By Amy Mutscher
Alaska has always been a popular destination and there’s no sign of that changing in the coming months. Discovering authentic Alaska on a cruise is a pleasure for couples and families in search of genuine connection. Cruising offers a chance to sample the adventurous pursuits the region is known for and to take part in a selection of don’t-miss experiences. Here are four ways to seek the true spirit of Alaska.
1. Sled with Dogs
Dog sledding on a glacier is the ultimate blend of Alaskan adventure when you add in an exhilarating helicopter ride as transportation. Set out on an unforgettable flight over majestic mountains and land on an expanse of ice converted into a dog musher’s camp. Temperatures can fluctuate drastically, so wear layers and waterproof gear to stay comfortable in this fickle climate. Get ready for the ride of a lifetime as a team of energetic and friendly huskies pull you along a trail of twists and turns. You’ll have time for pictures and petting your sled dogs while you learn about the history of the sport of mushing and sled-dog racing.
2. Go Fishing
Practice your catch and release skills with a day of fishing in scenic Alaskan waters. Rockfish are prevalent and their colorful scales might be green, blue, brown, copper, black or red. Ketchikan is the salmon capital of the world with a range of types including sockeye, coho and king salmon, which is Alaska’s state fish. Get a taste of Pacific Halibut on an Icy Strait fishing trip where you captain delivers you directly to the local fishing grounds. Bait your hooks for these highly prized fish, keeping a lookout for bald eagles, seals, porpoises and whales.
3. Taste Local
Alaska is known for its abundance of fresh seafood – salmon, crab legs (King and Dungeness), black cod and halibut – and they are prepared in an appetizing variety of entrees. Whether its grilled, steamed or smoked, fresh Alaskan seafood is a delicious expression of culinary heritage. In Skagway, visit the local brewery founded in 1897 for Gold Rush prospectors that is still serving libations for travelers passing through. Don’t skip dessert. Summer brings berries: salmonberries, moss berries, blueberries and lingonberries, which are incorporated into warm cobblers topped with fresh ice cream.
4. Spot Wildlife
Some of the most exciting wildlife sightings take place as you glance over your balcony railing. Examining the horizon near and far is a common pastime during a cruise of Alaska’s Inside Passage, where wildlife seems to be everywhere. Often, the ship’s captain or naturalist will make an announcement over the loudspeaker so that passengers can grab their binoculars and see the animals for themselves. Whales are a frequent visitor to the icy waters of Alaska’s coast during the summer months giving you a chance to see orcas, gray whales and humpback whales in their natural habitat.
Celebrity Cruises offers luxurious suite staterooms with expansive balconies, giving you a gorgeous sea view throughout your voyage. Add a couple of days after your cruise to travel inland and experience Denali National Park allowing you to wander trails, participate in some of the park’s programs or simply relax in the great outdoors and enjoy the views of the highest mountain peak in North America. A travel agent can customize an itinerary, help you select the perfect accommodations and plan these exciting excursions.