Road Scholar : Home
Alaska: Deep Into the Last Frontier

Program Number: 18667RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/27/2013 - 6/9/2013; 6/6/2016 - 6/19/2016; 7/4/2016 - 7/17/2016; 8/1/2016 - 8/14/2016; 8/29/2016 - 9/11/2016;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: Alaska/British Columbia
Price starting at: $4,999.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Voyages; National Parks; Independent City Discoveries
Meals: 37; 13 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 13 Dinners    

Come to appreciate the vastness, beauty and cultural and ecological diversity of “The Last Frontier” on a journey by land and sea that takes you to mammoth glaciers, gold rush towns, Denali National Park’s mighty Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley) and welcoming communities along the famed Inside Passage.

Activity Particulars

Walking on city sidewalks, boardwalks and unpaved trail surfaces.

In some ports you will have the option of enjoying lunch on your own at your expense rather than returning to the ship for lunch.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Fairbanks, Alaska, 2 nights; Denali National Park, 2 nights; Anchorage, 1 night; Seward, 1 night; aboard MS Zaandam, 7 nights.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.

Days 1-2:
Arrival Fairbanks (Alaska):

Begin your journey in the largest city of the Alaskan interior. Visit the Morris Thompson Cultural Center for a Alaskan Cultural experience--taste native food and watch local youth dancers perform.
Lodging: Centrally located hotel.

Days 3-4:
Coach to Denali National Park:

Coach to Denali National Park. On expert-led forays into the wilderness, keep an eye out for caribou, bears, moose, eagles and more.
Lodging: Resort within National Park.

Day 5:
Train to Anchorage:

Relax and view the scenic beauty as you traverse passes and cross the startling 918-foot Hurricane Gulch trestle to glimpse Denali.

Lodging: Centrally located hotel.

Days 6-7:
Coach to Seward / embark MS Zaandam:

At the Anchorage Museum, learn about prehistoric, historic and current Alaska. Coach along Turnagain Arm--one of the most beautiful stretches of highway in America. Lodging: Comfortable hotel.

Days 8-9:
At Sea / Glacier Bay:

Transit the Gulf of Alaska. In Glacier Bay, a national park naturalist and a Tlingit cultural ambassador shed light on the glaciers and wildlife.

Day 10:
Haines / Skagway:

Ferry from Haines to Skagway to board the White Pass and Yukon Route, a railroad built to take adventurous prospectors across the mountains during the Klondike Gold Rush.

Day 11:

Visit the lovely Mendenhall Glacier with opportunities to see floating icebergs and waterfalls. Enjoy a whale watching expedition in the waters of Stephen's Passage to view whales, and possibly seals and porpoises.

Day 12:

Enjoy a behind-the-scenes visit to the Totem Heritage Center’s Alaska Native collection and visit with a past mayor of both Ketchikan and Saxman, the native village.

Days 13-14:
At Sea / Vancouver (Canada) / disembark / departure:

Expert lectures and a celebratory farewell dinner wrap up the voyage as you sail into Canadian waters.

ms Zaandam

Artifacts and memorabilia from a variety of musical genres decorate the ms Zaandam. In a soaring, three-story atrium at the ship's heart is a Baroque-style Dutch pipe organ, inspired by the traditional barrel organs still found on the streets of the Netherlands. This ocean liner offers spacious public areas and plush accommodations.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Karen Christner

Karen Christner has made Alaska her home since journeying there with her husband, Jere, and their three children more than 30 years ago. After pursuing careers as an entrepreneur and substitute teacher, Karen became a Road Scholar coordinator through the University of Alaska. Soon, she embraced a role as a Road Scholar instructor and has shared her love for Alaska’s natural beauty, culture and local cuisine with lifelong learners.
Jere Christner

Jere Christner loves to share the joys of living in Alaska during his role as a Road Scholar group leader, instructor, and coordinator. Jere moved to Alaska after accepting a position with the U.S. Forest Service, and specialized in ecology, wildlife management, watershed, and subsistence. Since retiring, Jere and his wife, Karen, have shared their expertise of the sciences, natural resources and government of Alaska with lifelong learners.
Brenda Campen

A long-time resident of Alaska, Brenda Campen is passionate about the history of America’s “Last Frontier.” Her 33-year career in teaching social studies led her to Native communities in the interior and in the southeast region of the state. For 25 years, she taught at Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka, a state residential school for rural and Alaska Native students. Brenda’s expertise in Alaska history and contemporary issues has earned her multiple awards, including the first Governor’s Award in the Humanities for Alaska History Teaching, and the Alaska Historical Society’s Contributions to Alaska History Award. Brenda divides her time between Sitka and a cabin near the Admiralty Island village of Angoon.
Mary Stensvold

Mary Stensvold is the regional botanist for the USDA Forest Service Alaska Region and is based in Sitka, Alaska. In this capacity, she administers a program emphasizing rare plant conservation, as well as botanical surveys and monitoring, revegetation, ethnobotany, botanical publications, and botanical interpretation. She holds a Ph.D. in botany from Iowa State University, and her current research involves a circumpolar study of moonworts ferns. Other areas of particular interest include wild-plant gardening, drawing, painting, woodcarving and northwest coast Native art. Fieldwork takes her to remote areas throughout southern Alaska, from Prince William Sound in the west, to the southern tip of the "Panhandle" in the east. She has been presenting natural history lectures on ships in Alaska, British Columbia and Norway since 1991.
Donald Poling

As an educator, naturalist, author and historian, Donald Poling enjoys sharing the history and natural beauty of Alaska with students of all ages. His family’s own history in Alaska is rich — in 1900, Don’s great grandfather arrived in Alaska for the Nome Gold Rush, and ended up with a career as a bookkeeper at the local bank. His parents were teachers for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a career path that allowed Donald to grow up in a variety of Alaska Native communities including Chenega, Metlakatla, Quinhagak, Juneau, Nenana, Fairbanks, and Nome. After studying sociology, anthropology and education at Alaska Methodist University, Don worked as a teacher and naturalist for the U.S. Forest Service on Alaska Marine Highway vessels, providing presentations on regional ecology and history. In 2011, Don published the book, “Chenega Diaries,” a compilation of letters, diaries and photographs on Chenega history, and is currently working on a history of the Yupik Eskimo village of Quinhagak.
Joe Williams

Born and raised in Saxman, Alaska, Joe Williams has been an elected tribal president, vice-chairman for the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council and the area vice president for the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). He was the first Tlingit native to be elected as mayor of Ketchikan Borough, and served as the City of Saxman mayor, making him the only elected official to hold both the borough and city mayoral positions. Joe owns and operates Where the Eagle Walks, a historical walking excursion and lecture company in Ketchikan, and provides lectures on the Tlingit culture. He enjoys sharing his wealth of knowledge about the Ketchikan and Saxman cultures.
Dixie Alexander

Dixie Alexander is the cultural program director for the Tanana Chiefs Conference at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center. Born into a family of Gwich’in heritage, (her father, Silas Alexander, Sr., hailed from Fort Yukon while her mother, Charlotte Douthit, was from North Pole), Dixie was raised with her 12 brothers and sisters in Fort Yukon. Over the past 30 years, she has shared the rich traditions of Athabascan history and lifestyle with local businesses and organizations. Dixie loves to teach, and leads a multitude of workshops on native crafts including beadwork, caribou hair tufting, porcupine quill work, basket making, mask and doll making, and more. Dixie also offers classes on moose and caribou tanning, boot and snowshoe making, and teaches traditional techniques for building canvas canoes, drums, fish wheels, toboggans and frames for drying furs.
Valerie Hershfield

Valerie Hershfield has been working in the educational travel business for 17 years, and has visited over 100 countries in the process! She started as a journalist and copy editor for a daily paper and a volunteer EMT for her local fire department in New Hampshire, and she just volunteers as a docent at The Marine Mammal Center. In her own words, “The greatest joy of traveling with groups is sharing that ‘first time’ experience with them. Even if I’ve been to the place before, I get to see it with new eyes.”
Meals and Lodgings
   Westmark Fairbanks
  Fairbanks, AK 2 nights
   McKinley Chalet Resort
  Denali National Park, AK 2 nights
   Westmark Anchorage Hotel
  Anchorage, AK 1 night
   Windsong Lodge
  Seward, AK 1 night
   M/S Zaandam
  M/S Zaandam 7 nights
 Westmark Fairbanks
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Westmark Fairbanks is conveniently located in downtown Fairbanks.
  Contact info: 813 Noble St
Fairbanks, AK 99701 USA
phone: 907-456-7722
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Call for rate Contact the hotel directly to make arrangements for additional nights. The toll free number is 800-544-0970.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 McKinley Chalet Resort
Type: Lodge
  Description: The McKinley Chalet Resort is one of the Denali National Park lodges. Spanning over 42 acres, the resort offers endless walking trails next to the Nenana River. Courtesy shuttles will conveniently transport you throughout the resort, to the Park Mart, the Wilderness Access Center and the Denali Visitors Center.
  Contact info: Mile 238.5 George Parks Highway
Denali National Park, AK 99755 USA
phone: 907-683-8200
  Room amenities: Room amenities include: television, alarm clock, in-room phone, hair dryer and coffee maker.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Westmark Anchorage Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Located in the heart of downtown Anchorage with easy access to the Anchorage Museum and adjacent to the Egan Convention Center and Performing Arts Center.
  Contact info: 720 West 5th Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99501 USA
phone: 907-276-7676
  Facility amenities: All rooms have private balconies, and high speed wireless Internet access and the facility includes a full service bar and restaurant.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Windsong Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: The Windsong Lodge is located in the spectacular Resurrection River valley, a short distance from Seward. The gift shop features Alaska Native art.
  Contact info: Mile 0.5 Herman Leirer / Exit Glacier Road
Seward, AK 99664 USA
phone: 907-224-7116
  Room amenities: All rooms feature a flat screen television, wireless Internet access, a DVD player, a hair dryer, a coffee maker, and a telephone.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 M/S Zaandam
Type: Cruise Ship
  Ship Information: The M/S Zaandam is a 781' cruise ship with a passenger capacity of 1432. There are 10 decks accessible to passengers, 3 restaurants, lounges, meeting rooms, a health spa, movie theater and an Internet center.
  Contact info: 300 Elliott Ave. W.
Seattle, WA 98119 USA
phone: 877-724-5415
  Room amenities: Rooms include a TV and a hair dryer.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Bathroom: Bath entrances have thresholds in the doorway.
  Elevators available: Yes
  Check out time: 9:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Fairbanks, AK. Hotel registration begins at 3:00 PM. Program meet and greet begins at 5:00 PM, followed by dinner at 5:45 PM. You will be staying at Westmark Fairbanks that night.
  End of Program:
Vancouver, BC. The ship is scheduled to dock at 7:00 AM with disembarkation by 9:00 AM. You will be staying at M/S Zaandam the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Participants must use the Holland America ONLINE CHECK-IN procedure to obtain Cruise Ticket, Boarding Pass and other related information. There is an additional form for dietary or physical needs. To request this form, please contact the program provider ( or 503-786-8080). Bring your America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Senior Pass (or Golden Age Passport as it was formerly known) if you have one. The pass may come in handy during your free time in Denali.
  Parking availability:
Must be arranged and paid for by participant. Because many people will be flying out of Vancouver or Seattle, parking a vehicle near the airport may be the best option.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Fairbanks, AK
  Nearest city or town:  Fairbanks, AK
  Nearest airport:  Fairbanks International Airport, Anchorage International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location:  Disembark ship in Vancouver
  Nearest airport:  Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
Travel Details



From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Holland America
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


30 minutes 




7 miles


Transfers with Holland America must be booked and paid for at least two weeks in advance. Please book through Boston Road Scholar staff (email or phone 617-457-5403).




From Airport




Alaska Cab
phone: 907-452-2222


Per Person/One Way:


$18 from Fairbanks airport to Westmark Hotel
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


30 minutes 




7 miles




From Train Station




Alaska Railroad
phone: 800-544-0552
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Approx $216 for train (call for current rates); plus taxi from Fairbanks station to Westmark Hotel
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


Approximately 12 hours from Anchorage to Fairbanks 


If you prefer to fly into Anchorage, you can take the Alaska Railroad to Fairbanks. Web site: or call 800-544-0552 for times and rates. Taxi recommended from Fairbanks RR station to Westmark hotel. We will be taking the train from Fairbanks to Denali and from Denali to Anchorage.


Vancouver Pier


To Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Holland America
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$28 per person to VANCOUVER airport
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1 hour 


From Canada Place Pier in Vancouver to the Vancouver airport. For those departing the day the ship arrives this can be arranged through the Excursion Office onboard or in advance through Boston Road Scholar staff (email or phone 617-457-5403). VANCOUVER DEPARTING FLIGHTS recommended AFTER 12:00 PM to allow time for claiming luggage on pier, transit, check in, customs and clearing airport security.


Vancouver Pier


To Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Vancouver Shuttle & Charter
phone: 888-941-2121
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$15-$20 US to VANCOUVER airport.
Prices are subject to change.


Transportation from Canada Place Pier to the Vancouver airport can be arranged in advance or at Canada Place Pier after arrival. For those staying over, this is a good option as Holland America's transfer is only offered on the day the ship arrives in Vancouver. Vancouver Shuttle & Charter can be reserved in advance by calling 1-888-941-2121 or in Vancouver at 604-841-2121. A taxi would cost approximately $30.


Vancouver Pier to Sea Tac


To Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Holland America
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$65 Vancouver to SEATAC Airport
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


5 hours between Canada Place and SeaTac Airport 


If departing day of arrival book through the Excursion Office onboard or in advance through Boston Road Scholar staff (email or call 617-457-5403). FLIGHTS DEPARTING SEATTLE AFTER 5:00 PM recommended to allow for luggage claiming on pier, clearing customs, transit to Seattle, passing Canada/US border crossing, airport check in and clearing airport security.


Vancouver Pier to Sea Tac


To Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Quick Shuttle
phone: 800-665-2122
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$55 Senior or $57 Adult rate Vancouver Pier to SEATAC Airport
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


5 hours between Canada Place and SEATAC Airport 


If you prefer to fly out of Seattle, be sure to BOOK your FLIGHT DEPARTING SEATTLE AFTER 5:00 PM to allow for luggage claiming on pier, clearing customs, transit to Seattle, passing Canada/US border crossing, airport check-in, and clearing airport security. For those staying over, this is a good option as Holland America's transfer is only offered on the day the ship arrives in Vancouver. Web site:

Driving Directions
  Outside Alaska The only highway into Alaska is the Alaska Highway. There is the option to ride the Alaska Marine Highway (State ferry) from Bellingham to Haines or Skagway. This would require participants to return from Vancouver to Alaska to pickup their automobile though.
  Outside Vancouver BC People who wish to drive to Vancouver to leave their vehicle for pickup after the cruise can reach Vancouver by Canada Highway 1 from the east or US Interstate Highway 5 from the south.
Elevation Note: White Pass and Yukon rail trip will range from sea level to nearly 3,000 feet elevation.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrive at Fairbanks, Meet your program leaders, Dine with fellow travellers
(Monday, May 27)
 Afternoon: After checking into the hotel, please look for the Road Scholar Meet and Greet table located near the Holland America counter. Your leaders will meet you here to provide details on your program schedule.
 Dinner: Dinner will be held in the Road Scholar meeting space. This will be a chance for you to meet your fellow travellers as you begin your journey in wondrous Alaska.
Accommodations: Westmark Fairbanks
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Orientation and Introductions/Morris Thompson Cultural Center Native Presentations/Museum of the North, U of Alaska Fairbanks
(Tuesday, May 28)

Note: Group will walk from the hotel to the Morris Thompson Cultural Center which is about a 1/2 mile walk. Bus will be taken to the U of Alaska and back to the hotel.

 Breakfast: Hotel Restaurant
 Morning: Our Road Scholar group leaders will provide an overview of the program and introductions will allow everyone to become acquainted with each other. The group will then walk to the Morris Thompson Cultural Center for a guided exploration of the center provided by the center's director. Morris Thompson, a Koyukon Athabascan, was born, raised, and is now laid to rest in Tanana, his Native home in Interior Alaska. As a native political leader and business man, he dedicated his life to Alaska issues and its peoples. The center is dedicated to his memory.
 Lunch: Enjoy a traditional Athabascan meal prepared for our group at the Cultural Center.
 Afternoon: Following lunch enjoy a one-hour Cultural Connections Show featuring traditional music and dancing by Alaska Native youth dancers.

After the performance the group will board a bus to visit the Museum of the North on the University of Alaska's Fairbanks campus. The museum exhibits are a great introduction to Alaska’s diverse wildlife, people and land. Exhibits highlight the objects and artifacts, people, wildlife, geography and history of each of Alaska's five major geographic regions. Pieces and objects representing 2000 years of Alaskan art and historical paintings from the 19th and 20th century round out the exhibits.

 Dinner: At hotel restaurant with the group.
Accommodations: Westmark Fairbanks
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Scenic vistas abound as you travel by train from Fairbanks to Denali, Welcome to the Subarctic by Denali Education Center
(Wednesday, May 29)
 Breakfast: Early rise and depart for train depot for trip on the McKinley Explorer. Breakfast will be served on the train after departing Fairbanks.
 Lunch: At hotel after arrival in Denali National Park.
 Afternoon: After checking in at the lodge, take the opportunity to hike near the entrance to Denali National Park. A shuttle is available from the lodge to the park's Visitor's Center. It is the main National Park Service welcome and information center.

The center offers visitors a chance to learn more about the park by speaking with park rangers, viewing the 20 minute park film, "Heartbeats of Denali," and exploring the exhibit area.

 Dinner: Dine at the Salmon Bake restaurant.
 Evening: Following dinner, head to the Denali Education Center for a Welcome to the Sub arctic presentation. A non-profit educational partner of Denali National Park and Preserve since 1989, the Denali Education Center provides Road Scholar programs during the summer months. Their presentation will provide an excellent background for your trip into the park tomorrow.
Accommodations: McKinley Chalet Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Take the "Tundra Tour" into the heart of Denali National Park and watch for wildlife!
(Thursday, May 30)

Note: Group will depart the lodge between 5:30 and 6:30 am.

 Breakfast: 5:00 am early morning breakfast at the McKinley Chalet.
 Morning: Group will depart very early this morning for a Denali Tundra tour via coach returning at approximately 1:30 pm. A boxed snack will be provided on the bus along with a boxed lunch. Traveling 53 miles into the park to the Toklat River rest area, the Tundra Wilderness Tour provides the opportunity to see the incredible scenery within the park. It includes a narrated history of the park road and some of the best opportunities to view the park’s wildlife inhabitants. One never knows when wildlife will show, but there will be opportunities to look for Dall sheep, moose, caribou, wolves and grizzly bears. On days when Denali (Mt. McKinley) is visible, it may be possible to travel to Stony Hill Overlook (another eight miles down the road) and view the entire mountain from base to summit. Stops are made at least once every 90 minutes for rest stops.
 Lunch: Boxed lunch and boxed snack provided on the bus trip.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore the park. Be sure to take advantage of the park shuttle which stops at the chalet. There are several short hikes that begin in the area of the visitor's center.

Also near the visitor's center are the kennels for the sled dogs of Denali which have have been important to the park for so long that they have become a part of the resource, and a cultural tradition worthy of protection. The dogs and the kennels where they live represent important pieces of American history and symbols of cultural and native significance, the pioneer experience in the far north and the history of Alaska's first national park.

 Dinner: Dinner at your leisure at the hotel's grill.
Accommodations: McKinley Chalet Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Magnificent views from Denali en route to Anchorage by AK Railroad: Hurricane Gulch, Mt. McKinley and wildlife!
(Friday, May 31)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at Chalet Resort.
 Morning: Free time to explore the vicinity near the Park entrance. Take an opportunity to learn more about the Park from the displays in the Visitor Center. Depart via coach to train depot for trip to Anchorage at approximately 11:00 am.
 Lunch: Lunch provided on the McKinley Explorer.
 Afternoon: Relax and view the scenic beauty as you pass through Broad Pass, the highest point on the Alaska Railroad at 2,363 feet. North of Talkeetna you will cross the startling 918-foot Hurricane Gulch trestle, towering 296 feet above the creek below. 70 miles south of Talkeetna,marks one of the most spectacular views of Mt. McKinley. If the weather is good the train will slow to allow passengers to snap a few photos. Keep an eye out for bears, moose, eagles, beavers, wolves and swans.
 Dinner: On the train as you continue your journey
 Evening: Arrive Anchorage and transfer to hotel.
Accommodations: Westmark Anchorage Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Anchorage Museum, Turnagain Arm--arguably one of the most beautiful stretches of highway in America and Alyeska tram
(Saturday, June 1)

Note: The group will walk to the Anchorage museum and back to the hotel which is about a half mile walk each way.

 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Visit the Anchorage Museum. Enjoy the large variety of exhibits that explain pre-historic, historic and present Anchorage and Alaska. The Alaska Gallery displays more than 1,000 objects and is one of the finest presentations of Alaskan history and ethnology in the state. Full-scale and miniature dioramas provide a look at the early lifestyles of Alaska’s Native peoples. Exhibits also cover the exploration and settlement by the Russians, the gold rush era, World War II and statehood. Then board a motor coach for a trip along Turnagain Arm. South of Anchorage, the Seward Highway hugs the dramatic shorelines of Turnagain Arm, and is one of the world's great drives, ranking right up there with Italy's Amalfi Drive. This route is one of 15 roads in the US that have been designated as an "All-American Road." Here explorer Captain Cook searched for the Northwest Passage. Local lore has it that the arm is so named because Cook entered it repeatedly, only to be forced to turn back by the huge tide of water that pushes up the inlet.
 Lunch: Lunch during motor coach trip provided by hotel.
 Afternoon: As you continue towards Seward, watch for beluga whales which are frequent visitors to the arm as they patrol the muddy waters in search of salmon and hooligan, a variety of smelt. High tide is the best time to see these rare creatures. Continue your travel down the Kenai Peninsula to Seward.

At Alyeska Resort travel up the mountain on the Alyeska tram. From the Tram, you can see miles in all directions. Views include Turnagain Arm, seven “hanging” glaciers and endless peaks deep into the Chugach Mountain range. Below the tram moose and bear can sometimes be sighted.

 Dinner: Dinner at Windsong Lodge after arrival in Seward.
Accommodations: Windsong Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Behind the scenes at the Alaska SeaLife Center, board the ship and enjoy its hospitality
(Sunday, June 2)
 Breakfast: Early breakfast at the Windsong Lodge
 Morning: Transfer from the Windsong Lodge to downtown Seward. Spend time in the SeaLife Center where you will see marine life and birds in a behind the scenes visit to learn about the role of the SeaLife Center in education, research and the rehabilitation of marine animals. It is Alaska's only public aquarium and ocean wildlife rescue center. View puffins, octopus, sea lions and other sea life while learning about their mission to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystems.
 Lunch: Lunch will be served on board the ship or if you prefer, you may dine in Seward. Boarding begins at 1:00 pm.
 Afternoon: Be on board MS Zaandam by 5:00 pm. Snacks available on LIDO Deck. If you have any questions, please look for the Road Scholar hospitality desk on board the ship. Brief introduction provided by Road Scholar Staff prior to dinner.
 Dinner: Life boat and life preserver drill prior to departure from Seward followed by group seating for dinner.
Accommodations: M/S Zaandam
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: At sea with scenic vistas, educational presentations and reception
(Monday, June 3)
 Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast as the ship continues our sailing towards Glacier Bay.
 Morning: Spend time on deck viewing glaciers and watch for wildife in the waters.
 Lunch: Lunch on board ship at your own leisure.
 Afternoon: Road Scholar presentation followed by special Road Scholar cocktail party with music and appetizers.
 Dinner: Dine together as group as we travel in the Gulf of Alaska on the way to Glacier Bay.
Accommodations: M/S Zaandam
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Cultural and Naturalist interpretation, Glacier Bay Tidewater Glaciers, and maybe some calving!
(Tuesday, June 4)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board ship at your own leisure.
 Morning: After the Glacier Bay National Park Ranger-Naturalists board the ship near Gustavus at the mouth of the Bay, they will be on hand to explain the history of the area and point out the glaciers and other features of the area.
 Lunch: Eat lunch where you can enjoy the scenery.
 Afternoon: Spend time out on deck to watch for wildlife and enjoy the scenery. If a glacier is fed by enough snow to flow out of the mountains and down to the sea, we call it a "tidewater" glacier which is the type of glacier seen from the ship in Glacier Bay. Watch closely when the ship stops near a tidewater glacier and you may very well see a calving glacier which is a sight to be seen. Listen for the sound as the great blocks of ice up to 200 feet high break loose and crash into the water. In the early afternoon we will have a lecture on board the ship. Following late afternoon a Huna Tlingit cultural ambassador will discuss personal experiences, clan and family traditions and the historic use of the Glacier Bay area. Learn about traditional subsistence practices and the traditions that have sustained the Huna Tlingit people dating back thousands of years.
 Dinner: As a group.
 Evening: Evening meeting with an orientation to Skagway and a presentation on history of the area.
Accommodations: M/S Zaandam
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Haines and Skagway with a ride on the White Pass & Yukon Railway
(Wednesday, June 5)

Note: Ramps can be steep getting on and off the ferry.

 Breakfast: At your leisure--but be prepared to meet in our meeting space by 8:30 am for a special guest presentation. Our speaker will discuss growing up in Alaska.
 Morning: After our presentation, disembark and explore the town of Haines. Board a ferry for Skagway and ride the White Pass and Yukon Railway.
 Lunch: En route.
 Afternoon: Ride the White Pass & Yukon Railway across the White Pass a short distance into Canada. Built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, this narrow gauge railroad is an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. Its steep grade (about 3,000 feet in 20 miles) includes tunnels, bridges and trestles. On the return trip to Skagway you will have a chance to take in the panorama of mountains, glaciers, gorges, waterfalls, tunnels, trestles and historic sites from the comfort of vintage parlor cars one more time. Once back in Skagway take time to explore the town. This time may be limited depending upon the departure time for the ferry back to Haines.
 Dinner: Dinner on board at your own leisure or, eat on your own in Haines.
 Evening: Road Scholar meeting with an orientation to Juneau and its history. Time for a late evening walk on shore before the ship departs for Juneau.
Accommodations: M/S Zaandam
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Take a day boat excursion to look for bald eagles, whales, sea lions and seals, enjoy a Salmon Bake brunch and guided walk on Colt Island, visit Mendenhall Glacier and enjoy time to explore Juneau.
(Thursday, June 6)
 Breakfast: On board ship at your leisure.
 Morning: Disembark and board a motorcoach for an exclusive narrated drive to Auke Bay. Board a catamaran for a cruise to Colt Island's Orca Point lodge where we will take a "Native Plants & Intertidal Marine Life” walk.
 Lunch: Enjoy a salmon bake brunch at Orca Point Lodge.
 Afternoon: After brunch at the lodge enjoy a “Wild Alaska Salmon” talk by the lodge host. Reboard the catamaran for continuation of sightseeing cruise – emphasis on whale watching. The onboard naturalist will explain the behavior and habitat of wildlife you may encounter, including humpback and killer whales, Steller sea lions, Dall’s porpoise, harbor seals, bald eagles, bears and deer. Arrive back at Auke Bay and embark on a motorcoach transfer to Mendenhall Glacier followd by a return to Juneau to independently visit points of interest such as the Alaska State Museum, the Juneau Museum, the State Capitol, the Russian Orthodox church building and historic Franklin Street area.
 Dinner: Group dinner on ship as we depart Juneau.
 Evening: Road Scholar meeting and presentation.
Accommodations: M/S Zaandam
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Ketchikan - Native Culture & Historic Totems, Visit with Saxman Mayor and previous Mayor of Ketchikan Borough, visit SE Discovery Center
(Friday, June 7)
 Breakfast: Travel south through Clarence Straits toward Ketchikan. Road Scholar presentation(s).
 Lunch: On board at your leisure as we approach Ketchikan.
 Afternoon: Disembark for a presentation at the Totem Heritage Center where they will discuss culture and crafts of the native people. Go behind-the-scenes to examine a collection of totems up close along with native crafts. Learn about the native culture from a Tlingit tribal member and mayor of Saxman the native community and prior mayor of Ketchikan Borough. Independently spend time at the Southeast Discovery Center looking at the exhibits. Explore the historic Creek Street area and note totems in the area of the library and Creek Street. Spend time exploring the core of the downtown area.
 Dinner: Dinner as a group on board, or at your own option, eat in town.
 Evening: Explore Ketchikan until "On Board Time". Short Road Scholar presentation.
Accommodations: M/S Zaandam
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: At Sea as you enter Canadian Waters and enjoy presentations by Road Scholar staff
(Saturday, June 8)
 Breakfast: Enter Canadian waters. Road Scholar presentations.
 Lunch: Travel the coast of British Columbia. Road Scholar presentations. Farewell meeting.
 Dinner: Dinner as a group.
Accommodations: M/S Zaandam
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Vancouver/Departure
(Sunday, June 9)
 Breakfast: Early morning arrival in Vancouver at Canada Place Pier. Disembark.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Anchorage, AK Alaska Native Heritage Center
Alaska's premier Alaska Native cultural center. The center shares the heritage of Alaska's 11 major cultures. Visitors experience Alaska Native cultures first-hand through stories, dance and more. Location: 8800 Heritage Center Dr. Anchorage, AK 99504-6100 Phone: 907-330-8000 For additional information, visit
  Anchorage Museum
A world-class museum in downtown Anchorage. The state's largest museum includes the Alaska History Gallery, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, science exhibits, shop and full-service restaurant. Location: 625 C St. Anchorage, AK 99501-3544 Phone: 907-929-9201 For additional information, visit
  Denali National Park, AK Scenic Flights
Fly over the Alaska Range. The flights may be reserved on site at the Kantishna Roadhouse, weather permitting. The cost is approximately $180 per person, payable by credit card or cash. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Alaska Trees and Shrubs

Author: Leslie Viereck and Elbert Little

Alaska's History: the People, Land and Events of the North Country

Author: Harry Ritter

Description: This is a small, easily readable "digest" of Alaska's history. It is great for a quick overview and it is a good size for tucking into a suitcase or reading on a plane.

Alaska's Inside Passage

Author: Terry Breen

An Alaska Anthology: Interpreting the Past

Author: Edited by Stephen w. Haycox and Mary Childers Mangusso

Description: This anthology is a compilation of essays by noted Alaska historians, geographers and naturalists and is easy to browse and read in small segments. The essays cover Alaskan history from the days of Russian-American Company domination to the threat of nuclear testing by the Atomic Energy Commission and provide an understanding of the events, themes and those involved in the development of the state.

Best Tales of the Yukon

Author: Robert Service

Description: Robert W. Service, a bank clerk, began writing about the Yukon after he was transferred to the Whitehorse Branch of a Canadian bank six years after the Klondike Gold Rush. Inspired by the beauty of the Yukon wilderness, Robert Service wrote some of the most expressive poetry of his age. Many favorites from Service's poetry, which depicts the trials and tribulations of the Yukon gold mining life, are included in "Tales from the Yukon"-including such memorable poems as "The Shooting of Dan McGrew," "The Law of the Yukon," and "The Cremation of Sam McGee."

Guide to Marine Mammals of Alaska

Author: Kate Wynne

Description: This book covers all 29 marine mammal species of Alaska. Each whale, porpoise, dolphin, seal, sea lion, walrus, sea otter, and polar bear is described and illustrated. Color photos and surface profile drawings show all Alaska marine mammals and compare similar species, and color range maps show distribution.

Guide to the Birds of Alaska

Author: Robert Armstrong

Description: This comprehensive guide provides the most current knowledge about the birds in Alaska.

Looking at Indian Art of the Northwest Coast

Author: Hilary Stewart

Nature of Southeast Alaska: A Guide to Plants, Animals, and Habitats

Author: Robert Armstrong

Roadside Geology of Alaska

Author: Cathy Connor

Description: Alaska is a mosaic patchwork, a collage of continental scraps swept in from the Pacific and added, one after the other, onto the far northwest corner of the continent. Here are the rocky foundations of Alaska, every bit as exotic as the landscape they support, just as varied and vital as the people who live in that landscape. Due to the rugged terrain and limited road access, this is not just a "roadside" book--it describes the geology of southeast Alaska as one might see it from the observation lounge of one of Alaska's comfortable ferries traveling the marine highway.

The Island Within

Author: Richard Nelson

Description: Richard Nelson a Sitka resident is recognized as one of the nation's best known nature writers. This is his account of his exploration of an unnamed Alaskan island which causes one to think about our own relationship with nature, and the importance of observing and participating in nature with reverence and a sense of wonder.

The Klondike Fever: The Life and Death of the Last Great Gold Rush

Author: Pierre Berton

Description: In 1897 a grimy steamer docked in Seattle and set into epic motion the incredible succession of events that Pierre Berton's exhilarating The Klondike Fever chronicles in all its splendid and astonishing folly. For the steamer Portland bore two tons of pure Klondike gold. And immediately, the stampede north to Alaska began.

The Sea Runners

Author: Ivan Doig

Description: In this timeless survival story, four indentured servants escape their Russian Alaska work camp in a stolen canoe, only to face a harrowing journey down the Pacific Northwest coast. Battling unrelenting high seas and fierce weather from New Archangel, Alaska, to Astoria, Oregon, the men struggle to avoid hostile Tlingit Indians, to fend off starvation and exhaustion, and to endure their own doubt and distrust. Although fictional it is based on an actual incident in 1853.

The Thousand Mile War: World War II in Alaska and the Aleutians

Author: Brian Garfield

Description: The Thousand-Mile War, a powerful story of the battles of the United States and Japan on the bitter rim of the North Pacific, has been acclaimed as one of the great accounts of World War II.

Travels in Alaska

Author: John Muir

Description: Take a trip to last century's Alaska through Muir's clean, easy-going, enthusiastic prose. He wrote the way he took pictures, with insight, attention, care and genuine feeling.

You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.

As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.

Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:

© Road Scholar 2016 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768