Sunday, January 15, 2012

Alaska Cruise - Part 1

Alaska shouldn’t be the last state you visit.  It’s magnificent and beautiful!  But, to see it in all it’s beauty, you have to get on the water.  My friend, Lori, and I chose a Holland America Cruise Tour that took off from Vancouver, Canada (that’ll have to be another post).  The cruise was full of funny towel animals, dancing, changing elevator carpets showing us what day it was, and socializing with our new friends of all ages from Texas, Oklahoma, New Zealand, Belgium and Singapore.

There's me with the Sunday carpet in the elevator
As we cruised up the Inside Passage, our 1st stop was Ketchikan (Salmon Capital of the World).  We visited the Saxman Village Totem Pole Park (I wouldn’t suggest it), the Libby Salmon Cannery tour (very interesting), a wildlife cruise on George Inlet where we saw a bald eagle (lots of fun), and ended on Creek Street (a nice shopping area that used to be their red light district).

The Salmon Cannery

Our next port was Juneau – state capital - on my 30th birthday!  Stop by the public library for free internet – it’s expensive on the ship.  We visited the Mendenhall Glacier (pretty cool – be sure to walk up to the glacier – my only regret on this trip), a whale watching cruise on Auke Bay with a salmon lunch at Orca Point Lodge (a lot of fun! totally recommend), and the state capital building.

Mendenhall Glacier

Two Bald Eagles we saw on the Whale Watch
Skagway was port number three.  They have a Radio Shack downtown if you need any electronics/batteries.  It’s much cheaper there than on the ship.  A van took us to Carcross, Canada in the Yukon Territory. 

Me in the Yukon
No one else was in the van so the driver would let us jump out whenever we wanted a picture and he became our personal photographer.  This was a perfect reason why it’s good to check out other tour companies – not just the cruise ship’s excursions that might fill up.  We even got to stop and take a picture of the Welcome to Alaska sign.  In the Yukon, we visited the Emerald Lake, Caribou Crossing Restaurant, and got a dog “sled” ride (our rugged golf cart was pulled by the dogs).  Playing with the Husky puppies was so fun!  On the van ride from the dog sled ride, we saw a bear!  This was one time we did NOT jump out and take a picture.  Then, it was time for the trip home on a train!  The White Pass and Yukon Railroad is a must do– so beautiful!

Welcome to Alaska!

scenary along our ride

My puppy

The Bear!

White Pass Train Ride

The next day, we spent the day floating in Glacier Bay!! Amazing! 

Then, we pulled into Seward and it was time to say good bye to our new friends and our home away from home. 

At every port we discovered that it’s a good idea to allow time to venture around town.  Don’t stay on an excursion from landing to pulling out.  The spa on the ship did have ½ price deals on the days when we were in port, however, don’t spend your whole time on the ship either – get out and see Alaska.

We found that many of the ports had the same souvenirs so if you’re not sure if you want it, no problem, it’ll be at the next port.  There are a lot of jewelry stores at each port – don’t get sucked in.

This is only half the story!  Part of the Cruise/Land Tour was a week on land.  I’ll save that for the next post so stay tuned.

**All photos taken by Lori and myself on our trip**

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