Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
It seems unlikely that a character named "Gassy Jack" Deighton would be responsible for one of the most beautiful cities on the continent. But that's history for you.
During the gold rush, Gassy Jack saw a chance to make money from the hordes of miners on their way to the Yukon. The saloon he built became the focus of the shanty town known as Gastown. From that ragtag group of shacks, modern Vancouver was born. The provincial government persuaded settlers to change the name of the town to Vancouver, after Captain George Vancouver, who sailed the region's waters in 1792.
Canada's third-largest city, Vancouver is a cosmopolitan place with a European feel and a personality all its own. It's a community with a rich ethnic mix - including the second-largest Chinatown in North America - and stunningly beautiful parks.
Ketchikan, Alaska, United States
Ketchikan is known as Alaska's "First City" because it's the first major community travelers come to as they journey north. Located on an island, Ketchikan began life as an Indian fishing camp. The name Ketchikan comes from a Tlingit phrase that means "eagle with spread-out wings," a reference to a waterfall near town.
In the early 1900s, when gold was Alaska's claim to fame, fishing and timber industries were established in Ketchikan. The growth of these industries helped make this Inside Passage port Alaska's fourth-largest city.
Visitors to Ketchikan will be intrigued by its rich Native heritage, which includes the world's oldest collection of totem poles at Totem Heritage Center. The Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian are all a part of the city's colorful history. Ketchikan, with its abundance of salmon, is also a sportfishing paradise. Sightseers will be impressed with both the scenic town and its surroundings, especially Misty Fjords National Monument.
Juneau, Alaska, United States
In 1880, it was slow going for Joe Juneau and Richard Harris as they searched for gold with the help of Native guides. After climbing mountains, forging streams and facing countless difficulties, they found nuggets "as large as beans."
From their discovery came three of the largest gold mines in the world. By the end of World War II, more than $150 million in gold had been mined. Eventually the mines closed, but the town Joe Juneau founded became the capital
of Alaska and the business of gold was replaced by the business of government.
Some 30,000 people live in Juneau. Its total area makes it one of the biggest towns, in size, in the world. Only Kiruna, Sweden, and Sitka, Alaska, exceed Juneau's 3,248 square miles.
Today Juneau is famous not only for gold and government but also for its breathtakingly beautiful glaciers and stunning views of both water and mountains.
Skagway, Alaska, United States
Skagway was the gateway to the gold fields for the thousands who flocked to Alaska and the Yukon with the hope of striking it rich. Skagway may have boasted the shortest route to the Klondike, but it wasn't the easiest.
Over 100 years ago, the White Pass route through the Coast Mountains and the shorter but steeper Chilkoot Trail were used by countless stampeders. Many a would-be miner perished on the treacherous Chilkoot Trail.
The gold rush was a boon and by 1898, Skagway was Alaska's largest town with a population of about 20,000. Hotels, saloons, dance halls and gambling houses prospered. But when the gold yield dwindled in 1900, so did the population as miners quickly shifted to new finds in Nome.
Today, Skagway has less than 1,000 residents. It still retains the flavor of the gold rush era.
Glacier Bay National Park (Scenic Cruising), Alaska, U.S.
College Fjord (Scenic Cruising), Alaska, United States
Anchorage (Whittier), Alaska, United States
Whittier, approximately 65 miles southeast of Anchorage, lies nestled at the base of the Chugach Mountains bordering Passage Canal. Established as a World War II port for cargo and troops of the Alaska Command, Whittier remained activated until 1960. Today, Whittier's economy and its 290 residents rely largely on the fishing industry, the port and, increasingly, on tourism.
Once accessible only by boat or via a war-era railway tunnel, The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel was recently enhanced to accommodate highway traffic as well, making it the longest highway/rail tunnel in North America at 2.5 miles.
Named for the poet John Greenleaf Whittier, the community is also the gateway to spectacular Prince William Sound, with its magnificent tidewater glaciers and abundant marine life.
Whittier tours are available to passengers on back-to-back voyages who will stay onboard the ship and cruise back to Vancouver as well as guests ending their cruise in Whittier wiith an evening flight out of Anchorage on the day of disembarkation or an overnight in Anchorage after their cruise. Whittier tours are only available to cruisetour guests who spend the first night of their package in Anchorage. Other cruisetour guests cannot take an excursion as they would miss the transfer their next destination.
Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge
Exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness rail service provides a fabulous beginning to an incredible journey, with magnificent scenery and friendly Princess service all along the way. You'll arrive refreshed for your very first night on land in Alaska at the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge. Easy trails link the various places to shop and dine in this campus setting. And of course, no matter where you are, the natural splendor of the park is never far away.
Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge
You have a full day to get out into one of America's best national parks. This afternoon, a Natural History Tour serves as a wonderful introduction to the animals, plants and geological features found there.
This morning travel by scenic motorcoach to Fairbanks, Alaska's "Golden Heart City". This afternoon, take a Riverboat Cruise down the Chena River. You'll get to experience Gold Rush history, Native culture and colorful Alaska lifestyle of bush pilots, dog sledders and Native artisans
Your memorable vacation ends this morning in Fairbanks.