Alaskan Review with PICS!

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#42
9,611 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
Originally posted by BeachBum1007

I highly recommend bringing Ziplocs on your cruise so that you can pack a lunch from the ship (cereal boxes, breads with peanut butter, pastries, etc.) because there aren’t any places along this route to stop!! We did stop at a gas station at the end to grab snacks but got completely ripped off because we didn’t have Canadian dollars and didn’t know how to convert. Also, bathrooms are scarce and are usually porta-potties. Bring hand sanitizer, tissues and those little seat covers! Also, you have to cross the Canadian border so bring your passports (you can get them stamped in Carcross ☺)
It has been reported MANY TIMES on this forum that you are not allowed to bring food off the ship unless it is is packaged, like the cereal boxes you mentioned.

Originally posted by BeachBum1007

This was great scenery and we were glad we rented a car so that we could see it all, but it was a long day driving and definitely wore us out. You have to weigh your options of having a relaxing day on the train, or getting to see all the small things that you would otherwise not see but spend all day in the car.
If you book with a smaller company like Chilkoot, you take the train in one direction and one of their smaller van like buses in the other direction. They make many, many planned stops and will also stop when passengers ask. It would be pricey for a family, but is definitely a great way to see both the scenery from the train and the road. Although many on this forum will say the scenery is the same, that is true for only a part of the journey. You do see some gorgeous scenery well away from the view of the road. We took the train all the way to Carcross and that is my recommendation for anyone who has beautiful scenery as their priority.

If there is a next time, we may very well rent a car, as the tour is expensive. However when I planned my first trip to Alaska, I figured it might be my only one and I wanted to see all I could and have no regrets. We had no regrets.

Originally posted by pdmlynek
Beautiful photos. I also appreciate your concise, directly on point commentary.
Yes, it is an excellent to the point review.
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HAL Volendam Alaska June 15, 2008
NCL POA Hawaii May 22, 2010
HAL Amsterdam Alaska August 5, 2011
#43
Houston, TX
124 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by Keith1010
Great photos and great narrative and it's so nice that you all went as a family.

You will have wonderful memories not only of what you saw but spending the time with your family both which I think is quite important.

Excellent.

Keith
Keith1010: We still talk about it to this day!! ☺ We all went to Hawaii together about 5 years ago, along with my cousin, and STILL rave about that trip. Traveling brings out the best in people.

Originally posted by celestialcruiser
Amazing photos. I see what camera you were using, but what size lens did you use...especially with the whales.
celestialcruiser: I apologize! I should have mentioned my lenses before. I mainly used my 18-55mm for scenery. But for almost all of my wildlife shots, I used a 75-300mm lens. I was constantly switching back and forth between them. It became kind of a hassle so I finally started keeping the extra zipped in my jacket pocket for quick switching. My tips for everyone: a great photo editor can do wonders to the results of ANY camera. I used Picasa (by google) for this trip. It’s free and does the job. I recently switched to Adobe Lightroom (definitely not free at all), but it gives you more options and better results.

Originally posted by pdmlynek
Beautiful photos. I also appreciate your concise, directly on point commentary.
pdmlynek: Thank you! And thank you to everyone else as well! When I was looking for help with this trip, reviews like these, especially with photos, made it easier to plan. Just trying to do my part to return the favor! You guys are awesome!
#44
Houston, TX
124 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by Nelie
Alaskan beer? first of heard of it was it nice.Any one know if all ships have it
Nelie: The Alaskan beer was amazing, IMO. We always got an Amber in port when we could, and then bottles of Summer on the ship when we were playing the trivia type games. Became kind of a regular thing! ☺ It has just been announced that the Alaskan beer is now available in our state, so we’re pumped for its arrival!! I’m not sure if all of the ships have it (like ellebelle mentioned above, they ran out!), but it’s definitely available in your ports!

For everybody who is getting ready to leave: Have an AMAZING time!! It’s hard not to, regardless of the weather. Alaska is another world ☺
#45
Houston, TX
124 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
This was a relaxing but very busy day at the same time, confusing I know. Relaxing in that we got to stay on the ship and viewed scenery, but busy in that I was running all over it trying to get the best view of the glaciers.

These glaciers are beautiful and the rangers on board give great information about them. My least favorite part is that I was freezing my buns off. I came prepared! I had the layers and the gloves, a scarf, the long johns, and ear warmers and everything, but I was chilled to the bone!! I’m a wuss when it comes to the cold, so I can’t speak for everyone, but I gladly spent the money for the baileys and hot chocolate that they served on deck.

Finding a place outside wasn’t an issue (we were on the lower viewing deck, where people go to run or walk, for the majority (level 3 I believe?)), but if you want to stay inside for the views, find a place early. This is a good time for a balcony room, but then you’re limited to a specific side of the ship. With all of the action (wildlife, glacier calving, and random photo opps), I was never stuck on one side. However, the ship does turn so that both sides of the ship can see the scenery.

We spent the majority of the day in and out of the ship, viewing different glaciers, filling up my memory card, eating complimentary pea soup, drinking hot chocolate, going to the clam bake, and lounging on the deck chairs waiting for something awesome to happen! It was not really a lazy sea day, but that’s because of what I made of it. Everyone is different, but I wanted to see it all. Once in a lifetime (hopefully not though), right?

I think Glacier Bay is not to be missed, even though I had already seen Tracy Arm. It's basically a (sort of) free excursion right on your ship! The cruise lines do a great job of making this a memorable experience for the passengers.

Weather report: I think I whined to you enough ☺ Chilling cold with a good chance of drizzle. This is where that lower (covered) viewing deck came in handy.

Distant bighorn sheep and grizzly, sailing into the bay.


Bundled up, looking like fools. haha. I bet my mom's ankles were freezing. Craziness.


Glacier


We were so jealous of these kayakers!


#46
Houston, TX
124 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Mysterious cave. Wishing I could have gone in there with a kayak!


Up close.


Very cool patterns. You can even see the glaciers still in the mountains.


First calving. They happen quite often if you're lucky. Just listen for them (they're pretty LOUD), but you have to be ready!! Everybody gets super pumped when it happens.


Post-calving close-up.


These guys were everywhere at one point.


Camera report: I used my zoom lens for about 90% of the shots in Glacier Bay. We also saw some orcas and porpoises at the end of the day during dinner. This was the ONE time I did not have my camera around my neck, it was charging. Sad face. I was super bummed. You always have to be prepared and on watch!
#47
my kind of town - chicago
133 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by BeachBum1007
Springchicken, Alaska almost always shows rainy days! We were worried about this as well. The report showed 60% every day and we only got misted/sprinkled on in Vancouver and Ketchikan! Perfect weather otherwise! Juneau was even having a "hot" day, low 80's, and they were dying of the heat. hehe

So, even if it says you're going to be rained out, come prepared and hope for the best anyways!
Thank you so much for your amazing pictures and details of the trip, I am sailing July 29th and seeing your pictures and reviews are making me so excited!!! These are some of the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen! I especially love the one of seal!
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#48
Florida
315 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
This is by far the best review I've ever read! Straight and to the point about what you see; not about the food or the ship. Love your photos. Like you, I like to see and do as much as I can on excursions. I'm am so jealous. One day it will be my turn.
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#49
9,611 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
Originally posted by FL Naturelover
This is by far the best review I've ever read! Straight and to the point about what you see; not about the food or the ship. Love your photos. Like you, I like to see and do as much as I can on excursions. I'm am so jealous. One day it will be my turn.
I agree, but you would be surprised how many are more interested in the ship than they are in what there is to see outside the ship.
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HAL Volendam Alaska June 15, 2008
NCL POA Hawaii May 22, 2010
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#50
Houston, TX
124 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
We got off the ship relatively early so that we could see the town before our excursion.

View from the ship


Hello Ketchikan!


We visited a few shops and met my cute friend here.




Another friend


"Salmon" berries. They were yummy.
#51
Houston, TX
124 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
We had an afternoon flight with Island Wings for a floatplane to see Misty Fjords. This was absolutely amazing and this company is highly recommended. Unlike most of the tour companies, IW allows you to get OUT of the plane and explore the banks of the water for about 15 minutes. This is not common, so make sure you ask if this is a priority to you.

Ketchikan is just filled with cute friends. This one is helping us at the plane dock.


Me in the back of the plane. It allowed me to see out both sides of the windows!


Note: these are all out of the plane window, so don't worry about them not turning out through glass.


Waterfall


So mysterious looking


This is the lake in Misty Fjords you land on
#52
Houston, TX
124 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Our plane on the lake


What a view




As you can tell by our hair, it rained on us a little in Ketchikan! Nonetheless, you still get some great family photos.


Love this one of my dad and then my mom being adventurous


#54
Houston, TX
124 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Float Plane: Absolutely breathtaking experience. It's like another world and almost completely untouched nature. This excursion was somewhat expensive, $239 each, but well worth it.

Part 3 of Ketchikan (or "Catch a can", or "Catch me if you can, Alaska", if you're my family. hehe), coming soon!
#55
Nashville, TN
258 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Originally posted by vbmom87
It has been reported MANY TIMES on this forum that you are not allowed to bring food off the ship unless it is is packaged, like the cereal boxes you mentioned.
Not everyone reads every post on this website. If you or any other member of the frequent poster club notice any conflicts with the rules maybe you inform people NICELY.
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#58
Australia
624 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Loved the pics with people in them sometimes it looks like people have just gone to google images lol
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#59
2,192 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Originally posted by BeachBum1007
We had an afternoon flight with Island Wings for a floatplane to see Misty Fjords. This was absolutely amazing and this company is highly recommended. Unlike most of the tour companies, IW allows you to get OUT of the plane and explore the banks of the water for about 15 minutes. This is not common, so make sure you ask if this is a priority to you.
We also had a flight with Michelle from Island Wings. Hands down our best excursion from our trip. Absolutely amazing. We had a clear day and it was simply enchanting. Our flight was mid-morning and we had no cloud cover. Loved every minute of it. Thank you for posting the pictures...makes me want to go again!!
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#60
Houston, TX
124 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
The rest of the afternoon we walked around Creek Street, did some shopping, and went back to the ship relatively early.



Very cute area, a lush and picturesque Alaskan town.




Salmon in the river


Totem pole details


Eagle


Weather report: I was a little cold in light shirt, but my rain jacket made it perfect. It started to sprinkle for a bit, so I was glad I had it.