Adventure Is Key

Kenneth Shapiro With spring and summer now in sight, I’m sure there are plenty of readers busy planning their clients’ summer cruises. Of course, one of the most popular cruising destinations is Alaska, and we think this issue’s cover story (“Alaska: Made-to-Order,” page 14), by longtime Alaska resident

By: Kenneth Shapiro

With spring and summer now in sight, I’m sure there are plenty of readers busy planning their clients’ summer cruises. Of course, one of the most popular cruising destinations is Alaska, and we think this issue’s cover story (“Alaska: Made-to-Order,” page 14), by longtime Alaska resident and TravelAge West Contributing Editor Christopher Batin, will give you fresh ideas for those clients looking to try something different this season.

Last summer, I visited Alaska aboard Holland America’s Westerdam. The first night on the ship, several of us talked about the excitement and anticipation as we moved farther north toward Alaska’s wilderness and the adventures that lay ahead. A few days into the cruise, my buddy and I booked a fly-fishing excursion near Ketchikan. We put on waders and stood in a freezing river, in a cold drizzle, pulling in fish (or, in my case, trying to pull in fish) for hours. On the path to the river, our guide pointed out some bear tracks and tried to reassure us by showing us a large pistol he was carrying. He called the gun his “bear insurance,” and we were grateful he had it. Luckily, he didn’t need it, but by the time we were done, we were tired, soggy to the bones and ready for the comfort of our HAL ship.

Looking back, while there may have been more comfortable days on that cruise, there were hardly any that were more memorable. Experiences like these are part of what draws visitors to Alaska every season: the chance to face unique challenges and taste for even a moment the freedom of the wild, and the thrill, excitement and unpredictability of the Far North.

Agents should keep this in mind, and look to build some kind of adventure into clients’ Alaska itineraries whenever possible. And it doesn’t have to be climbing Denali either. One of the great draws of a destination like Alaska is that adventure is possible in so many different forms, on so many different comfort levels.

We hope this cover story will help you match the right experience to the right client, and at the same time help tease your own sense of adventure. K.S.

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