From Valdez, visitors can take a day tour exploring glaciers near Prince William Sound. // © 2015 Christopher Batin
Travel and tourism professionals can anticipate a variety of new tours and enhanced services for the 2015 Alaska travel season. Here are a few highlights around the state.
The Alaska Railroad is commemorating the 10th anniversary of its Goldstar Service by featuring local microbrews and Alaskan cuisine. New stopover adventures include the Talkeetna Zipline Tour and the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center Tour via The Glacier Discovery train.
In celebration of the city’s centennial, Anchorage Museum is offering two new exhibits. Visitors can learn about local history with “Arctic Ambitions: Captain Cook and the Northwest Passage” and “City Limits,” which covers Anchorage’s rough-and-tumble beginnings through its current status as Alaska’s largest urban center.
Alaska Wildland Adventures’ new special-focus ecotourism journeys offer guests instruction on birding and photography in the Alaska backcountry. Taught by experienced field professionals, these treks are mostly limited to one trip per summer, with less than 12 guests per trip. Daily activities include interactive educational instruction on rafting, hiking and kayaking.
Haines, Alaska, offers a new interpretive self-guided tour of its Fort William H. Seward National Historic Landmark. Outdoor panels created by local writers and artists highlight 100 years of history from the Gold Rush era up to contemporary times.
Alaskan Dream Cruises is collaborating with Windham Bay Lodge to handle its wilderness adventure base-camp program. The lodge will arrange for kayaking, hiking and more.
Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge is inviting guests to tie on an apron and learn how to prepare wild Alaska salmon appetizers. The culinary day tour places guests with one of the lodge’s experienced Alaskan chefs to offer an in-depth overview of how to prepare, cook and consume salmon.
Holland America Line has rebranded its popular Alaska cruise-tour program with the new name Land+Sea Journeys. The line is also shifting the 1,916-guest MS Oosterdam to the Glacier Discovery itinerary between Vancouver, B.C., and Seward, Alaska. Renovations have also begun at Holland hotel properties in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Skagway.
The Ruby Princess, from Princess Cruises, is making its Alaska debut in 2015, joining sister ship Crown Princess in offering Alaska cruises starting from Seattle. The Pacific Princess will sail on the line’s signature Voyage of the Glaciers itineraries for the first time and will focus on a more intimate cruise experience to complement the route’s glacier coastline scenery.
In 2015, Vertical Solutions will be offering helicopter tours out of Valdez with landings on Columbia Glacier. Also in Valdez, the new Ravencroft Lodge offers fishing, abundant wildlife viewing and tours of Prince William Sound.