Guest Comments


Hi Raye.
"Wanted to thank you for your help in our Alaska trip. Can't tell you how much we enjoyed going back to my home for 2 years. The cabin worked out very nicely. The window was more than adequate. In fact we noticed that very few travelers were using their balcony so the money saved was a good decision. Your advice on the White Pass Railway was really appreciated. It'll be difficult to take another cruise that would be as rewarding as this one was. But we may try again next Summer or the year after, Any really really great bargains show up let me know. Thanks Again."

Bob Snyder
Diamond Princess
July 2011


Mini-Group Rates

For as little as 6 guests, (3 cabins).


Did you know the most overlooked way to stretch your dollar is to form your own Alaska cruise group. Traveling with family or friends,  can lower costs enough so you can travel even when the economy is not that good.

Every company needs that small advantage, something to set you apart from your competitor. Through our mini-group program, we are able to offer even first-time cruisers discounts, cabin upgrades, onboard credits and amenities that help you save money and give us a competitive edge.

Call us and find out how. 800.365.1445

Guest Comments

" Raye, still unpacking and catching up on sleep but we wanted to thank you for all your help in planning our Alaska trip. We all had a wonderful time. The weather was more than ideal. Landscapes, day trips, wild life and the cabin were perfect. If only we had more time to take full advantage of everything. Thanks for all your suggestion and expert advice. We could not of done it without you (or if we did, not nearly as well).  So many places to see in the world, but if we head out by ship again, we'll definitely be in touch. "


Pat and Eileen Gallagher
Island Princess
July 2011



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Ultimate Alaska Shore Excursions Guide


Raye & Marty Trencher's Alaska Cruise Tips:


What's The Best Time To Visit Alaska?

Having worked in, around, and for Alaska for over 20 years now, one of the questions that I am inevitably asked about the Great Land is “ When is the best time to travel?” The inquirer is really asking a couple of questions at the same time, though he or she may not know this.

First off, by “best time” the visitor means; “when is it the best time of during the summer season to travel?” They assume summer because that is the only time year they would image any one could travel through what they perceived is a land that is locked tight with ice and snow. Visions of visitors completely frozen the minute they step off of an aircraft play out wildly in their minds.

This is of course not true, particularly for places like Southeast Alaska where the climate is more akin to the Pacific Northwest than to the Arctic. However, I know what they mean. Fairbanks is the only place I have ever lived that the local grocery chain held frozen vegetable sidewalk

The second part of their unasked question is one that is a little harder to explain. They want to know what month is the best time to travel to Alaska to ensure the best weather. This is because they have made the mistaken assumption that the Great Land is as homogenous a place as say a Florida or New England.

It isn’t.


The Editor's of Cruise Traveler Magazine present Your Ultimate Cruise Guide - Know Before You Go. Tried-and-true Tips on how to have a successful cruise vacation. Get the latest cruise news, cruise reviews, and feature cruise articles. Be sure to read their Ultimate Packing List. A must read, before you plan your next cruise. Add your own article....share the experience. Raye & Marty Trencher's


Seasons In Alaska
Alaska is about 1/5 the size of the rest of the United States. It has more coastline than the lower 48, more lakes than Minnesota, more heartland than Kansas and more big sky than Montana. In another words, because of the size of Alaska, there are as many diverse weather conditions as there is in the rest of the United States.

Case in point. It doesn’t matter if you travel to Ketchikan, Alaska’s “First City” in May, June, July, August or September…you will be rained on. Guaranteed. Sunshine is so rare in this gateway to the rest of Alaska that the schools will actually let children out for a “Sun” day. Ketchikan sits next to the Tongass National Forest, the United States largest National Forest and one of the world’s largest rain forests. Ketchikan will have as much as sixteen feet of rain in any given year.


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On the other hand, there is Fort Yukon in the Interior of Alaska. Average rainfall in this bush community less than an hour’s flight north of Fairbanks is somewhere below 29 inches a year. Average summer temperatures hover in the 80’s. The record for the State was set here at 100 F. Because of the Midnight Sun (Fort Yukon is north of the Arctic Circle) it is normal to have summer days that are blistering hot well past 11:00 at night.


So given that the State is huge and that weather is as diverse as it can be, what is the answer to the question? Well…it depends. Before you throw this piece of paper away in frustration let me explain. Lets assume that you are going to travel Southeast Alaska by cruise ship and the Southcentral and the Interior by dome railcars and motorcoaches.


Southeast Alaska incorporates the ports of Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Haines, Icy Point and so on. Southcentral Alaska is where Anchorage, Alyeska and the Kenai Peninsula are located. The Interior encompasses Fairbanks, Tok, and just over the boarder… Dawson, Beaver Creek and Whitehorse. For Southeast Alaska, the month you travel in the summer matters very little. The temperature will be mild, not unlike a early fall in New England. It can get hot in mid-summer but that is unusual. The thing you notice more is the length of time the sun is up. In May, June and July, the sun is hanging in the sky well past 10:00 pm.


In Southcentral Alaska you start to notice differences in the months. This is very much more pronounced in the Interior. April is known as “breakup”. This is when the rivers melt, the snow recedes back into the mountains and the leaves pop open on the willows and birch. What is amazing is how fast this all happens. I remember one day it was snowing in Fairbanks and the next we had daffodils coming up in our garden. Why? Midnight Sun. Summer Solstice is June 21. But by May there is almost continuous daylight. So…flowers literally bloom overnight.


A thing called Sun Light minutes measures the growing season in the Interior. It turns out that because of the continuous sunlight, Alaska’s interior has a longer growing season than the rest of the US. Image having a spring day in your part of the country that is twice as long as you normally experience. That is a May day in Alaska. I was told not to fertilize my lawn by wise Fairbanks residents. I didn’t listen. During May and June my first year I had to mow my lawn every other day. June is the height of this daylight.


About mid-June most of the wildflowers throughout the Great Land have reached their maturity and are starting to seed. However, the leaves on all of the trees are a wonderful emerald green. It is the green of a new time. I am not sure how else to describe it. July, the most popular time to travel in Alaska ensures one that you will have fair skies and hot days. It has never been my personal favorite time to travel through the Great Land. Though the weather will certainly be clear, it will also be hot. The chances of smoke from distant forest fires are greatly increased. A couple of million acres of bush burn every year in the state, usually started by lightening. There is nothing bad about this. It is Mother Nature’s way of refreshing the land. Nor are any visitors ever in danger.


There remain few places on earth where you can truly breathe. Where space is measured not in feet or miles, but in endless horizons. A place where nature is so powerful, so dramatic, a personal encounter can change you forever. Thrill to white thunder in Glacier Bay, marvel at sunlight at midnight and close-ups of whales, eagles and caribou. Delight in Mt. McKinley's majesty and meadows carpeted with wildflowers. Amid unsurpassed grandeur and serenity, the true wilderness of Denali is calling.However, the smoke can be irritating. Coupled with hot days this may be the reason for my less than enthusiastic endorsement of traveling in July. August really holds two seasons. There are the “dog days of summer” that most of the rest of the nation experiences; hot, at times muggy. Then, around the middle of the month, Mother Nature decides to redecorate. It begins with the Fireweed. These long red stocks of flowers are one of the only blossoms that stay through out the summer. The blossoms travel from the bottom of the stock up to the very top by late August. Then the low brush cranberry and heather begin to turn from a dull green to a rusty red. You glance early signs of this in Denali National Park, where the alpine tundra sitting at a higher elevation turns the soonest. By late August Alaska is magical. The night has returned in the Interior. By 9:00 pm there is darkness, giving the guests the opportunity to see the Aurora Borealis; the Northern Lights. Most guests need it pointed out to them.


Though the Northern Lights are present most evenings throughout the year, light pollution and the Midnight Sun blind one to the very delicate, wispy cloud looking aurora. Then the leaves turn. I know that New England has amazing fall colors. Alaska’s “fall” can’t compete in the diversity that sugar maples and other species bring to the canopy. But no other region can beat Alaska in the last weeks of August and the first couple weeks of September for the sheer magnitude of golden color. Miles and miles of birch, alder, maple and willow change to a gold that is breathtaking. If Alaska was explored for the gold in its soil, it is loved for the gold in its hills and valleys during this special time of year. Snow begins to fall in the higher elevations.


We Alaskans call it “Termination Dust” because it marks the beginning of the end of summer. The animals that were often hidden in the middle of the summer to escape the heat of the day can now be seen with their lush winter coats. October marks the end. The first big storm is usually around the middle of the month. It is then that the land is covered and hidden. I am sure that it is no surprised to the reader that I favor the end of the season to travel to Alaska. After all these years I try never to miss the colors. The days are warm but not too much so. The death grip of winter is a long way off. Yet the nights are crisp with open skies, dancing northern lights and thousands of stars.


The majority of the State’s visitors have gone home and the land feels open and some how more personal. Robert Service the famous poet wrote these words about the North in his poem “The Spell of the Yukon” “There’s gold, and it’s haunting and haunting; It’s luring me on as of old: Yet it isn’t the gold that I’m wanting So much as just finding the gold. It’s the great, big broad land ‘way up yonder, It’s the forest where silence has lease; It’s the beauty that thrills me with wonder, It’s the stillness that fills me with peace.” And that is how I feel.


Noel Dechambeau Former Alaska Marketing Director for Holland America Line

Looking for an Alaskan Cruisetour? Here they are...
1. Denali Explorer & On Your Own Cruisetours

Our signature Denali Explorer cruisetours include up to four nights at our Princess wilderness lodges at Denali. Most tours include our exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness® rail service and all include the Natural History Tour into Denali National Park. ( Optional Tundra Wilderness Tour ) 

Find out More About These Cruisetours Here

On Your Own options have no scheduled activities so you can customize how you want to spend your free time.  3 days on land from just $299 more than a 7-day cruise!* With no scheduled sightseeing activities included, you’ll have the flexibility to create your own adventure with optional land excursions.


2. Off The Beaten Path Cruisetours

These cruisetours include key benefits of our Denali Explorer itineraries, plus visits to less-frequented regions like Copper River and Wrangell–St. Elias National Park, the Kenai Peninsula or Prudhoe Bay above the Arctic Circle.

Find Out More About These Cruisetours Here

3. Connoisseur Escorted Cruisetours

Welcome to a Summertime adventure with an ocean-inspired cruise and an exhilarating land tour of Alaska. Alaska...where Summertime memories last forever.

These deluxe escorted cruisetours represent the highest level of service with a tour director on land and most meals included. They include up to four nights at a combination of both Mt. McKinley and Denali Princess wilderness lodges, with enhanced sightseeing experiences, such as the longer Tundra Wilderness Tour into Denali National Park. Plus, there are options to visit the Kenai Peninsula and Wrangell–St. Elias National Park. 

                 2012 Princess Alaska Cruisetours


Find out More About Them Here.


Experience the Thrill of an Alaska Vacation with Princess Cruises

There remain few places on earth where you can truly breathe. Where space is measured not in feet or miles, but in endless horizons. A place where nature is so powerful, so dramatic, a personal encounter can change you forever. This is Alaska.

Alaska Cruises Only ( no land tour )>> Coral Princess Diamond Princess Island Princess Sapphire Princess Star Princess Sea Princess  

Princess Cruises Named "Best Cruise Line in Alaska" by Travel Weekly

News Article
Line Voted Best in Alaska for Fifth Straight Year at Magazine's Readers' Choice Awards

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (December 29, 2011) -- Princess Cruises has once again received top honors as the "Best Cruise Line in Alaska" in the annual Travel Weekly Readers' Choice Awards. This marks the fifth year in a row, and the eighth time, that the company has been recognized with this distinction by the respected magazine's travel agent readers for its Alaska cruises and cruisetours.


 Quick Links:

 Alaska Cruises From Seattle

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"We're delighted and honored that the true travel experts -- travel agents -- continue to recognize our Alaska cruise program each year," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. "We're passionate about the Great Land and sharing it with visitors, and this award acknowledges that we offer the best Alaska vacation experience in the industry."

Drawing upon more than 40 years of experience cruising the 49th state, Princess Cruises offers Gulf of Alaska and Inside Passage sailings and an extensive selection of cruisetours, with accommodations at five Princess-owned and operated, scenic wilderness lodges. The company's immersive Alaska experience is created by combining a seven-day Gulf of Alaska cruise, including two distinct glacier viewing opportunities, with a land tour ranging from three to nine nights, along with travel by glass-domed railcars.

In addition to experiencing the state's charming port towns, spectacular scenery and marine life while on a Princess ship, passengers who extend their vacation with a land tour will explore Alaska's dramatic interior including at least one night among the wilderness of Denali National Park, one of the state's top attractions. And only Princess offers Direct-to-the-Wilderness rail travel to give visitors more time in the Denali area.

Princess' 2012 Alaska cruise season features seven ships, including a fourth ship added to the Gulf of Alaska route, and three ships sailing the Inside Passage. They will depart on 122 voyages, and travelers can choose from more than 20 different cruisetour options.

Additional information about cruises to Alaska and Princess Cruises is available through Alaska Cruisetour Experts,  a professional travel planner, and Princess Certified Alaska Expert by calling 800.365.1445, or by visiting the company's website at

See all the best of Alaska by land and by sea, as we bring you to towering glaciers, unspoiled wilderness, spectacular wildlife and charming ports

 Voted “Best Cruise Line in Alaska, Princess Cruises takes more passengers to Alaska than any other cruise line -- and here's why:

Experience Alaska Video : There remain few places on earth where you can truly breathe. Where space is measured not in feet or miles, but in endless horizons. A place where nature is so powerful, so dramatic, a personal encounter can change you forever. This is Alaska. Click here to view our video and read our Journal "The Ideal Alaska Vacation"


Certified Alaska Cruisetour Experts

Raye & Marty Trencher are part of an exclusive group of travel agents who are recognized by Princess as Alaska Cruise Experts, earning that distinction for their unique qualifications and knowledge as Alaska cruiseThe Editor's of Cruise Traveler Magazine present Your Ultimate Cruise Guide - Know Before You Go. Tried-and-true Tips on how to have a successful cruise vacation. Get the latest cruise news, cruise reviews, and feature cruise articles. Be sure to read their Ultimate Packing List. A must read, before you plan your next cruise. Add your own article....share the experience. planning professionals.


Call us at 800.365.1445.

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Dazzling glacier and wildlife viewing opportunities on spectacular ships.

Princess brings National Park Rangers and Alaska experts aboard to enhance your experience.

Princess land-and-sea cruise tours give you the best of Alaska by ship, rail and lodge.

Every cruise tour visits Glacier Bay and Denali National Parks.

Exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness rail service provides more time at Denali. picture by Ken Conner

Comfortable Princess Wilderness Lodges at the doorstep of grand national parks.

A wide variety of optional shore excursions and land excursions, from river rafting to nature hikes and much more.

Warm, welcoming Princess service throughout your Alaska vacation.


Experience even more of Alaska’s natural wonders and enjoy a complete escape — with the exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness® rail service. From your ship, step onto waiting luxury railcars, bound north for Denali. Enjoy Alaska’s natural wonders en route, and arrive in time for dinner at one of our wilderness lodges — a full day earlier than on other cruisetours.

Download a brochure about the Direct To The Wilderness rail service.

  • Princess rail cars are rated as Alaska's number one rail experience.

  • 360-degree-view double-decker dome cars

  • Large open-air observation platforms.

  • Full service dining salon.

  • Meals prepared to order.

  • GPS-triggered narration.

"I just wanted to let you know that we just got back from our Alaska trip....... It was Great! Took lots of pictures (which we haven't had time to look at yet), ate and ate and ate on the ship. I think it can be summed up by quoting the tour director..... "This is NOT a vacation, it IS an adventure" Thanks so much for the wonderful dinner at the Pinnacle Grill. The food and service was superb! All of us really enjoyed it! Thanks again, for all your help in coordinating our trip" -- mini-group party of 8.  Learn about Exclusive Mini-Group Rates for 3 Couples or More!


Alaska Cruise Vacations
Explore the rugged Inside Passage and breathtaking Gulf of Alaska, and marvel at spectacular marine life and dazzling glaciers from the vantage of a magnificent Princess cruise ship. Park rangers and Alaska experts come onboard to give you a deeper understanding of this special place.


Alaska Cruisetours
See even more on an Alaska land and sea vacation. Stay at Princess wilderness lodges and enjoy the benefits of our exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness rail service, giving you more time in the heart of Alaska. Best of all, Glacier Bay and Denali National Parks are on every cruise tour.

Exclusive  Mini-Group Rates.

2 Couples or more extra savings. Families of 4 or more. Save even more! Get The Details Here

Special Cruise Savings for Couples Find Out More Here

Alaska's National Parks

Why Visit Alaska?

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Alaska Fun Facts

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Denali National Park

See Denali National Park, Mt. McKinley and the wildlife of Alaska.            

Travel via scenic domed railcars; deluxe, restroom-equipped motor coaches; Overnight at deluxe “rustic” lodges; great wildlife and scenery only on an Alaska cruise tour can you experience all that Alaska has to offer. Denali National Park is located 240 miles north of Anchorage, and encompasses 6 million acres of forests, tundra, glaciers and mountains - that's larger than the entire state of Massachusetts. Yet only 90 miles of main road traverses the park, leaving the moose, caribou, sheep and bears free to roam a wide area of land untouched by man. Denali National Park has long been a place of refuge for those with the will to survive its rugged terrain. Indeed, only the strongest plants flourish in this world of sub-arctic wilderness. Species of mosses, lichens, fungi, algae, and others spangle the slopes and valleys of Denali. Deep pools of frost collect just beneath the park's surfaces, and only the thinnest sheen of topsoil thaws enough each year to stimulate new life. But the fragile nature of the region leads to continuous rebirth. New rivers can spurt up in days and flowers bloom just in time to serve as supper for hungry wildlife.


Best of Alaska Presented by Cruise Traveler Magazine

Top 10 "Best of Alaska" Insider Tips

Best time to visit Alaska

Best direction to cruise

Best places to visit in Alaska

Best things to do in Alaska

Best shore excursions of Alaska

Best shipboard cuisine for Alaska

Best ships to be pampered in Alaska

Best ships for families visiting Alaska

© 2012 Alaska Cruisetour Experts - A Travel Direct Company

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Not only have we been there and done that, we are Certified by the Alaska Travel Industry Association as Certified Experts In Travel To Alaska. Trained and focused on the newest Alaska tour destinations and the most exciting ship experiences to Alaska available in 2012. Take advantage of our expertise when planning your next dream vacation!Travel Direct Corporation is a proud member of the Alaska Travel Industry Association 

Alaska Cruise And Tour Specialists. Alaska cruises and cruise tours to Alaska British Columbia and the Yukon. The best of Alaska with knowledge and Certified Expert Advice from people who've been there.

No one knows Alaska like we do.     

50 Essential Alaska Cruise Tips. Get advice on how to choose the perfect ship, cruise line, land tour and stateroom, then get ready to experience the thrill of an Alaska cruise or cruise tour vacation. Everything you need to know before you go!




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Ships to Alaska

Alaska's National Parks

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Shore Excursions


Save! - 2012 Early Booking Savings & Extra Discounts.  Lower than brochure and current cruise line fares!

Personalized Pricing

The rates you find for Alaska Cruises and Cruisetours may not reflect the lowest rate available! Click Here for details on how to save even more!

Alaska Cruises: Princess Wilderness Lodges

Strategically located at Alaska’s legendary national parks, our wilderness lodges offer excellent rooms, authentic Alaskan dining experiences, and the same warm, welcoming service that you’ve come to expect on every Princess Cruises vacation.

Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge

Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge

Nestled in a prime location near the entrance to Denali National Park, this gorgeous lodge is the perfect starting point for your wilderness adventure.

Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge

Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge

On a bluff overlooking the largest national park, this lodge has a wall of windows featuring dramatic views of Wrangell-St. Elias.

Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge

Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge

North America's tallest mountain provides a stunning backdrop to the picture-perfect setting for this wilderness retreat just south of Denali National Park.

Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge

Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge

Top-notch salmon fishing is only steps away from this well-appointed lodge set in the mountains overlooking the beautiful Kenai River.


Princess Alaska Lodges
and Direct to the Wilderness Rail Service Brochure

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"Thrill to white thunder in Glacier Bay, marvel at sunlight at midnight and close-ups of whales, eagles and caribou. Delight in Mt. McKinley's majesty and meadows carpeted with wildflowers. Amid unsurpassed grandeur and serenity, the true wilderness of Denali is calling."  Catch sight of a humpback whale or wolf pups frolicking in the snow. Alaska is as rustic and romantic as one could ever imagine. Whales, Wonders and Wilderness...

This is Alaska!

Denali National Park

When you plan your Alaskan vacation, do you plan to encounter a striking landscape, a place so expansive that it shelters more than six hundred-fifty species of flowering plants and thirty-seven mammal species?

Do you envision your Alaskan tour to include a dizzying six million acres filled with large caribou, moose, and grizzly bears, and offset with startlingly small flowers, miniaturized to suit Alaska's short growth season?


Of course we're talking about...

Denali National Park

The national parks of Alaska and the Yukon protect wilderness and wildlife habitats. Here are some of our favorites::

Denali National Park

Glacier Bay National Park

Gates Of The Arctic

Kenai Fjords National Park


Alaska Insider Tips

We tried to keep it a secret, but the word got out. Now it's your Free...

141 Page Alaska Cruise Traveler Report
Discover important travel savings advice and get ALASKA Ports-of-Call Information, Destination Overview, Alaskan History, What to See and Do in Alaska, Dining, Hotels, Cruises, Alaska Fun Facts, Local Events.  Get your FREE copy of Raye & Marty Trencher's  "Alaska Cruise Traveler Report
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