane tour of the Misty Fjords, go fishing, hike along the shore or go zip lining in the nearby rain forest.
Dogsledding, glaciers and gold!
Icy Strait Point is one of the natural stops after Ketchikan. It is the home to the largest Tlingit village, Hoonah. Tour the cannery, visit the Tlingit museum and shop at the locally owned retail shops where 100 percent of the profits are funneled back into the community to support the tribe.
Juneau is the most remote capital city in the United States. The extremely rugged terrain means you’ll need a plane, boat or ferry to get almost anywhere. Close by is the Mendenhall Glacier. You can take a helicopter tour to the top of the glacier take a canoe past the icebergs to the base of the glacier. Nugget Falls, a park by the glacier, has a spectacular waterfall with a drop of nearly 400 feet. If you want a panoramic view of the area, take the bright red tram right at the docks to the top of Mount Roberts.
There are whale-watching options either in a larger group on a catamaran, in a medium-sized boat or a smaller 6-passenger boat.
You can’t think of Alaska without thinking of dog sleds and the gold rush.
There are dog sled adventure tours to take part in when you get to Juneau and in nearby Skagway. In its heyday, Skagway was the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush. Steep yourself in the history of the gold rush at the Klondike Gold Rush Museum and a ride on a vintage train takes you into the Yukon — prime gold rush country.
On to Seward where you can also do some whale watching, and you can take a 10-minute ride to Exit Glacier. A heart-stopping blue wall of ice that is the base of the glacier is right on the roadside. You can go dog-sledding on a glacier in either Seward or Juneau. Seward is where the Iditarod began and it is also the mural capital of Alaska! Twelve large murals about the city depict area points of interest as well as chronicle history.
A word about cruises and tours
River and ocean cruise ships all have distinctive personalities and that’s why it’s important to work closely with your travel advisor at GetAway Travel. We can assess your interests and point you to a ship and perhaps a group tour that will give you the best bang for your buck. We can also book your side tours to make sure you get that helicopter glacier tour or whale watching experience you’ve been dreaming of before you leave so you are guaranteed a spot.