Holland America Line Announces New ‘Alaska Up Close’ Program

Westerdam AlaskaHolland America Line has announced its new Alaska Up Close program.

According to a press release, the program is a 360-degree experience that immerses guests in Alaska, the area Holland America has been exploring since 1947.

The cruise line said that Alaska Up Close will allow guests to discover, taste and experience “the real Alaska” through “authentic experiences” onboard and ashore that focus on culture, cuisine and immersive adventures.

For example, guests won’t just cruise Glacier Bay, they will “discover its ecosystem” from native tribe members and National Park Rangers. Guest also "won’t just eat seafood," they will taste the salmon they caught that day and have it prepared by Holland America Line chefs.

“Alaska is so abundant that it needs to be explored and presented differently, and with ‘Alaska Up Close’ our guests will have access to activities and experiences that they won’t find anywhere else,” said Beth Bodensteiner, senior vice president and chief commercial officer, Holland America Line. “We want our guests to be immersed in Alaska from the moment they step onboard, and as we celebrate 75 years of exploring Alaska in 2022, we tapped into our unparalleled expertise to craft memorable and exclusive programming.”

According to the press release, Alaska Up Close features local experts and personalities leading workshops and lectures, Explorations Central (EXC) Talks telling "the stories of real Alaskans," tours highlighting “the best of each destination,” “Port to Table culinary immersion” and local cuisine served in dining venues throughout the ship.

Holland America said that EXC Talks offer insight into local culture through the eyes of Alaskans with “vivid imagery, compelling interviews and authentic stories.”

Guests will also learn the science and history of Alaska with naturalists-led workshops and through wildlife spotting on deck. Itineraries that include Glacier Bay National Park will feature a Park Ranger and a member of the Huna Tlingit Tribe who will share their insights, offer commentary and answer questions, the cruise line said.

Guests on all Alaska cruises will be able to watch BBC Earth’s “Alaska in Concert” multimedia performance on the main stage. Audiences will visually experience the cycle of four seasons in Alaska accompanied by the music played by a live orchestra.

Through Port to Table programming, guests can "delve into the culinary traditions of Alaska" and learn “how to eat like a local” via live cooking demonstrations, the cruise line said. While the FOOD & WINE shore excursions will allow passengers to "tap into Alaska’s gastronomic scene."

Developed in partnership with the culinary authority, guests can dine on seafood, sample Anchorage’s craft beer, taste fire-warmed sourdough rolls and attend a crab feast or salmon bake.

Holland America Line said that it is also offering a selection of shore excursions such as helicoptering onto a glacier, spying on whales in their natural habitat, going whitewater rafting or kayaking for a scenic adventure, as well as panning for gold and sailing on a real crabbing boat featured on “Deadliest Catch.”

Guests who select fishing-focused shore excursions can also savor their catch onboard. Holland America Line said that its expert chefs will prepare and serve the fish in a “true ocean-to-table experience.” Select tours also allow guests to ship their catch home.

Guests on the Westerdam will have the opportunity to meet and learn about raptors during calls at Sitka. Through presentations and interactions about the birds from the Alaska Raptor Center, passengers will be able to ask questions, have a meet-and-greet and photo opportunity with the Red Tail Hawk or Northern Goshawk.

Alaska cruise fares begin at $799 per person based on double occupancy for a seven-day sailing. With Holland America Line’s “The Ultimate Upgrade Event” promotion through March 31, 2022, guests booking the Have it All premium package on select summer 2022 through spring 2023 cruises also receive a free stateroom upgrade, 50-percent reduced deposits, $75 fares for kids on Alaska cruises, plus four popular perks: shore excursions, specialty dining, WiFi and beverages.

In 2022, six Holland America Line ships will explore Alaska, either roundtrip from Seattle, Washington; roundtrip from Vancouver, Canada; or between Whittier, Alaska, and Vancouver. Every Alaska cruise includes a visit to one or more of Alaska’s iconic glacier destinations. For those who want to travel farther, 16 different cruisetours combine an Alaska cruise with an inland exploration of Denali National Park or to the unspoiled reaches of Canada’s Yukon Territory.

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