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.