Millennium Post

Alaska The Last Frontier

Alaska is rugged and wild with glaciers, countless rivers and lakes, majestic mountain peaks, and nearly 34,000 miles of tidal shoreline

Alaska is all about icy wilderness, fjords, and mountain peaks that almost touch the sky is undoubtedly mother nature's most blessed revelation. This icy region used to be and still is the benchmark for nature explorers, mountaineers, and glacial climbers. However, with the passage of time and stupendous human excellence in science and technology has meant that today we have been able to tame even the extreme icy contours of this rather secluded frozen zone.

Alaska is boundless and today it is not just through an adventure that you can explore this frozen wilderness, you have the option to unravel the mysterious side of Alaska luxuriously, if not opulently, viz-a-viz a cruise liner. Choosing to opt for a luxury cruise along Alaska's coastline is like having a date with nature itself.

Mountains and glaciers aside, Alaska has an incredible native culture and visitors are mesmerized by the regions rich art and cultural heritage like totem carving, rituals like the blanket toss, harmonious music and festivals that are mind-blowing.

In Alaska, the government has a unique way of identifying the Natives and it is based on regions - Iñupiaq & St. Lawrence Island Yupik, Athabascan, Yup'ik & Cup'ik, Unangax̂ and Sugpiaq (Alutiiq), and Eyak, Haida, Tsimshian, and Tlingit.

First-time visitors to Alaska are amazed by the distinct Russian heritage that Alaska offers. Russian traders, particularly those dealing with Fur, have since late 1700, considered Alaska as a trading basem due largely to the region's immensely rich natural resources. At Three Saints Bay, which is located strategically on Kodiak Island, Grigory Shelikhov set up the first permanent outpost which was further consolidated by Catherine the Great ten years later who set up an Orthodox mission here.

Way back in 1799, the Aleksandr Baranov managed Russian-American Company was granted a trade license and an authority to run a government. Since then, until Alaska was taken over by the United States, there was a thin dividing line between the church and the state.

Orthodox Christianity is the major uniting force of Alaska Natives and places like Sitka, Juneau, Kenai and the Aleutian Islands are dotted with elegant churches and are renowned for their distinctive art.

Norwegian Cruise Line, one of the world's most trusted cruise company, with a glittering 51-year-old historical background, have over the past decades, not just revolutionised the cruise holiday segment but have also brought in many innovations like - redefining onboard entertainment, doing away with old concepts like adhering to set dining times and dress code etc.

From a purely military-style cruise experience, the Norwegian Cruise Line's biggest contribution to contemporary cruising phenomenon has been the introduction of a truly "Resort Style" cruise experience, which is high on recreation and so, today when you step onboard a Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) operated ship, a whole new world of cruising opens up - bewildering array of luxurious accommodation/private spaces, private pool, variety of fine dining options and high octane entertainment.

Norwegian Bliss has many first's to her credit - the first custom-built cruise ship for Alaska cruises, the first Norwegian ship to debut sailing from Seattle (USA) to name just a few. Weekly seven-day cruises to Alaska, will feature destinations like Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, Alaska, along with Victoria, British Columbia, which will kind of take cruising in Alaska to an incredible height, which is what the Industry watchers are predicting.

The catchy watchword that promotes Norwegian Bliss couldn't be more appropriate - "Journey to where the wild things are". And wild indeed is Alaska. From dog sledding to whale watching and awesome glacial views to dolphin watching, your voyage to Alaska promises to be stupendous in terms of the visitor experience - all custom-built for discovering the Last Frontier.

The Race Track, in particular, is simply out of the world stuff, which is all of two levels and invites the adrenalin pumping spirit in you to truly test your driving dexterity.

The Norwegian Bliss is the very epitome of all things luxurious and classy. The Mandara Spa for instance with it's signature Thermal Suite is just too tempting to let go, while the Snow Room can chill you out no end.

The Observation Lounges have been custom built and designed for guests to truly soak in the spectacular Alaskan landscape. Yes, I am talking of the 180 - degree views on board the Bliss, which no other cruise line till date have been able to afford. This high tech and luxurious zone come with interactive screens that magnify the natural wonders of Alaska's frozen wilderness and with a full-service bar, you can enjoy surreal Alaskan sunsets with the tipple of your choice.

When it comes to on-sea entertainment, you can rest assured of the award-winning Casino on board the Bliss, irrespective of your gaming skills. Countless slot machines are so well arranged that the invitation seems too good to resist.

For those who prefer exclusivity, the Bliss has earmarked hideaway spaces – The Haven, which simply oozes sophistication – impeccably appointed units that come with round the clock butler and concierge service. And the best part is its proximity to the ship's sun deck.

The Haven rooms are inclusive of private balconies, shower bays, and all affording breathtaking sea views. There are enough options to choose from - Balcony Staterooms, Mini Suite Staterooms, Ocean view staterooms and studio lounges.

The Bliss' studios feature virtual windows that perhaps for the first time in the history of cruise liners, offers accommodations tailor-made for the solo cruise traveller and comes with exclusive key-card access to the studio lounge.

When it comes to food & dining, can the Bliss be far behind? The best fine dining possibilities are open for today's discerning world traveller. The Haven Restaurant, for instance, offers signature dishes prepared by award-winning chefs.

For the seafood connoisseurs, the impeccably designed Ocean Blue is the ultimate in seafood delicacies and don't be surprised to find the fresh Alaskan Salmon on your menu. All of Ocean Blue's sea fishes are locally sourced and quality wise they are 10 out of 10.

And Oh! for those Choco-freaks, the Coco's on board the Bliss is the perfect place to sit back and savor the heavenly treats on offer ranging from an outstanding array of Pralines, Coffees and Crepes.

The Bienvenido Los Lobos, on the other hand, is a first-rate Mexican specialty restaurant renowned for its handcrafted margaritas and tequilas. The trademark feature of Los Lobos is on innovative flavour mishmash. There is also the Margaritaville at Sea, with its standout piece - the Cheeseburger in Paradise. This a la carte dining venue draws inspiration from the lyrics of Jimmy Buffett.

For Fusion-food, hop into the Food Republic, the Bliss' onboard global culinary hub that serves anything from Japanese Sushi to Peruvian Ceviche. At the Food Republic, you can embark on a gastronomic world tour on board.

Subhasish Chakraborty

Subhasish Chakraborty

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