Holland America Line has been sailing to, in and around the US state of Alaska for over 70 years. It is something that Paul Grigsby, the line’s vice president of revenue, deployment planning and analytics, believes makes the cruise line special.
“We have been operating in the area since before Alaska became a state,” he says. “With this expertise and knowledge of the local attractions and culture behind each of our Alaskan itineraries, our 2021 offerings will be particularly exciting.”
In August 2021, the cruise line’s Pinnacle-class ship Koningsdam will explore Alaska for the first time.
“I can confidently say that Holland America knows Alaska better than any other cruise line,” says Grigsby. “Our 10-day ‘Yukon and Double Denali Land + Sea Journeys’ will be truly spectacular. They will feature must-see views of Southeast Alaska and the Denali mountain, and give passengers the opportunity to explore the Yukon territory – which is not something that many can boast to have done.”
The itinerary offers guests four days of scenic cruising with a port call in Juneau, the state’s capital. After this, they will enjoy six full days of adventuring in Alaska, with two nights spent in Dawson at the heart of Yukon and two nights at the McKinley Chalet Resort, which borders the iconic Denali National Park & Preserve.
“Guests will be given more time to relive gold rush history and truly take in the Yukon Valley views from the Midnight Dome vantage point,” says Grigsby. “The itinerary will also offer ample opportunity to experience the magnificent Denali, whether by helicopter, hiking, river rafting or many other noteworthy excursion options.”
Grigsby believes that the line offers an unmatched experience in Alaska, primarily due to its unmatched experience, insider knowledge and consistent offerings on and off the ship.
“Holland America is the Alaska expert – we have the ability to ensure a quality guest experience from start to finish,” he says. “We own the ships, hotels and lodges that guests use throughout the trip. As such, there is consistency across the ship and land portions of the journey. We really do strive to delight our guests in all that we offer. This Land + Sea Journey combines the ‘seldom seen’ with the ‘must see’.
“In a sea of large and bustling ships, our vessels also stand out due to their mid-size design. Passengers have plenty of room to take in the sights, with wraparound decks and an abundance of staterooms with verandas bringing our guests closer to Alaska’s natural wonders.”
Koningsdam will homeport in Vancouver, Canada prior to setting sail, which Grigsby expects will enhance the overall experience. “Vancouver is a fantastic departure city, offering easy air lift, convenient access to the cruise terminal and a wonderful backdrop to the port of jaw dropping mountains.”
In addition, guests will have the opportunity to take part in shore excursions that Grigsby calls “unmissable”.
“Every port offers phenomenal shore excursion choices; from cultural immersion and cooking classes to wildlife viewing and flightseeing,” he says. “In Juneau, for example, guests will be able to fly onboard a classic de Havilland seaplane over five breathtaking glaciers flowing from the Juneau Ice Field to Taku Glacier Lodge in a true wilderness setting.”
But Grigsby believes that the true ‘wow’ experience will be the Denali Glacier Landing by helicopter.
“Our passengers can explore dramatic icefalls, moraines, ice bridges and icy-blue glacial pools and the chance to experience treasured sightings of moose and Dall sheep, and of course, Denali on a clear day.”
This article was first published in the 2020 issue of Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
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