The Klondike and Yukon... an extraordinary opportunity to explore the legendary Northwest Territories!
Step into history and follow the Gold Rush
Cruise Tour Choices
Alaska is so vast it spills over into the Canadian Yukon. Only Holland America cruisetours include top national parks, the historic Trail of ’98, the scenic Alaska Highway and more. If you’re looking for Denali National Park, Kluane National Park and the Trail of ’98 showcasing Mt. McKinley and Klondike gold rush history then a Great Land Klondike CruiseTour is for you. If you want to include Denali National Park, Kluane National Park and the scenic Alaska-Canada Highway, then a Great Land Wilderness CruiseTour would be your choice - this also includes the most economical tours for nature lovers! Alaska and the Yukon via the Trail of ’98: all the Great Land’s natural wonders from Denali and the Klondike gold rush history of Dawson City to Kluane National Park, the Inside Passage and Glacier Bay. With the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, our exclusive Yukon River excursion, and the McKinley Explorer railcars, this is the way to go. See more of the Alaska-Yukon wilderness via the Al-Can Highway: adventures along the Alaska-Canada Highway scenery highlight the Great Land’s wild, remote wilderness. Exclusive University of Alaska-Fairbanks programs, luxury rail travel to Anchorage, Inside Passage cruising with Glacier Bay and much more await nature lovers.
What someone who has done it has to say about this trip.
Alaska by Land, Not Sea
Cruise Week correspondent Art Sbarsky reports on the land portion of his recent Holland America Cruise/Land Tour trip in Alaska/Canada. The 11-day journey included three nights on Zaandam from Vancouver to Skagway and then rail, catamaran, and motor coach to Anchorage.
I had always thought it was enough to see Alaska from a cruise ship as long as I got an aerial view via an airborne shore excursion, but this trip opened my eyes. Only by getting inland and seeing some of the less developed places do you get to see "unspoiled" Alaska.
About 300 people debarked the ship in Skagway and started their land tours. People who finished their land tours in Skagway got on the ship to replace those who had gotten off. The way Holland has it set up, you can take a three-day cruise as long as it ties into a land portion. The 10-night cruise tour we took was the official land tour #1 in Holland's brochure--about 90 people, or two full busses, took this option.
Dawson City, Canada--One of the key cities of the 1898 gold rush. Here, a shore excursion goes to the gold fields; our guide owns land there and has been actively mining gold for over 25 years. Hearing about life and living there from someone so involved with it made it even more fascinating.
Dawson City is also the jumping off point for excursions to Tombstone Territory, recently developed for tourism by HAL. In 2004, there were less than 2,000 visitors in total to this 2,200 square-mile, boreal-forested park. Options for HAL guests include the Grizzly Lake Hike (strenuous to say the least, but I made it; the guide was an expert), a tour of the area via van with a naturalist guide, and the Chapman Lake Coach Tour that goes to the park's visitor's center.
It was also in Dawson City that the sun set so late and rose so early there was no darkness even in the middle of the night. This phenomenon was to continue for the rest of the trip.
Fairbanks: We visited Gold Dredge #8 for a great miner's stew lunch and tour of the actual gold mining machinery. It may sound hokey, but one gets a great understanding of just what miners were up against in trying to get gold out of the ground. A neat excursion is a flight to Fort Yukon, eight miles over the Arctic Circle, where 500 members of a native clan still live, even though life is quite basic.
Denali: From Fairbanks, it was on to an overnight stop for Denali National Park via HAL's quite luxurious McKinley Explorer railcars. The scenery in Denali, whether seen from the park's bus trip as far in as the road goes or from the vantage point of a helicopter excursion into the glacier- and snow-filled interior of the park, is magnificent. And while the animals one sees are not as close-up as in your local zoo, seeing bears, moose, caribou, Dall's sheep, and more in their natural habitat is amazing.
After Denali, the train goes on to Anchorage where, after one last sun-filled night, the trip came to an end.
Not only was the trip superb in terms of scenery and wildlife, but taking a step backwards and considering the logistics of moving guests all the way around from Skagway to Anchorage in seven nights, staying at six different hotels along the way, what with all
the luggage and such, is pretty amazing. Sitting on coaches and trains much of the way for the land portion may get a little wearying, but mixed in with different shore excursions and other activities, it shouldn't be an issue for most potential clientele. And it's a splendid way of seeing more of this outrageously large state.
CRUISETOUR HIGHLIGHTS Tour# 1 2 3 4 5 6
"Double Denali" feature: 2 nights at Denali National Park X X X X
Tundra Wilderness Tour/Denali National Park X X X X X X
Kluane National Park X X
2 Nights in Dawson City X X X X X X
Yukon River Cruise aboard mv Yukon Queen II X X X X X X
Glacier Bay National Park X X X
Inside Passage Cruising X X X X X X
White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad X X X X X X
Fairbanks Gold Dredge No.8 Tour X X X X X X
McKinley Explorer Domed Railcar Travel X X X X X X
Frantic Follies Revue Show/Whitehorse Days X X X X X X
Length of Cruisetour DAYS 11 13 13 13 13 14
Typical Alaska & Klondike Explorer CruiseTours
Upon your arrival on the shores of Cook Inlet you will be surrounded by mountains in every direction. Transfer to your downtown hotel and get your first taste of Alaskana in the nearby shops and museums. Then choose an optional tour into the surrounding wilderness.
2 Anchorage/Denali National Park
Today you'll board our McKinley Explorer, the largest domed railcars on the historic Alaska Railroad route, an Alaska Scenic Byway. Sit back and relax in the observation lounge and watch magnificent scenery glide by. Upon arrival at Denali National Park, transfer to the finest lodge at the park where you'll be greeted by a soaring lobby with wildlife exhibits, shops, restaurants a cocktail lounge, river-view deck and more. Spend your afternoon and evening at leisure, strolling the grounds, relaxing by the fire, or touring the nearby Denali Visitor Center. Options include everything from guided horseback tours to nine holes of golf.
3 Denali National Park
Craft your own Denali experience during your extra day of unscheduled time. Relax at your lodge, and then hike to Horseshoe Lake. Take a shuttle to the fabulous new Visitor Center and join a Park-Ranger hike from there. Opt for touring via helicopter, horseback, jet boat, mountain bike or river raft. Meet dog mushers, homesteaders and trappers to see what life is like in the bush. Tonight take in the rip roaring musical at the Cabin Nite Dinner Theatre (optional). There's so much to see and do and the long daylight hours make it possible to explore more than you ever dreamed possible.
4 Denali National Park/Fairbanks
Depart your lodge for an early morning official Tundra Wilderness Tour, (6-8 hours) of Denali National Park. You'll travel up to 53 miles of the Park Road for great wildlife viewing - caribou, moose, grizzly, wolves and Dall sheep are frequently sighted. Weather permitting, your vistas of Mt. McKinley will be unsurpassed. Later, reboard the McKinley Explorer, and sit back to relax in the observation lounge and watch magnificent scenery glide by. Arrive in Fairbanks this evening and transfer to your downtown hotel.
Depart this morning for a tour of Fairbanks, Alaska's second largest city. You'll see the sights, including the TransAlaska Pipeline, on your way to Gold Dredge No. 8, a National Historic Site. View the mining exhibits and pan for gold during your informative tour aboard the dredge then enjoy a hearty miner's lunch in the authentic dining hall. The Alaska Highway travels the deep backcountry of Alaska along the Tanana River and offers views of the Alaska Range, Dot Lake and the Alaska Pipeline. Today's discussion by your driver and Tour Director will focus on life above the Arctic Circle and the local wildlife. An exciting stop will be made at an authentic Alaskan Roadhouse as you sightsee to Tok, and check into your hotel.
6 mv Yukon Queen II/Dawson City
Today is a full day of incredible sights and experiences. First, you'll travel the Taylor Highway to the Alaskan village of Eagle, a National Historic Site. There will be stops at Polly Summit, (an expansive viewpoint) and the tiny prospecting town of Chicken (pop. 39, in-season!). Next enjoy a tour with a resident guide including the Visitor Center for Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. You'll embark our mv Yukon Queen II catamaran for a cruise up 102 miles of the Yukon River (box lunch and a hot dinner included). Hear tales of river pilots, mail carriers, Mounties and prospectors as you glide through a wilderness that goes on forever. Arrive this evening in Dawson City, Yukon Territory - a living museum of the gold rush. Enjoy an overnight stay in the heart of this, the Klondike National Historic Site.
7 Tombstone Territorial Park
There are two major excursion themes: Tombstone Park and the Klondike Gold Rush. Venture into an ancient land. From Dawson, the scenic Dempster Highway travels along the Tintina Trench where wooly mammoth and sabre-toothed tiger once roamed. At Tombstone Territorial Park, join local Interpreters and explore marvels two billion years old. This remote region is the ancestral home of North America's earliest peoples - the Tr'ondek Hwech'in First Nation. And a full range of wildlife, from grizzlies and moose to peregrines and plovers, roams free. Those who stay in Dawson City can enjoy a Gold Rush tour of the city and the gold fields made famous by the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898.
8 Dawson City/Whitehorse
Sightsee along the Klondike Highway past Five Finger Rapids on the Yukon River and scenes straight out of Robert W. Service's Cremation of Sam McGee. Today's discussion by your driver and Tour Director will focus on native history and culture in the Yukon, as well as early exploration. The day includes lunch at Minto and views of Miles Canyon - site of the treacherous rapids for which Whitehorse was named. Arriving in the capital of the Yukon, you'll check into your downtown hotel. Tonight, take a stroll into town and kick up your heels at the uproarious Frantic Follies Vaudeville Revue (included).
9 Kluane National Park
Visit a part of the Great Land few ever see. This UNESCO World Heritage Site encompasses the second tallest mountain in North America - Mt. Logan - and numerous other titanic peaks. The world's largest non-polar ice field is a Kluane attraction best appreciated on a flightseeing excursion. Designed exclusively for Holland America guests, local interpreters lead you on your choice of hikes from strenuous - up King's Throne, or easy - around Kathleen Lake. And all feature rich wildlife habitat and superb scenery. River rafting on the magnificent Class IV Tatshenshini River is an all-day adventure that you'll never forget.
Today's travels take you to an amazing tapestry of every-changing scenery. View Emerald Lake, the town of Carcross and Lake Bennett, where stampeders built their boats and cast their fates upon the tumultuous waters of the Yukon River. Today's discussion by your driver and Tour Director will focus on the region's natural and gold rush history. At Fraser, you'll board the nostalgic 108-year-old White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad and descend from 3,000 feet to sea level through some of Alaska's most spectacular country. The narration during your 28-mile excursion will recount the trials and tribulations of the thousands of gold seekers who walked and packed their outfits over this rugged terrain back in 1898. In Skagway, home of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, you'll have the rest of the day to explore the town, relax at the Red Onion Saloon, and take in the local melodrama. Overnight at your downtown hotel.
Say "good-bye" to your Tour Director and transfer to your Holland America cruise. Your ship will linger until late evening so you'll have ample time to fully explore this living museum of the gold rush (lunch and dinner are included aboard ship).
12 Glacier Bay National Park cruising
with interpretation by National Park Rangers and a Huna Totem native speaker.
14 Inside Passage Cruising
15 Disembark in Vancouver
OPTIONAL MEAL PLAN $255
Day 2 McKinley Explorer - Breakfast and Lunch
Day 4 McKinley Explore - Dinner
Day 5 Fairbanks - Breakfast, Tok dinner
Day 6 Tok Breakfast
Day 7 Dawson Breakfast - Dawson Dinner
Day 8 Dawson Breakfast Whitehorse dinner
Day 9 Whitehorse breakfast
Day 10 Whitehorse breakfast
Itinerary may vary slightly by departure. A detailed itinerary will be provided at time of confirmation.
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