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Cruising Article –05/03/2012

See the most of Fairbanks on Alaska cruisetours

Fairbanks, Alaska

Located in the Tanana Valley, Fairbanks was once a hotspot for the 20th century gold rush and is today the hub of Alaska's interior. Nicknamed the "Golden Heart City," Fairbanks exudes a light and quaint air, as many of the locals welcome visitors with warmth and hospitality. During the summer, the sun barely descends below the horizon, and this vibrant city is more than just a gateway for Alaska shore excursions to Denali National Park - it is the heart of The Last Frontier.

Fly to the Arctic Circle

Just north of Fairbanks is the White Mountains National Recreation Area, which boasts a wild river and hundreds of miles of hiking trails. This remarkably remote region covers more than 1 million acres and offers a peaceful and quiet getaway for passengers on Alaska cruises. During the summer, visitors to the White Mountains can participate in gold panning activities or short fishing trips.

Lucky cruisers with Princess, however, can book an unforgettable aerial journey over one of the most beautiful mountain regions in North America. The snowcapped peaks of the Rocky Mountains are a hiker's ultimate challenge. Passengers who bring along a pair of binoculars should scope out the mountainside for these brave athletes.

While careening over the majestic landscape, visitors will tour the expansive Yukon River Valley and the Brooks Mountain Range, which is the northernmost and tallest section of the Rockies.

Cruise along the Chena and Tanana rivers

Passengers booking Alaska cruisetours have the chance to board the only remaining Alaskan sternwheeler, which smoothly makes its way down the waterways of the Chena River State Recreation area. This classic steamboat-like boat takes visitors through the protected wildlife reserve, so passengers should have their cameras poised and ready to capture the grizzly bears and beavers that frequent the shoreline.

During this three-hour cruise, tour guides will talk about the rich history of the region, from its illustrious gold past to the exciting Iditarod dog sled race. Princess passengers will be taken to the home of the late four-time Iditarod champion, Susan Butcher, a lifelong Fairbanks resident who epitomizes the nature-loving people of this beautiful city.

Just a few minutes further down the river, visitors can take a tour of the Old Chena Indian village, which features traditional huts and cabins. Passengers will have plenty of time to take photos and wander through the historic village.