Cruising is a great way to see Alaska, providing close ups of glaciers and travelling inland on a variety of trips. The Diamond Princess cruise left Vancouver and finished seven days later in Whittier. The highlight was undoubtedly cruising alongside the glaciers in Glacier Bay and College Fjord, and hearing the cracking and groaning as huge lumps of ice fell into the sea. We then had seven days on land travelling by train and coach to Denali, McKinley, and Fairbanks, staying at Princess lodges
Totem poles carved by indigenous people in Ketchikan. Totem poles are monumental sculptures carved by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast with many of them featuring intricate detail. There are more than 80 totem poles distributed around Ketchikan which is the south-easternmost city in Alaska. It has a population of about 8,050 and is the fifth-most populous city in the state.
Passengers swim in the heated pool while Diamond Princess departs Ketchikan in Alaska. Three other cruise ships are waiting to move out.The town is visited regularly by a variety of cruise ships with tourism and salmon being it's major source of income. Ketchikan is known as "The Salmon capital of the world".
College Fjord glacier has stunning scenery with cruise ship providing the perfect platform for taking dramatic photographs. This one was taken from the deck of the Diamond Princess, which glides slowly along the fjord to give plenty of time for photography and video.
The journey by rail from Denali to Fairbanks was spectacular with the train running along river banks and through the mountain ranges, often with sheer drops on one side. Alaskan Railways carries both freight and passengers throughout its system, including Denali National Park. and has a mainline over 470 miles (760 km) long. It covers well over 500 miles (800 km) including secondary branch lines and siding tracks and is currently owned by the state of Alaska.
This float plane landing on Chena River at Fairbanks, Alaska provides spectacular scenic flights over the region. Many Alaskans buy their own aircraft and will often fly hundreds of miles to larger cities on shopping expeditions. Such flights are as common as taxis and buses might be to urban dwellers. Flying conditions can be dangerous in extreme weather, with the Alaskan accident rate about double the US national average. I took this photograph from the deck of the paddle steamer Discovery III
The Riverboat Discovery III, with its big red paddle wheel driving the boat, included an open sun deck and heated glass enclosed decks which made it comfortable no matter the weather.The tour of the Chena river included a visit to Old Chena Indian Village, where Native guides gave provided a tour of cabins and crafts on shore. There was a close up of the award winning Trail Breaker Kennels with dogs pulling sleighs and a float plane took off and landed as we sailed along.
Houses built out over the water line in Creek Street near the mouth of Ketchikan Creek. Creek Street, along with a block of Fourth Avenue in Fairbanks, were Alaska's two significant red-light districts until the passage of the Anti-Crib Laws in the early 1950s and tourists are able to visit a preserved example of one such building
Mount McKinley with clear blue sky was a rare sight as our coach pulled in to the Princess Lodge. The weather in recent times had not been kind to earlier visitors so we were lucky to join the one-third club of tourists who got to enjoy it without clouds. The mountain, also called Denali, which means (â€œthe High Oneâ€ or â€œThe Great Oneâ€), is North America's tallest peak at 20,320 feet.
My wife gazes in awe at the glaciers while enjoying the sun in perfect conditions. Bits of ice are constantly breaking from the glacier and float alongside the ship. Her red jacket was the perfect contrast to the icy blue of the glaciers and sea.
Spectators on the Diamond Princess enjoy a close up view of glaciers as the ship glides alongside them. The Diamond Princess even stopped for half an hour to enable everyone the chance to take their photographs and to be part of the amazing Alaskan experience.
Each ship has a pilot to make sure nothing goes wrong in the pristine setting of the fjords. An expert on the region also provided a commentary, pointing out details of the scenery, the wildlife and the region's ecological history. At the end of the day the pilot boat arrives alongside in Glacier Bay to take the pilot off..
Weather conditions are constantly changing in College Fjord with the surrounding mountains often obscured by low clouds. This day proved to be picture perfect for me and the thousands of passengers on the Diamond Princess.