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 4/14/2009 10:10:04 AM ET 2009-04-14T14:10:04

The deal
The awe-inspiring wonders of the Alaskan wilderness have an irresistible appeal, but trying to experience all of them on a land vacation is time consuming, and expensive due to the its vast size. Scenic cruises through this area are continuing to grow in popularity, offering an attractive alternative for travelers seeking the last frontier.

The month of May is the peak time for Alaska sailings, which are only available for the short spring and summer season, and we’ve been finding some remarkable rates up to 83 percent off brochure rates starting from just $349.

Holland America 7-night cruise from $349
Holland America boasts the largest selection of award-winning Alaska itineraries, and is well known for its superior cruises throughout this region. This seven-night cruise aboard the ms Statendam departs from Seward, Alaska, on May 17, and will sail southbound through College Fjord and Glacier Bay before reaching the first port of call in Haines, home to the world’s largest concentration of bald eagles.

From there, the ship visits the capital city of Juneau, followed by the misty fjords of the “Salmon Capital of the World,” Ketchikan. Then, take a break from all the natural wonders with a day spent at sea before the final port of call of Vancouver, B.C. Interior cabins are priced from just $349, and oceanview staterooms are available for just $100 more.

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Carnival’s 7-night Inside Passage up to 82 percent off
This seven-nighter is priced from just $349 for interior cabins, that’s a whopping 83 percent off rack rates! The cruise features an onboard naturalist, and specialty “Just for Alaska” menu items consisting of local fish and game. Plus, it’s easy to snag a room with a view on the Carnival Spirit, because nearly 80 percent of the cabins offer an oceanview or balcony, and on an Alaskan cruise, it’s worth shelling out the extra cash on the upgrade to take in the scenery.

It's A Snap! Readers' best shotsThe ship embarks from Whittier May 20, and offers an itinerary jam-packed with port calls. First, the ship visits Sitka followed by Juneau and Skagway before sailing through the Lynn Canal. After that, it visits Ketchikan, and then cruises through the scenic Inside Passage before reaching the final port of call of Vancouver.

Celebrity Millennium Northbound from $369
If you would rather embark from Vancouver, try this seven-night Northbound cruise aboard the Celebrity Millennium, priced from just $369 for interior cabins. After sailing through the Inside Passage, the ship first calls on Ketchikan, followed by Juneau and Skagway. It then floats through the Icy Straight which is home to a number of arctic animals, and the Hubbard Glacier for a close up view of a 300-foot wall of ice rising from the water. The final port of call on this voyage is Seward, one of Alaska’s oldest communities. The ship sails on May 29, but you must book by April 30 to take advantage of these special low prices.

The dollars
Packages include shipboard accommodations, ocean transportation, entertainment and daily activities, onboard meals and some beverages, and port charges. It does not include shore excursions, personal expenses, gratuities, or alcoholic beverages. Government fees and taxes are additional.

The catch
Polar bear sightings not guaranteed.

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