Alaska’s beauty is best viewed from a cruise ship
By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
The TravelStore /Submitted photo
Heidi Hoehn loves connecting clients with their dream vacations.
“We do live on a beautiful planet, and it’s a pleasure for me to share these special places with people,” says Hoehn, the general manager of TravelStore in Pasadena.
One of those destinations is Alaska, a landscape she recommends seeing by cruise ship.
“Any time a client comes to us and wants to go to Alaska, we have a discussion with them about what they’re interested in, what would best fit their needs. Just like different hotels, there are different budgets and tastes. Cruise lines are the same way.”
The TravelStore prides itself on connecting travelers with the right product. The staff, which collectively has more than 250 years of experience, interviews and consults all clients to determine the perfect vacation for them.
“In Alaska, one of our favorites is Regent Seven Seas Cruises,” she says.
“One of the reasons is it’s all-inclusive and offers excellent dining and service.”
The typical Alaska cruise itinerary is seven days, either the Inside Passage route round trip from Vancouver or Seattle, or the Gulf of Alaska route, cruising between Vancouver and Anchorage.
There are also 10- and 12-day round-trip itineraries from San Francisco.
On the Inside Passage cruise, guests enjoy a calm voyage with land on either side of the ship, with the balcony stateroom offering the best views.
The Gulf of Alaska itinerary cruises farther north, up to Whittier/Anchorage, and includes cruising in open ocean, generally calm during the cruising season. This jaunt allows guests to enjoy a variety of shore excursions from salmon and halibut fishing to hiking.
“While cruising in Alaska, I’ve seen humpback whales and orcas, dolphins, porpoises and bald eagles,” she says. “It’s a really rich feeding area for the whales in the summer months. The naturalists enrich the experience by explaining what visitors are seeing and what the whales are doing.”
In Ketchikan, travelers can visit Native American villages or see a lumberjack show and explore.
“The can experience the history and culture of Native Americans and frontiersmen,” Hoehn says. “Sitka, the Russian capital of the region when Russia owned Alaska, is beautiful, with remnants of its Russian history, especially the Eastern Orthodox Church.”
Adventurous travelers can enjoy helicopter excursions or dog sledding on a glacier, among other things.
One reason Regent is a favorite is because the trip is all-inclusive.
“It makes it much more of a vacation when you don’t have to worry about the cost of a cocktail, the cost of a show ticket, where you’re going to dine. You can have lobster one night and steak the next, and steak and lobster the third night. Everything is included on Regent. It’s a lovely way to go.
“I’ve been there on small expedition ships and traveled through parts of Alaska on a fishing boat. There’s no wrong way to do Alaska. It’s great to see Alaska from the water. I’ve traveled a bit on the interior as well.
“There are some places on our planet that really need to be seen from the water. Alaska is one of them.”
TravelStore’s strength is the staff’s experience.
“Our tagline at TravelStore is, ‘We’ve been where you want to go.’ We are very well traveled. If I haven’t been there, I have connections with local experts. That’s one of many benefits for people who rely on us.”
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