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21351
Alaska

Alaska’s Wild and Historic Inside Passage With Your Family

Come face to face with raptors, glaciers and sled dogs as you explore Alaska with your family. Scout for whales, otters, moose and more by land and sea.
Rating (5)
Program No. 21351RJ
Length
10 days
Starts at
7,999
Alaska

Alaska’s Wild and Historic Inside Passage With Your Family

Come face to face with raptors, glaciers and sled dogs as you explore Alaska with your family. Scout for whales, otters, moose and more by land and sea.
Length
10 days
Starts at
7,999
Program No. 21351 RJ
climate
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At a Glance

Pack your sunglasses and get ready for summertime in Alaska, where the sky is bright nearly all night long! Fill up those long days with family adventures. With a cozy small ship as your new home, you and your family will set out to discover a new and exciting frontier, with wilderness experiences at every port. Say hello to frozen glaciers, massive humpback whales, friendly sled dogs and fierce raptors. Take off on a train ride through the mountains, glide by a lovely lighthouse by kayak or guided skiff, and fill up on Alaskan salmon and King Crab as you get a true taste of Alaska!
Family Programs
Family Programs
Share your love of learning with your family. These programs are designed for any combination of generations: grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents and children.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Get up close to Mendenhall and Sawyer Glaciers, and journey by motor skiff or kayak to watch for wildlife.
  • Gain insight into Alaska's indigenous people, view totems, and study the history and cultures of Southeast Alaska.
  • Strike it rich in Skagway as you learn about gold rush history, and ride the rails to the summit of White Pass in British Columbia.

General Notes

This is a family program for participants, their adult children and grandchildren ages 8 and up. Port order may vary based on permitting for Glacier Bay National Park. The maximum group size for this program will be 50 participants. Because of the special nature of this program, we request that you call us to enroll. Please call toll free at (800) 454-5768.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Alaska's History: the People, Land and Events of the North Country
by Harry Ritter
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.
The Sea Runners
by Ivan Doig
The Island Within
by Richard Nelson
Alaska Trees and Shrubs
by Leslie Viereck and Elbert Little
Roadside Geology of Alaska
by Cathy Connor
Guide to the Birds of Alaska
by Robert Armstrong
This comprehensive guide provides the most current knowledge about the birds in Alaska.
The Klondike Fever: The Life and Death of the Last Great Gold Rush
by Pierre Berton
Travels in Alaska
by John Muir
Looking at Indian Art of the Northwest Coast
by Hilary Stewart
Tlingit Tales: Potlatch and Totem Pole
by Lorie K. Harris
Legends of the Tlingit people.
An Alaska Anthology: Interpreting the Past
by Edited by Stephen w. Haycox and Mary Childers Mangusso
Guide to Marine Mammals of Alaska
by Kate Wynne
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.
Nature of Southeast Alaska: A Guide to Plants, Animals, and Habitats
by Robert Armstrong
Alaska
by James Michener
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10 days
9 nights
25 meals
9 B 7 L 9 D
DAY
1
Arrival in Sitka, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Sitka, AK
D
Westmark Sitka Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m. If you arrive before your room is ready, you may store your luggage at the hotel until check-in is available.

Afternoon: All routes and excursions are subject to change – weather sea conditions may affect the itinerary. Sea conditions affect the progress of the ship, making it run late and sometimes miss ports because it is not safe to dock. Because of this, the cruise itinerary should always be regarded as provisional. The operators reserve the right to change the content of excursions without prior notice. The time available in each port is set by the cruise line. Whenever possible, the Road Scholar daily schedule indicates port arrival and departure times (subject to change by the cruise line). This may mean that free time in port is limited. Regardless of the time in port, Road Scholar delivers a robust educational program. Upon arrival in Sitka, we will be met by Alaska Dream Cruise staff and transferred to the hotel. Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table outside the meeting room to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, other important information, and to learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: In our private meeting space at the hotel, we’ll enjoy a buffet meal which will include an entrée, salad, starch, coffee, tea, and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Following dinner we'll have a brief introduction to the program. A more in depth orientation will take place the next morning. Each afternoon before dinner aboard the ship, we’ll have a social hour to recap the day’s activities, preview what will happen tomorrow, get to know our fellow participants better and see amazing scenery. As a tasty treat, enjoy complimentary hors d‘oeuvres as well as coffee, tea, and hot chocolate; other beverages available for purchase. Evenings aboard the ship will often include a presentation for the group, unless specified otherwise. It might be a narrated slide presentation, a talk, an opportunity for questions and answers, or just a good story. Durations of hikes will be dependent on the group pace and ability level, which can vary. Unless specified otherwise, transportation on land will be provided primarily by motorcoach, requiring the going up/down of a few steps when getting on/off. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the full day ahead.

DAY
2
Sitka, Raptor Center, Sheldon Jackson Museum
Sitka, AK
B,L,D
Alaskan Dream Cruises' Admiralty Dream

Activity note: Walking about 1.5 miles over a period of approximately 4 hours with stops. Driving about 12 miles, approx. 30 minutes throughout the day.

Breakfast: At the hotel in our private meeting space, the breakfast buffet will include items such as eggs, toast, cereals, juice, fresh fruit, coffee, and tea.

Morning: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any program changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. After bringing our luggage down and checking out of the hotel, we'll board a motorcoach and make our way to the Alaska Raptor center. Here we'll witness all of the wonderful work this place doing to rehabilitate the local raptors. Following our tour of the Sitka Raptor Center, we will make have the chance to explore the historic Sitka National Historical Park. One of Alaska's most charming communities, Sitka lies in a protected harbor rich in natural resources and has a complex history dating back over 8,000 years beginning with the Kiksadi Tlingit people as the native residents. Serious Russian interest began in 1725 when they began to explore the Pacific coast of North America until they eventually established, after much fighting with the Tlingit people, Sitka as an administrative center.

Lunch: In our private meeting space at the Alaska Dream Cruise hospitality suite, we’ll have a light lunch of sandwiches, chips, fruit, cookies, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take the afternoon to explore Sitka on your own. You're group leader will be happy to offer suggestions. If you would like to visit the Sheldon Jackson Museum or the Sitka Sound Science Center during your free time please make sure you are wearing your Road Scholar name tag. Your name tag is your ticket to those two places. Following our free afternoon we'll meet back at the hotel where we'll board a motorcoach that will take us to the dock. We will then board our vessel for our embarkation from Sitka. After boarding, we will meet the Captain and crew and have an orientation session outlining safety procedures as we get underway. After we settle in, we’ll transit two beautiful, twisty narrow passages where we can look for sea otters, bald eagles, and other creatures.

Dinner: In the dining room, enjoy plated meals prepared by professionally trained chefs using fresh and locally produced foods plus one complimentary glass of beer or wine with all dinners aboard the ship. Coffee, tea, milk, hot chocolate and water are included; other beverages available for purchase. Menus change daily, usually including a seafood or meat entrée.

Evening: A member of the staff will provide an overview of tomorrow’s activities as well as discuss the local history and culture. The ship’s public address system allows participants to hear programs in the forward lounge (where most of our onboard programming occurs) or in the comfort of staterooms.

DAY
3
Frederick Sound, Hobart Bay, Kayaking
Hobart Bay
B,L,D
Alaskan Dream Cruises' Admiralty Dream

Activity note: 22-foot skiffs and kayaks require the ability to climb in and out of the boats; assistance as needed. Each group that goes out will be accompanied by 2 staff leaders. Hiking about ½ mile, expected duration of approx. 1 hour, but will be dependent on pace of the group; moderate incline on gravel road.

Breakfast: Aboard the ship, we’ll have plated meals featuring fresh, organic, and locally produced foods including items such as pancakes, cereals, egg dishes, and breakfast meats with coffee, tea, milk, hot chocolate, juice and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Morning: We’ll head into Frederick Sound, watching for signs of its rich wildlife, such as humpback whales and marbled murrelets. We'll also cruise by Five Fingers Light House, one of the first lighthouses in Alaska. Staff will be available to answer questions and point out wildlife sightings.

Lunch: Aboard the ship, we’ll have plated meals featuring fresh, organic, and locally produced foods with coffee, tea and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Arriving at Hobart Bay, we will have the chance to explore the bay via 2-person sea kayaks or on 22-foot skiffs for quiet exploration. Kayak launchers make it easy to get into kayaks that are then slid into the water slowly. Groups will be limited to 10-12 on the skiffs providing room to easily maneuver and catch sight of wildlife and take photos as well as watch for eagles or bears along the shore. Before each event, the crew will give operating instructions, paddling instructions, and safety instructions. The kayaking and skiff exploration activities will take place in small groups and will be scheduled throughout the afternoon. There will also be an opportunity to go ashore for a short hike to a view point along a gravel road in the late afternoon. We’ll all regroup aboard the ship for our social hour.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: Our Road Scholar Group Leader will give a presentation on more fascinating aspects of Alaska’s Inside Passage.

DAY
4
Petersburg, Norwegian Folk Dance
Petersburg, AK
B,L,D
Alaskan Dream Cruises' Admiralty Dream

Activity note: Getting in/out of skiffs with assistance as needed. Hiking about 1.5 miles; approx. 1 hour; partly boardwalk, partly uneven rocky terrain with slight elevation gain. Getting on/off motorcoach.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Our day will be spent in Petersburg, AK, a vibrant fishing community located on the northern tip of Mitkof Island. In 1897, Norwegian pioneer Peter Buschmann arrived and seeing that the clear, clean ice from LeConte Glacier could be used to pack fish, built the Icy Strait Packing Company cannery, a sawmill, and a dock. His family’s homesteads grew into Petersburg, populated largely by people of Scandinavian descent. Today it still has a small village feeling with a population of about 3,100 permanent residents. We’ll start our day off with a walk to the Sons of Norway Hall to experience a bit of Norwegian culture as we enjoy a dance performance by Petersburg’s children. Join in and feel the Norwegian excitement! Afterwards, our motorcoach will pick us up about a block from the Sons of Norway Hall and our driver will take us on a narrated drive through town which will highlight the town’s history and culture. Following the drive, you will have the choice of going back to the ship or being dropped off in town to enjoy some free time on your own prior to lunch aboard the ship. Town is about a ½ mile walk from the ship.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Following lunch we will we will begin to make our way to Tracy Arm Fjord via Stephens Passage, an area known for humpback whale sightings.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Tracy Arm Fjord
Tracy Arm Fjord, AK
B,L,D
Alaskan Dream Cruises' Admiralty Dream

Activity note: Getting in/out of skiffs; assistance provided as needed.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Tracy Arm may be Alaska’s most scenic fjord as well as a photographer’s paradise. A fjord is a narrow inlet of ocean running between cliffs or steep slopes. Tracy Arm twists and turns for more than 30 miles through some of the most dramatically scenic landscapes anywhere, dotted with thousands of icebergs from glaciers -- North Sawyer and South Sawyer -- at the end of the fjord. While our focus here will primarily be on geology, wildlife will also be present. Seals come to this area to avoid killer whales and they can often be seen floating on the ice while mountain goats may be seen on the shore’s cliffs. Bald eagles and other birds fly above. As you observe from the decks, commentary given by staff along the way will tell the geologic story and point out highlights.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Weather permitting as we are winding our way back down the arm, we’ll pause to board our skiffs and view some of the spectacular waterfalls that spill out of the granite cliffs along the fjord up close.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: Onboard staff will lead an orientation on procedures for tomorrow’s outdoor activities in Juneau. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure.

DAY
6
Mendenhall Glacier, Icy Straight, Dog Sled, Orca Point Lodge
Juneau, AK
B,L,D
Alaskan Dream Cruises' Admiralty Dream

Activity note: Activity levels are dependent on participants’ personal preferences during independent exploration. Driving about 45 miles; approx. 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: As we arrive in Auke Bay, 12 miles north of Juneau, we will leave the ship and board a motorcoach for a field trip to one of Alaska’s extraordinary natural wonders: the Mendenhall Glacier. This river of ice is one of 38 large glaciers that flow from the 1,500 square mile Juneau Icefield formed about 3,000 years ago. The glacier stretches 12 miles from the ice field down to its terminus at Mendenhall Lake. The glacier and surrounding area are protected by the National Forest Service as part of Tongass National Forest, the largest in the U.S., encompassing 17 million acres. The Visitor Center offers magnificent views of the Glacier and the lake, many displays and presentations, a short movie, and hiking trails. National Forest Service interpretive rangers will provide information and answer questions as we explore independently.

Lunch: Aboard the motorcoach, we’ll have boxed lunches.

Afternoon: Following our visit to Mendenhall Glacier, we transfer to our dogsledding adventure! As we head into the Tongass National Forest we will be met by our musher leaders as well as by a team of Alaskan huskies bursting with energy. We will board the custom-designed wheeled summertime sleds and let the dogs take us for a ride. We will then have the opportunity to stop by the Alaska State Museum, and see the rich history of Alaska. After our visit to Alaska State Museum we’ll have time to explore Juneau independently before our transfer to the ship via coach in the late afternoon.

Dinner: As a special treat, we have an exclusive stop at Orca Point Lodge on Colt Island to enjoy a wonderful buffet meal of Alaskan salmon and all-you-can-eat King Crab. A glass of wine, soft drinks, coffee, tea and water are included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At the lodge's touch tank, get “up close and personal” with Alaskan sea life and stroll on the private beach. If weather permits, enjoy a bonfire on the beach. We’ll then board the ship.

DAY
7
Skagway, Yukon Railroad to White Pass – B.C.
Skagway, AK
B,L,D
Alaskan Dream Cruises' Admiralty Dream

Activity note: Getting on/ street cars. Minimal walking on sidewalks and city streets. Train ride is approx. 40 miles roundtrip; about 3.5 hours.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Skagway, a city rich in gold rush history, will be our destination today. The Skagway street cars will meet us at the ship and transport us to the White Pass & Yukon Railroad with narration. This narrow-gauge railway was completed in 1901 and is considered a marvel of engineering skill for the early 20th century. The trip will take us to the summit of the White Pass in British Columbia and return via the same route (passport not required).

Lunch: Aboard Ship or in town at own expense.

Afternoon: Following our train trip, we will have some time to independently explore the town of Skagway whose history recalls cries of “gold in the Yukon” and whose memories of raucous barroom pianos and boom town crowds still linger. You may wish to take some time to explore the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park museum or Skagway Museum & Archives on your own. You may wish to take a trolley ride through town on the way back to the ship, included in program cost, or walk.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: Our Road Scholar Group Leader will give a presentation on more fascinating aspects of Alaska’s Inside Passage.

DAY
8
Glacier Bay National Park, Tlingit Native Heritage Guide
Glacier Bay, AK
B,L,D
Alaskan Dream Cruises' Admiralty Dream

Activity note: Getting in and out of kayaks with assistance. Walking up and down steep stairs in the ship to get to the decks for wildlife viewing.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Birders and wildlife watchers will want to be up and out on decks as we enter Glacier Bay early this morning. We will be joined by a National Park Service (NPS) Ranger who will lead our programming today. The NPS citation reads, “Covering 3.3 million acres of rugged mountains, dynamic glaciers, temperate rainforest, wild coastlines, and deep sheltered fjords, Glacier Bay National Park is a highlight of Alaska's Inside Passage and part of a 25-million acre World Heritage Site — one of the world’s largest international protected areas.” The entrance to Glacier Bay teems with wildlife, particularly sea birds. This is also an area frequented by feeding humpback whales. The Huna Tlingit people once lived here and consider it their spiritual homeland. A Native Tlingit interpretive naturalist will join the NPS Ranger to discuss their traditional ties to this stunning natural treasure.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our study cruise exploration of Glacier Bay National Park, the crown jewel of Southeast Alaska and considered by many to be the United States’ Number 1 national park. Glacier Bay has the largest number of tidewater glaciers in North America, the 15,000-foot Fairweather Mountain range, stunning scenery, and wildlife including humpback whales, sea otters, puffins, mountain goats and more, often amid calving icebergs. Watch for all these wonders from the deck of the ship (binoculars provided). The Ranger and naturalist will be on deck for commentary, to point out highlights, and answer questions. We’ll enjoy our social hour to reflect on the beauty of Glacier Bay.

Dinner: Aboard the ship, we'll enjoy a delicious plated meal with standard beverages in the company of the captain. Toast to a successful program and share your favorite memories with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for disembarkation and departures in the morning.

DAY
9
Arrive Juneau, Disembark, Mt. Roberts Tramway
Juneau, AK
B,D
Baranof Downtown Hotel

Activity note: The ship is scheduled to arrive in Juneau at approximately 7:30 a.m. Disembarkation from the ship will begin at approximately 8:30 a.m. Minimal walking on sidewalks and city streets; rides available upon request. Walking along groomed trails at the top of Mount Roberts.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: After disembarking the ship we’ll make our way to downtown Juneau where we’ll have a chance to ride the Mount Roberts Tramway. In operation since 1996, the Mt. Roberts tram makes a six-minute ascent of 3,819-foot Mount Roberts from the cruise ship docks to a height of about 1,800 feet. At the top, enjoy expansive views of Juneau and Gastineau Channel and have some time for exploration at the Mountain House, Chilkat Theater, and Raven Eagle Gifts & Gallery. Following our exploration of Mount Roberts we’ll make way to the Alaska State Museum where we’ll have a chance to explore independently. This museum offers many exhibits and does an amazing job in highlighting the distinct native cultures of Alaska.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. You may wish to take a walking excursion with the Group Leader or explore on your own visiting other interesting sites in Juneau including the Sealaska Heritage Institute, Capitol building, or the Juneau-Douglas City Museum.

Dinner: In our private meeting space at the hotel, we’ll enjoy a farewell buffet meal which will include an entrée, salad, starch, coffee, tea, and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Enjoy a wrap up presentation at the hotel reviewing our adventures with Road Scholar staff. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departure in the morning

DAY
10
Program Concludes
Juneau, AK
B

Activity note: Check out by 12:00 p.m.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the buffet will include menu choices such as eggs, breakfast meats, potatoes, yogurt, French toast, juice, coffee, tea and water. This concludes our program. If your transfer to the airport occurs before the breakfast buffet opens, a boxed breakfast will be available for you to take. Your group leader will let you know if you should be getting a boxed breakfast.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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