New Holland America Tour in Yukon’s Dawson City Plus Updates to Denali Resort

Dawson City in the Yukon territory is shown at night. It was the end point of the 1800s Klondike Gold Rush. Today, Holland America offers cruisetours that include a new "Klondike Gold" shore excursion. Photo by Adobe Stock, provided by Hollqnd America Line.

Many cruise guests headed to Alaska enjoy learning about 19th century Gold Rush-era history at Skagway, AK. For the full picture, though, also consider a visit to Dawson City in Canada’s Yukon Territory. Just announced, a new, complimentary Holland America tour in Dawson City will allow guests to dive deeper into Gold Rush history.

Heading out on the new “Klondike Gold Tour,” cruisers will visit the original discovery claim site that launched the Gold Rush. They’ll also see Gold Dredge 4. That’s a preserved wooden-hulled dredge once used to mine gold in the Klondike River Valley.

During the tour, a Parks Canada guide will share tales of local gold dredging history and the first discovery of Yukon gold.

Gold Dredge in Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada. Photo by Adobe Stock Photos, courtesy of Holland America Line.
(Guests on the new “Klondike Gold” shore excursion will head out to see a Gold Dredge in Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada. Photo by Adobe Stock Photos, courtesy of Holland America Line.)

Dawson City: New Holland America Tour

Starting in 2024, Holland America will offer this included tour on select Denali and Yukon cruisetours. It’s also worth noting that Holland America Line is the only line that transports guests for touring and overnight stays within Canada’s Yukon Territory.

“The Yukon Territory is where the Klondike Gold Rush began,” says Dan Rough, Holland America’s vice president of revenue management. This new tour “will give our guests a first-hand encounter with an important part of North American history and in-depth insight into this era.”

What’s special for history buffs? Holland America gives guests a chance to explore both the beginning and end of the Klondike trail – from Skagway to the Yukon.

Facts about the Klondike Gold Rush

To whet your interest in an Alaska cruisetour that includes the Yukon, here are a few facts about the Klondike Gold Rush.

  • Gold was first discovered in the Yukon’s Rabbit Creek on August 16, 1896.
  • Those first “discoverers” were Charlie Tagish, Jim Skookum and Carmack George.
  • That triggered a migration by 100,000 prospectors between 1896 and 1899.
  • Most prospectors were just ordinary folks, not miners by trade.
  • In reality, only 30,000 to 40,000 gold seekers actually completed the harsh journey to the Klondike.
  • They traveled via two main trails to reach Dawson City in the Klondike. One was the White Horse Pass from Skagway, another the Chilkoot Trail from Dyea near Skagway.
  • The trails were harsh, claiming many lives, both of people and pack animals.
  • One portion of the White Horse Pass was actually named Dead Horse Pass for the loss of horses along the route.
  • Klondike prospectors saw a trip to the Yukon’s gold strike region as a chance to get rich quick! So, they considered it worth the effort.
  • Here’s one link for other historical tidbits. Plus, the U.S. National Park Service site has good information about the Klondike Gold Rush.

Yukon and Denali Cruisetours

Ketchikan, Alaska is shown above. Photo by Csaba-Desvari provided courtesy of Holland America Line.
(Many Holland America ships operate Alaska cruises with calls at Skagway, Ketchikan (shown above) and other ports. Many cruisetours also visit Denali and the Yukon. Photo by Csaba-Desvari, courtesy of Holland America Line.)

Holland America Line’s Yukon and Denali Cruisetours range from nine to 18 days. They include either a three- or four-day “Inside Passage” cruise on Koningsdam or Zaandam, or a seven-day “Glacier Discovery” cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam or Noordam.

Guests also receive a two- or three-night stay at Denali so guests can head out to explore Denali National Park; a journey into the Yukon with one or two nights in Dawson City; and more.

2024 Denali Cruisetours

Some travelers may opt for a Denali Cruisetour that doesn’t include Dawson City but rather a seven-day “Glacier Discovery” cruise featuring Glacier Bay, either College Fjord or Hubbard Glacier, cruising of the Inside Passage, up to three nights at McKinley Chalet Resort, and more.

But those still provide insight into Gold Rush-era history. At Skagway, for instance, guests might head out on Holland America shore excursions such as the Gold Fever Experience including panning for gold; riding the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad to Liarsville Gold Camp; and visiting the Gold Rush Cemetery and Historic Skagway Inn (the largest brothel in Skagway during the Gold Rush-era).

For the full list of Holland America’s Alaska cruises and Denali and Yukon cruisetours, visit this official website page. 

McKinley Chalet Resort and Denali Square

Every Yukon and Denali Cruisetour includes a stay at the 68-acre McKinley Chalet Resort. It’s owned and operated by Westmark Hotels & Inns, a subsidiary of Holland America.

The resort is located near the entrance to Denali National Park. Guests will discover a reception hall, dining facilities and guest rooms.

McKinley Chalet Resort is near the entrance to Denali National Park and will receive updates prior to the summer 2024 cruise season. Photo by Holland America Line.
(McKinley Chalet Resort is situated near the entrance to Denali National Park. It will receive accommodations upgrades prior to the summer 2024 cruise season. Photo by Holland America Line.)

What’s new for summer season 2024? First, balconies are being added to 28 river view rooms at the resort. So, that will upgrade them to the Denali Suite category. In total, the resort will soon offer 84 Denali Suites.

Second, Holland America will also upgrade 45 non-balcony rooms to include all the suite amenities. Those will include a “s’more kit” to enjoy at Denali Square (a nearby gathering area with restaurants, amphitheater, fire pits, outdoor seating and more).

Plus, guests will have use of Pendleton blankets, premium bathrobes and a Keurig coffee machine. Those upgrades will create a new Deluxe room category of accommodations.

If you have questions about the new categories, your personal travel planner can assist. He or she can also find the right Holland America itinerary for your travel style and budget. Be sure to ask about any unadvertised discounts or amenity perks the agency may offer.

Black bears in Alaska. Photo by Mike Lessley.
(Holland America’s many cruisetours offer opportunities for Gold Rush historic exploration as well as wildlife viewing. Shown above are black bears in Alaska’s wilderness. Photo by Mike Lessley.)

New Holland America Tour and Resort Updates

“We are consistently evolving our Alaska Cruisetour product by adding new amenities that will enhance the overall experience and opportunities to learn more about the destination,” says Rough. “Increasing the balcony rooms at McKinley Chalet Resort offers even more visitors the opportunity to take in the incredible views, and adding the Deluxe category allows additional guests to have an elevated stay at the property.”

Standard rooms are included in the cruisetour fare. In turn, the upgraded Deluxe and Suite rooms are available to book for an additional fee.

Again, to see the full list of all Holland America Alaska cruises as well as Denali and Yukon cruisetours, visit this official website page. 

“For questions about pricing, accommodations and itineraries, as well as booking, consult your personal travel planner,” says Shelby Steudle, president, Pavlus Travel. “We’ll help you get started on your vacation journey to the Klondike region via a Holland America cruisetour.”

To learn about what else is happening in Alaska, check out The Meandering Traveler’s previous what’s new in Alaska blog. It provides additional insight about what’s to see and do for those heading to America’s Last Frontier.

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