On the Muse just a week ago:
Captain Marco Sangiacomo - very engaging, noon updates and frequently seen throughout the ship
Rico du Briel - Cruise Director - enjoyed our second voyage with Rico. He's very approachable - good guy
Chelo - Asst. Cruise Director - calls good Bingo - he's new to the Muse by a couple of voyages
Jimmy Lovell - Hotel Director - everyone can't say enough good things about Jimmy. He remembers everyone's name!
Executive Chef Anne-Marie Cornelius - awesome! Enjoyed her demonstration and she wants to know what passengers think
Terry, there's a good chance the weather is going to be warmer than expected. We had little rain (one day) and some light drizzle another. Our June 17 cruise stopped in Haines where they had no idea how to turn the AC on in the travel van; it was a good thing some of us "southerners" (meaning the Lower 48) were on board.
Our cruise was fortunate to have SS Expedition Staff on board and they not only conducted the enrichment lectures, but engaged with passengers throughout the voyage. One of the many benefits was that they knew each of our ports and could make suggestions on where to look for wildlife. Overall, we found that we liked the excursions best that were by boat, fishing vessel or jet boat. Several morning excursions by plane and helicopter were cancelled due to low visibility but those later in the day made it without a problem. Looking at your July 25 itinerary:
In Ketchikan Expedition Staff spoke about the Bear Country Wildlife Experience. We were too early but, beginning the third week of July, the bears are looking for fish and we understand this is an outstanding excursion. Your July 27th port day should be perfect. We had an enjoyable time on the "duck" Land & Sea tour but wish we'd skipped the Lumberjack show heading to Wildlife Rainforest Sanctuary instead.
In Juneau we had an excellent experience on "Discover Alaska's Whales". It was very interesting, the boat first stopped to check, log and report captured ocean creatures including an unusual crustacean the scientific guide discussed and then passed around for all to hold before heading out to spot the whales. The boat's captain knew where to head and within 15 minutes we were finding whales. Snacks weren't much but no one seemed to mind and I think everyone on board was sorry when we returned to the pier.
We've didn't stop at Skagway this trip but, years ago we were there and loved exploring the old mining town. My bride reminded me that we had booked a private guide knew seemed to be an "eagle whisperer". I haven't been able to find his name again but maybe he's still out there. I noticed they offer "Haines through a Lens" as an excursion out of Skagway. On our voyage the Muse docked in Haines for the day and sadly, other than following another tour van to a spot where they spotted a young bear foraging for food, the tour didn't measure up to our other excursions. I say that while admitting the bear sighting was terrific.
In Sitka we booked the afternoon "Sea Otter and Wildlife Quest" excursion and it was excellent. This was different than the other boating excursions as the captain showed knew and seemed to enjoy showing us the inlets in and around Sitka. We saw eagles, sea otters and the onboard guide showed us the salmon gates where they funnel back into the ocean. Our understanding from other passengers was that the morning excursions saw more sea otters but not much other wildlife.
Probably more than you were looking for but we had a great time on a well kept and staffed ship. Enjoy your cruise!