When the former US Secretary State, William Seward decided to purchase Alaska from the Russians in 1867 for $7.2 million he was derided for the act. History now demonstrates Seward's forth sight to be highly fortuitous. For curious travellers, the American state provides stunning natural beauty that can be admired on hiking expeditions. However to fully appreciate the scenery, here at Flight Centre we recommend taking an Alaskan cruise.
Here our top five destinations on an Alaskan cruise.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Glacier Bay National Park boast mountains that soar 4,500 metres above sea level, picturesque coves, freshwater lakes and as the name suggests glaciers that calve into the icy waters. The region, which is one of the largest protected biospheres on the earth, has an incredible array of wildlife including minke and orca whales that are particularly active in summer, sea lions, sea otters and glacier bears that forage for food along the beaches.
This former gold rush town that grew from a population of two people in 1887 to 20,000 just ten years later, today continues to offer visitors a glimpse into life in a frontier outpost. It's worth admiring the well-preserved structures from this period before taking a ride on the turn of the century White Pass & Yukon rail road that climbs from sea level to 2,865 feet in just 20 miles.
Alaska features many glaciers that are worthy of attention including Riggs Glacier, Mendenhall Glacier and Bear Glacier - however one of the most impressive is the Hubbard Glacier that was named in 1980 after the first president of the National Geographic Society, Gardiner G. Hubbard. As the most active and longest tidal glacier in the state, the Hubbard Glacier takes around 400 years for the ice to move through the length of the ice – and yes that's makes it one of the fastest.
To complement your nature-focused expedition, many Alaskan cruise itinerary's include a stop at the largest city in the state, Anchorage. This is a destination that features world-class entertainment, sporting events and a thriving local music scene. A popular day trip from Anchorage is taking the train to the Denali National Park to appreciate the views of Mt McKinley, the highest mountain in North America. Enthusiasts may also like to explore the nearby waterways and admire the Turnagain Arm.
The southern Alaskan town of Ketchikan, located near the Canadian province of British Columbia, was named after an indigenous dialect and today is determined to foster local artistic talent. Visitors can learn more about the local culture at the Totem Heritage Centre and the Tongass Historical Museum. There are also a fantastic totem poles in the Totem Bight State Park. Nature lovers will want to head to the Misty Fjords National Monument to admire the incredible rainforest vegetation.