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Princess Cruisetour Alaska, Part Two

By:
Joanna Hall
 

Another day, another form of transportation, and yet more jaw-dropping scenery to savour. This is the second part of this cruise review on our Alaska Cruisetour with Princess.

The journey back from Denali to Whittier on Princess Rail to join our ship, the Coral Princess, took a leisurely nine hours. It was, however, yet another scenic ride on a comfortable, spacious train blessed with a glass roof for ultimate sightseeing in one of the world's great holiday destinations.

By today’s standards, Coral Princess is a mid-sized ship. Accommodating 1,970 guests, and with 83 per cent of her spacious staterooms sporting private balconies, she’s also ideal for enjoying Alaska’s scenic landscapes. There are plenty of facilities on board to keep you amused in between ports of call, including three swimming pools, a kid’s splash pool, a fitness centre and spa, six showrooms and lounges, and a golf putting green with a simulator. Culinary options also abound with two dining rooms, two alternative restaurants, and ice cream and pizza bars. If you’re travelling with kids, they’re well catered for with dedicated clubs for young children through to teens. 

After the ship departed from the port of Whittier we had time to relax, and catch up on some sleep. Two days of scenic cruising lay ahead of us, the first of which featured a visit to the longest tidewater glacier in Alaska, Hubbard Glacier. It stretches some 122 kilometres from the Yukon, spilling into Yakutat and Enchantment Bays, and has an impressive open calving face spanning 10 kilometres.

Hubbard Glacier

Next was a scenic cruise through Glacier Bay, which for us started out in grand style with a lavish Champagne Breakfast in our balcony stateroom. For just US$32 per couple, you get to feast on fruit, pastries, smoked salmon and Alaskan king crab quiche, washed down with a half bottle of French champagne.

Before long it was time to get serious about exploring ashore again, our first port of call was the small Gold Rush outpost of Skagway. Although there are plenty of touring choices, we opted for a scenic flight along the Sawtooth Mountains to Glacier Station, followed by an eight kilometre guided hike through the stunning Tongass National Forest, and a ride back to town on the White Pass train. A remote sub-alpine valley possessing an alluring combination of flora and fauna, there were stunning views at almost every turn.

After our visit to Alaska’s capital, Juneau, for the exhilarating dog sledding excursion, our last two days on Coral Princess were quite diverse, revolving around a bear watching expedition to Neets Bay in Ketchikan, a relaxing couples’ massage in the Lotus Spa, and finally catching our breath to go over what’s we’d experienced in our Cruisetour.

Reviewing hundreds of photographs, and taking stock of our two-week adventure on land and on sea, we had seen and experienced many of the unique and diverse elements Alaska possesses which shape a trip of a lifetime. Doing it on a Cruisetour was busy, but it made the process seamless. And when it comes to “wow” factors, from the impressive glaciers to those gorgeous Alaskan huskies, the forty-ninth state truly has it all.

Check out part one of our Princess Alaska cruise review.

Princess offers a range of Cruisetours combining land and cruise travel, including a Connoisseur Deluxe Escorted cruisetour, and pre and post-cruise stays in Anchorage and Fairbanks. For more information, call 13 24 88, or visit www.princess.com.

Getting there: Qantas operates daily flights from Sydney to Los Angeles, with connections to Anchorage using Alaska Airlines. For more information, call 13 13 13, or visit www.qantas.com.au, and www.alaskaair.com.

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