Adventure awaits on
land and sea
By T. Foster Jones
WITH ITS TOWERING mountain ranges,
expansive waterways, looming glaciers and
vast, rugged landscapes, Alaska sometimes
seems incomprehensibly huge.
Overwhelmingly the largest state in the
U.S., at 663,266 square miles, Alaska could
hold the next three largest states—Texas,
California and Montana—within its borders
and still have room for about half of New
Mexico. Much of the eastern seaboard of the
U.S., including Appalachia, could fit comfortably inside the state. Fittingly, Alaska is home
to the tallest mountain in North America,
Mount McKinley, at 20,320 feet.
Covering such a large area, Alaska has no
shortage of things to see and experience.
On the water, you can be startled by
breaching whales, hear the thunder of a calving glacier or try your hand at sea kayaking.
You can cruise the fabled Inside Passage, see
the world’s largest collection of tidewater glaciers and visit the port cities of Juneau,
Skagway and Ketchikan.
Near Juneau, the Mendenhall Towers—
jagged rock sentinels that climb nearly 7,000
feet—and the icefalls that overflow to form
Visitors can bask in
shadow or take in
Ketchikan’s rustic charm.
wildlife and rich history, and discover the vast
array of activities and natural wonders the
“Last Frontier” has to offer.
The tours—usually optional and available
for an additional cost—feature everything
from train trips, sport fishing and bear-watching excursions to daylong hiking explorations in Denali and panning for gold.
For example, one tour I had the pleasure
of experiencing showcased the diversity of
Alaska’s interior, with guided stops that
allowed us to experience the wildflower
meadows of Alyeska, the natural charm of
Talkeetna, the majesty of Denali and the
attractions of rustic Fairbanks.
We traveled by train and deluxe motor
coach while guides offered special insights
into the history, culture, wildlife and geology
of the areas we were passing through, as well
as each of our destinations. The hotels used on
these cruise/land tours take advantage of the
stunning landscape particular to each area.
You haven’t fully experienced Alaska unless you’ve been to Denali National Park. Its
boundaries encompass an amazing 6 million
acres. Home to Mount McKinley, and the surrounding peaks that form the 600-mile-long
Alaska Range, the park hosts an array of wildlife—from moose, caribou, Dall sheep and
grizzly bears to gray wolves, red foxes and
countless other creatures. You can take a flight
around the mountain itself, or sign up for an
official park tour and experience one of the
world’s greatest remaining natural wonders
Alaska is huge, beautiful and largely
untamed. With the right approach, however,
you’ll be amazed at how accessible “
Awe-laska” can be. C
AND ADDED VALUES OF
$800 PER PERSON!
Sail for seven nights
from Vancouver (British Columbia)
to Whittier (Alaska)
aboard Coral Princess®
or Diamond Princess,®
Including Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway,
Glacier Bay and College Fjord.
Then explore Alaska’s magnificent
interior for five nights.
• Two nights at Mt. McKinley Princess
From $2, 7 79 per person*
Valid for 6/19/10, 6/26/10, 7/3/10, 7/10/10, 7/17/10,
7/24/10, 7/31/10 and 8/7/10 27 N departures.
Mendenhall Glacier create a spectacular
scene. In Skagway, the awe-inspiring beauty of
the remote Valley of the Glaciers, the historic
gold-rush towns of Skagway and Dyea, and
the rugged expanse of backcountry unfold.
With so much area to cover, if you’re
cruising the waters of Alaska you’re not necessarily getting the entire picture. Just as a landonly trip can leave out marine elements that
complete the experience, a cruise can miss out
on the excitement and richness of the best
Consequently, land tours of the area have
become a popular adjunct to Alaska ocean
cruises, affording an opportunity to soak up
some of Alaska’s inland scenery, abundant
The Costco Connection
Costco Travel offers cruises and cruise
tours to Alaska. For details, visit Costco.com
and click on “Travel,” or call toll free at
*Price shown is per person based on double occupancy, is valid for
select stateroom categories only, and is true and accurate at time of
printing. Prices do not include government taxes/fees of $125.97 and
gratuities. Refer to applicable Princess brochure or princess.com for
terms, conditions and definitions, which will apply to Restrictions
and blackout dates might apply. All offers and inclusions are subject
to availability, may change or be terminated without notice and
are valid for new bookings only. Unless otherwise noted, offers are
not combinable with select rate codes, coupons or other offers.
Executive Member offer is valid for primary cardholder only. Travel
purchases are not included in the Executive Membership 2% Reward
program. Offer shown is cruise tour only and is valid on select dates.
Cancellation and change fees might apply. Costco Travel disclaims
liability for any inaccuracies or typographical errors. Ship’s registry:
The Bahamas. †Shipboard credit is per person based on double
occupancy. For bookings made within three weeks of departure,
shipboard credit is not guaranteed. Costco Travel is registered
as a seller of travel in each of the states listed: California
registration number: CST 2054248-50 · Florida registration number: ST 32555 · Hawaii registration number: TAR
5595 · Iowa registration number: TA 620 · Nevada Seller
of Travel registration number: 2007-0060 · Washington
registration number: WST 602042600. Registration as a
California Seller of Travel does not constitute approval by
the state. 09TR1204 8/09