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LunaSeaRetreat

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  1. Hi Zitsky, I've been enjoying your posts. Thank you for taking the time. Did you enjoy your Castellet and wine tour? How was the wine? We just signed up for this for our December cruise. We've been to the area before and this seemed a little different. Thanks again, Cynthia
  2. Thanks for posts. We will be on the Crown for 20 days this winter. We have never been on the Crown so I'm sure we will learn a lot from your posts. Cynthia
  3. Great site. Thanks for sharing. Cynthia
  4. We did the included tour in Ketchikan. The town and the Potlatch Park were very crowded. I think there were 4 or 5 ships in that day. The park and guide were interesting, but we had to wait about 1/2 hour for our bus to come back when it was time to leave. The parking lot was filled by the time we left. We almost didn't get the city tour because of the wait and the traffic. We had to be back on board by 1:30 so we had no time to walk around town. Luckily, this was our third time visiting Ketchikan, but the first time without rain. Grade B USKET02 Potlatch Totem Park & Ketchikan Highlights Duration: 2.50 Hours Date: May 24, 2019 08:30 AM, 09:30 AM, 10:00 AM Alaska’s Native Legacy -- Discover the coastal community of Ketchikan and learn about the ancient native craft of totem pole carving. Potlatch Totem Park is a modern recreation of a 19th-century native village, located on historic Tlingit fishing grounds on the shores of the Tongass Narrows. Here, you can see numerous houses, totem poles and panels, and hear the legends behind the designs. Visit the carving studio to learn about their ancient technique. After enjoying a light snack at the Alaska Totem Trading Company, you will embark on a scenic city drive through the southeasternmost city in Alaska. Travel past the lively waterfront to the historic downtown area of Ketchikan, where your guide will point out highlights such as City Park, Nathan Jackson’s “Thundering Wings”—a totem statue in the shape of a bald eagle—and the Dolly’s House Museum, located in the famous red-light district, before returning to your ship.
  5. How true! On the same day in the same room, people had on everything from shorts and tees to puffer jackets jeans, and boots.
  6. Thanks, I'm feeling a lot better. Glad I could be helpful. Cynthia
  7. Sitka We did the included tour in Sitka. We enjoyed the walk in the forest to see the totem poles. The guides were well informed and interesting. We also enjoyed the on-site museum. We would have enjoyed having more free time in the park. We tendered in Sitka which was a good thing. The other ships that were docked were six miles from downtown. It was a short tender and everything went smoothly. Grade A- USSIT01 Scenic Sitka by Motor Coach Duration: 1.50 Hours Date: May 23, 2019 08:30 AM, 10:30 AM, 12:30 PM, 02:00 PM A Diverse and Engaging City on the Gulf -- Enjoy Sitka and its stunning setting on the Gulf of Alaska as you discover its fascinating landmarks. Board your motor coach and join a local guide, who will regale you with the legends and lore of this small city first settled by Russians in 1799. See historic Castle Hill, where the territory of Alaska was officially transferred from Russia to the US in 1867, and the cratered peak of looming Mt. Edgecumbe, a nearby dormant volcano. Your panoramic tour will also take you past Sitka Sound, where you can gaze out at the many small, forested islands dotting the water. At Sitka National Historical Park (also known as Totem Park), stroll through the lush Tongass National Forest, viewing its 18 majestic totem poles and the site of the battle between the Tlingit and the Russians. Or, visit the on-site museum to see artifacts and carvings before returning to your awaiting ship.
  8. Icy Strait Point, Alaska We did the included tour here and I did the ziprider. The tour of the town was in an open air tram. Our weather was sunny and mild but I found the tram uncomfortable. I can't imagine staying on it in cold rainy weather. We did learn a lot about the Tlingit community. I found walking around more pleasant. The show was a youth performance. Grade C+ I loved the ziprider. I've never done anything like it and I'm glad I decided to do it. The tour on the way up was similar to the tram tour but in a bus. The views on the way up were good. The views on the way down were unbelievable. It was all over too quick. (90 seconds) Grade A USIS101 Tribal Dance & Cultural Legends Duration: 2.00 Hours Date: May 22, 2019 08:30 AM, 10:30 AM, 12:30 PM, 01:30 PM Traditions of the Tlingit -- Experience life in a Tlingit village during this fascinating excursion. The small community of Hoonah is many things to its residents: a lively fishing hamlet, an old logging town and the world’s largest Tlingit community. Its growth began with a booming canning industry, and today it is a tranquil and welcoming seaside haven adorned with native art. Drive with your guide to the Heritage Center Native Theater for a colorful Tribal Dance and Cultural Legends performance that provides both fascinating insight into tribal traditions and a rich glimpse of long-cherished customs. Wearing authentic, vibrant regalia, Huna Tlingit performers will share their history and culture through song, dance and storytelling. Sit back as the legends of their people wash over you. The show culminates in a lively celebration in which you are invited to participate. After an opportunity to take photos of the performers in their regalia, you will return to your ship. USIS107 ZipRider Down Hoonah Mountain Duration: 1.50 Hours Date: May 22, 2019 09:15 AM, 10:00 AM, 02:30 PM, 03:15 PM Scenic Mountain Descent at 60 Miles Per Hour -- Enjoy sweeping views of scenic Chichagof Island as you soar 300 feet above the rainforest during a zip-line ride. Travel along the coast and through Hoonah, the largest native Tlingit community in Alaska; stop for photos and learn about the area’s history from your guide en route to the summit of Hoonah Mountain. Located at 1,330 feet above sea level, the ZipRider boasts six cables that allow six riders to race to the bottom simultaneously. Have a seat in your harness, then take off. You will accelerate to 60 miles per hour as the land drops away and you “fly” toward the beach. Enjoy the panoramic views of Port Frederick, the Icy Strait and your ship as you descend. Your exciting ride will end with a gentle touchdown at the water’s edge. After your adrenaline dissipates, you will return to your awaiting ship.
  9. Valdez We took the included tour here. Again it was shuttle bus, however, when you boarded you received 3 tickets to enter the sites mentioned in the description. I found this reasonable and made it more of an excursion. We visited both museums and received a free ticket for another. All were interesting. We didn't view the video. The town is small but lovely; it is truly surrounded by soaring peaks. We were told that many of the stores and tour operators were not open yet. Perhaps when others visit there will be more to do. Grade B USVDS01 Valdez On Your Own Duration: 2.50 Hours Date: May 20, 2019 08:30 AM, 09:00 AM, 09:30 AM, 10:00 AM, 10:30 AM, 11:00 AM, 11:30 AM, 12:00 PM, 12:30 PM, 01:00 PM A Charming Town in a Stunning Setting -- Explore this small fishing town’s rich past at your leisure, following your own interests. From your berth, begin your self-guided exploration by taking a free shuttle bus to any of three stops: the Valdez Museum, the Maxine & Jesse Whitney Museum or the Town Convention Center or Eagle Hall, where a 30-minute video detailing the history of Valdez will continually play all day. The remote frontier town of Valdez, surrounded by soaring peaks, was named for the Spanish secretary of the navy in 1790. It grew after settlers lured gold seekers here from the Klondike gold rush trail with the promise of riches. The gold was never found, but the town grew nonetheless. Today, this picturesque town thrives on fishing and oil; colorful boats line the harbor alongside the Trans-Alaska Pipeline terminal. As you explore, perhaps you will visit the Whitney Museum, a fascinating collection of native arts and artifacts, or stop by a charming cafe for lunch.
  10. Seward We took an optional tour in Seward $189 pp. We had a great time. We saw all the wildlife mentioned in the summary and the lunch was very good. The crew was friendly and organized. It was a large group of people -three or four full buses. So if you like small group tours this isn't for you. I can't see how we could have improved on our day for the price. Grade A USSWD12 Resurrection Bay Wildlife Cruise Duration: 6.00 Hours Date: May 19, 2019 10:00 AM In Search of Alaska’s Diverse Marine and Terrestrial Wildlife -- Explore the protected waters and rugged coast of Resurrection Bay on board an exclusive Viking-chartered vessel. Nicknamed the “Gateway to the Kenai Fjords,” the bay’s calm waters are home to an abundance of marine and terrestrial wildlife. Board your ship and head out for an opportunity to experience up-close encounters with wildlife as you cruise along massive bird rookeries and past sea lion colonies. Along the way, you will stop to view any passing whale pods or frolicking sea otters. Enjoy a meal of delicious Alaskan salmon and tender prime rib as you admire the alpine glaciers nestled in the surrounding mountain ranges of Chugach and Kenai. Gaze at the blue-tinged ice of Bear Glacier, a 13-mile-long expanse of ice and snow. At the end of your cruise, you will return to the pier and your awaiting ship.
  11. Kodiak We just did the included tour. Let's face it, it was just a shuttle bus. Viking could have done much better. The town was lovely and the people were helpful. We ended up walking across the bridge you can see from the visitor's center and going to a small aquarium. Along the way there were walking trails. There was a lot to do in town but Viking should not have called it an excursion. Grade C- USKOD01 Kodiak by Foot Duration: 3.00 Hours Date: May 18, 2019 08:30 AM, 09:00 AM, 09:30 AM, 10:00 AM, 10:30 AM, 11:00 AM, 11:30 AM, 12:00 PM, 01:00 PM, 01:30 PM, 02:00 PM Alaska’s Emerald Isle -- Uncover more than 200 years of history as you discover Kodiak, set between soaring peaks and a glistening bay. One of just seven Kodiak Island communities, it is the economic center and gateway for visitors and goods. Alutiiq natives have called it home for millennia, but Russians arrived here during the 18th century. Explore Kodiak at your leisure, taking a shuttle bus into the heart of the city. Here, you may choose to visit the Baranov Museum (entrance fee applies), the oldest of the four surviving buildings constructed when Alaska was Russian territory. Or call on the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, where you can learn about the whale migration from Baja to the Bering Sea. Alternatively, take a stroll around the Bear Town Market, where everything on display has been handcrafted by local artists. Enjoy free time to shop for the perfect memento before returning to your ship.
  12. Sorry I've been gone so long. I got a weird virus that they first thought was measles but blood test ruled that out. Feeling better and the spots are slowly fading. On to the USA. Dutch Harbour For some reason Viking offered no tours in Dutch Harbour. There was a shuttle bus. Not much to see in town, but I talked to a few people that arranged their our tours ahead of time and enjoyed their day. Maybe one reason there were no tours was immigration. We went through immigration on the ship starting at 6:30 am! They started calling on deck three first but I think everyone could hear it. For the US and Canada there was only one pleasant officer and a helper.
  13. Fear not--I will be back to finish. We are home now and life gets in the way. I'll continue tomorrow. We had a great cruise. Cynthia
  14. Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Kamchatka Getting through customs again was okay if you had a tour before noon. After, noon, before 11 am, you had to walk about 250 yards down the dock go in the port building and return to the ship and wait for your tour. Then go through the whole thing again. Until the night before we thought we were tendering, but ended up docking. We did an optional tour here. Kamchatka Exotic Picnic $159 pp. We had a great guide and saw breathtaking mountains and some city sites on the way to the "picnic." The site we arrived at was rustic to put it politely as was the one "bathroom." I was advised not to use it. Our host spoke only Russian and our guide was the interpreter. Despite all this we had a great time. (It may have had something to do with the vodka shots.) Grade B+ Duration: 4.00 Hours RUPET06 Kamchatka Exotic Picnic Date: May 13, 2019 12:00 PM A Taste of Culture and Herbs -- Enjoy a wilderness lunch at the countryside home of a Kamchatka herbalist while learning about the region’s flora. Discover the resourcefulness of the inhabitants of the Kamchatka Peninsula. A remote tundra of snowcapped mountain peaks, volcanoes and hot springs, this rugged frontier is not for the weak-spirited. Those who live here have become experts in the art of gathering and preserving herbs for both gastronomical and medicinal purposes. After a guided scenic drive through the countryside, meet your host, noted Kamchatka herbalist Alexander Yastrebov. He will escort you through the forest to his “yaranga”—a round tent-like structure used by the nomadic people of eastern Russia. Here, relax and savor a picnic of special dishes prepared with local herbs. The menu will also include a salmon barbecue and homemade liqueurs. Traditional Russian songs accompanied by guitar will add to the ambience of this memorable experience.
  15. We did the included tour. The Russian folkloric performance, was well done and uplifting. The crafts were expensive but they took yen, and us dollars. The island isn't very scenic and I believe it is mainly a fueling stop. Our guide did the best she could and customs wasn't too bad. It was a tender port. Grade B because there is just not much here to see Viking and the town did the best it could. No shuttles in Russia. Korsakov, Sakhalin Island Duration: 1.50 Hours RUKOR02 Cultural Korsakov Date: May 10, 2019 10:00 AM, 10:15 AM, 11:45 AM, 12:00 PM, 01:30 PM, 02:00 PM, 03:30 PM, 03:45 PM Russian Folklore and Heritage -- Experience a traditional folkloric performance and enjoy an informative tour of the town of Korsakov. Discover this small Russian town on Aniva Bay that still thrives on its fishing trade as you explore with your knowledgeable guide. Once populated by the Ainu—indigenous people from Japan and eastern Russia—a Russian expedition from the West landed here in 1853. The town changed hands between Russia and Japan, and once served as a Russian penal colony. You will enjoy a scenic drive to a hillside observation post to take in panoramic views of Korsakov and its seaside setting, and learn more about the city’s interesting history as you stroll the main street into Lenin Square. Then, you will be treated to a festive, colorful Russian folkloric performance at a cultural center, and have time to browse locally made crafts.
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