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How to Experience Alaska’s Epic Scenery - Holland America Line

Author: Olivia Sharpe

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With its magnificent mountains, snow-white glaciers and picturesque views, Alaska is a dream destination for the avid explorer and nature-lover. And no cruise line offers you a better scenic experience than Holland America Line

It cannot be denied that the Alaskan scenery is truly awe-inspiring and undoubtedly one of the best ways to experience it is on a cruise.

Offering some of the most dramatic scenery in the world, Glacier Bay National Park, part of a 24-million-acre World Heritage Site, is a must-visit. As well as stunning glaciers, it is made up of rugged peaks, fjords, inlets, rivers and streams, as well as forests, foothills and wet tundra.

Holland America Line: glacier bay alaska
Glacier Bay National Park

On Holland America Line’s Glacier Bay cruises and Alaska Land+Sea Journey cruise tours, local experts come aboard to enhance an experience that is both filled with natural wonder and enrichment.

As an Authorised Concessioner for Glacier Bay National Park, the cruise line has partnered with rangers and local Huna Tlingit guides who provide expert insight into this diverse ecosystem and millennia-old culture – giving guests a deeper understanding and appreciation of this spectacular Unesco-listed site.

Another glacier to put on your list on an Alaska cruise is the Hubbard Glacier, the longest tidewater glacier in North America. It starts 122 kilometres (76 miles) back, pouring down off the shoulder of Mt. Walsh. At its face it is an impressive 11km long and 106 metres above the water line.

Hubbard Glacier
Hubbard Glacier

As one of the few Alaska glaciers that’s not succumbing to climate change and instead can advance up to seven feet in one day, it has earned its nickname, ‘the Galloping Glacier’, and the fact that the glacier’s three-story icebergs often cannon into the water – a phenomenon known as calving – is one of the most popular reasons for a visit.

On clear days, Hubbard turns a stunning deep blue and on cloudy ones, its many ripples and icebergs shimmer in soft light.

For the chance to witness this yourself, a Holland America Line ‘Alaska 7-night Alaska Explorer’ cruise from Seattle offers guests the opportunity to see, and even take a Catamaran tour around this giant glacier and witness for yourself why it is so magical.

Those looking to explore the inland further are encouraged to take a ride on ‘the railway built of gold’ as it weaves its way through steep ravines and cliff-hanging turns.

Holland America Line: Alaska, white pass yukon railway
White Pass & Yukon Railroad

The White Pass and Yukon Railroad allows you to follow in the footsteps of the prospectors searching for gold in the 19th century. A number of Holland America Line’s Land+Sea Journeys include a trip and all guests visiting Skagway on a Holland America Line Alaska cruise may opt for this as a day excursion.

Today the White Pass railway serves as an Alaska shore excursion, a scenic railway for visitors that offers a mix of stunning scenery and history, carrying travellers between Skagway, Alaska, and Carcross, Yukon Territory.

This fleet is composed of a combination of 70 fully restored and replica parlour cars pulled by both steam and diesel-electric locomotives. Each of the cars is named after a lake or river in the Yukon — the oldest car, Lake Emerald, dates to 1883.

Arguably one of the biggest gems in the state is Denali National Park, a draw for visitors across the globe. Containing North America’s tallest peak, six million acres of protected land, and an atmosphere and solitude so rarely found today, Denali National Park offers visitors the wilderness experience of a lifetime.

Holland America Line: Alaska, Denali National Park
Denali National Park

For years, native Alaskans revered this tranquil land and its snow-capped mountains, referring to the Denali peak as ‘the tall one’. At 20,310 feet, Denali (formerly known as Mt McKinley) is the third tallest mountain in the world.

Aside from the majesty of the mountain, Denali boasts rich flora and fauna. Most of its millions of acres lie relatively undisturbed, resulting in a diverse sub-arctic wilderness unmatched in its unspoiled solemnity.

Some of North America’s most iconic animals call Denali home, offering visitors the chance to see grizzly and black bears, moose, Dall sheep, caribou, wolves, and bald eagles. In total, Denali National Park is home to more than 160 species of birds, 39 mammals, and 1,500 species of plants, mosses, and lichens.


Where many National Parks have seen changes to their ecosystems due to invasive and non-native plant species, Denali has been spared this fate, primarily due to the scarcity of roads and remoteness of the region, lending further to its reputation as the ‘untouched country’.

For the chance to experience the park to its fullest, guests of Holland America Line can be treated to a unique adventure.

With its unmatched experience, expertise and insider knowledge, it means that guests will experience more of Alaska in premium style, through the company’s range of ‘Land+Sea’ Journeys which combine a cruise through Alaska’s Inside Passage with a stay of up to three nights in Denali at the cruise line’s own McKinley Chalet Resort.

With nearly 150 years of experience sailing the world’s oceans, Holland America Line takes guests beyond the usual tourist track with a choice of more than 500 itineraries connecting with all seven continents and over 425 ports of call.

For more incredible worldwide discoveries visit, call 0344 338 8605 or contact your travel professional.