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RUPA Cruise


The next RUPA cruise will be the 14 Day Great Alaskan Explorer departing from Vancouver Canada on June 29, 2020.  Discover the ‘Great Land’ by sea – from the Inside Passage to deep-blue Hubbard Glacier to the rustic ports of Homer and Ketchikan.  Day 2 finds us sailing Alaska’s Inside Passage, one of the greatest cruising routes in the world, it offers opportunities to spot some of Alaska’s most iconic wildlife, humpback whales and orca plying the bountiful waters, bald eagles soaring overhead and brown bears lumbering on the shoreline. Day 3 will find us in Ketchikan which has long been an important hub of the salmon-fishing and -packing industries. Here you can savor the fresh seafood at one of the local restaurants. It is also one of the best spots along the Inside Passage to explore the rich cultural sights of Native Alaskan nations like the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian. You can see intricately carved totem poles at the Totem Heritage Center and Totem Bight State Park.  Day 4 will find us cruising Tracy Arm with steep cliffs and glacier-covered mountains flanking the fjord, while the twin Sawyer Glaciers flow from the peaks down to the sea, sloughing off stories-high chunks of water frozen decades or even centuries before. Even more glorious than nearby Glacier Bay, Tracy Arm is part of the 5.7 million acres of pure wilderness sheltered by the Tongass National Forest (America’s biggest). Visitors often see bears, whales and mountain goats roaming across various corners of this pristine area—not to mention chubby baby seals resting on the ice floes.

Day 5 will find us at Haines, known as the adventure capital of Alaska.   It is a hotspot for rafting and hiking, salmon- halibut- and trout-fishing in the Chilkat River or kayaking on Chilkoot Lake. During the late fall and early winter, thousands of bald eagles migrate through this area to feed on the salmon, an event celebrated by the Alaska Bald Eagle Festival in November.  Day 6 will find us at Icy Strait Point a former fish cannery. Canneries didn’t survive the advent of refrigeration; most were taken back by the forest or simply left to rot. With one exception, Icy Strait Point, beautifully- restored, now offers a museum and a cannery demo. It gives us a chance to look into history to see where Alaska’s money came from, all in a ghost town of millions of fish.  Later in the day we will pass by the Inian Islands located at the northernmost point where the Gulf of Alaska enters the Inside Passage, the Inian Islands are prime feeding waters for a wide array of creatures, including sea lions, humpback whales and sea otters. This is Alaska at its most pristine and wild.  Day 7 is a day at sea.

Day 8 will find us at Anchorage.  Alaskans love their summers and the residents of Anchorage, Alaska are no exception. The city plants thousands of flowers to celebrate the arrival of warmer months and days that last as long as 19 hours from dawn to dusk. Approximately 40 percent of Alaska’s population lives in Anchorage. This diverse city of 300,000 includes a large military population, Native Alaskans, individuals who work for the oil industry and adventure-seeking types who want to get away from “the Lower 48.” While some cities have deer, Anchorage has lots of moose, known for being a bit rambunctious (and should be steered clear of if seen wandering down a street).  Day 9 will find us at Homer; the rich fishing grounds here attracted Native Alaskans centuries before Captain James Cook claimed the Kenai Peninsula for Britain in 1778. After some Russian tyranny—fur traders forced Native Alaskans to hunt sea-otter pelts for them—Homer got a proper start as an English-settled coal-mining town in the 1890s. Today the area’s known as the Halibut Fishing Capital of the World.

Day 10 will find us in Valdez, another fishing paradise.  If you haven’t satisfied your craving for fish by now, you will have another opportunity to do so here.  Day 11 will find us at Hubbard Glacier. The glacier is up to 213 feet wide at its face and 164 feet tall, but that’s only the tiniest piece of the ice: The main channel of this frozen river begins 76 miles back, pouring down from around the 11,100-foot mark off the shoulder of Mt. Walsh.  Day 12 will find us in Juneau, the capital of Alaska.  It is an unusual capital city in that no roads connect it to the rest of the state.  Day 13 will find us at Misty Fiords, sculpted by glaciers over millions of years, Misty Fjords’ u-shaped “canals” wind through steep canyons of granite, shrouded in western hemlock, Sitka spruce and western red cedar. Misty Fjords is a part of Tongass National Forest and home to grizzlies, salmon, whales, mountain goats and deer.

Day 14 will find us sailing the inside passage on our way back to Vancouver. Summer temperatures average 35 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit so pack warm clothing. And don’t forget waterproof gear, even when traveling by cruise ship: More than a meter and a half of rain falls here each year! We also recommend a water bottle, thermos or reusable coffee cup: On scenic cruising days, cruise ships ban paper and disposable plastic products that could litter this unsullied environment.

To view this cruise on the Holland web site go to www.hollandamerica.com. On the first page select Alaska & Yukon in the ‘sail to box’, select Jun 2020 in the departure date box, for duration select 9-16 days, select Vancouver for the Departure city and click on the search button.  This trip will be on the bottom of page 9.

Sample pricing per person for this cruise start as follows

$1941 for an inside cabin,     $2199 for an outside cabin,     $4499 for a Verandah suite

$7599 for a Neptune Suite,     Port charges and Taxes are $360 pp.

Once again we are working with Jerry Poulin at Jerry’s Travel Service.  If you have questions, please call him at 1-800-309-2023 access code 33, or 508-829-3068, or gpsp@aol.com for the latest prices and information. When you book with Jerry, he will give you a discount of $100 to $300 per cabin based upon the Category booked. You will also receive Complimentary Sparkling wine and chocolate covered strawberries at embarkation, as well as a complimentary Pinnacle Grill Dinner.

If you book before October 31st, for a small additional price, you will get the Explore4 package which includes: Free Internet for Verandah and Neptune Suite cabins, up to $800 of on onboard credit depending on cabin category and a second Pinnacle Grill Dinner.  He will also give all in the group 2 cocktail parties.

If lower prices become available, you will be rebooked at the lower rate.  Prices are subject to availability and subject to change until booked.  Submitted by, Rich Bouska