8 Bucket List Experiences in Alaska (+ How You Can Win a Cruise!)

From viewing the Northern Lights to witnessing a glacier, Alaska is a destination full of iconic experiences. These 8 bucket list experiences are not to be missed!

After visiting Alaska several times, I’m continually impressed with the amount of immersive experiences available when taking a cruise here — which is one of my favorite ways to explore this state. Being out on the water in a floating hotel, with the option to take tours on land, gives you the ability to see the best of both worlds — and you only need to unpack your suitcase once!

I will be cruising with Holland America this summer and I’m excited that I’ll be able to share details about nearly all of the experiences listed here. No other cruise line has explored Alaska longer than Holland America Line and I’m grateful to be able to explore this destination with one of my favorite cruise lines.

To find out more about how you can enter to win an Alaskan cruise of your own, see below!


8 Bucket List Experiences in Alaska (+ How You Can Win a Cruise!)


Witness A Glacier

Glaciers are one of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders on our planet. These massive bodies of slow moving ice are made up of fallen snow that gets compressed into ice over many centuries. Most glaciers today are remnants of the massive ice sheets that covered Earth during the Ice Age — how cool is that?!

I’ll never forget the first time I saw a glacier in Alaska!



From fly-in fishing and bear viewing to hiking and glacier landings, flightseeing is a great way to experience the landscape and wildlife of harder-to-reach parts of Alaska. It’s definitely an experience of a lifetime. Many Holland America cruises to Alaska include a flightseeing tour option at select ports.

8 Bucket List Experiences in Alaska


See The Denali Big 5

The Denali Big 5 is a reference to the five large mammals you might encounter while visiting Denali National Park: moose, caribou, dall sheep, grizzly bears, and wolves. Denali National Park is centered on Denali, the highest mountain in North America and encompass 6,045,153 acres.

8 Bucket List Experiences in Alaska

Holland America’s Alaska cruisetours offer full immersion in Denali. Each of their land and sea cruisetours include up to three nights at their beautiful 60-acre riverside resort. I love this option for those travelers looking to experience a little more land combined with their sea adventure.


Experience A Domed Rail Car

Another really fun option on Holland America’s cruisetours is a ride on a luxury single level domed rail car with panoramic views. The McKinley Explorer dome train provides summer service between Anchorage, Talkeetna, and Denali National Park. This unique way to experience Alaska is not to be missed!


See Alpenglow At Midnight

The calming colors of alpenglow is a photographer’s dream and it’s such a cool experience to see it at midnight. The further north you travel, the more hours of daylight there will be in the summer, so if you want longer days, make sure to include some of these stops on your trip.

Experiencing sunset at midnight is definitely something to experience once in your life!


Watch A Whale Breach

Alaska certainly has no shortage of whale watching opportunities, including Beluga, Humpback, Grey, Orca, Bowhead, Blue, Right, and Minke whales.

The best time to see whales in Alaska is May through September. During these months, you have a really good chance of seeing humpback whales and orcas from a cruise ship and small boat tours.

8 Bucket List Experiences in Alaska


Meet An Alaskan

Meeting and spending time with someone who grew up in Alaska or has made Alaska their home gives you an appreciation for a different way of life. Holland America offers a number of tour options where you’ll be able to learn about Alaska culture and meet some locals.


View The Northern Lights

Watching the Northern Lights dance along the sky is a sight you will never forget and will remind you of how amazing nature truly is. The best time to see the Northern Lights in Alaska is between mid-September and early April so plan accordingly if this is something you don’t want to miss.


How You Can Win A Cruise To Alaska With Holland America

Holland America has asked me to share details with our readers on how you can win a cruise to Alaska in 2022!

Launching on Valentine’s Day and running through March 15, 2022, entrants can visit www.loveletterstoalaska.com and tell Holland America Line why they love Alaska or why they would like to visit Alaska. Participants can get creative and write a poem professing their love for Alaska, an emotional letter detailing the ways Alaska moves them or an inspiring note on why Alaska would be a once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation.

Prizes include: (10) 7-day Alaska cruises in 2022 and the grand prize is a Neptune Suite. The other 9 winners will get to experience either a Vista or Signature Suite.

Holland America Line’s own love letter can be seen on the Love Letters to Alaska page on hollandamerica.com.

Gus Antorcha, Holland America Line’s president shares his words on why they put together this contest.

“It’s no secret from our own love letter that we think Alaska is pretty special, and as we celebrate our 75th anniversary we want to hear from our fans what Alaska means to them.”

“Those who have been to Alaska know how transformative it can be to see the glaciers and wildlife up close, to meet the locals and learn the history and culture. For many, Alaska is the ultimate aspirational travel experience. We can’t wait to read the Love Letter entries and learn the ways Alaska touches people’s hearts.”

Thank you to Holland America for partnering with me to share about this Love Letters campaign!



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How You Can Win a Cruise to Alaska!

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