Princess Plus: Drinks, WiFi & gratuities included
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
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 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.
Princess is one of a select few cruise lines permitted to cruise the pristine waters of Glacier Bay, the highlight of our 7-day Voyage of the Glaciers cruise. Just west of Juneau, this breathtaking national park and preserve boasts some of the world's most spectacular tidewater glaciers, such as Margerie Glacier, which often drops colossal chunks of ice into the sea. Not surprisingly, Glacier Bay National Park and its epic ice giants are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising Alaska's magnificent park system.
During your scenic cruise, friendly Park Rangers will join the ship to share their knowledge of this amazing place and host a fun Junior Ranger program for kids. They may even be able to help you identify Glacier Bay's abundant wildlife, including humpback whales, sea otters, porpoises, harbor seals, black bears, mountain goats, bald eagles and large colonies of seabirds.
Take in the awe-inspiring scenery as you enjoy an unforgettable day of sailing through this dazzling park, where you'll glide along emerald waters and past calving icebergs, and can breathe in the crisp, fresh air to your heart's content.
Discovered in the northwest corner of Prince William Sound during an 1899 research expedition, spectacular College Fjord and its glaciers were named after prestigious east coast schools by the college professors who first laid eyes upon their majesty. Stretching for miles, these massive rivers of ice tumble down from mountains and through valleys, dipping into the pristine waters of the fjord. There you'll have a chance to watch the awe-inspiring process of glaciers calving, or dropping enormous pillars of ice into the sea, as they crack and land with a thunderous splash – a once-in-a-lifetime experience not to be missed!
College Fjord not only boasts the world's largest collection of tidewater glaciers, but it features magnificent snowcapped mountains as far as the eyes can see. Plus, during the summer, it's not unheard of to catch a glimpse of one of the area's 40-ton humpback whales feeding in the waters of the fjord.
It's a magical wonderland of epic proportions, so breathtaking you won't want to blink!
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.