Holland America Line and Princess Cruises will offer land-based vacations to “The Last Frontier” this summer as cruises to Alaska remain docked, they announced Thursday.
The vacations will include experiences similar to ones available from a cruise to Alaska, but without taking a ship to get there, including a mix of escorted tours, sightseeing and lodging.
The companies are offering both inclusive tours with sightseeing, meals, hotels and transportation, as well as options for travelers who prefer to customize their experience and travel at their own pace.
Tours included or available in the packages include a “tundra wilderness tour” at Denali, the tallest mountain in North America, chances to see animals like grizzly bears and moose, boat trips to visit glaciers and river rafting, among others.
Guests will stay at Princess Alaska Lodges and Holland America Line’s Westmark Hotels, and get around via Gray Line Alaska and the Alaska Railroad.
“We love Alaska, and we love that we get to share it with visitors from all over the world,” Dave McGlothlin, vice president of tour operations for the two cruise lines, said in a written statement. “We’re committed to helping locals and visitors alike experience all the best parts of Alaska in a safe way.”
Alaska’s cruise season is increasingly looking like it won’t happen this year. Cruise lines have repeatedly pushed back their dates to restart voyages as they work to meet CDC coronavirus safety requirements. Also, Canada has closed its ports to cruise ships through next February – but many cruise ships that operate in the U.S. are foreign-flagged and by law must make a stop outside the U.S. along their routes, making a stop in Canada along the way the only way they can sail up the West Coast to Alaska.
While lawmakers have sought solutions like asking Canada to let ships stop without disembarking passengers or repealing the law for foreign-flagged ships, “Alaska land vacations” like those planned by these cruise lines could prove to be a viable alternative that still allows the state’s economically-important tourist industry to operate.
Holland America and Princess said they would keep “COVID-19 health and safety precautions top of mind,” and that they’re working on new protocols to protect guests, employees and the communities.
“For the last year, many people stayed close to home, so this summer, as we’re able to reopen some of these land offerings, we are more ready than ever to welcome visitors back through our doors,” McGlothlin said.