Are you one of many across the UK that have found themselves awestruck by the spectacular scenery and breath-taking wildlife on the BBC’s Wild Alaska Live? Thought you might be. So far, we’ve been treated to an in-depth view of the lives of bears, eagles and orcas with humpbacks and wolves still to come!
If you’re desperate to see it all for yourself, then take a guided tour or to hop on a cruise around this truly remarkable corner of the globe with Canadian Affair. From glaciers and national parks to cosmopolitan cities and historic ports, the northwest of North America is abundant with everything you need for the trip of a lifetime. As wild as Alaska looks from the comfort of your living room, the glaciers look bluer, the black bear cubs cuter and the orcas even more colossal up close and personal.
So, if the idea of a cruise along the Alaskan coast really floats your boat, or if you’d rather experience this stunning part of the world from dry land, scroll down and read everything a holiday with Canadian Affair promises. You’re in for a treat!
What’s there to do?
Visit the Ports of Ketchikan and Juneau, and the Icy Point Strait
As you pull into the port of Ketchikan, you can delve into the Tlingit tribe culture. The best way to really understand this town’s past is by making sure you pay a visit to the Saxman Native Village and Totem Heritage Center. The Icy Point Strait really does offer a second-to-none wildlife observation point as well as showcasing years of fascinating Alaskan history. Sip on some chilled Alaskan beers as you sit back, relax and watch the sun go down over the breath-taking landscape; the perfect selfie moment! As the capital of Alaska, the port of Juneau is a buzzing metropolitan city but retains its coastal charm, perfect for visiting on a romantic escape or fun family adventure.
Pop into Skagway, gawp at the Hubbard Glacier and relax in the city of Anchorage
As the ship works its way through the Yakutat Bay, feast your eyes upon the majestic Hubbard Glacier. With heaps to take in, there is also a raft of heritage museums dotted around the city of Anchorage. Delve into the enthralling native and Russian history to get a better grasp of what preceded the city as it stands today. Calling all historians and culture vultures!
Channel your inner Steve Backshall at Denali National Park
As you venture through the Denali National Park, you’ll think you’ve walked into an episode of Wild Alaska Live. Grizzly bears, Dall sheep, moose, wolves and caribou can all be spotted – but don’t worry, you can see them all from the safety of a guided tour bus. You’ll be forgiven for wanting to watch the wildlife in action all day, however don’t forget to soak up every ounce of the 6193-metre-tall Mt McKinley. And if all of that isn’t enough, relax by the vast expanse of water that is Wonder Lake – it sure is wonderful.
Take a step back through time in Dawson City
Journey into the Yukon region of Canada and arrive in historic, gold-mining Dawson City! Check out Bonanza Creek, one of the most famous gold-panning spots which allows visitors to dig for their fortune as the original settlers in the region did, as early as the 19th century. If you’re an architecture buff, be sure to admire the city’s architecture which is either original or has been restored to retain a distinctive turn-of-the-century feel – it’s pretty cool. Conclude your day at the Diamond Tooth Gerties Casino and Cancan. Here, you can appreciate some evening entertainment and get your groove on!
Where should I stay?
For the first seven days of the 18-day trip, you can stay on-board the Celebrity Millennium cruise ship. With on board dinning, entertainment and your bedroom not far away, you can relax and not worry about a thing as everything is organised for you – lucky you! By the time you’ve reached Anchorage, you’ll have left the Celebrity Millennium at the dock and will have accommodation provided for you there, as well as in Dawson City.
When you find yourself in Juneau, pop into Tracey’s King Crab Shack to gorge on freshly caught – you guessed it – crab, as well as other culinary delights from just off the shore. Looking for the perfect way to start your day? Explore all there is to offer in Anchorage – to start with, you must enjoy the famous Polar Bear Breakfast in the Snow City Café, and head to Denali National Park Prospectors Pizzeria & Alehouse which serves 49 different beers on tap. Need we say more? Just play it by beer…
What to do?
Cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park and bask in the beauty of Valdez
For your five-hour cruise through the Kenai Fjords National Park, make sure you keep your binoculars handy as you never know what you might need them for. Known for its bird-watching, Kenai is also home to whales, porpoises and sea otters, so you will be in the prime position for seeing all things inhabitant to sea, land and sky. Following this, it’s time to venture towards the tidewater glacier to witness a geological transformation before your very eyes, as shards of iceberg descend into the water below. Overlooked by the heavily glaciated Chugach Mountains, Valdez offers spectacular alpine views as well as a variety of amenities including the opportunity to sea-kayak to the mouth of the glacier. An opportunity not to be missed.
Explore the colossal Wrangell-St Elias National Park
Now, it’s fair to say that Wrangell-St Elias National Park doesn’t do half measures. With five glaciers that would dwarf Manhattan and nine of the sixteen highest peaks on the continent, this leg of your adventure certainly won’t leave you underwhelmed. So, grab your ice pick, strap on a harness and undertake a once-in-a-lifetime mountain excursion into the Alaskan wilderness. Are you brave enough?
Kick back and relax at the Maclaren River Lodge
The Maclaren River Lodge is the archetypal Alaskan retreat and the ideal next stop upon your North American adventure. A spot of fishing provides an opportune moment to collect your thoughts and immerse yourself in the beauty of the surroundings valleys – or look to the skies for the dazzling birdlife.
Hike, raft, fly: Denali National Park
Why stay on the beaten track when you can uncover your very own trails at Denali National Park? With the wildlife plentiful and the backdrops breath-taking, it will take your friends at home some huge amounts of convincing you to leave. However, the opportunity to take to the skies to enjoy the postcard views, not to mention the river rafts, makes reconvening with your tour guide strongly advisable!
Time for dinner?
Old Town Burgers in Valdez simply is a must-eat. There’s nothing complicated about this place; a burger, fries and a beer – what more could you ask for, hey? If you’re looking for a classic American diner but with an Alaskan twist, don’t look any further than the Roadside Potatohead. From breakfasts to burritos, this charming wooden cabin is the ideal place for a pitstop on a long drive. When the elements have taken their toll on the Maclaren river, sit in front of the open fire place and indulge in some of the lodge’s state-renowned homemade bread and soups – hearty and delicious.
Where to stay?
In terms of accommodation, all is included within a comprehensive package, saving you time worrying about where to rest your head and enabling you to plan your adventure instead! How perfect is that!
So, with the BBC’s amazing live series on one of the most remote wildernesses on the planet, you will be desperate to plan your trip to Alaska. And you’ve made it this far reading our blog, so there must be something taking your fancy. Was it the promise of mind-blowing scenery? A chance to witness more wildlife than you could shake a big Alaskan stick at? Or was it the cosy charm of the Maclaren River Lodge? Either way, don’t take our word (or the BBC’s) for it – go and see it for yourself! Go on, it’s time to treat yourself to a cruise to Alaska along the Canadian coastline, switching from the idyllic tranquility of the North American landscape to cosmopolitan cities with rich history and cultural tradition. We promise you, this a trip you will never forget.