Monday, July 18, 2016

Alaskan Cruise - Ketchikan

Our best weather of the cruise occurred in Ketchikan which brags about being the wettest city in the world! They call it liquid sunshine.  It was a beautiful day of blue skies, perfect for what we had planned for our last day in Alaska. 

Even before the ship docked we had lots to watch from our balcony.  There were floatplanes zipping by and giant cruise ships as well as kayaks.


We were greeted at the dock by an interesting bronze monument of seven life-size figures of Ketchikan's past called "The Rock".


There were lots of places nearby to shop with the most interesting shops in an area called Creek Street that was built on stilts hanging over the creek. 


After exploring the town and doing a little shopping it was time for our excursion, the Maginificent Misty Fjords by Floatplane trip over the Tongass National Forest. We didn't realize it but we had saved the best for last.

We boarded our floatplane with four other passengers in a surprisingly roomy plane with a window area for each person.  After a smooth take-off we glided over majestic fjords, waterfalls, mountains, granite cliffs, and alpine lakes.  



The colors were stunning.  

I didn't want the flight to stop.  But we did stop after about 30 minutes of flying by landing on a lake and getting out of the plane to stand on the planes pontoons.  It was awesome!


 After 15 minutes on the water our pilot took off again for another 30 minutes of sightseeing.

All our excursions had been outstanding but the floatplane experience was at the top.
It is hard to believe we have been on our cruise seven days.  Time to head back to Vancouver.  

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Alaskan Cruise - Glacier Bay



I didn't know what to expect from Glacier Bay.  We had already experienced so many beautiful sights in Alaska.  But experiencing Glacier Bay was truly unique and special.  Our cruise ship spent two hours slowly rotating to give everyone a panoramic view of the bay from their balcony or on deck.  We didn't want to miss a minute of this unbelievable experience of the misty beauty of the glaciers.  There was almost total silence except for an occasional cracking or popping sound and once a splash as giant pieces of ice "calved" from a glacier and made waves.



Some areas of Glacier Bay are off limits to ships during different times of the year because of fragile wildlife activity.

We did see some islands of sea lions and birds as we were leaving the bay.

We left Glacier Bay and began to head south to Ketchikan.  It is Gala night on board with steak and lobster and Baked Alaska on the menu!  A very enjoyable comedy show was our entertainment for that night.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Alaskan Cruise - Skagway


We arrived in Skagway at 6:30 in the morning.  After watching as the ship docked and enjoying our room service breakfast we were ready for our excursion on the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad.

During a scenic motorcoach ride up the Klondike Highway to Fraser, British Columbia, we made stops along the way to enjoy the beauty around us. Even with the clouds and fog around us it was breathtaking!

We then boarded the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway that was built to give the people heading to the Klondike Gold Rush a quicker and safer journey. This began our 27 miles of unforgettable scenery back to Skagway.


From our comfortable seat on the train or from outside on the walkway between train cars (my favorite!), we took picture after picture as we traveled on the edge of the mountains.


The White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad travels through both Canada and Alaska.

When our train ride came to an end we were treated to a salmon lunch and entertainment at a replica of a Gold Rush base camp at Liarsville.

Our excursion continued back to the town of Skagway with a visit and tour of The Red Onion Saloon and shopping in some unique stores.

Another busy day of seeing beautiful sights finished off with a delicious dinner (chocolate souffle!), fun entertainment, and another surprise waiting in our room. What a way to travel!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Alaskan Cruise - Juneau

It took a full day of traveling to reach Juneau, our first port to visit on our Alaskan cruise.  This time was used finding our way around the cruise ship and taking in the beautiful scenery along the way.  We enjoyed a lot of time on our balcony and walking around the promenade deck not wanting to miss anything on either side of the ship.  We constantly saw beautiful mountains and waterfalls.  We were always on the lookout for whales and were not disappointed.
As we neared Juneau we saw the Tracy Arm Inlet and were excited to see our first glacier. Our first clue was the floating blue ice that was as big as some of the sightseeing boats in the area.

Juneau is a pretty port with 
mountains all around it.  We didn't spend much time actually in the city except on a bus being transported to our excursions.  We did learn the only way to get to Juneau is by boat or by plane. Also, there are as many eagles as there are people in Juneau.  We saw several eagles sitting on the street lights as we traveled down the highway. 


The excursion we chose was the Mendenhall Glacier and Whale Quest.  We were out searching for  whales for about two and a half hours and saw several humpback whales and also sea lions and eagles along the shore.  


 Then it was back on the bus for a trip to Mendenhall Glacier.  We made the most of our hour there but could have stayed twice that long.  The glacier and the waterfall nearby were beautiful and we wanted to get as close as possible.  
It had been a busy day so we were ready to get back on the ship for a delicious dinner, fun entertainment, and the nightly surprise waiting in our room.