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Deaf Alaska Land & Cruise Tour
August 2-15, 2014

We flew in to Fairbanks where most of us were dazzled by the long summer nights and the midnight sun. After getting settled into our hotel in Fairbanks and a good night sleep, we discovered Alaska's second largest city via a city tour including the Museum of the North. The museum has a marvelous display explaining the history, culture and wildlife of Alaska. We enjoyed a riverboat cruise on the Discovery Sternwheeler in the afternoon, allowing us to experience how the rivers were the state's highway system in the past.


River Boat Tour

The next day, excitedly everybody was looking forward to the morning train ride to Denali. We boarded the Wilderness Express train for our journey south. Our car had a restaurant on the lower level and an upstairs sitting area with a glass-domed roof. We started our voyage with a breakfast while passing the beautiful scenery. Back on the upper level of the car, we appreciated our tour guides commentary regarding Alaska's history, nature, and culture. At lunch time, we disembarked the train. The afternoon was free for additional activities. Most guests in our group joined the evening event attending a 'Cabin Night' Cabaret.

Train Restaurant

Enjoying Breakfast in the Train Restaurant

The entire next day was reserved for the Tundra Wilderness Tour in Denali National Park. We traveled via bus and were very lucky to see wildlife. Because of the nice weather we were able to enjoy breathtaking views of the mountains.

Denali National Park

Denali National Park

We had free time the next morning in Denali. Most of us decided to go to Husky Homestead, home of Iditarod Champion Jeff King. We were greeted by cuddly puppies and we enjoyed a very educational lecture about the training of the dogs. Jeff King's compelling stories about the Iditarod allowed us to share an intimate view of the Alaskan Husky.

Denali to Talkeetna

Departing for Talkeetna

Later we re-embarked the Wilderness Express train just in time for lunch. While enjoying the delicious lunch, we marveled at the snow covered mountains. Later, we enjoyed a narrated presentation about the area that we passed. Talkeetna was our final destination for this day. We stayed at the Talkeetna Alaska Lodge for one night.

Since our train was not scheduled to depart until the afternoon, we had plenty of time to discover Talkeetna. It is a small town that once served as a miner's supply center and a riverboat station. Main Street is the only paved road in town. Late in the afternoon, we returned to the Wilderness Express where a delicious dinner was waiting for us. We departed for Anchorage where we arrived in the evening. A bus took us to the Marriott. Still, we had time for a stroll through Anchorage, the city that is located between the Chugach National Forest and the Cook Inlet.

Talkeetna to Anchorage

On the train from Talkeetna to Anchorage


Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

At noon, we left Anchorage via coach heading to the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Afterwards we continued to Seward for the ship embarkation. Everybody was excited to be checked in and to get on the ship. Then, we had plenty of time to explore our ship, the Celebrity Millennium. The ship set sail at 8 PM, still in broad daylight.

We enjoyed a Day at Sea by participating in different onboard activities in the morning. During the early afternoon, we started to slowly approach Hubbard Glacier. After getting to the closest point to the glacier, the ship stopped and we had many opportunities to take pictures. The weather was perfect: sunshine and blue sky.

Hubbard Glacier

Approaching Hubbard Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier

At Mendenhall Glacier

At our first port of call was Juneau, Alaska's capital. Some of us went whale watching, others took a helicopter tour to the glacier, and some joined the tour to Mendenhall Glacier. After the termination of the tours, there was still time to discover the town that was founded during the gold rush in the late 1800s. The city is the home of the Patsy Ann dog statue that was erected at the waterfront in 1992. Patsy Ann was a deaf dog who could tell when ships were on the way to Juneau before they even sounded their horns. She loved to meet the ships at the docks and soon became known as the "Official Boat Greeter of Juneau".

Our next port was Skagway, a town that reminds visitors of the Klondike Gold Rush era. It is a place that offers visitors a nice variety of activities and entertainment. Our group embarked the White Pass Scenic Railway at the Skagway train depot and traveled up the mountains to the White Pass. After arriving back in town, an enjoyable stroll through Main Street offered many opportunities for shopping or for learning about the history of the town. During the course of the years, shop fronts and other buildings have been restored. Thus, the visitor has the impression as if they were walking through the boomtown of the late 1890s.

White Pass Railway

White Pass Railway - "A Must Do"

Icy Strait Point

Tender boats are used in Icy Strait Point

Some of us embarked a tram in Icy Strait Point that took us through the southeast Alaskan rainforest and along the shoreline where Chichagof Island meets the waters of Icy Strait. We learned about the ecological and cultural significance of the forest and the daily life of the Native Tlingit people. Icy Strait Point was originally built as a Salmon Cannery. The cannery closed in 1999. Then, the area was changed into a cruise port area with shops, historical displays and outdoor activities.

Ketchikan, the 'Salmon Capital of the World' was our next port of call. The town is also known for the world's largest collection of standing totem poles. One of the places where many totem poles can be found is Saxman Village that we visited during our tour. Members of the native community welcomed us at the Beaver Clan House with traditional songs and dances. Back in town, we walked along Ketchikan Creek that is framed with wooden boardwalks, a nice pedestrian area with small shops and galleries.
Ketchikan Creek

Ketchikan Creek

Group Picture

Group Picture

Thank You Note

Thank You Note

Thank You Note

Thank You Note

Thank You Note

Thank You Note

What our clients said after the tour:

Hello Kerstin,
We had a wonderful time in Alaska land and cruise. Thank you for helping me to reserve the seat at any place. You are the best agent for deaf travelers. I did not know you well until we know you now. We would like to say, thank you for everything. Hope to see you again for another travel some day. Sincerely, Diane and Gary

Hi Kerstin
Enjoyed cruising in Alaska places. Thank you for great time. I would like to inform you that we are s atisfied with the guest relation. They are friendly to communicate well by writing. Two of four interpreters, David Jones and Richelle Frantz are the excellent workers for us all in their good attitudes. Hope so we will see you someday. Have a great next trip. Robbie and Royce

We both want to thank you again and again for all the wonderful works you did for us!!! You are awesome !!!! We hope to go to Australia and New Zealand someday under your supervision. Thomas & Shirley

Bob and I really enjoyed our trip. You are super and I was impressed by your patience! June

Hello Kerstin
Yes, we tremendously enjoyed Alaska. I enjoyed more by land from Fairbanks to Anchorage. It was really fun riding on the train with different friends. Thank you very much for your wonderful service. Martha

Fundraising Poster

We would like to thank the following people for their donation:
  • Danny & Lucy Cochran
  • Judy Williams
  • Johnny & Judith Maynard
  • Roy & Carrie White
  • Kenneth & Theresa Gomez
  • Dwight Moyle & Deborah Stuckey
  • Rosemarie Mykos & Marie Dykes
  • William & Ann Hornbeak
  • Robert & Claire Ellis
  • Sandra Evers

Contact Kerstin's Deaf Travel to book your next cruise by sending an e-mail to kerstin@kerstinstravel.com

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