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Active Retirees : Active Retirees Oct-Nov
Active RetireesTM | 17 Glacier Bay, thanks to the strict rules that limit the number of visiting vessels. Onshore adventures While I take the classic seven-night round trip from Vancouver, another seven-day itinerary travels one- way across the Gulf of Alaska from Whittier (near Anchorage) to Vancouver. Both cruises start and end with relaxing days at sea, spend two days cruising through glacier -filled bays and fjords and visit frontier towns populated by hardy folk. Optional shore excursions offer exciting ways to see Alaska from many angles; I choose a float plane trip that soars over the immense Juneau Icefield to see where the Mendenhall Glacier begins its journey down to the sea. Others take helicopter rides to dog-mushing camps high on the Taku Glacier, or whale-watching cruises, or skim over towering pines as they ride the cable car to Mount Roberts to view our cruise ship moored in Juneau Harbor. In Skagway, a town that boasted 20,000 people and 80 saloons in its late-19th century heyday, I take the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad, following the mountainous trail taken by thousands of hopeful prospectors heading for the Klondike Goldfield in 1898. In Ketchikan, the ‘Salmon Capital of the World’ where the fish literally leap out of the water, I walk along Creek Street visiting quaint timber buildings that once housed famous madams, bootleggers and other frontier entrepreneurs. Alongside the splendour of Canada’s and Alaska’s icy beauty, being aboard a ship means travellers can enjoy good food served in classic dining rooms and intimate specialty restaurants, piano sing-alongs, production shows and trivia nights, and stylish bars and lounges. •• I walk along Creek Street visiting quaint timber buildings that once housed famous madams, bootleggers and other frontier entrepreneurs. ’Tis the season: The best time to cruise Canada and Alaska is the northern late spring, summer and early autumn, from May to September. Fares are generally lower at the beginning and end of the season – May and September – while June and July offer the longest days, with up to 20 hours of daylight a day in some areas, and higher temeratures, meaning more active, calving glaciers. Throughout the season, Holland America Line operates eight ships, with the seven-day Inside Passage cruise departing Vancouver and calling at Tracy Arm, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay and Ketchikan. Do I look cold in this? Average temperatures in Vancouver are approximately 10-15 degrees Celsius in May and September and approximately 15-20 degrees Celsius from June-August. While cruising, temperatures can fluctuate, so dress in plenty of layers to be prepared for anything. Getting there: Vancouver is approximately 14 hours’ flight from Australia’s east coast and 18 hours from the west, with regular flights from both. Climb aboard: There are plenty of cruise companies to choose from, with both small and mid-size ships operating a range of itineraries. Onshore: Check out the strength, speed and training of mushing dogs as you sled over the snow, wander historic buildings and towns, catch a salmon “this big!” – you won't need to exaggerate when you talk about it later. TRAVEL GUIDE WHAT'S COOKING? No trip to Alaska would be complete without salmon, and rather than just eat it, I decide to bake it in one of the hands- on cooking classes on offer during my seven-day sailing. All Holland America Line ships each have a Culinary Arts Centre, slick demonstration kitchens where celebrity chefs show off their skills and passengers learn a few tricks of the trade. Our instructor was Stephen Raniowski, chef at the ship’s fine-dining Pinnacle Grill restaurant, and our group of 12 was split into three to create an entree of smoked salmon popsicles on sticks, main course of marinated salmon baked on cedar planks, salads and a dessert of berry cobbler. It was delicious, especially accompanied by a crisp Canadian white wine, and a bargain at US$29 per person.
Active Retirees Aug-Sept
Active Retirees Dec-Jan 2012