Doing Alaska right – July 25, 2023 – with me

Life can sure get interesting.  I wasn’t planning on doing another Alaska cruise, until some Montreal friends had it on their bucket list for this coming summer.  They wanted to do it properly.  Princess joined the Distinctive Voyages program last year with their Alaska Cruise Tours.  So, I had a look at those and they looked awfully good.  The clients thought so, too, and they are the kind who do their homework.  So, the three of us booked, with me as the DV Concierge Host.  I am going to get to stay at the great old lodges, ride the railway and visit the sled dogs.  I am also going to get to visit San Francisco, Napa, Sonoma and Vancouver again, where I have a lot of friends and I haven’t been out west since I left in late ’19. 

Then came Fiona, hurricane Fiona, that is.  We were worried that she might mess with our East Coast cruise last October, but she was done before we got started.  She was done with my Alaskan cruise buddies’ cottage on Prince Edward Island, too.  She blew the roof right off of it and that’s not the sort of thing designed to improve the décor of the living space.  It was a write off. 

Time passed and insurance companies adjusted, and, by some miracle, they will be rebuilding, this coming summer, living on site in a trailer.  What an adventure.  But I lost my cruise buddies. 

I am still committed to my DV assignment, and my California and BC friends, and so, I’m still going.  I will be in Napa and Santa Rosa for most of July until the Cruise Tour starts on July 25.  That’s when I’ll want you to join me.  The Cruise Tour is a Travel Leaders/Distinctive Voyages exclusive.  Here’s how it’s going to go:

On July 25, we fly to Anchorage and stay at the Captain Cook Hotel, in the heart of beautiful downtown Anchorage.  Their web site says every single room has a stunning view of either Cook Inlet or Cugach Mountains.  And it looks like about the best hotel there is there on TripAdvisor. 

The next day, July 26, we get a scenic bus ride along the George Parks Highway to The Mt McKinley Princess Wildernes Lodge.  Princess was the first cruise line into Alaska and set up right away.  They are still best in Alaska.  We’ll have time to walk some of the many trails around the Lodge or just relax and take in the views from the Great Room.  After lunch, there are tours to take if you are so inclined.

On the 27th , we travel by motorcoach to the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge, where we will stay for two nights, the 27th and 28th.  There are places to walk and tours to be booked but there are free tours, too, compliments of Travel Leaders (well, somehow included like the good meals) They include:  The Husky Homestead Tour, to which I am really looking forward:  “Experience the call of the wild and visit Iditarod champion Jeff King . Visit his homestead, dogs and his cuddly puppies . Learn what goes into creating a winning team. 

In the afternoon we have a Tundra Wilderness Tour which will guide us along the spectacular road corridor to mile 43, promising a wonderful experience, as Denali’s wildlife moves at its own pace and according to the seasons.

Travel to the Murie Cabin near the East Fork River to experience where Adolf Murie lived while conducting his famous research inside what was then known as Mount McKinley National Park! This tour is approximately 5 hours in duration and includes a bottled water and snack.  You can tell the parts I didn’t write myself, can’t you?

On the 29th we go by rail to Whittier approximately 9 1/4 hours (295 miles) with the train scheduled to depart Denali National Park at 8:15 a.m. and arrive in Whittier at 6:00 p.m.

And we board, and the ship sails, and here’s where she goes, while we enjoy her luxurious amenities:

Sat,07/29/23Anchorage (whittier), Alaska–8:30pm 
Sun,07/30/23Hubbard Glacier (scenic Cruising), AlaskaScenic Cruising3:00pm–8:00pm 
Mon,07/31/23Glacier Bay National Park (scenic Cruising), AlaskaScenic Cruising9:15am–7:30pm 
Tue,08/01/23Icy Strait Point, Alaska6:00am–7:00pm 
Wed,08/02/23Juneau, Alaska6:30am–5:00pm 
Thu,08/03/23Ketchikan, Alaska10:00am–6:00pm
Fri,08/04/23At Sea
Sat,08/05/23Vancouver, Canada6:30am
Sat,08/05/23Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada  

And I get off and re-connect with my Vancouver contingent.  I trust you are ready.

I’ll be happy to get you a quote and happier still if you decide to come with me.  What a hoot we will have.  The freebees that come with the DV package, for which yours truly is the host, include beverages, gratuities, and WiFi.  I’ll be having a cocktail party, too. If Travel Leaders doesn’t pay for it, I will, for my own clients, for sure.

The Black Friday, Cyber Monday stuff continues until November 30.  And then there’ll be another sale.  Happy to get you a quote anytime.

Acknowledgments: Photos courtesy of Dave Lasker, my friend who raises puppies for Canine Companions.  Here he is with one of Jeff King’s.  One of my travelers, Joan Westgate, knows Jeff from before he ever went to Alaska.  Small world.  Wrecked cottage photo is the cottage in question – Thanks to Sheila Mason and Bob Martin for contributing it and getting this snowball rolling.  We will travel together again.