Discover The Great Land
Now that cruises have been successfully sailing for more than a year, I’m excited to see that our members are eager to get back out on the water. One destination that is getting a lot of attention — and rightfully so — is Alaska. With dozens of Seattle departures, cruises to Alaska are convenient and perfect for anyone who loves incredible cultural experiences and breathtaking natural beauty.
Although sharing some similarities with our beautiful Pacific Northwest home, The Great Land is a unique destination all its own. Did you know that you can still pan for gold in Alaska?
One of my favorite experiences in Alaska was taking a tour through Denali National Park & Preserve — the crown jewel of Alaska’s interior and the home of North America’s tallest mountain known as Denali, which means “Great One.” It’s a full-day tour that takes you through the beautiful scenery of the park where you can spot grizzly bears, caribou, Dall sheep, wolves and moose in the wild — and I saw them all! What an amazing day it was.
When is the best time to go? Spring, summer and fall are all great options, each with its advantages. Summer offers the best weather but is busier and more costly. Other seasons offer quieter ports, lower prices and seasonal scenery like fall colors, but be prepared to bundle up at times.
My favorite itinerary includes at least two nights in Denali and then taking the McKinley Explorer train back to Anchorage before cruising to Vancouver, B.C. If you don’t have that much time, there are wonderful seven-night round-trip Seattle sailings with stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka and Skagway, with glacier experiences along the way. (Itineraries vary by cruise line.)
No matter when you go, book as soon as you can. Alaska departures fill up quickly, so you want to reserve your spot now to get the best choice of staterooms. There is still space left this year — and 2023 is open for sale.
If you’re ready to travel again, Alaska is a great option, and AAA Travel can help you get there.
– Written by Lisa Anciaux, AAA Director of Travel Products
– Top photo of Denali National Park by Jeremy Graham/Alamy