n often-heard lament on a cruise
vacation is that its structure doesn't give passengers a chance to
become immersed in local events.
It's not so difficult in Alaska, where clients can tie in a
cruise with one of several summer fairs, music concerts or Alaskan
events such as logging and native sports competitions.
Another bonus: Many of these events are free -- or cost
substantially less than a ship-purchased shore excursion.
There are several ongoing attractions that don't necessitate
planning a cruise for specific dates. For example, at the Alaska
State Museum in Juneau, museum lovers can check out "Eskimo
Drawings," a collection of art created by Inupiat and Yupik artists
as long ago as 1099, and a collection of Native American glass art
called "Fusing Traditions: Transformations in Glass by Native
In Ketchikan, meanwhile, the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show is
held several times a day throughout the summer. It features
logrolling, sawing, chopping, axe throwing, speed-climbing and some
bawdy lumberjack (but family-friendly) humor for about $30 per
person (children's tickets are about $15).
According to the show's Web site, at www.lumberjackshows.com/alaska, clients can purchase
tickets on board their cruise ship, on the Web or at the show
grounds in Ketchikan.
For passengers choosing a pre- or post-cruise stay in Anchorage,
there are plenty of summer-long events, including weekly open-air
markets that feature Alaska-grown produce, seafood, crafts and
gifts. The markets are open Saturdays in downtown Anchorage; call
(907) 272-5634 for more information.
Anchorage also is home to Music in the Park, which features live
summer concerts at noon on Wednesdays and Fridays between mid-May
and mid-September at the park on Fourth Avenue and E Street.
Travel Weekly pulled together a calendar of events, culled from
the convention and visitors bureaus of the major southeastern
Alaska port cities, including which ships are in port on the
As most of these events don't kick off for three or four months,
many festival or event details haven't been posted. Check with the
relevant city bureau or the contact information provided for times
and ticket prices -- and how to get to and from the cruise
• May 7: Celebration of the Sea Art Walk, Ketchikan. Local
galleries will host simultaneous openings and receptions. For more
details, call (907) 225-221.
Ships in port: Cruise West's Spirit of Endeavor.
• May 21 to 29: 18th annual Jazz and Classics, Juneau. This
event brings blues, jazz and classical musicians to play in various
locations around the city.
Passengers on Clipper Cruise Line's Yorktown Clipper and the
Carnival Spirit can take part in the kickoff weekend events, which
include jazz and blues day cruises for $60 per person, but free
concerts are held every day at noon outside the State Office
Building. For details, visit www.jazzandclassics.org.
Ships in port: Yorktown Clipper; Carnival Spirit; Royal
Caribbean International's Radiance of the Seas; Holland America
Line's Amsterdam, Oosterdam, Zaandam, Ryndam, Veendam, Volendam and
Statendam; Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Sun and SuperStar Leo;
Princess Cruises' Coral Princess, Island Princess, Sun Princess and
Dawn Princess; Cruise West's Spirit of Oceanus and Spirit of
Endeavor; and American West Steamboat Co.'s Empress of the
• June 3 to 5: Celebration 2004, Juneau. This is an Alaska
native cultural event that's held once every two years. Arts and
crafts, a procession and native performances are part of the mix.
For more information, call (907) 463-4844.
Ships in port: Yorktown Clipper; Sun Princess and Dawn Princess;
Empress of the North; Statendam and Volendam; Royal Caribbean
International's Serenade of the Seas; Celebrity Cruises' Infinity;
Cruise West's Spirit of 98; and Radisson Seven Seas Cruises' Seven
• June 4 to 25: Sitka Summer Music Festival, a month-long music
celebration. The final calendar hasn't been posted, but there are
evening concerts, weekend events and lunchtime concerts on
Thursdays that Amsterdam and Yorktown Clipper passengers can sit in
on. For more details, visit www.sitkamusicfestival.org.
• June 5 and 6, and June 12 and 13: Three Barons Renaissance
Fair, Anchorage. The Renaissance didn't quite make it to Anchorage
when it was in full swing, but each June three "baronies" (the Red
Baron, Green Baron and Blue Baron, along with assorted merrymakers)
converge here for a Renaissance festival. As its Web site, at www.3barons.org,
states: "Shouldst thou need more info," call (907) 868-8012.
Ships in port: Spirit of Oceanus; Veendam and Statendam
(Seward), Coral Princess and Island Princess (Whittier); and
Silversea Cruises' Silver Shadow.
• June 13: Juneau Art and Garden Fair. This is for cruisers
who've brought their green thumbs along for the cruise.
This first-time fair, which will be held in the city's Marine
Park Plaza, will offer original garden art, plants and flowers,
landscaping ideas and seminars by gardening experts. For more
information, visit www.juneauartscouncil.org.
Ships in port: Celebrity's Summit and Mercury.
• June 19 and 20: Spirit Days, Anchorage. One of the state's
biggest festivals celebrating Alaska native and American Indian
culture. Visitors can eat traditional native dishes and see drum
and dance performances, crafts displays and Alaska native sports.
For details, call (907) 272-8756.
Ships in port: Island Princess (Whittier), Veendam (Seward).
• June 20: Summer Solstice, Skagway. Live music, family games
and a beer garden are part of this festival celebrating the longest
day of the year. The celebration starts at 5 p.m. at Skagway's
softball fields, so only passengers on Princess' Regal Princess,
which departs at 8:30 p.m., and the Yorktown Clipper, which departs
at 4 a.m., will be able to catch this one. Call (907) 983-2235 for
Ships in port: Yorktown Clipper; Regal Princess.
• June 26 and 27: Juneau Gold Rush Days. This will be the 15th
year for the Gold Rush Days, which commemorate Juneau's role in the
Klondike Gold Rush. The two-day event features logging and mining
competitions, gold panning, a children's carnival and arts and
crafts. For more information, call (907) 586-2497.
Ships in port: Yorktown Clipper; Carnival Spirit; Seven Seas
Mariner; Summit and Mercury; and Crystal Cruises' Crystal
• July 4: Independence Day events. Nearly every Alaskan town
that hosts cruise calls also hosts a Fourth of July celebration of
Skagway, for example, calls it "an old-fashioned family fun
day." Call (907) 983-1898.
Juneau's celebration begins at midnight on July 3 with a gala
fireworks presentation; if your ship arrives in Juneau on July 4,
you'll still be able to get in on some other events, including a
parade and a sand castle-building contest. Call (907) 364-3346.
Ships in port: Mercury (Juneau); Royal Caribbean's Vision of the
Seas (Juneau); Summit (Ketchikan); Ryndam (Sitka); Spirit of 98
(Sitka); Carnival Spirit (Skagway); and Seven Seas Mariner
• July 4: Duck Derby, Skagway. In a diversion from the
Independence Day parades, more than 1,000 plastic ducklings "race"
to a finish line over a route that includes passing through
culverts and under railroad tracks.
Spectators can purchase a ticket for a duck and then cheer it on
to the finish line. Contact the Skagway Chamber of Commerce at
(907) 983-1898 for more information.
Ships in port: Carnival Spirit, Seven Seas Mariner.
• Aug. 6 to 8, Blueberry Arts Festival, Ketchikan. This
three-day festival features more than 70 arts and crafts vendors,
food stands, games, music and pie-eating contests.
For details, call the Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council
at (907) 225-2211.
Ships in port: Amsterdam; Ryndam and Veendam; Seven Seas
Mariner; Serenade of the Seas and Vision of the Seas; Regal
Princess and Sun Princess; Empress of the North, NCL's Norwegian
Star and Cruise West's Spirit of Discovery.
• Aug. 7: Summer Beer Festival, Ketchikan. This event, held
outdoors at the Great Alaskan Lumberjack show grounds, promises 40
different brews "for your tasting pleasure."
Tickets are available at the entrance. For more information,
Also near Ketchikan is the Metlakatla Founders Day Celebration,
an annual commemoration of the founding of the Metlakatla Indian
Community in 1887.
An hour-long ferry ride will get cruise passengers from
Ketchikan to Metlakatla. For details, call (877) 886-8687.
Ships in port: Regal Princess and Sun Princess, Empress of the
North, Spirit of Discovery.
• Aug. 8 to 10, Flower & Garden Show, Skagway. This annual
event "showcases the variety, size and beauty of Skagway's gardens
and flower-adorned businesses." For information, call (907)
Ships in port: Carnival Spirit; Seven Seas Mariner; Mercury,
Summit and Infinity; Regal Princess and Sapphire Princess; Vision
of the Seas, Norwegian Star; and Veendam.
• Aug. 11 to 15: Southeast Alaska State Fair and Bald Eagle
Music Festival, Haines. The fair includes a parade, demonstrations
by local artists, a logging show, live music and food.
Last year's ticket prices ran about $7 per person; for details
and 2004 ticket information, call (907) 766-2476.
Ships in port: Yorktown Clipper; Ryndam; Spirit of 98 and Spirit
of Discovery; and Silver Shadow.
• Aug. 26 to Sept. 6: Alaska State Fair, Palmer. Livestock,
arts, winemaking, baked goods and flowers are just a few of the
exhibit categories at the fair, taking place just north of
Clients likely will need to purchase a pre- or post-cruise hotel
stay to to see this. For details, visit www.alaskastatefair.org or call (907) 745-4827.
Ships in port: Seven Seas Mariner (Seward); Summit (Seward);
Vision of the Seas (Seward); Ryndam, Veendam and Statendam
(Seward); Island Princess, Sun Princess and Coral Princess
(Whittier); and Carnival Spirit (Whittier).
To contact reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].
Phone: (907) 276-4118
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Phone: (907) 874-2381