Beginning in May 2012, Holland America Line will feature four Alaska cruise itineraries on seven of its mid-sized vessels, totaling 130 departures from May 2 through Sept. 23. The extensive itinerary offerings will increase the line’s guest capacity in the region by nearly 6 percent.
Guests can choose from a selection of seven- to 14-day cruises that sail roundtrip from Seattle, Wash., and Vancouver, British Columbia, and also between Vancouver and Seward, Alaska. Guests will have the opportunity to visit some of the region’s most popular ports of call and scenic surroundings, including Alaska’s famed Inside Passage and Glacier Bay National Park, a glacier-crowned maritime wilderness that stretches over 3.3 million acres.
“Alaska itineraries continue to be among the most popular cruises Holland America Line offers, and our increased capacity means more guests will have the opportunity to explore a region that has so much to offer culturally, historically and experientially,” said Richard Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs.” Cruising is one of the best ways to experience Alaska so you can get up close to a glacier, visit several ports or perhaps even see some wildlife from the comfort of your balcony.”
Three Options for Roundtrip Seattle Alaskan Explorer Voyages
Both ms Oosterdam and ms Westerdam will sail the seven-day Alaskan Explorer voyage departing roundtrip from Seattle May 6 and 12, respectively. The itinerary features port calls at Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan, Alaska; Victoria, British Columbia, and a scenic cruising experience at Glacier Bay or Tracy Arm Fjord/Twin Sawyer glaciers. The 1,380-guest ms Amsterdam will homeport in Seattle and includes two Alaskan Explorer sailings on May 18 and May 25.
Amsterdam then sails a series of 14-day Alaskan Explorer voyages beginning June 1 for a total of eight sailings. From Seattle, the itinerary features port calls at Ketchikan, Tracy Arm, Juneau, Anchorage, Homer, Kodiak, Icy Strait Point and Sitka, Alaska; as well as Vancouver Island and Victoria. The itinerary also features scenic cruising through Alaska's Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm Fjord. In Anchorage, the ship spends a full day and evening, allowing diverse optional shore tours from cultural exploration at the Native Heritage Center to spectacular flightseeing around 20,320-foot Mt McKinley and Denali National Park.
During embarkation for the Seattle voyages, a ranger from the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park will be available to talk to guests about the Klondike parks and other national parks located throughout the Inside Passage. On all Glacier Bay sailings, a park ranger and native interpreters from the Huna people board the ships to explain the origins of their tribe and cultural traditions.
Seven-Day Inside Passage Voyages Sail from Vancouver
Three Holland America Line ships – ms Volendam, ms Zuiderdam and ms Zaandam – will sail roundtrip from Vancouver on a series of seven-day Inside Passage voyages. The 1,432-guest Volendam (Wednesday departures) and 1,916-guest Zuiderdam (Saturday departures) sail a total of 41 voyages from May 2 to September 22. During those voyages guests will visit Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Glacier Bay National Park and Tracy Arm Fjord.
Two additional Inside Passage cruises sail aboard Zaandam on May 6 and September 16.
Seven-Day Glacier Discovery Voyages Provide Exploration Further North
Statendam and Zaandam once again will provide the only mid-sized cruise ship experience available in the Gulf of Alaska. Glacier Discovery cruises sail between Vancouver and Seward (Anchorage) with Sunday departures May 15 through September 16. The itinerary features port calls at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, a day at sea in the Gulf of Alaska and scenic cruising through the Inside Passage. Each ship will sail 18 voyages and include a visit to Glacier Bay.
Cruise fares for the seven-day Alaskan Explorer voyages begin at $699, and $1,899 for the 14-day cruises. Fares for the seven-day Inside Passage sailings and seven-day Glacier Discovery voyages begin at $799. All fares are per person, double occupancy.
Holland America Line offers more than 250 optional shore excursions in conjunction with its Alaska cruises. While in port, guests can optimize their Alaskan experience with excursions that involve everything from adventure and wildlife watching to history, art and cuisine. Introduced in Juneau in 2009 with a whale viewing and data collection research tour, exclusive Cruise with Purpose shore excursions turn vacation time into an exciting give-and-take opportunity — combining traditional tour content with a chance to make a difference to society, the environment, animal welfare or economic growth.
Guests also can enjoy active excursions such as sea kayaking, fly or sport fishing, dog sledding and viewing eagles, sea otters and whales. Other exciting excursions feature such attractions as the White Pass Summit Scenic Railway from Skagway, Russian heritage in Sitka, a photography tour in Haines and a five-course tasting meal featuring Alaska seafood prepared by a local chef in Ketchikan.