Tour begins: 6:30 PM, Hotel Captain Cook. A transfer from Anchorage International Airport to the Hotel Captain Cook is included. Join us for a welcome reception and dinner.
Alaskan traditions & a flight to the wilderness
After a brief tour of Anchorage, a docent from the Anchorage Museum takes you through the museum's exhibit on the First Peoples of Alaska; its hundreds of artifacts were selected from the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution for interpretation with help from Native Alaskan advisers. Head next to Lake Lucille to board a float plane for some serious aerial sightseeing en route to the town of Talkeetna, near the base of Denali (North America's highest peak, formerly known as Mount McKinley). Continue by coach to Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge in Trapper Creek for a two-night stay with views of the spectacular Alaska Range.
A wilderness homestead in Trapper Creek & a jet boat adventure
A visit to the family homestead of Joanne Porterfield in Trapper Creek this morning offers a window into modern pioneer life; hear about the challenges and rewards of life on the land - trapping, farming, hunting and home schooling - at the family's Alaskan homestead. Next, take a jet boat cruise into untamed wildlands; the views of Mt. McKinley are made richer by the insights of a trained naturalist. Arrive late afternoon back at your lodge and enjoy dinner at your leisure.
To Denali & the Iditarod sled dogs of Husky Homestead
Drive today to Denali National Park, one of the world's last unspoiled frontiers; arrive at your lodge near the entrance to the park, Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge, in time for lunch. This afternoon, visit Husky Homestead to meet former Iditarod champion musher Jeff King and his family... and of course their indomitable Husky sled dogs who live and train there. Enjoy dinner at your choice of restaurants at your lodge tonight.
Explore Denali National Park
Rise early for a "Tundra Wilderness Tour" that takes you deep into the wilds of Denali National Park, a six-million-acre UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, through forest and alpine tundra and over high mountain passes. Along the way you may see moose, caribou, Dall sheep, wolves and grizzly bears and, depending on weather and visibility, awe-inspiring Denali itself - North America's highest peak at 20,310 feet. Spend the rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure, and enjoy dinner on your own tonight.
Across the wilderness to Copper Center & mountain majesty
Depart Denali this morning, traveling through high alpine country with views of Alaska Range peaks to your wilderness lodge in the small town of Copper Center - a gateway to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. At your lodge, relax over a dinner that features Alaskan salmon, a regional favorite.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
At remote Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, a morning tour at the Visitor Center introduces its 15,000 square miles of unspoiled wild lands, the largest in the U.S. National Park system. You'll also view the Trans-Alaska Pipeline today, transporting crude oil to the port city of Valdez. Back at your lodge, enjoy time to take advantage of pristine walking trails, or go whitewater rafting or flightseeing (some at additional cost) before dinner.
Prince William Sound & embark your cruise
A drive through the Chugach Mountains where plant and wildlife amaze, stops at Worthing Glacier, then continues to Valdez. Sea conditions permitting, cross Prince William Sound by boat to Whittier; keep watch for whales, seals and soaring eagles and enjoy the mountain views. Your Princess ship awaits boarding across the sound and cruising begins.
Hubbard Glacier & a day at sea
A day of scenic cruising heads toward Alaska's Hubbard Glacier, arriving roughly mid-afternoon. Known as the "Galloping Glacier," this is North America's largest tidewater glacier. As you approach the glacier up close, its immensity (40 stories high) and phenomenal blue hues will amaze. You'll have a prime spot to watch for calving icebergs, wildlife and seabirds. Join the ship's Captain for a welcome reception this evening.
Cruising through glorious Glacier Bay during a day at sea
Inspiration continues today as you cruise the waters of Glacier Bay, just west of Juneau. Your ship cruises along shorelines and islands completely covered by ice some 200 years ago. By the time naturalist John Muir visited the area in 1879, the ice had retreated some 30 miles to form the bay you're exploring today. Rugged mountains, spruce and hemlock forests, deep fjords, emerald waters and crisp fresh air are the day's companions, possibly along with sea otters, porpoises, seals and bald eagles. Early evening, enjoy the company of your fellow Tauck cruisers at a private cocktail party aboard ship before dinner.
Skagway, rafting through bald eagle country & a vintage rail trip
In historic Skagway, a gateway to the Klondike region, disembark this morning for a tour of the town and then travel by ferry on the Lynn Canal - the deepest, longest fjord in North America - to Haines. Here you'll begin a quiet raft trip* through the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, home to the world's largest congregation of bald eagles. Back in Skagway, enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure - meeting up for the excitement of this evening's cliff-hanging rail ride up a mountain pass of nearly 3,000 ft. on the narrow gauge White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, before cruising continues.
Private whale watching & more in Juneau
Your ship arrives in Juneau, Alaska's capital city; set on a narrow strip of land between the Coast Mountains and the Gastineau Channel, it's famous for its historic gold mines and mountain and water views. Disembark for sightseeing that includes a stop at the mighty Mendenhall Glacier, just 13 miles from downtown Juneau. While it may appear to be perfectly still, it is on the move, flowing downhill to shape the landscapes encountered along the way. Then spend much of the afternoon aboard an included private whale-watching cruise off Juneau. Reboard your Princess ship late this afternoon, and sail on to Ketchikan.
Experiencing cultural heritage during a day spent in Ketchikan
Dock in Ketchikan, an island town with a boisterous history of timber, gold and fishing. With forested slopes as the backdrop, Ketchikan's waterfront hops with floatplane, fishing boat and ferry activity. The town also has a rich native cultural heritage; learn more about what life was like for Alaska's native peoples a century ago at Saxman Native Village - a showcase of historic totem poles and a clan house. Afterward there's time to enjoy this colorful town on your own, perhaps with a walk along its historic boardwalk and the waterfront promenade.
A day spent cruising the Inside Passage
Spend your final day of cruising along the majestic fjords, islands and coves of the famed Inside Passage; it's also a favored
spot for bald eagles and sea lions, porpoises and whales - especially humpbacks - who thrive in the cold waters. Join us tonight for a farewell cocktail party before dinner.
Disembark Vancouver and fly home
Tour ends: Vancouver. Disembark ship in Vancouver. Disembark your Princess ship in Vancouver, British Columbia. Flights should depart after 12:00 noon; a transfer is included from the dock to Vancouver International Airport; you should allow a minimum of two hours for flight check-in.