To introduce cruise travelers to the Alaskan interior, several cruise lines organize cruisetours, three- to eight-night land extensions available before or after one-way Alaska cruises. Cruisetours offer a broader look at this rugged state, from the wildlife and glaciers of the Kenai Peninsula to the clouded peak of Mount McKinley and all the way up to Fairbanks, the northernmost big city in Alaska. Offered by Celebrity Cruises, Holland America, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean, these coach-and-rail tours let cruisers go places cruise ships cannot take them.
Choosing the right cruisetour can be even trickier than choosing the perfect Alaska cruise. Not only do travelers need to choose the cruise line whose ship style suits them best, but each line handles its tours differently -- including meals or not, offering the services of a tour director or just a driver-guide and sponsoring different activities.
Plus, the land tour itineraries are much more varied than the cruise portion of the vacation. Whereas most Alaska cruises hit the popular ports of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan with some minor differences, each tour offers a vastly different combination of inland destinations and amounts of time spent in each place. You may have heard of Denali National Park and Anchorage, but is it worth your while to spend time in towns you've never heard of, such as Girdwood or Talkeetna?
To whet your appetite for Alaska's secret (and some not-so-secret) charms, check out this photographic journey through popular cruisetour destinations in Alaska.