First class air, raptors, mushers, sled Dogs, the Tlingit are a few highlights
By Patti Pietschmann Travel Diva
Having just returned from a glorious 12-night Alaska voyage on Regent Seven Seas Mariner I can’t imagine the experience getting any better. But Regent is upping its Alaska ante for 2020 an unprecedented collection of authentic and immersive experiences on-ship and shore.
Not only is the upscale line providing free First Class Air but it’s also adding an Insider Alaska/Luxury Goes Exploring program that provides exclusive engagements to learn more about the Last Frontier.
Jason Montague, president and CEO of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, explains, “We are bringing the destination to life. Seven Seas Mariner is offering unforgettable moments with area-specific raptors, renowned folk singers, Tlingit historians, cuisine and culture.”
Highlights of RSSC Mariner 2020 are many
Each cruise features destination experts talking story from the Bridge. A few examples include Lily Hope a Juneau native and part of the Tlingit tribe, of the Raven moiety. An expert Tlingit weaver and teacher, Lily will regale with her personal story of connection to her art and heritage.
Amelia Wilson vice mayor of Hoonah, Alaska — of both Tlingit and Irish heritage discusses Huna Heritage Archives.
Richard and Janice Jackson experts in their Tongass Tlingit ancestries share their insights and passion for the Tlingit tribe from their home base in Ketchikan.
Local Skagway entertainer Steve Hites has a gift for transporting his audience captivating tales and descriptive lyrics utilizing folk-style notes and his six-string and harmonica.
Juneau’s ‘Great Baldini’, Bobby Reynolds entertains with lyrical antics and musical medleys.
Iditarod And Nature Experts
Get this folks. A real musher’s climbing on board bringing tales of the Iditarod. He’ll be accompanied by one of his sled dogs. There will also be members of Alaska Raptor Center.
Sampling Alaskan cuisine with delectable dishes and brews
Mariner always offers a great American Salmon Bake & Barbecue on the Pool Deck and it’s not to be missed. To wash down the seafood there’s craft beers from the renowned Alaskan Brewing Company.
Going local (as opposed to ‘loco’)
The new Go Local Tours is just as it sounds–residents take passengers of tours of towns.
Here’s a synopsis of of some of them:
- Walking Tour From a Local Perspective (Sitka). Explores the local Sitka lifestyle through a historical perspective of its landmarks and arts. A local resident tells ow the Russians first gained a foothold in Alaska in 1804 by overpowering the indigenous Tlingits on a nearby battlefield which is now Sitka National Historical Park.
- A Look Into A Local’s Past. (Skagway). Tales of the notorious early Gold Rush settlers are told. There are visits to grave sites, a walk through the National Historic District and a visit to a local microbrewery.
- Behind the Scenes With A Local (Juneau). Combines visits to historical landmarks with a hands-on cooking class and beer tastings. At the Chez Alaska Cooking School a chef demonstrates how to prepare authentic Alaskan dishes. Yes, you get to taste it, too.
- Native Tlingit Walking Tour (Ketchikan). Join a local guide of indigenous Tlingit descent for an enlightening walk through Ketchikan, learning about the city’s history and how the indigenous people have adapted to the changes. The guide demonstrates how Ketchikan has changed during his lifetime and how the Tlingits have remained true to their culture. At Cape Fox Lodge, a Tlingit-owned hotel, guests can sample smoked salmon, reindeer sausage, fried bread and blueberry jam.
- Wrangell Through The Eyes of a Local (Wrangell). The Tlingit people were the first inhabitants of the area and their influence still shapes the community. Tlingit traditions especially come alive in the totems and tribal houses around town, including a visit Petroglyph Beach to see ancient rock carvings.
Raptors, salmon, totem poles and tribal dances
- Raptor Center and Sheldon Jackson Museum Walking Tour (Sitka). Guests will watch injured birds of prey such as bald eagles being rehabilitated at a raptor center, walk the meandering trails in Tongass National Forest and learn about the ecosystem, and browse the artwork, totem poles and other artifacts in the Sheldon Jackson Museum.
- Salmon Hatchery and Juneau City Tour (Juneau) Guests will seemillions of salmon at an enormous hatchery and learn about their lifecycles, enjoy an introductory drive through Juneau as the guide describes its early history, and pass attractions such as the bustling waterfront.
- Totem Traditions and Potlatch Park (Ketchikan). Guests willsee dozens of totem poles in Ketchikan’s two sister parks, discover the symbolism behind the images on the totem poles, watch artisans hand-carve new totem poles, and become familiar with Ketchikan’s gold rush history.
- Campfire and Tribal Dance (Icy Strait)Guests will watch a traditional tribal performance that reflects the fascinating history of the Tlingit people as a prelude to a seafood feast or campfire lunch.
Regent Seven Seas 2020 Alaska season sounds perfect for multi-generational families. But as I can attest the voyages are also ideal for couples communing with nature and each other.