- Cape student sues, accuses school officials of slamming her to ground multiple times (04/28/16)46
- Bob Evans restaurant in Cape Girardeau among chain's 21 closings (04/26/16)9
- Missouri House votes to allow concealed weapons without permits (04/28/16)8
- Police report filed, but no charges in incident at Cape Central (04/29/16)39
- Two hurt in motorcycle wreck on Interstate 55 (04/25/16)1
- Senator introduces bill for I-57 that would connect Sikeston with Little Rock (04/28/16)4
- Law firm requests information about Cape's traffic cameras (04/25/16)2
- Local lawmakers split over failed medical marijuana bill; voters may have a say (04/26/16)19
- Local company makes eco-friendly kitty litter that cuts cat-box smell (04/25/16)
- Man accused of pointing BB gun at Chaffee resident (04/26/16)2
if you go...alaska
GETTING THEREBookings are still available for the 2002 summer season on the major cruise lines, a popular way to reach the southeast Alaska ports of call from which shore excursions originate. Passengers first fly into Vancouver, B. C., or Anchorage, traveling to or from the northern terminus of cruises at Seward, Alaska, by bus.
In addition to the ports of call, cruise lines visit two spectacular venues, Glacier Bay National Park north of Skagway and College Fjord near Valdez without stopping. Other concessionaires carry sightseers there in smaller vessels and, for the truly courageous, camping is permitted in Glacier Bay.
If you want the shore excursion experience without the inflexibility of a cruise ship's schedule, an alternative is flying to the Alaskan capital of Juneau from Seattle or Anchorage and traveling to other ports of calls via the ferry system known as the Alaska Marine Highway.
Only Skagway and Haines are directly accessible by car via the South Klondike Highway connecting to highway system in the Yukon. Cars are mostly a liability, but the ferries can take your vehicle if you insist, departing from Haines, Skagway or even Bellingham, Washington, and Prince Rupert, British Columbia.
COSTSAN ADVANCE-FARE ROUND-TRIP BY AIR FROM CHICAGO TO JUNEAU CAN BE PURCHASED FOR UNDER $500. THE FERRY FROM KETCHIKAN TO JUNEAU COSTS $83; JUNEAU TO SKAGWAY, $35. A "DELUXE" ROOM AT THE RUSTIC GOLDEN NORTH HOTEL IN SKAGWAY IS ABOUT $120 NIGHTLY.
AN ADVANTAGE OF COBBLING TOGETHER SUCH A TRIP WOULD BE SO-CALLED SMALL SHIP CRUISING, WITH CLOSER VIEWS OF SHORES, THAT IS NOT POSSIBLE ON A MAJOR CRUISE LINE. A TWO-DAY EXCURSION FROM JUNEAU TO GLACIER BAY, WITH AN OVERNIGHT AT THE PARK'S LODGE, STARTS AT ABOUT $500.
SEVEN-DAY PACKAGES ON THE MAJOR CRUISE LINES START AT ABOUT $600 PER PERSON FOR INSIDE CABINS, UPWARD TO ALMOST $5,000 FOR A TWO-PERSON STATEROOM WITH A PRIVATE BALCONY, NOT INCLUDING AIRFARE TO VANCOUVER OR ANCHORAGE. UNLIMITED DINING IS INCLUDED, PLUS YOU DON'T HAVE TO PACK AND UNPACK LUGGAGE EVERY NIGHT.
ADVANCE RESERVATIONS INDICATE A CROWDED CRUISE SEASON, DESPITE PREDICTIONS OF FALLOUT FROM THE TERRORISM ATTACKS OF 2001.
MORE TO DOAT THE BEGINNING OR END OF INSIDE PASSAGE CRUISES ARE THE UNIQUE CITIES OF ANCHORAGE OR VANCOUVER, WHICH COULD BE VACATION DESTINATIONS UNTO THEMSELVES. EN ROUTE TO THE AIRPORT IN ANCHORAGE FROM THE CRUISE LINE TERMINAL AT SEWARD ARE CASUAL OPPORTUNITIES TO VIEW WILDLIFE LIKE A MOOSE FEEDING IN A POND OF LILIES BESIDE THE ROAD.
NO BEAR SIGHTINGS? BUSES FROM SEWARD STOP AT BIG GAME ALASKA, A PRIVATELY OWNED WILDLIFE CENTER, FOR REFRESHMENTS. AT LEAST ONE YOUNG BEAR RESIDES THERE, ALONG WITH REINDEER, MUSKOX, CARIBOU AND ELK. IRONICALLY, THAT MAY BE THE CLOSEST WILDLIFE ENCOUNTER FOR SOME VISITORS WHO DECIDED AGAINST SHORE EXCURSIONS WHILE CRUISING.
ON THE NETTHE MAJOR CRUISE LINES HAVE THEIR OWN WEB SITES, WITH FULL DESCRIPTIONS OF SHORE EXCURSIONS THAT COINCIDE WITH THE TIMES THAT THE SHIPS ARE IN THE SOUTHEAST ALASKA PORTS OF CALL. AN EXAMPLE: WWW.PRINCESSCRUISES.COM.
--THE ASSOCIATED PRESS