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Holland America Line is introducing the new Alaska Up Close programming—a 360 degree experience that immerses guests in The Great Land.

Through authentic experiences on board and ashore that focus on culture, cuisine and immersive adventures, Alaska Up Close allows guests to discover, taste and experience the real Alaska. Guests won’t just cruise Glacier Bay, they will discover its ecosystem from native tribe members and National Park Rangers. Guests won’t simply eat seafood, they will taste the salmon they caught that day and have it prepared by Holland America Line chefs.

“Alaska is so abundant that it needs to be explored and presented differently, and with Alaska Up Close our guests will have access to activities and experiences that they won’t find anywhere else,” said Beth Bodensteiner, senior vice president and chief commercial officer, Holland America Line, in a press statement. “We want our guests to be immersed in Alaska from the moment they step on board, and as we celebrate 75 years of exploring Alaska in 2022, we tapped into our unparalleled expertise to craft memorable and exclusive programming.”

Alaska Up Close features local experts and personalities leading workshops and lectures, Explorations Central (EXC) Talks revealing the stories of real Alaskans, tours highlighting the best of each destination, Port to Table culinary immersion and local cuisine served in dining venues throughout the ship.

EXC Talks Focus on History and Culture
EXC Talks offer insight into local culture through the eyes of Alaskans with vivid imagery, compelling interviews and authentic stories:

  • “Breaking the Ice Ceiling” features stories of Alaskan women working in fields traditionally dominated by men.
  • “Ancestral Memories” tells the stories of native Alaskans honoring their culture and language.
  • “Pacific Giants” describes the wonders, habits and future of Alaska’s largest inhabitants.
  • “Iditarod—The Last Great Race” shares what it’s like to ride in the sled of this Alaskan adventure.

Meet Alaska Locals and Experts Onboard
Guests will learn the science and history of Alaska’s splendors as naturalists lead workshops and host wildlife spotting on deck. Itineraries that include Glacier Bay National Park will feature a Park Ranger and a member of the Huna Tlingit Tribe who will share their insights, offer commentary and answer questions.

BBC Earth Brings Alaska to Life in an Epic Production
Guests on all Alaska cruises will get to experience BBC Earth’s “Alaska in Concert” multimedia performance on the main stage. A live orchestra will play the soundtrack set against a backdrop of footage from the BBC Earth television series “Wild Alaska.” During this performance, audiences experience the cycle of four seasons and see this land is as unforgiving as it is beautiful.

Eat Like a Local
Through Port to Table programming, guests delve into the culinary traditions of Alaska and learn how to eat like a local via live cooking demonstrations.

In addition, Food lovers will find much to explore on an Alaska cruise, and through an array of exclusive FOOD & WINE shore excursions guests can tap into Alaska’s gastronomic scene. Developed in partnership with the culinary authority, guests can dine on some of the world’s freshest seafood, sample Anchorage’s craft beer, taste fire-warmed sourdough rolls and attend an authentic crab feast or salmon bake.

alaska up close
Shore excursions in Alaska. (Photo courtesy of Holland America Line.)

Alaska Shore Excursions for Every Interest
Holland America Line offers a wide selection of award-winning shore excursions to suit every interest and activity level. Helicopter onto a glacier, spy on whales in their natural habitat, go whitewater rafting or kayaking for a scenic adventure, go panning for gold and sail on a real crabbing boat featured on “Deadliest Catch.” Every tour provides an in-depth glimpse into The Great Land. 

Keep in mind when booking your clients that shore excursions are priced separately. For guests who opt to book the Have it All option, they will have added perks such as one included shore excursion (priced up to $100 pp), drinks on board, one specialty dining experience, WiFi, and a reduced deposit by 50 percent.

‘Savor My Catch’ Ocean-to-Table Dining
Guests who reel in a big one on select fishing-focused shore excursions can savor every bite of their catch on board. Holland America Line’s expert chefs will prepare and serve it in an ocean-to-table experience. Select tours also allow guests to ship what they’ve caught home.

Raptor Encounters on Westerdam
Guests on Westerdam will have the opportunity to meet and learn about raptors during calls at Sitka. Through presentations and interactions about the birds from the Alaska Raptor Center, guests will be able to ask questions, have a meet-and-greet and photo opportunity with the charismatic Red Tail Hawk or Northern Goshawk.

Book Alaska with ‘The Ultimate Upgrade Event’
Alaska cruise fares begin at $799 pp, dbl for 7-day sailing. With Holland America Line’s The Ultimate Upgrade Event promotion through March 31, 2022, guests booking the Have it All premium package on select summer 2022 through spring 2023 cruises also receive a free stateroom upgrade, 50 percent reduced deposits, $75 fares for kids on Alaska cruises, plus four popular perks: shore excursions, specialty dining, WiFi and beverages.

In 2022, six Holland America Line ships will explore Alaska, either roundtrip from Seattle, Washington; roundtrip from Vancouver, Canada; or between Whittier, Alaska, and Vancouver. Every Alaska cruise includes a visit to one or more of Alaska’s iconic glacier destinations. For explorers who want to travel farther, 16 different Cruise tours combine an Alaska cruise with an inland exploration of Denali National Park or to the unspoiled reaches of Canada’s Yukon Territory.

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