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Melinda Brasher

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About Melinda Brasher

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
  • Interests
    Hiking, Writing, Travel, Nature, Reading, European-Style Board Games, Line-Dancing
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America, Princess
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Alaska, Canada, New England, Norway
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:
    https://cruisingalaskaonabudget.wordpress.com/, https://www.melindabrasher.com/

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  1. And the official Ketchikan transit link: https://www.kgbak.us/DocumentCenter/View/6314/Bus-Schedule-MAY-2019-Final
  2. Just take the free downtown shuttle to get back to the pier. Here's the route: https://www.kgbak.us/DocumentCenter/View/6314/Bus-Schedule-MAY-2019-Final Look at the bottom half of the first page for the free shuttle route. Your closest stop would probably be the "Museum" stop at the historical museum, which is by the pedestrian bridge that crosses Ketchikan Creek in the middle of Creek Street. It goes to all the cruise ship berths, and it leaves about every 20 minutes. I believe there are benches there at the bus stop so your mom can get off her feet while waiting. For more details on other stops: https://www.melindabrasher.com/2019/08/free-town-shuttle-in-ketchikan.html
  3. I always take hiking boots, but I do a lot of hiking. Good sneakers with good tread would usually be okay if you don't want to take hiking boots, but they won't be quite as good in rain/mud/sketchy trails. I don't take waterproof pants, but I definitely wear my quick-drying hiking pants. I would never, ever recommend jeans (not that you suggested it--just backing up another poster).
  4. I always take my swimsuit too. I went on a Canada / New England fall foliage cruise in October during a cold snap and the pool was hardly even open. But I've swum every time I've been to Alaska.
  5. I think the whole thing verges on price gouging. In 2011 when I first went, the shuttles were $18 RT, which gave them a healthy profit, I'm sure, without taking advantage of the tourists. Now it's $45. Yes, there's a new smallish fee levied by Mendenhall Glacier itself, but if you subtract that, it's still like 220% or more inflation. Have wages risen that much in the last 8 years? Have prices of other things? Taxi gouging doesn't surprise me either. I think if I were in a group of 4, I might rent a car and explore elsewhere too. And if I were alone, I'd take the city bus (of course, I like walking and I've been to Juneau multiple times, so the slowness of the city bus wouldn't bother me). 🙂
  6. They used to have a guide you can download to do a DIY tour. When we were there, we strolled and relaxed and had a nice time. The groups all seemed to rush through...but maybe they were on their way somewhere else.
  7. Thanks for your input, everyone!
  8. Has anyone taken a kayaking tour in Ketchikan which you particularly enjoyed (or didn't?) How much time did you actually have on the water, and what kind of stuff did you see? Any details would be helpful. Thanks.
  9. It is indeed Monsoon Season, but the storms usually start earlier in July, and this summer we still haven't had any measurable rain in my part of the Phoenix area. Other areas of the city had downpours last night, but only about 12 tiny drops fell on me. I don't think it's hit the rest of the state as much this year as usual either. We really need some rain (and not just for my selfish rain jacket testing purposes).
  10. If you like hiking, Exit Glacier is great. The Harding Ice Field trail is spectacular. The other trails are interesting too. Some pics: https://www.melindabrasher.com/2019/02/exit-glacier-and-harding-icefield-in.html You can get a shuttle for pretty cheap, and the park is free.
  11. I finally bought my first real waterproof rain jacket several weeks ago, and this silly Arizona weather won't let me test it out. But I bet I'll get to try it out in Alaska in a few weeks!
  12. I haven't rented a bike in Ketchikan, but I'm guessing the one by Totem Bight might be more relaxing--there are various trailheads out that way. Most might be good for bikes. Ask the people at the bike shop.
  13. I agree that tendering may be something that happens on your cruise, but even Sitka and Icy Strait now have deep-water docks, so it's not something you'll run into a lot--mostly if there are too many ships in port one day. In my Alaska cruises, I think Princess was the best at warning you about good wildlife viewing spots and even occasionally announcing things like "whales sighted starboard." Of course, this depends on your particular captain and crew. Princess has lots of activities for all ages. Princess and Holland America have more sailings and thus more flexibility (and often better prices and last-minute deals). As someone else states, they're your best bet for seeing Glacier Bay. The Holland America cruises I went on had nice educational lectures about the destination, geology, wildlife, native culture, history, etc.
  14. If you plan on doing a lot of hiking, I recommend 2 walking shoes (though ankle-cut hiking shoes or even good sneakers will work, especially if one can double as a wear-to-dinner shoe). Unless you have top-of-the-line totally waterproof Goretex shoes, they will likely get wet even if they're "waterproof." My "waterproof" boots stopped being waterproof one year about a mile up Deer Mountain trail on a very wet day. It made it easier not to care about the river rushing down the trail. 🙂 But putting on wet shoes the next morning isn't fun. However, if you're not planning on doing a ton of hiking, one good pair of walking shoes will be good. I do a lot of hiking and will probably take my hiking boots plus maybe my black sneakers that I can hike in or wear with slacks for dinner (though the fashion police might not like it). 🙂 More packing advice: https://www.melindabrasher.com/2019/03/packing-for-alaska-cruise.html
  15. I'm seeing some good rates for August now. 🙂 And yes, three weeks is a good time to buy (though sometimes airfare is worse that close)
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