Photos: Amazing Alaska

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  1. Mendenhall Glacier

    Located in Mendenhall Valley, the Mendenhall Glacier is a massive glacial system that stretches 120 miles. It is approximately 12 miles long, and 1.5 miles in width at the face. It is located 12 miles from downtown Juneau. (Danny Lehman / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Bald beauty

    A bald eagle dives for dinner in one of the many remote lakes within the Tongass National Forest. With almost 17 million acres, the Tongass is the nation's largest national forest covering most of Southeast Alaska, surrounding the famous Inside Passage. (Ron Sanford / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Scenic adventure

    Experience the panorama of Juneau and the Inside Passage from 1,800 feet above the city on the Mount Roberts Tramway, one of the most visited attractions in Southeast Alaska. (Stuart Westmorland / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Bright nights

    A cruise ship floats on Auke Bay near Juneau, Alaska. The summer sky is still bright at 11:00 p.m. (Bob Rowan / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Flying high

    Take a scenic flight over the 1,500 square mile Juneau Icecap. Flight-seeing tours are the only way to see the glaciers and fields that make up the fifth-largest ice field in the Western Hemisphere. (Lee Cohen / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Awe inspiring

    A humpback whale shows its fluke during a dive while a fishing boat cruises by. Humpbacks may be seen at any time of year in Alaska, but during spring, the animals migrate back to Alaska where food is abundant. Whales seen in Alaska during the summer months are from Hawaii. (Buddy Mays / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska

    Less than 2,000 visitors last year, but almost 500,000 caribou each spring and fall. In other words, the only crowds you’ll experience at Kobuk will likely have antlers and four legs apiece. In fact, this roadless expanse, just north of the Arctic Circle, is so remote that the U.S. Geologic Survey still hasn’t named some of its river drainages. But for those who are prepared for a true wilderness experience, rafting the Kobuk River, hiking the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes or climbing among the Baird and Waring ranges that ring the park can be the adventure of a lifetime. (Tom Walker / AccentAlaska.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Cool city

    A winter view of the Anchorage skyline with the Chugach Range in the background. The Chugach Range forms a 300-mile crescent outside the town of Valdez, Alaska, east of Anchorage. (Robert Olsen / ACVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Majestic mountain

    Denali, North America's tallest mountain at 20,320 feet, is visible from Anchorage even though it's 140 miles to the north. (John Brecher) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Reindeer games

    Mel Leskinen, left, talks as Albert Whitehead walks his pet reindeer Star along 4th Avenue in downtown Anchorage, Alaska, Feb. 2, 2005. Half of the nation's population thinks most of Alaska is covered in ice and snow year-round. One out of every eight believe that the 49th state is either a separate country, a U.S. territory, a commonwealth or just aren't sure. Thanks to a poll commissioned by Gov. Frank Murkowski, Alaskans know a bit better the misperceptions Americans have of their neighbors to the north. (Al Grillo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Lighten up, moose

    A bull moose with Christmas lights tangled in its antlers rests in a field in Anchorage, Alaska, on Dec. 25, 2005. The lights, which did not seem to bother the moose, could pull off as the he wonders through Anchorage neighborhoods. (Al Grillo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Wow, that's a snowman!

    A young boy poses in front of a 16-foot tall snowman in a residential neighborhood of Anchorage, Dec. 24, 2005. Thousands of people trekked to the house to see the creation. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. A refreshing ride

    A windsurfer rides the wind as he jumps across waves in the Turnagain Arm south of Anchorage, Alaska on May 18, 2006. (Al Grillo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. The Iditarod

    Mitch Seavey mushes past a patch of open water on the Yukon River after leaving Ruby, Alaska on Friday, March 12, 2010 during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. (Bob Hallinen / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Glacial beauty

    An iceberg from the Portage Glacier is locked in the frozen Portage Lake south of Anchorage, Alaska in this Jan. 6, 2004 photo. The glacier, which is a major Alaska tourist destination near Anchorage's southern edge, has retreated so far it no longer can be seen from a multimillion-dollar visitors center built in 1986. (Al Grillo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Artistic awe

    Alaska's favorable climate makes ice carving a popular activity and spectacle for visitors. (Anchorage CVB) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Flight of freedom

    Tom Melius, with the Fish and Wildlife Service, left, Lisa Pajot, second left, and Gary Bullock, second from right, with the Bird and Treatment and Learning Center, and Pat Lampi, with the Alaska Zoo release a bald eagle in Anchorage Alaska Sept. 25, 2006. The eagle was cared for by the Bird and Treatment and Learning Center after it lost its tail feathers and was released after the feathers grew back. (John Gomes / AP file) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Snow-plowed

    Two snowmobiles collide, knocking one rider off, as they race around the track during the Fur Rendezvous Sno-X races in Anchorage, Feb. 26, 2005. The 17-day winter festival includes the World Championship Sled Dog races, dog weight pull, snow sculptures and other events to break up the long Alaska winter. (Al Grillo / AP file) Back to slideshow navigation
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updated 4/4/2008 11:41:06 AM ET 2008-04-04T15:41:06

The Real Deal: Seven nights' accommodations aboard a cruise ship, all meals, and a $75 onboard credit, from $699 per person — plus taxes and fees of about $177.

When: Depart on May 18, 2008; add $10 for May 11; $30 for June 1; $41 for May 25; additional departure dates available from May 4-Sept. 14.

The fine print: Based on departures from Seattle. The starting rate includes accommodations in an interior cabin and all meals. Note that the onboard credit amount depends on the per-person cruise rate and can range from $25 to $650 per cabin (the $699 rate qualifies for a credit of $75 per cabin). The credit can be redeemed for onboard dining, spa treatments, shopping purchases, soda, alcoholic beverages, or for shore excursions. Taxes are an additional $128 per person, and fuel surcharges are an extra $49 per person. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is $679. Airfare is not included. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.

Book by: April 13, 2008 to qualify for the onboard credit.

Contact: American Discount Cruises, 866/214-7447, americandiscountcruises.com.

Why it's a deal: Consider that the $699 price tag breaks down to about $100 per night and covers seven nights' accommodations, all meals, and the onboard credit of $75 per cabin. When we did a cruise search on Kayak, the lowest rate for a seven-night Alaskan cruise in May with the same stops was this same voyage on Norwegian Cruise Line, also priced at $699.

Trip details: The Norwegian Cruise Line package includes seven nights aboard the Norwegian Pearl, which features a wide array of facilities such as pools, a rock-climbing wall, a bowling alley, and golf driving nets. Dining and entertainment options include 12 restaurants and 11 bars and lounges. The starting rate is valid for interior cabin accommodations. Upgrades start from $130 per person for an ocean-view cabin; add $670 per person for a room with a balcony; add $900 per person for a suite.

You'll cruise along Alaska's Inside Passage, stopping in Juneau and Skagway. Then you'll continue along Glacier Bay to Ketchikan and Victoria, B.C., before returning to Seattle.

While guided tours are not included in the price, there are plenty of optional excursions you can add to your package. A few to try: glacier-view sea kayaking ($98 per person for about three hours) or river rafting in the Mendenhall Valley ($115 per person for three hours), both in Juneau; an undersea tour in Ketchikan ($55 per person for 90 minutes), or a Yukon horseback adventure in Skagway ($179 per person for six hours).

You can extend your stay in Seattle with a pre- or post-cruise package, which range from $99 for one night at one of Seattle's Doubletree properties to $499 for three nights at the Sheraton.

For more tips on what to do in the area, visit the official Web site of the Alaska Travel Industry Association. You can find the latest exchange rate and the local time at BudgetTravel.com.

Visiting Alaska during the transitional month of May is becoming more popular, as it's just before the peak summer season begins. In other words, the temperatures are relatively high, while the prices and crowds still run low. Before you go, check the weather forecast.

Getting there: A recent search on Kayak yielded the following lowest round-trip fares to Seattle in mid-May (departing on May 17 and returning on May 26): $183 from L.A. (Virgin), $260 from Chicago (Frontier), $276 from Houston (United), $300 from New York City (United), and $415 from Miami (multiple carriers).

Copyright © 2012 Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc.

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