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With the coronavirus pandemic keeping a huge question mark over typical vacation experiences in 2021, cruise lines are turning their attention from the sea to the land.

Holland America Line and Princess Cruises have put together a series of packages to explore Alaska by land this summer, combining tours, lodging, and sightseeing options for visitors.

“We love Alaska, and we love that we get to share it with visitors from all over the world,” said Dave McGlothlin, Holland America vice president of tour operations.

Cruises On Hold

The company has currently halted all cruises because of the pandemic. The most recent announcement, in early January, keeps all of its ships empty until the end of April, with all Alaska cruises canceled through mid-May.

Likewise, Princess Cruises announced last month that all Alaska cruises have been canceled.

"We share in our guests’ disappointment over these canceled voyages, especially as we have been preparing our ships for our return to service,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “We understand how much of Alaska is dependent on the cruise economy. We are going to do all we can to help our business partners and the communities of Alaska.”

Land Options

Given the possibility that pauses on cruising could be extended, Holland America is turning its attention to the land, giving travelers a chance to see North America’s tallest mountain, Denali, up close this summer. Their packages include using Gray Line Alaska, Princess Alaska Lodges, and Westmark Hotels for visitors.

Travelers have the option of booking a tour where everything is pre-planned or making their own itinerary with hotel and sightseeing options presented for their choosing.

“For the last year, many people stayed close to home, so this summer, as we’re able to reopen some of these land offerings, we are more ready than ever to welcome visitors back through our doors,” McGlothlin said. Among the available options:

  • Escorted tours of six to seven nights, with variations between Anchorage, Fairbanks, Denali, and Kenai available
  • Denali Rail tours from one to six nights, with up to four nights at Denali National Park
  • Hotel stays at the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel, with travelers choosing their own sightseeing trips; additional properties will open after Memorial Day, including the McKinley Chalet Resort at Denali and the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge overlooking the Kenai River
  • One-hour cruises to see the face of Portage Glacier

All of the activities will follow strict health protocols to address COVID-19, which will likely change in the coming months. The company is committed to following the CDC guidelines that will be in place in the summer. Want more inspiration? Consider

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