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Holland America Line Expands Denali Experience with New Guest Accommodations Featuring Junior Suites

Holland America Line is expanding the guest experience on its award-winning Alaska Land+Sea Journeys with the addition of new guest accommodations at its Denali operation. The 99-room addition will feature the first-ever junior suites at the resort and is expected to be open for the 2019 summer Alaska cruise season. The 55 new junior suites will showcase balconies, larger living areas and greater amenities for guests.

The new rooms are an extension of Holland America Line’s overland Alaska experience to Denali, which includes the McKinley Chalet Resort hotel and Denali Square, a gathering area to relax, shop, dine and enjoy music and entertainment. The addition will be located just west of Denali Square with views of Mt. Healy and Denali National Park.

“Following the opening of Denali Square, we’re excited to continue the expansion and elevate the overall Denali experience once again by adding junior suites to our Denali property,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “Holland America Line has been at the forefront of Alaska exploration for more than 70 years, and our Land+Sea Journeys are the only way to go deep into the heart of Denali and enjoy a cruise in one seamless vacation. This will enable us to bring more guests on overland tours so they can witness the magnificence of Alaska.”

The three-story project will feature junior suites and standard rooms with rustic-chic décor. All junior suites have balconies, so guests can enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding Alaska wilderness in private comfort.

junior suite

Stunning views are a highlight of the junior suites. (rendering)

junior suites

The new junior suites feature rustic-chic decor. (rendering)

Each floor will have a central, open-air lobby with cozy furniture. The third floor has open public deck space with tables and loungers so guests can take in the panoramic scenery.

central area

Each central area features cozy seating and a fire place. (rendering)

top deck

The top deck allows guests to enjoy the view. (rendering)

The new building will become a fundamental feature of the McKinley Chalet Resort, Holland America Line’s magnificent 68-acre hotel property on the Nenana River. The hotel — featuring a reception hall, dining facilities and guest rooms — serves as base camp for all adventures at Denali National Park such as flightseeing, ATV adventures, hiking trails, river rafting and more. All accommodations feature stylish décor and premium amenities.

Alaska-based companies heading up the project include general contractor Ghemm Company, Inc., based in Fairbanks. Lead architect Heliotrope is based in Seattle, Washington, and also developed Karstens Public House at Denali Square. Heliotrope is working with the Fairbanks office of Alaskan architectural firm Bettisworth North. Costigan Integrated of Seattle is serving as project manager.

Denali Square Complex Immerses Guests in Alaska Culture
Steps from the new rooms, Denali Square is at the heart of Holland America Line’s Denali property and is centrally located between the main area of the McKinley Chalet Resort and the riverfront guest rooms.

Denali Square.

The Denali Square complex in the heart of Alaska.

The largest building in the complex is Karstens Public House, the grand 7,000-square-foot, two-story restaurant showcasing views of the neighboring mountains for dining guests. An inviting deck with fire pits and outdoor seating also allows guests to immerse themselves in this special venue as they drink and dine.

At the center of Denali Square is an amphitheater with a covered performance stage and bench seating for guests to enjoy a variety of local shows and ranger talks. Those wanting to quench their thirst or listen to live music can visit Gold Nugget Saloon, home to the Music of Denali Dinner Theater, that becomes a bar and music venue after the show.

Denali Square also features fire pits, outdoor seating, retail shops offering local goods, and an artist-in-residence cabin where Alaska native and local artists display and discuss their works. Walking paths in and around Denali Square show off the property’s mountainous landscapes and beautiful setting.

Land+Sea Journeys Offer Most Comprehensive Alaska Adventure
Holland America Line’s Land+Sea Journeys combine a three-, four- or seven-day Inside Passage or Glacier Discovery cruise with in-depth overland tours to the Yukon and Alaska’s interior.

Holland America Line is the only cruise company to weave must-see sites such as Denali National Park — the centerpiece of every Land+Sea Journey — with seldom-seen ones such as Dawson City, in the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush Country. Offering up to three days at Denali National Park for wildlife viewing and spectacular scenery, Land+Sea Journeys are designed to highlight the best of Alaska’s wilderness, wildlife, native culture and history.

  • Vivien Soo

    My husband and I are planning a family cruise/land tour to Alaska. There are six adults and three children under the age of 13 (13,11,9). Please send us information on your wild life viewing, scenery land/cruise journeys. Our travel date will be in August 2020. Thank you.

  • Julie

    Hi Vivien! What a fabulous family adventure! We do not have all of the information you need at the blog, but you can contact your travel agent or HAL reservations: 1–877–932–4259. Here’s another great post on cruising to Alaska with kids:

  • William Hammack

    We are booked for the Westerdam 18 day trip starting July 28.We are in a Neptune Suite. I understand you have added junior suites. Do we get one? If not how do we?
    Thanks and looking forward to it.

  • Julie

    Hi William, there will be Junior Suites at the McKinley Chalet. Please contact Holland America Line reservations or your travel agent to check availability. They are not automatically booked.

  • Michele Widdows

    Hi – I am just wondering what the chances of seeing bears if we were to visit end of May.


  • Julie

    Always good but we can never guarantee! There are tours that are specifically focused on seeing bears.

  • Mary Gildersleeves

    We are interested in Alaska cruise stay holiday in 2020. We would want 18 days no less. If you could give us some ideas and quotes would be great

  • Julie

    Hi Mary, while we’re not able to give pricing (please call reservations or your travel advisor), all of the 18-day Yukon and Triple Denali are excellent options on Noordam or Westerdam. If you look on, you can search by Alaska, year and more than 17 days.

  • Mary M

    Hi, We are booked on a Holland America Land And Sea Cruise that includes 3 days at Denali. Are the suites referenced here completed, or will they be by then? Also, is the Holland America area close enough to walk into the Park (at least the ranger station area)? Or is there transportation available into the park?


  • Julie

    Hi Mary, yes the junior suites are open. And it is about a 30-minute walk to the Denali Visitor Center from the hotel. You will have a wonderful time!

  • Mark

    We are booked for a 10 day cruise for June of 2020. Do I call Holland America and request a Junior Suite or will we automatically be assigned to one? Thanks for any help.

  • Julie

    Hi Mark, you need to call HAL or speak to your travel advisor to be sure you’re booked for a Junior Suite, as not all accommodations are Junior Suites.

  • Kenneth Dick

    Booked a suite on MS Westerdam for Sept 2020 Triple Denali. Who/how are McKinley Chalet rooms assigned. Per some reviews some rooms are old/tired. Sounds like room assignment may be random with ship cabin category not taken in to account. How do I avoid an old/tired room short of booking one of these junior suites for an additional $100/person/night?

  • Julie

    Hi Kenneth, please call reservations to ensure you get the most accurate answer: 1–877–932–4259 or 206-286-3900

  • C B Suresh

    What are the hotels you provide for the cruisetour in Denali,Anchorage and Fairbanks..we have booked 3 mini balcony suites(verandah) on the 10 nights cruise which sails on May 17th from Vancouver.Thanks.

  • Michele

    Hi, we’re just about to book (thru our travel agent) an HA cruise/tour in Aug this year. We want a balcony (of course) but I couldn’t see an option on HA’s website to choose which deck and where on ship you would like to stay e.g. mid, aft, forward etc. Am I just not looking in the right place? Many thanks.

  • Julie

    Hi CB, in Denali, it’s our McKinley Chalet Resort. At Anchorage and Fairbanks it’s Westmark, and if demand is high we use a comparable hotel.

  • Julie

    There is a “change stateroom” option and then you select “choose your stateroom”. Then you choose type, location (aft, middle, forward), then deck. You also can choose a specific number if you know it.

  • Barbara

    We are 3 adults booked on a HAL cruise triple Denali in July 2021 in a Neptune and Signature Suite. Do any of the buildings at McKinley Chalet Resort have elevators because we have one in our party who uses a walker. Since we have paid for suites on the ship, do we automatically get Junior Suites at the Resort?
    If no elevators, could we contact the resort to make sure we get a ground floor suite?
    Thank you for a very informative blog.

  • Julie

    Hi Barbara, please call your travel advisor or Holland America Line’s line for accessible cruising (although you are asking about your Land+Sea portion): 800–547–8493 or 206–281–3535 (ext. 4514)

  • James Penne

    I like millions of other can remember where we were 20 years ago on 9/11, we were here at Denali Chalet. We were on tour with Holland America. I’ll never forget

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