Doug Parker, host of Cruise Radio, recently took an Alaska cruise aboard Westerdam. While it wasn’t his first time in Alaska, every time Doug visits the Last Frontier it still strikes him with awe and wonder.
Holland America Blog had a chance to ask this cruising expert his thoughts on Alaska and what makes it such a special part of the world.
HAB: What do you like about cruising in Alaska?
DP: There’s something about Alaska that has me returning time and time again. When I’m in Alaska I feel so small in the world. Alaska is a great place to escape and show you that no matter what’s going on in the world, there is still an untouched destination waiting to be explored. Alaska brings out the kid in me, it doesn’t matter how many times I see Mendenhall Glacier or Glacier Bay – it’s still jaw dropping.
HAB: What was your favorite tour?
DP: It’s hard to pick a favorite tour because both that I went on were equally awesome. In Juneau, the Mendenhall Glacier walk via helicopter put us close to the top of the glacier and gave us an hour to walk and explore the glacier with our own guide. We even got to drink the flowing water from the glacier before it went into Mendenhall Lake.
In Ketchikan, the Exclusive Flightseeing and Crab Feast by Floatplane was awesome because it was a feast of all-you-can-eat dungeness crabs that were locally caught, and beer from the Alaskan Brewing Company, locally brewed. Our transportation to the George Inlet Lodge was a six passenger floatplane that landed on the lake. On the flight over we saw dozens of mountain goats in the Tongass National Forest.
HAB: What surprised you most about Alaska?
DP: What surprised me most about Alaska was the abundance of wildlife – from bald eagles to brown bears – they were all out in full force and within an eye shot of the ship. Throw in the salmon, seals and whales and you have your own aquarium. If you want an up close and personal experience with the wildlife, you have an option to go whale watching in Auke Bay in Juneau. On the whale watching excursion the whales were bubble net feeding, where the pod of whales use bubbles to trap the fish to eat. We were told less than five percent of cruise passengers get to experience bubble net feeding, it was the talk of the ship for days!
HAB: What type of traveler would an Alaska cruise appeal to?
DP: Before heading to Alaska, I imagined that Alaska was geared towards the older generations. Actually, I didn’t think I was going to enjoy Alaska at all. It seemed like there wasn’t going to be much for me to do. Once I stepped onto my balcony and experienced the cool air and towering mountains, I changed my mind. After the excursions, it’s my favorite cruise destination. Alaska has an appeal for all ages and all travelers – from sightseers to mountain climbers – there is something for you.
HAB: Sum up Alaska in three words:
DP: Magical. Impressive. Unforgettable.
Three-star Mariner James Chu also sailed on a recent Alaska cruise, and he shared photos that captured the beauty of the region.
If you’re thinking about cruising to Alaska, now’s the time to book and take advantage of the Explore 4 savings program. There are a lot of exciting eligible Alaska cruises!
Have you been to Alaska? What were your impressions?