Once in Alaska, it doesn’t take long to understand how the place can upend a person’s travel life. In a good way. Alaska either grabs your heart and your imagination, or it doesn’t. But if it does? There’s a good chance future vacation planning conversations with start with, “Well, we could go back to Alaska again.” The more you learn about Alaska, the more you want to see of it. A cruise is a great sampler platter, but don’t expect it’ll make you cross off Alaska from your “to see” list. It will rev up your hunger for more of this most dramatic, diverse state.

Ask around when touring the state and you’re sure to meet other travelers who came to gaze out on a pod of orcas swimming around Prince William Sound or to see bears or a massive bull moose, the latter’s antlers weighing up to 80 pounds, from a cruise ship. They visited for the chance to step out on a glacier with a guide leading the way or to try their hand at salmon fishing, hoping to ship enough reds back home for an elaborate dinner party.

That all stuck with them when they got home. So, another Alaska trip. And then another. Visitors here return again and again because their fishing skill exceeds their expectations (and the taste of the salmon is even better). They want more of the quiet they experienced while hiking through the thick of an old growth forest, dense with more greens than one could ever imagine — from dark green spruce tips to bright green mosses. They return for the unexpected variety: The public art in Ketchikan; the lazy paddling around Sitka’s islands; the chance to learn about Alaska’s rich Native heritage in some of the finest small museums imaginable and the stories of the Tlingit and Haida people who have lived in Southeast Alaska for thousands of years.

Watch for a circle of bubbles rising up in the water – a sign that a group of humpbacks is feeding below. And then a massive burst of energy as the whales come to the surface to catch the fish caught in their “net.” It’s always surprising. Also keep watch for the state ferries, dressed up in blue and yellow. The Inside Passage doubles as the Alaska Marine Highway, the only all-water National Scenic Byway in the country. The ferry service—which started in 1949—shuttles nurses to their jobs, basketball teams to tournaments, and cargo to the towns that dot the state’s shoreline.

Listen of the sound of giant blocks of ice calving off of Hubbard Glacier. Speed along on a Zodiac for an up-close (but not too close) look at icebergs and South Sawyer Glacier. Visit the wee fishing settlement of Elfin Cove — which blooms to 100 people during the busy summers. Once winter rolls in, making access to Elfin Cove challenging, the population drops somewhere south of 20 hearty souls. Wander the town’s boardwalks before going to visit the area’s other inhabitants by Zodiac — the sea lions and otters await.

Inspirato’s members-only Alaskan Expedition cruise aboard the Silver Discoverer sails the state’s wild waters from July 19 to 30, 2017. The club’s exclusive, 12-day itinerary departs from the town of Seward (near Anchorage) and winds its way down the coast, eventually ending in Vancouver, British Columbia. Along the way, the voyage stops at some of Alaska’s most celebrated ports of call, and guided Zodiac land and sea tours put members and their guests right in the breathtaking landscapes.

The Alaska cruise is currently sold out, but our 2018 cruise collection has availability for excursions in the Mediterranean, the Arctic, and Portugal’s Douro Valley. Inspirato Members have come to expect world-class experiences on the club’s exclusive and adventurous cruises:

It felt like a "club" -- with many passengers in our age range. It was very comfortable to meet and chat with people who were onboard. We also liked the fact that almost everything was included in the cruise price. It's a lot less stressful, particularly when dining with others you don't know well. Not awkward because there's no check at the end of the meal. Can't wait for Alaskan Expedition!!

Barry C.Inspirato Member

Aboard a cruise, touring remote corners, or vacationing in 900+ beautiful accommodations, club members experience the world with peace of mind and exceptional value. Learn more about membership and what members have to say.

This post was adapted from Over & Over by Jenna Schnuer, which originally appeared in the Summer/Fall 2016 issue of Inspirato magazine.

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