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I think we had an amazing weather week. Sunday (sea day) was terrible; rainy, cold, and the sea was rough. Our three port days were incredible: low seventies maybe even eighty. The forest fires however made the visibility very hazy. I would love to go back just to REALLY see what it is like. BUT, nothing will measure up to this past experience. Maybe a land/sea tour. Or a one way not round trip. The only times I was cold was up on the glacier (the crazy woman that took us to the helicopter said it was only 10 degrees colder so I left a lot of my layers behind!!), and when the ship was going through the ice and up to the glacier. But I had on earmuffs, gloves, jeans, wind pants, a sweater, fleece jacket, and my Goretex raincoat. AND...Maxi served us hot French onion soup on the balcony while we snapped photos and cried out of sheer amazement.I NEVER wanted to go to AK. I am a warm weather nut. I only said yes because it was my daughter. We don't spend a lot of time together and I knew this would be special. God truly blessed our experience. In Juneau, while at the pier, I walked out on our balcony and a bald eagle was perched on a piling. He proceeded to put on a show of diving, retrieving a fish, flying back to his piling...this went on for several hours. Bald eagles are very common in AK but to have your "own" was special. On our whale watching excursion we had two whales breach (which is NOT common). I had seen this in Hawaii, but my daughter had not. The Misty Fiords Island Wings seaplane...wow, wow, wow. Michelle is an amazing pilot; landing in a glacier pool high in the mountains; all I can say is...incredible. We saw mountain goats and more eagles. The highlight of course was the helicopter/dogsledding in Skagway. My breath was taken away so many times. A very "religious" helicopter ride..regardless of your faith. My daughter begged me to do this as I had no desire to be in a helicopter (went to Hawaii 5 times and NEVER got on one) or on a dogsled. AND...VERY EXPENSIVE. I can now say it was worth every penny. I won't repeat my comments on the White Pass Railway. They are posted on the Alaska board.
Many people have asked about what to pack.
I took NO formal wear (never missed it), one black pants suit, 2 pair of jeans, 3 pair of cropped pants, two sweaters, lots of long sleeved tees, several short sleeved shirts, a pair of shorts, Gortex tennis shoes and rainjacket, and several fleece items. Binoculars ARE A MUST. They became a part of us. Also sunglasses of course. Sunscreen...believe it or not. I wore everything with the exception of a few tees and my bathing suit. Many people went in the hot tub and for some reason the days we were in port....THE POOL WAS CLOSED. Maybe, in all fairness I could have gone at the wrong times. I would say to you....don't miss it going to Alaska. Go prepared for rain and if it doesn't...at least you won't be miserable! Go expecting cold and if it isn't, relish the sun.
Take time to develop new friendships. Our time was so enhanced by new relationships. Our trip would never have been the same without them. We spent many an enjoyable hour sharing the day's adventures, having a bottle of wine, and commenting on the passing scenery with people who had been strangers the week before.
My life has been greatly enriched by realizing my expections were so limited, my horizons so low, and that I have much to learn and see.
I can only envy all of you whose trip to Alaska is yet to come...
__________________ Past Cruises:
NCL: Majesty, Sun, Spirit, and Dawn
HAL: Oosterdam, Rotterdam, and Westerdam
CELEBRITY: Millennium, Horizon, and Century
PRINCESS: Crown, Sea, and Caribbean
Thanks for the review. Sounds like you had a great time. We looked into getting an upgrade into a suite, but our cruise is sold out We'll have a great time anyway since we have balcony cabin. I hope the weather will be good when we go. But, we're from the Seattle area and we're used to rain! We'll be on the Spirit 8/21 and getting more excited as the date gets nearer.
We were on the Spirit for the 7/10 departure (wadda ya mean YOUR eagle we saw it first!).
Loved the trip my only beef was not finding the guy playing guitar in the pub until the last night. Good side was that my bar tab would have been much higher if I had.
I could have spent more time in Juneau.
Ketchikan - Saxman Native Village (should have booked online and saved about $20 a head). Nice trip but not outstanding. If I'd booked directly I'd probably be raving.
Juneau - Orca Enterprises Whale watching. GREAT GREAT GREAT.
Skagway - Took a local bus into Canada on the opposite side of the canyon from the train. Nice trip, nice guide, nice value.
Prince Rupert - Nice to have a port WITHOUT Diamonds International, et.al. Mountie posed for photos. Great shops at the terminal with good prices (even beat the great deals on jade items in Skagway thanks to the currency exchange rate). Went into town some of the stores try to deal in US cash, USE YOUR CREDIT CARD. The clerks really struggled with the exchange rate. Hit the Safeway store and get odd candy bars you've never heard of and maple syrup flavored cookies (yummy) all at great prices.
With the exception of ONE waiter at Raffles (I called it Luby's the decor is similar) the staff was super friendly.
Had a great time at the disco after it was closed for kids. Not that it was anything special, just fun watching them run off the teenagers who kept trying to sneak in.
My husband and I just returned from the Sprit (July 24-31st). It was a wonderful ship and we would do it again!! The staff and service were wonderful-- there is nothing we would change! We were very fortunate to have good weather, also!
Thanks for the tip about Safeway. In Vancouver I discovered Peek Freans black currant sandwich creme cookies. I will have to see if they're available in Prince Rupert. Won't I be a sight carrying groceries back to a cruise ship. Everyone'll think the ship's food is contaminated!