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Resting between snowcapped mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Sitka is one of the most beautiful seaside towns in Alaska and the biggest city in America - encircling 4,710 square miles on Baranof Island. No symbol shows Russian influence more than the landmark St. Michael's Cathedral. Original artifacts and icons, including the Sitka Madonna, were saved from fire and are on display. Visit Castle Hill, once site of a two-story log mansion known as Baranof's Castle, which overlooked Sitka Sound during the town's fur trading days. Only stone walls and mounted cannons remain from Russia's bloody battles against native Tlingit. Sitka National Historical Park offers information and artifacts relating to the Tlingits, including totem poles as a chronicle of early life on this fertile ground. Alaska Raptor Rehabilitation Center cares for as many as a dozen bald eagles and other birds at a time. The facility caters to rare wildlife recovering from injuries incurred in the wild. Among the more popular trails is Indian River Trail, which parallels a salmon stream, and the three-mile-long Gaven Hill Trail.
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Visit the waters of the Icy Strait area in the summer and there’s a good chance of seeing endangered humpback whales and other mammals gorging themselves on their annual northern feast of plankton. Each year in late spring to early summer, an extraordinary bloom of plant plankton occurs for about two weeks. Animal plankton, starfish, sea urchins, worms and clams feast on the plankton, and many of these species time their reproduction to occur at the height of the plankton concentration. Vast shoals of small fish, including herring and capelin, are drawn to the animal plankton, and salmon, birds, and marine mammals such as sea lions and seals join in the feast, feeding on the profusion of small fish. The terrestrial plant communities of the Icy Strait area are also an important component of the area’s biological diversity, and the site is one of the best places in the world to study how plants return to a landscape after glacial retreat.
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Spread across an impressive 3.2 million acres in southeast Alaska, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve offers an inspirational glimpse of what Mother Nature does best. The head of Glacier Bay is Tarr Inlet, where scientists have found exposed rock believed to be more than 200 million years old. The Tarr Inlet is home to Grand Pacific Glacier, an active body of ice slowly making way toward Margerie Glacier, which it last touched in 1912. Johns Hopkins Inlet is home to no less than nine glaciers. Framed by rocky slopes stretching skyward more than 6,000 feet, these wondrous bodies are eclipsed only by mighty Mount Fairweather, which at more than 15,300 feet is the highest point in southeast Alaska. In northeast Glacier Bay, the snow-covered Takhinsha Mountains feed active Muir Glacier. The brilliant blue glow of a calving glacier and the thunderous roar of ice crashing into the water below are sights and sounds to remember for the rest of your life. With such diverse landscape, the park provides a variety of habitats for animals.
The deep, cold waters of Frederick Sound abound in krill, the favored food of humpback whales - and visitors are likely to see whole pods of the gentle giants, their spume visible for miles against the forested backdrop of Admiralty Island. Learn all about breaching, diving, bubble feeding and fliper-flapping, often through up-close observation.
Chatham Strait is a popular feeding ground for humpback whales.
Petersburg owes just about everything to the fishing industry. From its Tlingit origins as a fish camp, Petersburg has grown into one of the busiest Alaska seafood centers. It got its modern start when Peter Buschmann, a Norwegian immigrant, arrived in the 1890s and founded the Icy Strait Packing Co. cannery, a sawmill and a dock by 1900. He shipped halibut and salmon and ice from the handy LeConte Glacier -- the continent's southernmost tidewater glacier. Shrimping is also important to the Mitkof Island town of 3,200. The state's first shrimp processor was founded in 1916 as Alaska Glacier Seafoods and now is known as Petersburg Fisheries, a part of Icicle Seafoods. More than a thousand people are employed by the processing industry. To keep the salmon engine running, the state runs the Crystal Lake Hatchery. Scandinavian heritage is celebrated each May during Little Norway Festival. Petersburg is a town so picturesque it was used as the prototypical fishing town in the movie "Ice Palace".
Though it's not as well known as Glacier Bay, some naturalists claim Sawyer Glacier is even more spectacular. Located in the Tracy Arm Fjord framed by 7,000-foot-high snowcapped mountains, Sawyer Glacier boasts an impressive list of wildlife: black and brown bears, deer, wolves and moose. Even mountain goats, which usually keep to higher elevations, have been seen near its base.
Juneau is one of America's most beautiful state capitals, with the looming summits of Mt. Juneau and Mt. Roberts providing a gorgeous backdrop. Once part of Alaska's Gold Rush, the city boasts natural and manmade attractions. Downtown is filled with many vibrant buildings, including must-see St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, which houses artwork and artifacts dating back to the 18th century. From the bright mural in Marine Park to the carvings in House of Wickersham, downtown is filled with Alaska's own unique brand of culture and architecture. Often hailed as Juneau's most impressive sight, nearby Mendenhall Glacier is approximately 12 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. See the glacier on a float trip or a "flightseeing" adventure, or hike up one of its trails for a closer inspection. For a bird's-eye view, the Mt. Roberts Tramway offers a short, six-minute trek to the top of Mt. Roberts, 1800 feet above the city. If wildlife is your passion, scenic Admiralty Island has the world's highest concentration of brown bears.
Itinerary subject to change without notice. Please confirm itinerary at time of booking.
Prices are per person and include cabin fare, taxes, fees, excursions and all meals while onboard. Airfare is available at an additional charge unless otherwise stated.
Optional roundtrip airfare
Optional pre or post cruise nights
Price is per person, double occupancy.
Cost Includes: All accommodations aboard ships or in hotels per itinerary or similar, all meals and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship, meals on land as indicated, air transportation whe
All prices per person and in USD unless otherwise stated.
Information and pricing is subject to change without notice. While we do our very best to ensure that information and pricing appearing in this website is complete and accurate, we cannot be responsible for incomplete and inaccurate representations, which may or may not be under our control. In the event of a pricing error, misrepresentation or omission, we reserve the right to adjust the pricing or make any other corrections.
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