Our Crystal destination experts who develop the hundreds of Crystal Adventures shore excursions offered on our global voyages really love their work. Led by vice president of land programs, John Stoll (who travels to the ends of the earth in search of the next most amazing adventure – more on that next week), the team members get their thrills by researching, planning and dreaming up the most thrilling experiences possible for you. One of their many responsibilities is to bring to life the most intriguing parts of each experience, to help you envision yourself in that rainforest, behind the scenes at that museum, exploring the private rooms of that palace, or in the kitchen of that Michelin starred restaurant.
As Crystal Serenity prepares for the 2016 season cruising the spectacular waters, glaciers and towns of Alaska, our team has selected their personal favorite Crystal Adventures to inspire your dream cruise experience. It was nearly impossible for them to choose a “Top 10,” but a “Top 218” list just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Here are our “Top 10” can’t-miss Alaska adventures (in no particular order):
- Photo Safari by Land & Sea (Juneau) – We advise you to pack a few extra memory cards for this adventure, because you won’t want to miss any one of the glaciers, icy waterfalls, or forest and ocean wildlife.
- White Pass Scenic Railway – I like trains, I like train rides, and this one looks like something special. A 3,000 foot elevation gain amongst the Alaskan mountains will no doubt be picturesque. I’ll take it.
- Sawtooth Mountain Rainforest hike (Skagway) – You don’t often think “rainforest” when you think of Alaska, which is why this experience is so special. It offers the chance to explore the wildlife in a less explored area of the region, plus a ride on the historic White Pass & Yukon Route Railway, which adds to the mystique and ruggedness of the day.
- Glacier View Sea Kayaking (Juneau) – The opportunity to paddle through water at the base of a glacier while porpoises and humpbacks surface for air is just something that cannot be matched, and shouldn’t be missed.
- Dog Sledding & Norris Glacier by Helicopter (Juneau) – This excursion combines so many thrilling adventures in one remarkable experience. Outdoor enthusiast will love the helicopter flight and glacier landing, while animal lovers will be fascinated by the training and life of the dogsled team.
- Sitka Hike & Bike (Sitka) – Riding through the mountains and along the ocean, then hiking through a spectacular national forest is an ideal way to spend a day for those seeking a bit of exercise with their adventures.
- Bear Creek Zipline (Ketchikan) – Herring Cove Rainforest is known for the stunning views from the treetops, and, unless you’re one of the resident bald eagles, a zip line adventure is the best way to enjoy them. A perfect option for adrenaline junkies – suspension bridge walk, 4×4 hillside expedition and 5,000+ feet of dual cable zip lines included.
- Gray Whale Watch Cruise (Anchorage/Seward) – It’s a treat to watch these magnificent creatures on their migration from the Baja coast to the Bering Sea, but there is so much more – sea lions, puffins, humpback whales and orcas, even coffee and hot cocoa!
- Anchorage Exploration & Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (Anchorage/Seward) – Since Alaska’s wildlife is so unique and integral to the region’s survival and way of life, a visit to the Wildlife Conservation Center is truly enlightening. There are so many vital efforts in place to help orphaned and injured bald eagles, bears, moose and other animals, and so much to learn!
- Alaska’s Wildest Kitchen (Hoonah) – For travelers who like to learn about new places through the food, this is a must, since Alaskan seafood is some of the best in the world, and this excursion includes hands-on training from an expert chef.
Of course, we encourage you to develop your own “top 10” Crystal Alaska experiences when you book your voyage. Crystal Serenity’s 2016 and 2017 Alaska cruises are open for booking, with additional value offered through Feb. 29.