Search: Advanced | Preference
Traveling Boy means the travel adventures of the Traveiling Boitanos
Travel adventures of Eric Anderson Boitano
Travel adventures of John Clayton
Travel adventures of Deb Roskamp
Travel adventures of Fyllis Hockman
Travel adventures of Brom Wikstrom
Travel adventures of Jim Friend
Travel adventures of Timothy Mattox
Travel adventures of Corinna Lothar
Travel adventures of Roger Fallihee
Travel adventures of Tamara Lelie
Travel adventures of Beverly Cohn
Travel adventures of Raoul Pascual
Travel adventures of Ringo Boitano
Travel adventures of Herb Chase
Travel adventures of Terry Cassel
Travel adventures of Dette Pascual
Travel adventures of Gary Singh
Travel adventures of John Blanchette
Travel adventures of Tom Weber
Travel adventures of James Thomas
Travel adventures of Richard Carroll
Travel adventures of Richard Frisbie
Travel adventures of Masada Siegel
Travel adventures of Greg Aragon
Travel adventures of Skip Kaltenheuser
Travel adventures of Ruth J. Katz
Travel adventures of Traveling Boy's guest contributors

Colorado ad

About Ringo   write me    Feeds provide updated website content        

Ringo Boitano: A Return to Alaska

the cruise ship Radiance of the Seas sailing by the Hubbard Glacier, Alaska
Radiance of the Seas and the 76 miles long, 6.5 miles wide, and 1200 feet deep Hubbard Glacier. Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean

A Return to Alaska
By Ringo Boitano

eople just want more. The Alaska cruise continues to be the second most popular cruise in the world, with many of its visitors repeat passengers. It all makes perfect sense to me. What can be said about a state that is one-fifth the size of the continental United States and four times the size of California. It is a land of spectacular Ice Age glaciers, Native American culture, breathtaking mountain ranges and fjords, historic Russian settlements, the Midnight Sun, and world-class sport fishing. I’ve often thought that the Aleut’s name for the region is still the best: ALYESKA – THE GREAT LAND (

Sitting on the deck of the 2,501 passenger: Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas with the Vancouver sun at my back, I couldn’t wait for the cruise to begin. Soon we would be gliding through the stunning the Inside Passage. Yes, I am one of those repeat visitors. I knew what to expect, and relished the attractions that awaited me. I opted for the cruise/land tour package, which would also include transportation by motor coach and train into the state’s mighty interior. I was also ready for a serious dose of RCCL’s seemly endless amenities: Themed bars and lounges, specialty restaurants, indoor/outdoor country club, spa and fitness center, Las Vegas-style shows and Casino Royale. Perhaps this time I really will climb the rock climbing wall. I recalled that after a long day of excursions retuning to the comfort of the vessel always felt like a return home.

houses and shops on stilts along Ketchikan Creek
Credit: Deb Roskamp

Ketchikan: Today Ketchikan is billed as the Salmon Capital of the World. If it’s a fishing excursion that you want, this is the place for it. My own personal pick is a tour of the Totem Heritage Center, which feature a collection of carved totem poles and caring demonstrations.

aerial view of downtown Juneau along the Gastineau Channel
Credit: Deb Roskamp


Spread along Gastineau Channel, Juneau is the only US capitol city inaccessible by road. A trip to Mendenhall Glacier is the most popular excursion, but my pick is the 1800 foot tramway ride to the top of Mount Roberts for wildlife viewing platforms, Juneau Raptor Center and breathtaking views.

the White Pass & Yukon Route railway
Credit: Deb Roskamp

Skagway: Located the northern tip of the Lynn Canal, Skagway was born as the land entryway for thousands of gold-crazed miners to the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898. The town is well-preserved and rich in gold rush history. My pick: A trip aboard the vintage White Pass & Yukon Route railway, for a train journey back into time.

Saint Michaelís Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Sitka
Credit: Deb Roskamp

Sitka: My own personal favorite of all of Alaska’s destinations, Sitka is nestled on Baranof Island and offers an amazing mix of Tlingit Indian, Russian and American history and culture. The attractions are endless. My pick: The Sitka National Historical Park. The 113-acre coastal park features the Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center, plus beaches, hiking trails and scores of totem poles.

Seward: One of Alaska's oldest communities, Seward is considered the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. This where land packages begin, and I look forward in the future to spending more time is this historic community in the future.

Fairbanks: Based 120 miles south of the Arctic Circle, Fairbanks is the ideal venue to experience a real living history, highlighted by the majestic midnight sun. My pick: An excursion on the Riverboat Discovery Sternwheeler, with a stop at an Athabascan village, for traditional fishing, hide tanning and dog sledding demonstrations.

Denali National Park: Departing from Fairbanks, the Wilderness Express train travels deep into the Alaskan interior to the 6 million acre Denali National Park. Seeing one of the world's last great frontiers from the comfort of this luxurious glass-domed train car only enhances the experience. My pick: A seven-hour bus ride on the Tundra Wilderness Tour for undisturbed wildlife viewings.

Talkeetna: A locale that’s perfect to just bask in the beauty, Talkeetna also offers fishing, nature and float tours, and white water rafting. My Pick: A helicopter ride above Mount McKinley, the highest mountain in North America. To experience such a heaven’s view was like being there at the moment of creation.

Anchorage: Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage boasts all the urban pleasures of fine dining, shopping, nightlife, and world-class museums. My Pick: The twenty-six acre Alaska Native Heritage Center, which provides a fascinating insight into the arts, customs and lifestyles of the five distinct native cultures found in Alaska. Not a bad way to end my return to ALYESKA.

Name: Required
E-mail: Required
City: Required

Feedback for Ringo

I love Ringo's piece on historic hotels. I once stayed at the Laurentian in Montreal - is it still around, is it historic? And then there was the Heups in Bismark.

It is interesting that two of your entries are in CANADA.

Brent, Seattle, WA

It's no mystery that you are great at what you do.

Sandee, Seattle, WA

* * * *

The Mystery on the Oasis pics are very funny!

Ramon, Kansas City, MO

* * * *

Ha ha ha ha your "schtick" Ringo!!

Dolly, Las Vegas, NV

Hello the travelling Boitano's hope you enjoy. Best wishes.

Elsa Magdalena Berno-Boitano, Laussane, Switzerland

My Irish roots understand terrible beauty. So do my human roots. The concept has such a ring of truth to it, doesn't it? Great article, Ringo. I hope to get to Ireland eventually, and thanks for blazing the trail!

Sandeee Bleu, Seattle, WA

* * * *

No wonder I've been hearing all these wonderful stories about Ireland. I used to think that it was just for Irish Americans seeking their ancestral roots but your article seems to call out to the non-Irish like me. Fascinating and intriguing.

Peter Paul, Pasadena, CA

Thanks for this great post wow... it's very wonderful.

Key Logger, New York

* * * *

Lets not forget that the Marriot Harbor Beach is within walking distance to the world famous Elbo Room - Fort Lauderdale's oldest bar.

Jeff, Fort Lauderdale, FL

* * * *


Thanks for taking the time for the message and reminder. Indeed, I had a quick drink at the Elbo Room. My trip to Ft. Lauderdale would not have been complete without a visit to this historic institution.I have been reading about it for years, and was not disappointed. It felt like a real local's hangout.

- Ringo


I thoroughly enjoyed your article about Dick and Liz. I remember seeing that article back in the heyday of Life Magazine.

To remember the "behind-the-scenes" stories like that makes you genuine fan of the 60's. The famous couple's turbulent relationship was just a precursor of today's headline-grabbing media stars like Britney Spears and her colleagues. Life was simpler then. The paparazzis still had some sense of decency. You "coulda" been a good paparazzi. I say "coulda" because you kept this to yourself all these many years.

Looking forward to other media trivia you can remember.

Peter Paul, South Pasadena, CA

Hey, Ringo –

Enjoyed your article on Antarctica --- cool photos, too. One thing, you mentioned that Ushuaia in Argentina is considered the most southern city in the world. I read that Chile lays claim to that distinction, with Punta Arenas, the southernmost city in the world.

Mick, Greenbay, WI

* * * *

Mick –

Now that football season is over --- I’ve often wondered what you Packer fans did in the off season ---- it’s great that you took the time to visit TravelingBoy. Great question, unlike my older brother, I adore all lamb products, and Patagonian Lamb --- cooked in a restricted area at the restaurant in an opened wood-fueled fire pit --- is amazing. The chef actually uses an ax to carve it. Frankly, I found it superior to Norwegian fjord lamb, Irish Burren lamb and even those much esteemed creatures down in New Zealand. The crab in Ushuaia is the other thing to eat. Wait a sec, you asked about Punta Arenas vs. Ushuaia as the furthermost city in the world. Well, they both have little disclaimers re populations --- you know, what’s a city, which one is a town, ect – so better let Chile and Argentina brass it out. They seem to be able to argue about any subject.

- Ringo

Ed Boitano's travel blog/review
Three Musical Pilgrimages: Mozart, Grieg and Hendrix

Troldhaugen Villa in Bergen, Norway
Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791) could read and compose music, plus play the violin and piano, when he was five years old. Born into a musical family in Salzburg, Austria (then the Holy Roman Empire), he had a unique ability for imitating music, which first became evident when he recited a musical piece by simply observing his father conducting a lesson to his older sister. This led to a childhood on the road, where the young prodigy performed before many of the royal courts of Europe.

Go There

Tom Weber's travel blog/review
Treasures of Ireland: The Irish Goodbye (Dispatch #20)

Irish sunset

The Palladian Traveler brings to a close his 20-part series on the Emerald Isle from an upscale restaurant in downtown Dublin where he files his final dispatch and then quietly slips away.

Go There

John Clayton's travel blog/review
Two "MUST SEE" Truly Spectacular Places in Europe. Here's Why.

Culzean Castle, Scotland
The Han Grotto and Culzean Castle. As the name of my Traveling Boy feature is "Travel With a Difference," it's important to me to always bring you offbeat and unusual tourist places around the world you may not know about. These two fit that category to a T, and they're absolutely worth a visit. One's in Scotland and one's in Belgium. Culzean (pronounced CULLANE) Castle is located near Maybole, Carrick, on the Ayrshire coast of Scotland.

go there

Ringo Boitano's travel blog/review
Highway 49 Revisited: Exploring California's Gold Country

aurora borealis lights up the night sky near Fairbanks
In the 1840s, the population of California was only 14,000, but by 1850 more than 100,000 settlers and adventurers had arrived from all over the world – and they came for one reason: gold. James Marshall had discovered the first gold nugget at Sutter’s Mill in El Dorado County, creating the largest gold rush in history.

go there

Eric Anderson's travel blog/review
Lake Charles’ Family-Size Low-Key Mardi Gras

dressed-up for the Mardi Gras
The Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras in Lake Charles, the second largest in Louisiana, does not need parents there to avert their children’s eyes. This is family entertainment and children are very much part of it. The main office of the Lake Charles CVB has costumes from last year’s Mardi Gras but it also has figures to fascinate little ones from country boys fishing for their dinner to alligators who have already fed and are rubbing their stomachs.

go there

Fyllis Hockman's travel blog/review
Puerto Vallarta: Magic and Mayhem on the Malecon

Cedar Hill, Washington DC
So I heard that you could spend from dawn to dusk on the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and never get bored and I thought, "Okay, I'm up for that challenge." Well, maybe not the dawn part – I'm not a morning person – so I had no problem leaving those early hours to the joggers and those seeking an early start to catch their red snapper for dinner.

Go There

Greg Aragon's travel blog/review
Relaxing at The Inn at Laguna Beach

Greg at Huntington Beach

There is nothing like sleeping in an ocean-front room and awakening to the sounds of waves crashing against the sand. It is one of the finer things in life. And it is exactly what I experienced recently on a memorable getaway to The Inn at Laguna Beach. The adventure began when a friend I pulled off the 5 Freeway in Orange County and took SR 133 south nine miles through winding lush hills and wilderness areas to the ocean.

Go There

Bev Cohn's travel blog
Tim Robbins On His Road To Stardom

Tim Robbins

Award-winning Tim Robbins began his career on episodic television. Robbins' film work, however, is what catapulted him into becoming a major movie star including "Bull Durham" and "Mystic River" for which he won multiple awards. Equally at home behind the camera, he directed the riveting "Dead Man Walking." He is Founder and Artistic Director of The Actors' Gang, which he formed thirty-five years ago and has directed multiple provocative productions.

Go There

© All Rights Reserved. 2015.
This site is designed and maintained by WYNK Marketing. Send all technical issues to:
Friendly Planet Travel

Lovin Life After 50

Big Sur ad

Tara Tours ad

Alaska Cruises & Vacations ad

Cruise One ad

Visit Norway ad

Sitka, Alaska ad

Montreal tourism site

Visit Berlin ad

official website of the Netherlands

Cruise Copenhagen ad

Sun Valley ad

Philippine Department of Tourism portal

Quebec City tourism ad

AlaskaFerry ad

Zurich official website

Zuiderzee Museum ad