Alaska’s majestic landscapes and seemingly untouched terrain continue to beckon travellers to explore and discover in new ways, an area in which Crystal Cruises – the world’s most awarded cruise line – has pioneered throughout its 25 years of ultra-luxury cruising. In 2016, the line’s Crystal Serenity will sail seven voyages of seven and 10 days, offering intrepid luxury travellers literally hundreds of opportunities to immerse themselves in the countless facets of Alaska’s culture, outdoor adventures and resident wildlife, while enjoying the exclusivity and elegance for which Crystal is known.
“With all of our Crystal Adventures, it is our goal to bring the destinations to life for our guests by offering authentic, memorable experiences,” says Crystal’s president and CEO, Edie Rodriguez.“The spirit of adventure permeates every part of life in Alaska, naturally, we strive to showcase this culture to travellers in every possible way.”
Offering experiences that cater to virtually every interest, Crystal’s roster of Alaskan adventures in 2016 can be enjoyed from virtually any vantage point, by air, sea, land and glacier, with many adventures combining several of these. Just a sampling of the intrepid highlights includes:
Heli-Hike and White Pass Railway, which takes guests high above the Sawtooth Mountains, through the wilderness via train, and on a four- to five-mile hike along the Skagway River to the magnificent Laughton Glacier. Bears, moose and mountain goat sightings are an added perk (from Skagway, Alaska).
Glacier flightseeing and dog sledding, another combo adventure that highlights two of Alaska’s most popular sports, taking travellers via helicopter to the top of Denver Glacier, where they’ll marvel at the endless sea of peaks and glaciers beyond before entering the world of mushing, guided by the professionals of the Iditarod Dog Races (from Skagway). *A second “musher’s camp” dog sledding adventure is offered from Juneau.
Whale-watching eco-adventure, combining a favourite activity in Alaska’s waters with the Marine Conservation Alliance Foundation’s efforts to preserve the wilderness shorelines; affording views of orcas and humpback whales, as well as Stellar sea lions, harbour seals and more. All while educating participants about how the animals are identified and protected.
ATV adventure through the Tongass National Forest, allowing travellers the opportunity to visit Alaskan Brown Bears and Sitka Black Tail Deer in their common habitat as they cruise along the rough terrain via 4×4, stopping for sea views of whale spouts and sea otters in the distance (from Sitka).
Fly fishing by floatplane, flying far into the Alaskan wilderness to a remote spot not accessible to road access, where the catch-and-release fishing expedition begins in pursuit of salmon, Dolly Varden, cutthroat trout or steelhead.
Dozens of other Crystal Adventures offer numerous glacier treks, kayaking excursions, photography-focused expeditions, highlights of Alaska’s Russian and native heritage, zipline thrills, wildlife encounters and preservation education, and even crab feeds. Travellers can even enjoy observing nature from the comfort of the luxury ship as it transits Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier. Additionally, a five-night Extended Land Programme through Denali National Park will be offered for guests sailing on the 16 August Northwest Passage voyage from Anchorage to New York.
Crystal Serenity’s 2016 Alaska cruise season runs from 19 June through 16 August, with a spring Asia voyage and a late-August Northwest Passage route also featuring Alaskan calls and adventures. For bookings by 31 December, 2015 travellers can enjoy additional “Book Now” savings, with all-inclusive cruise fares starting at US$3,265* per person double occupancy including all taxes.