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Alaskan adventure

Discussion in 'Trip Reports, Planning, & Questions' started by Nick, Feb 2, 2019.

  1. Nick

    Nick Staff Member Moderator

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    So i'm taking a 7-day Alaska cruise on Norwegian in May. Has anyone else taken a cruise to, or been to Alaska before and could provide some tips for some things to do at some of the ports? We're leaving out of Seattle if anyone has any tips for that area as well.

    Here's what my cruise itinerary is looking like:
    Day 1 - Seattle (Embarkation)
    Day 2 - At Sea
    Day 3 - Juneau (2:30-11:00p)
    Day 4 - Skagway (7:00a-8:00p)
    Day 5 - Glacier Bay (Cruising)
    Day 6 - Ketchikan (6:00a-1:00p)
    Day 7 - Victoria (7:30p-midnight)
    Day 8 - Seattle (Disembarkation)
     
  2. JoeCamel

    JoeCamel Premium Member

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    I have not done it but several I know have. Everyone came back raving about how great it was.
     
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  3. Andysol

    Andysol Veteran Member

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    I was the this past May and have been a few times. Unfortunately, I’ve only been on the Anchorage/Kenai Peninsula side, and never on a Cruise.
    Depending when in May you go, you can still have a lot of snow on the ground and can still be in the 20s or 30s degrees during the day, so layer appropriately. The snow will be melting starting late April usually so it can be slushy. If it’s late May, you’ll start seeing lots of rivers and some decent amounts of wildlife as bears are getting out of hibernation in late April/May.

    Google or maybe Reddit will be your best friend in this instance for what to do in the ports. I’d do hikes. Definitely see a glacier. And personally, I’d avoid large tours as being able to take in the wilderness is pretty awesome (in every sense of the word).

    Alaska is truly a frontier unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Massive mountains everywhere and it’s just straight up rugged. It’ll be one of the best experiences you’ve ever had.
     
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  4. UNIrd

    UNIrd Premium Member

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    I've done an Alaska cruse on NCL and loved it so, so much. I'm so ready to go back and do it again.

    The excursions I did were:
    Juneau - Mendenhall Glacier & Whale Quest
    Ketchikan - Bear Country Wildlife Expedition
    Skagway - Musher's Camp & Sled Dog Discovery
    Victoria BC - Butchart Gardens & Victoria Highlights

    Seattle we did a lot of walking around near the port and it's pretty cool. It gets kind-of I-Driveish with souvenir shops and little attractions but you can venture out and see Pike Place Market, the first ever Starbucks, etc.

    If you're doing Bliss or Joy, just make sure you make reservations for the race track or laser tag once you get onboard. This can be done really easily on touch screens you'll find once you enter the ship. I highly recommend doing both.

    If you're doing the Bliss, make Jersey Boys reservations in advance and I would plan on being at the show at least 30 minutes prior to start to grab good seats.

    Also, make sure you check out the Observation Lounge. It's gorgeous in there and really cool just to hang out and take in great views. Of the specialty dining, I recommend FoodRepublic. It's a lot of tapas & sushi and you order off iPads with pics of everything and they bring it to you as you order. Really fun and really good food.

    Also, still bring a swimsuit. Some days it got warm enough for the hot tubs and the water slides are really fun too.
     
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  5. Nick

    Nick Staff Member Moderator

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    Yeah I’m going to look all over, but just figured I’d put out some feelers. Im still researching all of the places we are going to stop at.

    This was very helpful! I’m going on the Bliss so I’ll make sure to book in advance for Jersey Boys, as well as Laser tag and Go Karts. I’ll check out those excursions as I’m still on-the-fence as the whether I should do any or not. I sort of want to explore it by myself with my friends as Andysol was talking about but if one will take me to a place I cannot walk or bike, then I’ll consider.
     
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  6. Journey_On

    Journey_On Rookie

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    We cruised to Alaska on the Coral Princess (of Princess Cruises) in May 2017.

    We went snorkeling in Ketchikan (through Snorkel Alaska), which was quite the interesting experience! It's cool to say you went snorkeling in Alaska. :)

    In Juneau, we went whale watching with Harv & Marv. We reserved a smaller boat ahead of time, which I would totally recommend. I think we had maybe 6 people (not including the crew).

    In Skagway, we went ziplining and dog sledding. It was so much fun.

    I find that a lot of people recommend doing the White Pass railroad in Skagway, so that might be something to check out.

    We loved our Alaskan cruise. We had the most beautiful views I have ever seen. Absolutely worth it. I hope you have a great time!
     
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  7. Disneyhead

    Disneyhead Veteran Member

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    In Juneau, I recommend seeing the Mendenhall Glacier and whale watching.
     
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  8. Nick

    Nick Staff Member Moderator

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    So I just got back from this trip with 8 others and absolutely LOVED it. The weather was usually mid-50's as a low, Low 70's as a high. The clothes I brought ended up being a bit laughable as it seemed like I had prepared for the end of days. Basically, thermals, jeans, hiking boots, cold weather socks, and a long sleeve shirt was what I ended up needing. I'll try to run down what I did by stop quickly.

    Juneau - Most places I did hikes. Started out by going to Mendenhall Glacier National Park and basically did all trails, looks outs, etc, and also went off the beaten path a bit. Overall this was a fun way to kick off as far as hikes go. We had a great taxi driver who told us a lot about the area, pointed out many animals in the area and gave us suggestions on places to eat. This was a long stop so we had time to head back to the ship though to change, and do some things before going out to the Red Dog Saloon, where one of the people in my group coincidentally ran into someone they knew.

    Skagway - This was the longest stop as we had roughly 12 hours here. Pretty much everything we did here had to do with the Gold Rush as that's basically what this town gets by on is it's historical ties to it. We started the day with the first and only group excursion that I paid for all cruise, which was a trip on the White Pass railway and back. Went back to the ship after that as we were starving, but then explored town more, going to the Skagway Museum (where we were told a great deal about "Soapy Smith"), Gold Rush Cemetery, Reid Falls and just generally touring around what is the most out-of-a-movie town i've ever stepped in. It's as if it's barely changed since the late 1800's and the whole thing is still the Old West.

    Ketchikan - We didn't have a ton of time here, but we had just enough time to fit in a hike to a viewpoint overlooking the city. We wanted to climb the whole thing to get to the snow at the top, but not enough time. This was at Deer Mountain. The walk just to get to this hike was pretty tough as there was a lot of steep uphill areas and the trail overall just really kicked my ass in comparison to the other stuff we had done. This is a part of Tongass National Forest, which is the second largest rainforest in the world, and it was very apparent when climbing. I was very surprised at how wet it was throughout. After that, we went to the Totem Heritage Center and shopping for a bit. Out of all the ports, this was the one that seemed most like a Caribbean port to me, imo.

    Victoria, BC - We only had from 8:15PM to 11:15PM off the ship, so we didn't do anything fancy here. Just went down to the Fisherman's Wharf area, saw the Parliament building, their Chinatown, had some McDonald's Poutine just to see how bad it would be (it was terrible) and then packed it in and got back on the ship. Even though it was only 3 hours, I have to say that Victoria is definitely one of my favorite stops ANYWHERE. Juneau was great in that way as well.

    As far as the ship itself, the Bliss was nice (love the Observation deck), but I felt the food quality wasn't too good and since you don't get a reserved time for dining, the waiters never actually get to know you. There was also quite a lot of upcharge things around the ship which I found off-putting. However, I did have the Premium Beverage package though which I put to full use, and I'm talking from breakfast to 2am :lol:

    Overall, I had fun. Seattle was fun too. Explored that a bit before embarking on the 12th. Went through the Pike Place Market, added to the Gum Wall, and just generally took it all in. Unfortunatley, the bus getting us to the airport only got us there 45 mins before flight departure though so everyone who didn't have TSA pre-check (7 out of the 9 in the group) had to wait 12 hours for another flight. Thankfully, I was one of the people who had pre-check, although I got it randomly, so it was extremely lucky. Of course, I wouldn't have minded getting to spend more time exploring Seattle if I did have to wait that long.
     
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  9. Andysol

    Andysol Veteran Member

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    Sounds awesome. The vastness is just insane, right?


    Final verdict:
    Cruise or no cruise if going to Alaska again?

    Any regrets?
     
  10. Nick

    Nick Staff Member Moderator

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    I’d do a cruise again, but would certainly like a chance to explore on my own. Some friends and I were talking about doing a trip and actually exploring Glacier Bay via kayak and setting up camp, which I was told by the Rangers that came aboard is a thing people are allowed to do.

    As for regrets... not sure I have many. I took full advantage of almost all of my days. The only exception was the day through Glacier Bay. I didn’t expect to sail through so quick and I missed most of the glaciers.
     
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  11. bob albert

    bob albert Veteran Member

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    My parents did the cruise plus the Denali train/stay and loved it. My dad would actually consider working a few months a year up there when he retires to stay active. There is actually more work in Alaska than they have people from what I heard.
     
  12. Nick

    Nick Staff Member Moderator

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    They do a lot of summer internships. Two friends ran into two different people working for the summer there. Both also work for Universal :lol:
     

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