When you explore Alaska, one of North America’s last wild frontiers, you will come face to face with some of the continent’s most stunning landscapes, untouched wilderness, and exciting adventures. And boarding a Celebrity Cruise (with some help from Gravitate) is one way you can get there. With a 7-night cruise and the option to add on Cruisetours for a total of 10-13 nights, you will experience all the rugged wonder, history, and culture that makes Alaska so unique.
Check out our list of seven wonders that make a visit to the 49th state unlike any other!
1. (DIS)ENCHANTING GLACIERS
Alaska is home to some truly spectacular glaciers, not the least of which is Hubbard Glacier, named for Gardiner Hubbard, the founder of the National Geographic Society.
The 122-kilometre-long glacier creates a striking landscape of ice which you can witness in all its glory onboard a Celebrity Cruise expedition. You can even see the phenomenon known as calving, as strong riptides crash against the shore of the glacier, pulling massive chunks of ice into the seemingly misnamed Disenchantment Bay.
2. WATCHING FOR WILDLIFE
Speaking of wildlife, Alaska’s remote location with plenty of space makes the ideal conditions for wildlife to thrive. In fact, many species that were once widely spread across other parts of North America are now only found here.
While on board, you may spot humpbacks, orcas, or grey whales leaping from the cool water. Three species of bears make their home in Alaska: black, brown (and their subspecies, Kodiak bears), and polar bears. If you’re lucky, you make some splashing around in the water as they hunt for salmon. And the moose, often spotted munching on the plentiful greens, is actually the state’s official animal.
Whether you’re on the ship, on a nature hike, on a helicopter ride, or on a train (all of which can be a part of your unique Celebrity experience), you’re going to want to make sure your camera is always handy!
3. A RAINFOREST…IN ALASKA?
That’s right. Rainforests aren’t only found in tropical regions. But coastal temperate rainforests, like those found in Alaska, are rare, existing in only six other places on the planet. The North American rainforest stretches over 4000 kilometres from California, through British Columbia, and finally into southcentral Alaska.
Don’t let the forest’s location fool you though. It is just as wet as those in more tropical regions, receiving over 500 cm of rain each year. Mostly old growth, Alaska’s rainforest is populated by Western hemlock, Sitka spruce, mountain hemlock, and Alaska yellow cedar.
You’ll have the chance for an adrenaline-fuelled zipline through the rainforest near Mendenhall on your Celebrity Cruise.
4. FIND ADVENTURE ICY STRAIT POINT
This is where plenty of outdoor adventure begins, from 4x4ing through the lush forests to the world’s largest zipline!
For thousands of years, the Tlingit Indians have made their home here and today Icy Strait Point is owned by Alaska Natives. Found near the city of Hoonah, you’ll also have the chance to view wildlife, explore the region’s fishing heritage, and learn about the Tlingit people’s culture during your stopover.
5. EXPLORE DENALI NATIONAL PARK
In 1917, Denali National Park was created to protect the Dall sheep (a species of horned wild sheep found in B.C., the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Alaska, of course) for over-hunting. Over the years, the park grew in size, today at 6 million acres, and became home to more and more wildlife – and almost no human development!
Want to visit Denali National Park during your Celebrity Cruise? Add 2-to-6-night Cruisetour deeper into the heart of Alaska. You’ll have the chance to explore the park your way, whether it’s a leisurely hike through the forest, a panoramic view via airplane or helicopter, or white-knuckled whitewater rafting on the Nenana River.
6. INSIDE THE INSIDE PASSAGE
Millions of years ago, the shifting weight of massive glaciers created something amazing: Alaska’s Inside Passage. It’s an 800-kilometre-long channel that has since become the route of choice for Celebrity Cruises’ Alaska expeditions. Why? Because it offers the combination of stunning natural wonders, including fjords, glaciers, and Tongass National Forest (the U.S.’s largest national forest), along with access to some of the state’s most fascinating man-made artifacts.
Home to Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian peoples, Inside Passage is a testament to their history, with towering totem poles, art, song, and dance. And the landscape is also dotted with Russian churches, artifacts of Alaska’s history as a Russian settlement.
At the end of the Inside Passage lies a relic of one of the state’s most interesting periods of time: the Klondike Gold Rush. Drawing 100,000 prospectors to the Yukon, many made their way through Alaska’s port towns, including Skagway. At its peak, the town was home to 20,000 people looking to strike it rich. While today those numbers have dropped to about 1000, the town is still home to plenty of old-school charm, including historic buildings and trails.
7. A PEEK INTO THE PAST
While Alaska’s natural wonders are unrivaled, the state is also filled with intriguing history. A Celebrity Cruise’s adventure allows you to explore Alaska’s past. The region has been home to indigenous communities for thousands of years. In fact, the word “Alaska” comes from a native Aleut-language idiom, alaxsxaq, which roughly means “the mainland”. The area also once belonged to Russia, And, of course, it was the location of a famous gold rush in 1880, before becoming a U.S. State in 1959.
READY TO VISIT THE LAST WILD FRONTIER? WE CAN HELP YOU GET THERE
Each Celebrity Cruise itinerary is packed with the best of Alaska: the most rugged hiking trails, best whale-watching opportunities, and spectacular glaciers. With dozens of cruise options and three departure points, we can help you plan the perfect experience for you.
Talk to a personal travel professional at Gravitate. Book some time to talk using our handy online scheduling tool.