|Direct to the Wilderness Rail Service|
|Glacier Bay Junior Ranger Program|
As the 2010 Alaska cruise season draws to a close this month, we turn our focus on next year's programs. In this article, we'll take a look at a success offering that Princess Cruises debuted this year which will return in their 2011 Alaska Program.
Princess Cruises is once again offering special Alaska cruisetours designed just for families. These unique tours incorporate a variety of features not usually included in a cruisetour package, such as the opportunity to learn about dog mushing at the Iditarod Headquarters, pan for gold, take an interactive tour of Denali National Park, and enjoy a fun campfire experience.
The 12-night family cruisetours include a seven-night Voyage of the Glaciers cruise plus a five-night land tour. The land segment also features such family-friendly extras as daily breakfasts, a visit to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, and a dinner theater performance. At sea, families can also take advantage of Princess’ many onboard programs especially for children, including a special Junior Ranger program in Glacier Bay National Park.
“Alaska is the perfect place for a family vacation,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “There are amazing wildlife viewing opportunities, awesome scenery and lots of active adventures. With this in mind, we wanted to make it easier for family groups to plan the perfect Alaska experience with activities that will appeal to many ages and interests.”
Passengers can choose to sail aboard Diamond Princess or Coral Princess, and the cruisetour land itinerary includes stays at three of Princess’ own wilderness lodges – one night at Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, two nights at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and two nights at Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge. The tours are offered on 34 departures with both northbound (#FUN) and southbound (#WOW) itinerary options.
The following special extras are included in the 2011 season tours:
Daily Breakfast – Everyone in the family can start their morning off with the most important meal of the day.
Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center – Wildlife appeals to all ages, and families will be able to see a variety of animals such as bears, elk, bison, moose, caribou, musk ox, coyotes and eagles with a visit to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. This non-profit organization takes in injured and orphaned animals and gives a permanent home to those that can’t be returned to the wild.
Iditarod Headquarters with Dog Sled Ride – En route to Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, family members will enjoy a stop at the Iditarod Headquarters in Wasilla. Here travelers can learn about mushing and its importance in Alaskan culture. The center offers the opportunity to meet sled dogs and see them at work with wheeled cart rides.
Evening Campfire Experience (Mt. McKinley) – An evening campfire near the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge is the perfect way for families to end the day, complete with treats such as s’mores and hot chocolate, plus unique Alaska stories and songs.
Music of Denali Dinner Theater (Denali) – This rollicking musical comedy tells the legend of the first expedition to the summit of Mt. McKinley, accompanied by a hearty, family-style meal featuring smokehouse ribs and Alaska salmon.
Experience Denali with Alaska Geographic Tour (Denali) – A more intimate tour of Denali National Park, this special excursion includes a variety of interactive experiences, including an enhanced view of the Denali ecosystem and current research taking place. The narrated bus tour takes guests 15 miles into the park to a beautiful river valley where they embark on a short walk to the historic Savage River Camp, where they can participate in a number of hands-on activities.
Sourdough Expedition Breakfast (Denali) – While fueling up for the day with an Alaskan roadhouse-style breakfast, guests experience an unforgettable journey up Denali through breathtaking images in Laurent Dick's Climb Denali. Participants have the opportunity to meet this real mountain climber and ask questions about mountain climbing.
Riverboat Cruise and El Dorado Goldmine Tour (Fairbanks) – Families can enjoy traveling on an authentic sternwheeler for a fully-narrated cruise along the Chena River and try their hands at gold panning at the El Dorado Gold Mine, where they will learn about Alaska's gold mining history.
Now is the time to start planning your 2011 Alaska cruisetours. The Alaska cruise season goes from May through September. These family cruisetours will fill up fast.