PRE - DISCOVER DENALI
See big, bold and genuine Alaska by following its scenic highways and famed Alaska Railway into rustic towns, through majestic Denali National Park, to an Iditarod dog kennel, and up breathtaking, snow-mantled mountains.
After flying into the Anchorage airport, you will be met and transferred to the Sheraton Hotel Anchorage for the evening. Spend the remainder of the day at your leisure.
After breakfast at the hotel, you will drive north from Anchorage on the George Parks Highway, which winds through the kind of scenery that defines the Alaskan interior: tundra, soaring mountain peaks, glaciers, forests, wild rivers, and vast expanses primarily inhabited by animals such as moose, grizzlies, foxes and birds.
Upon reaching Talkeetna, whose downtown is a National Historic Site, you will have time to explore before boarding your luxury dome railcar. As you travel the 4.5 hours to Denali, even more spectacular scenery unfolds as you watch from the comfort of the upper level dome. This afternoon, enjoy lunch on board your railcar in the downstairs dining room. Once you reach Denali, you will be transferred to the Grande Denali Lodge, which perches on the edge of a bluff less than a mile from the entrance to Denali National Park.
Following dinner and an enlightening private lecture on Denali, you will overnight at the lodge.
The day starts with an early breakfast at the lodge. Then, you're off on an 8 hour Tundra Wilderness Tour on school buses deep into the heart of the park. In the language of the Athabaskan Indians, who reside throughout this region, Denali means "the high one," a reference to towering Mount McKinley, which soars 20,320 feet above the pristine landscape.
While a sub-arctic wilderness, Denali still supports more than 650 species of plants, many flowering in the tundra meadows during the summer months. Radiant fireweed, dwarf rhododendron and blue forget-me-nots (Alaska's state flower) are among the plants that bloom at higher elevations, adding dramatic splashes of color.
Still, as staggeringly beautiful as the land is, most visitors come to Denali in hopes of seeing the rich diversity of animals. The larger ones include moose, caribou, and grizzly bears, which are usually found near salmon streams in mid-summer. Herds of sure-footed Dall Sheep, known for their curling horns, can often be seen happily munching on grass in the meadows. Smaller mammals include foxes, wolverines, lynxes, and snowshoe hares. The birdlife is even more varied and includes raptors such as bald eagles.
Upon returning to the lodge, enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure, before overnighting at the lodge.
After breakfast at the lodge, you will drive from Denali on the Parks Highway, which (weather permitting) affords magnificent views of Mt. McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America. In time, you will visit an Iditarod Sled Dog Kennel and learn about this truly Alaskan competition.
Traveling from Anchorage to Nome on the Bering Sea coast, each Iditarod team of 12 to 16 dogs and their musher cover 1,150 miles of Alaska's most rugged terrain in 10 to 17 days. Add temperatures well below zero, scouring winds, and long hours of darkness, and it is no wonder that the Iditarod is called the last Great Race on Earth.
Continuing on from the kennel, you will journey along the shoreline between the Chugach Mountains and the waters of Turnagain Arm to Girdwood, eventually checking in to the Sheraton Hotel, Anchorage. The rest of the day and evening are yours to enjoy as you please.
After breakfast at the hotel, you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Seattle. Once in Seattle you will transfer to the awaiting ship.
Land Program Step by Step:
Please note: The order of sites visited may vary to avoid congestion. The times indicated are approximate, given here for general reference purposes and subject to change.
Fly into Ted Stevens International Airport and transfer to the Sheraton Hotel Anchorage or similar.
Check in is 3:00pm. If you prefer an early check-in, you may purchase hotel accommodations for an extra night.
This day is at leisure and meals are on own.
6:00am-7.00am Buffet breakfast at the hotel
8:00am Depart Anchorage for Talkeetna
11:05am Board the Deluxe Dome Railcar for Denali National Park (lunch on train)
3:45pm Arrive at the Grande Denali Lodge, steps from Denali National Park
5:30pm Reception with private lecture, followed by dinner (on own, not included)
PM Open for optional activities
Overnight at the Grande Denali Lodge
5:00am Buffet breakfast at the lodge
6:00am Approximate depart for Tundra Wilderness Tour
2:00pm Approximate return from Tundra Wilderness Tour
Lunch on own
PM Open for optional activities
Overnight at the Grande Denali Lodge
5:00am Buffet breakfast at the lodge
8:00am Depart for Anchorage with a stop en route at Iditarod Kennel for an enlightening presentation. Box lunch with sandwich, pasta salad, cookie and bottle of water
4:00pm Arrive in Anchorage for brief city tour
5:00pm Arrive at the Sheraton Hotel Anchorage
PM Open evening for optional activities and dinner on own
Overnight at the Sheraton Hotel Anchorage or similar
6:00am Buffet breakfast at the resort
TBA Transfer to the Anchorage Airport for your flight to Seattle.
Flight number and departure time TBA and subject to change
TBA Arrival in Seattle and transfer to the ship
TBA Arrive and embark the ship.
The electric current in the United States is 110 volts. You may need a converter if you have 220-volt devices.
Documents and Visa Requirements:
Passport is required for ship embarkation
The flight between Anchorage and Seattle will be on a normal domestic airline and fees for luggage are not
included in the tour cost. To avoid paying extra fees for luggage due to overweight bags, guests are encouraged
to keep their luggage weight under 50 lbs per bag.
Ted Stevens International Airport, Anchorage, for all arriving flights
Sheraton Hotel Anchorage and Grande Denali or similar.
Different hotels will only be used in unforeseen situations. If similar hotels are required, they will be of equal
ratings and standards.
Two nights at the Sheraton Hotel Anchorage or similar
Two nights at the Grande Denali Lodge or similar
One lunch and one snack box
One reception and lecture on Denali
Deluxe Dome Rail tour
Tours and sightseeing as per the program
Full breakfast daily
Bear claw wooden salad tongs Denali and Survival Pack for each tour room
Luggage handling and all associated gratuities
Airport transfers as applicable
Economy class flight from Anchorage to Seattle
Gratuities for tour director and motor coach driver, personal expenses, and any meals not listed above.
HOTELS AND LODGES
The best available hotels and lodges in Alaska are used throughout the land program. They are comfortable and rustic. Guests accustomed to the level of services at an international five-star hotel will find that the same services are not available in Alaska. Due to peak season in Alaska from May through September, it may be difficult to change rooms during the hotel stay as all hotels have very high occupancy. Hotels are subject to change.
While you are in the Denali area at the beginning of the tour program, your guide will present additional touring programs for sale. These tour options vary from week to week and therefore can't be pre-purchased. However, your guide will do everything possible to help you secure space.
As your baggage will travel on many different modes of transportation, please choose sturdy cases that have been properly tagged with personal identifications, both inside and out. It is important to keep all valuables and documents on your person. As amenities such as elevators and baggage handling are limited at some locations, we suggest you only carry one bag per person while on the land tour. Your tour director will arrange to store your luggage until your flight to Seattle.
Guests can make arrangements for their luggage to be transported from their home to the ship, and back home from any port at the end of their cruise by contacting Luggage Free at 800-361-6871or www.luggagefree.com.
CLOTHING AND CLIMATE
With a broad variety of weather possibilities, we encourage you to bring clothes that are suited to layering. Daytime attire in Alaska is strictly casual. Comfortable, supportive walking shoes are a must. The following items should be included: water-repellant coat or jacket, collapsible umbrella, rain hat, lightweight windbreaker, and sweaters. It could be warmer inland with summer temperatures in Denali reaching 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Travel in Alaska is generally at lower elevations. The maximum altitude is 2,800 feet in Denali National Park.
Weather conditions are unpredictable. While the cruise line and its appointed ground operators will do everything possible to assist with alternative arrangements, we cannot be held responsible for any costs incurred if a land program, tour or private arrangement made through the cruise line is disrupted due to adverse weather.
The published itinerary is based on component suppliers expected to be operating for the land program. Changes to the availability of flights, flight and tour schedules or other itinerary components out of the cruise line's control may require an adjustment to the final itinerary. The local ground operator will handle meal vouchers, train tickets, or tour tickets included in the program. The cruise line reserves the right to substitute hotels, if necessary.
Please Note: Guests booking their own transportation (on their own or through a travel agent) are responsible for ensuring that the cruise line has the most current and updated arrival information so the transfer can be arranged. There will be no refund for non-use if the transfer operates on old or inaccurate information.
NOTE: Land programs that encompass multiple days ashore customarily include extensive and prolonged activity, while those of shorter durations typically have more moderate activity levels. However, each program varies and participants should be prepared to negotiate a mixture of surfaces, which may include inclines, cobblestones, sand, and gravel or natural paths. There may also be a need to climb steps or stairs on occasion. Wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are advised to check with the cruise line in advance to see if any portion of the tour program may not be considered suitable for their individual situation. Weather-appropriate clothing such as caps, sunglasses, and flat comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
$2,699 Per Guest