WILD BEAR VIEWING
Wild Bear Viewing - Pre cruise
Alaska is a land of great experiences, but none quite match the opportunity to view bears in their natural setting. We have arranged for this amazing visit to a wild bear habitat. Embark on a floatplane from Lake Hood in Anchorage to a remote lake on the other side of Cook Inlet. This is a grizzly bear habitat and an opportunity to view bears. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Anchorage, and explore the small town of Girdwood, founded as a gold mining town at the turn of the century. Take the Alyeska Aerial Tramway to the top of Mt. Alyeska (2,300 ft above sea level) to marvel at the exquisite panoramas of hanging glaciers, rugged mountains and towering spruce trees. Please note: All animal viewing is in their natural habitat, so sighting of bears or any other wildlife cannot be guaranteed.
Upon arrival at the Anchorage airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day and evening are at your leisure. Just a reminder that you will only be allowed one carry-on per person for your flight to the lodge tomorrow, so you may want to spend some of your time in the evening re-packing. Overnight at the Sheraton Hotel, Anchorage.
After an early breakfast at the hotel, you will be transferred to the float plane base to board your bush plane for a sightseeing flight of rural Alaska. Land on a lake in the Alaskan wilderness where a guide will take you on a small boat ride to the area where you have an opportunity to see the bears as they feed on fish. After hibernating all winter, bears awaken in the spring with an extreme hunger and a yearning for salmon. Starting in June and extending through October, masses of bears travel to rivers and lake systems. Brown bears have an especially good sense of smell, and under the right conditions, may be able to detect odors more than a mile away. When a bear stands upright, it is not to charge, but to test the wind and see better. Mating takes place from May through June with the peak activity in early June. The hairless young, weighing less than a pound are born the following January or February. All brown bears should be treated with respect. This is especially true for a sow and her young, as mothers are very protective of their offspring. This could be one of the closest bear viewing experiences of your lifetime. Lunch is included at a remote lodge located on this lake. In the afternoon, return in the floatplane to Lake Hood where your Tour Director will greet you and take you on a sightseeing tour by way of Turnagain Arm to Alyeska Resort. Enjoy a leisurely evening on your own for dinner at one of the hotel's fine restaurants or select other dining options in the community of Girdwood. Use your free time this evening to hike on the great rain forest trail, swim in the hotel's pool or take a helicopter flightseeing excursion. Overnight at the Hotel Alyeska.
After breakfast, enjoy a tram ride to the top of Mt. Alyeska and take in a snack lunch. This afternoon visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) whose mission is to provide care for injured and orphaned wildlife and to provide continued wildlife awareness and education to the public. Surrounded by mountains and hanging glaciers, the 140-acre Portage Valley preserve is a nonprofit operation that works to rehabilitate injured or sick animals. Besides bears, there are bison, moose, caribou, elk, eagles, owls, musk oxen, Sitka black-tailed deer and a variety of game birds. Visitors can drive through the area and see most of the animals from their vehicles, or walk the neatly cared-for driveway for a close-up tour. It's a great way to photograph wild animals in a setting as close to authentic as you can get. After your visit at the AWCC, continue the transfer via motor coach to Seward to your waiting cruise ship.
HOTELS & LODGES
The best available hotels and lodges in Alaska are used throughout the land program. The hotels and lodges are comfortable and rustic. Guests accustomed to the variety of services at an international five-star hotel will find that the same service may not be available in Alaska. Due to peak season in Alaska between May - September it may be difficult to change rooms during the hotel stay as all hotels have very high occupancy. Hotels within the program are subject to change. Most of the small lodges in Alaska do not offer programs for children.
Land programs include full breakfast daily. Room service is not included, nor is it available at most hotels and lodges in Alaska. As many tour departure times are at the same time for all visitors in popular areas, there may be times that restaurants are crowded and some waiting time should be expected.
Many of the land programs in Alaska include travel by car, van or mini-bus for shorter or longer distances. This can be an opportunity to spot wildlife, and to enjoy the scenery and the mountains. The knowledgeable driver/guide will offer tour highlights along the route, and ample photo and restroom stops will be made. A private car may be a sedan, 4-wheel drive car, a van, a taxi or a similar vehicle.
This land program includes travel by floatplane. The view from your window can be incredible, the vast beauty, breathtaking! Due to weight and balance limitations, as well as for safety and comfort, we ask you to inform RSSC of your weight.
GUESTS WITH LIMITED MOBILITY
The planes used on this program are floatplanes boarded by stepping from a floating dock onto a narrow step and climbing into your seat.
Travel between Anchorage and Seward does not exceed 1,000 ft.
As you are not on a large group tour, you will be met on the first day of your tour by an experienced and knowledgeable representative with a welcome letter, documents and itinerary detailing information about your tour program. Gratuities to the driver are not included and should be rendered on a voluntary and personal basis. We like to think this item is a direct reflection on the level and quality service that you have received. All tipping is considered to be a matter of individual preferences and is always voluntary.
Due to space and weight limitations with the floatplane involved in this program, each guest is limited to one bag and a maximum of 50 lbs. One small to medium sized, soft-sided piece of luggage is recommended. It is important to remember to keep all valuables and documents on your person. Please, do not pack your travel documents or any medication.
Your heavy luggage will be stored until your return. As this is a convenience, you may want to take that into account when packing for your trip. For guests touring before their cruise, you will be reunited with those items upon arrival at your hotel the last night of the tour or upon arrival to your shipboard suite.
The current luggage allowance for commercial flights in Alaska is 44 lbs. It is the guest's responsibility to verify weight limits as excess luggage fees will be at the guest's expense. Guests can make arrangements to have their luggage transported from their home to the ship, and back home from any port at the end of their cruise, by contacting Luggage Free at 800-361-6871 or www.luggagefree.com.
CLOTHING AND CLIMATE
With a broad variety of weather possibilities, we encourage you to bring clothes that are suited to layering. Daytime attire in Alaska is strictly casual. Comfortable, supportive walking shoes are a must. The following items should be included: water-repellant coat or jacket, collapsible umbrella, rain hat, lightweight windbreaker, and sweaters. You may wish to pack a bathing suit as the lodge has an indoor swimming pool. It could be warmer inland Alaska (with potential temperatures up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit on sunny summer days) while the coastal portions of Alaska are normally cooler (evening temperatures in the 50s are very possible). Be forewarned about one fact of life in Alaska's wilderness: mosquitoes. You should be prepared with long sleeved shirts, pants, and insect repellant.
Weather conditions are unpredictable. While RSSC and its appointed ground operators will do all they can to assist with alternative arrangements, we cannot be held responsible for any costs incurred if a land program, tour or private arrangement made through RSSC is disrupted due to adverse weather conditions. The RegentCare Guest Travel Protection Program provides coverage for excessive delays, if due to inclement weather, strikes or equipment failure of a common air carrier. To obtain this coverage, the premium must be paid in full at the time your final payment is made.
The published itinerary is based on component suppliers expected to be operating for the land program. Changes to availability of flights, flight and tour schedules or other itinerary components out of RSSC's control may require an adjustment to the final itinerary. The local ground operator will handle any meal vouchers, train tickets, or tour tickets included in the program. RSSC reserves the right to substitute hotels if necessary.
The tour price includes planning, handling and operational charges. Rates are quoted in U.S. Dollars on the current rate of exchange and tariff as of the time of publication. RSSC reserves the right to increase tour prices to cover increased costs, tariffs and taxes, and to reflect fluctuations in foreign exchange markets.
Note: Guests booking their own transportation - It is the responsibility of the guest/travel agent to ensure that Regent Seven Seas Cruises has the most current and updated arrival information so the transfer can be planned. There will be no refund for non-use if the transfer operates on old or inaccurate information. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.