2012 July 6-20 Alaska Land and Cruise Adventure Review with LOTS of photos!

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Poll: What wildlife are you most interest/excited in seeing in Alaska?
Poll Results
What wildlife are you most interest/excited in seeing in Alaska?

Brown/Grizzly Bears
330
61.80%

Wolves
84
15.73%

Lynx
43
8.05%

Puffins
89
16.67%

Bald Eagles
165
30.90%

Humpback Whales
286
53.56%

Mountain Goats
52
9.74%

Dall Sheep
52
9.74%

Orca/Killer Whales
252
47.19%

Harbor Seals
66
12.36%

Sea Otters
114
21.35%

Moose
181
33.90%

Sea Lions
62
11.61%

Other
15
2.81%

Multiple Choice Poll.

Voters: 534.  You may not vote on this poll.

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Originally posted by WalleyeLJ
Allisons,

Have you been on Radiance before? If you haven't, I'll be closing out the review with a photo tour (surprise!) of several more parts of the ship. In any case, you should have a fantastic time. Just remember the old axiom when bear viewing - don't run - vut if you do, just don't be the slowest (or 2nd slowest)!!!

L.J.
We haven't been on the Radiance. But we have been on the Serenade. They are sister ships. They are almost identical.
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L.J. OUTSTANDING is all I can come up with at this point for your review and pictures. If I were a writer I may come up with something better LOL but we did Alaska last summer and whale watching with HM and loved every minute of it and are going again in Aug this year. Reading your review and seeing the pictures makes our weather here at -4 with a wind chill of -30 tolerable as I am sitting here reading it and forgetting all the weather. THANK YOU and look forward to more of your reviews!!!!!
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North Carolina
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Originally posted by allisons
We haven't been on the Radiance. But we have been on the Serenade. They are sister ships. They are almost identical.
We've been on Serenade twice, and we're going on Jewel in October. We keep cutting aginst the cruise grain - we started off on bigger ships, and keep getting smaller - but we love the Radiance class ships!

L.J.
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2016 - Aug Millennium - Alaska 4.0!
2015 - Alaska 3.0!!! - Two week land tour, 2013 Oct Jewel of the Seas - Southern, 2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!, 2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern, 2010 March Carnival Dream - Western, 2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!, 2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern, 2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern, 2006 May Mariner of the Seas - Western, 2005 March Voyager of the Seas - Eastern

North Carolina
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Originally posted by kamac56
L.J. OUTSTANDING is all I can come up with at this point for your review and pictures. If I were a writer I may come up with something better LOL but we did Alaska last summer and whale watching with HM and loved every minute of it and are going again in Aug this year. Reading your review and seeing the pictures makes our weather here at -4 with a wind chill of -30 tolerable as I am sitting here reading it and forgetting all the weather. THANK YOU and look forward to more of your reviews!!!!!
Thanks kamac56!!! As long as it's been, I feel like there's so much more I could be writing about and in more detail, and better - but then I'd NEVER get done!!!. I have decided to go retro and do a review of our 2009 cruise, since we left out of Seattle, took the train to Vancouver, kayaked Kenaji Fjords, took the ARR to Anchorage, and went to Talkeetna and Denali - so we hit some different places and excursions than we did on this trip - and I pretty much took as many photos on that trip too - so I'll have a few to post! I may even start reviewing our Caribbean adventures...


L.J.
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2016 - Aug Millennium - Alaska 4.0!
2015 - Alaska 3.0!!! - Two week land tour, 2013 Oct Jewel of the Seas - Southern, 2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!, 2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern, 2010 March Carnival Dream - Western, 2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!, 2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern, 2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern, 2006 May Mariner of the Seas - Western, 2005 March Voyager of the Seas - Eastern

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Originally posted by WalleyeLJ
We've been on Serenade twice, and we're going on Jewel in October. We keep cutting aginst the cruise grain - we started off on bigger ships, and keep getting smaller - but we love the Radiance class ships!

L.J.
We loved the Serenade! It was probably our favorite RCI ship ever! We didn't love the bigger ships! We're really looking forward to going back on another Radiance class ship!
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Originally posted by allisons
We loved the Serenade! It was probably our favorite RCI ship ever! We didn't love the bigger ships! We're really looking forward to going back on another Radiance class ship!
Well, she's the original of the class. I'm not sure if RCI has upgraded Serenade the way they did Radiance. If not, you'll discover some neat new things/spots/restaurants!!!

L.J.
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2016 - Aug Millennium - Alaska 4.0!
2015 - Alaska 3.0!!! - Two week land tour, 2013 Oct Jewel of the Seas - Southern, 2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!, 2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern, 2010 March Carnival Dream - Western, 2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!, 2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern, 2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern, 2006 May Mariner of the Seas - Western, 2005 March Voyager of the Seas - Eastern

1,889 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Originally posted by WalleyeLJ
Well, she's the original of the class. I'm not sure if RCI has upgraded Serenade the way they did Radiance. If not, you'll discover some neat new things/spots/restaurants!!!

L.J.
Yeah, we've experienced those restaurants etc. on other ships, such as Oasis. We're excited to experience them on Radiance.
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North Carolina
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Once we had cleared Creek Street, my parents took a few minutes to rest on one of the benches right next to the bridge that spans the creek and divides it from the main Small Boat Harbor. I took a bunch more photos of Dolly's House and spots along the Creek from our location on the other side, but I won't post any more on here as the spots weren't different, just the perspective. One thing that was cool was this sign right next to the bridge which not only shows the species of Pacific Salmon found in the area, but also has a live viewing camera under the bridge so that you can see the salmon when they are making their runs up the Creek - very cool when the fish are in!







The group refreshed, when continued back towards where we got off the bus to complete the loop - plus we weren't sure where the next closest bus stop was besides that one! It turned out to be right behind us across the bridge and just past the start of the Creek Street boardwalk entrance, but we didn't know that at the time! While on our way to the stop, I spied this gentleman ahead of us, walking along with his fresh catch...







The bus stop was across the street where the fisherman was walking, but before I crossed over, I went to grab another shot of the tall totem pole that was near the north start to Creek Street since the sun was out and the skies were a bit clearer than when we first went by.







I went scouting to look for another bus stop on the other side of the road, but missed it by a block. So, after a few minutes we headed back to our original goal, the stop we got off at, since we knew it would come by there again, and my parents weren't up for the walk back to the ship. I stopped and got some ice cream, so I was lagging behind a bit, but it allowed me to get a shot of our bus stop to show how close it was to the big totem pole, the north entrance to Creek Street, and the Cape Fox funicular on the hill beyond.



Bev & Mom in the lower right-hand corner at the bus stop...







The totem pole & funicular







A few short minutes later, the bus came along and we hooped on board. We ended up passing the south end of Creek Street again and taking a left and running up the hillside to Totem Heritage Center where the route ended and headed back down to Creek Street and then back to the ship. We hopped off the bus and got my parents pointed back towards the ship (pretty easy as you can see!), while we planned on exploring the downtown waterfront and shops before we finished up our last port of call.







L.J.
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L.J. and Bev

2016 - Aug Millennium - Alaska 4.0!
2015 - Alaska 3.0!!! - Two week land tour, 2013 Oct Jewel of the Seas - Southern, 2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!, 2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern, 2010 March Carnival Dream - Western, 2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!, 2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern, 2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern, 2006 May Mariner of the Seas - Western, 2005 March Voyager of the Seas - Eastern

Michigan
1,509 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Thanks for the recent posts about Ketchikan LJ. My goal this trip was to visit Creek Street but alas, we're booked with Island Wings for the whole day.

A question for you if I may. What time of the year did you book with Fat Salmon Charters for fishing in Skagway. We haven't heard back from them yet and I'm curious as to how long it took for you. Thanks!
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North Carolina
1,863 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Originally posted by sue402001
Thanks for the recent posts about Ketchikan LJ. My goal this trip was to visit Creek Street but alas, we're booked with Island Wings for the whole day.

A question for you if I may. What time of the year did you book with Fat Salmon Charters for fishing in Skagway. We haven't heard back from them yet and I'm curious as to how long it took for you. Thanks!
Hey Sue,

I booked with them the end of August, and we were going the following July. Capt Joe no longer lives in Skagway year round (I think he did for 16 years or so), so I think he's wintering somewhere warm (Hawaii maybe?), but he should be back for next summer. I did have a hard time getting any contact during the winter months last year, so hopefully it'll just taek abit longer.

L.J.
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L.J. and Bev

2016 - Aug Millennium - Alaska 4.0!
2015 - Alaska 3.0!!! - Two week land tour, 2013 Oct Jewel of the Seas - Southern, 2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!, 2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern, 2010 March Carnival Dream - Western, 2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!, 2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern, 2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern, 2006 May Mariner of the Seas - Western, 2005 March Voyager of the Seas - Eastern

NJ Love it
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LJ Thanks again for all the info I do have battery packs on both of my cameras so that will be good. Just still working on a new fun lense.. I have some great ideas for the go pro and the time lapse we shall see.....

I got a few good pics the other day of a fire and did sell one to the local paper woo hoo. A few dollars for some new toys..

The planning is almost complete for the Alaska fun in July.. So much to do I am taking a Cruise for 5 days in May lol/

Thanks again
JD
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[quote=WalleyeLJ;34725512]As we wrapped up our evening we headed back to the Rangeview B&B, our home for the next three nights. In this case, B&D would be a better description. Unlike a regular B&B, at the Rangeview, instead of breakfast it's a bed and dessert! While there were bagels and fresh melon for the morning, the evening treat was AWESOME! Chocolate covered strawberries greeted us the first night, followed by homemade rhubarb crisps and chocolate chip cookies. The accommodations were great as well. Unlike a traditional B&B, instead of a room within the home, we actually had our own little apartment adjacent to the main home, with a private deck & entrance.

Was wondering how you researched finding your B&B places to stay? Thanks so much for this great posting.
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Originally posted by Jdfireman
LJ Thanks again for all the info I do have battery packs on both of my cameras so that will be good. Just still working on a new fun lense.. I have some great ideas for the go pro and the time lapse we shall see.....

I got a few good pics the other day of a fire and did sell one to the local paper woo hoo. A few dollars for some new toys..

The planning is almost complete for the Alaska fun in July.. So much to do I am taking a Cruise for 5 days in May lol/

Thanks again
JD
LOL - you should skip May and do a B2B in Alaska - then you can fit in even MORE excursions!

L.J.
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L.J. and Bev

2016 - Aug Millennium - Alaska 4.0!
2015 - Alaska 3.0!!! - Two week land tour, 2013 Oct Jewel of the Seas - Southern, 2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!, 2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern, 2010 March Carnival Dream - Western, 2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!, 2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern, 2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern, 2006 May Mariner of the Seas - Western, 2005 March Voyager of the Seas - Eastern

North Carolina
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[quote=allzcwbyfan;36977829]
Originally posted by WalleyeLJ
As we wrapped up our evening we headed back to the Rangeview B&B, our home for the next three nights. In this case, B&D would be a better description. Unlike a regular B&B, at the Rangeview, instead of breakfast it's a bed and dessert! While there were bagels and fresh melon for the morning, the evening treat was AWESOME! Chocolate covered strawberries greeted us the first night, followed by homemade rhubarb crisps and chocolate chip cookies. The accommodations were great as well. Unlike a traditional B&B, instead of a room within the home, we actually had our own little apartment adjacent to the main home, with a private deck & entrance.

Was wondering how you researched finding your B&B places to stay? Thanks so much for this great posting.
Hey Allz!

Well, I started out here, then moved to Trip Advisor. There is some good info on here, but it was MUCH faster to research a given town on TA. It's nice that CC and TA are sister sites. Even then, though, the options may be limited. For instance, Rangeview won't qualify for reviews on TA because they only have a single room/aprtment to rent. TA requires a minimum of two or more spaces to stay to allow for reviews - which we didn't find out until Bev wrote a nice one up and it got rejected!

My next and final phase of research was looking at the various Chamber of Commerce/Visitor's Bureau sites for the Kenai and the towns we were going to visit. I order each of their visotr's guides, and then checked the B&B links on each Chamber/VB site. If I remember correctly that's how I found Rangeview. The B&Bs/independent accomodations on the land portion were the hardest thing/most time consuming part to plan. Finding the fun stuff to do was the easy part!!!

L.J.
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L.J. and Bev

2016 - Aug Millennium - Alaska 4.0!
2015 - Alaska 3.0!!! - Two week land tour, 2013 Oct Jewel of the Seas - Southern, 2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!, 2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern, 2010 March Carnival Dream - Western, 2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!, 2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern, 2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern, 2006 May Mariner of the Seas - Western, 2005 March Voyager of the Seas - Eastern

Michigan
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Originally posted by WalleyeLJ
Hey Sue,

I booked with them the end of August, and we were going the following July. Capt Joe no longer lives in Skagway year round (I think he did for 16 years or so), so I think he's wintering somewhere warm (Hawaii maybe?), but he should be back for next summer. I did have a hard time getting any contact during the winter months last year, so hopefully it'll just taek abit longer.

L.J.
Thank you LJ.

My hubby actually talked to possibly Capt. Joe today and we're all set for August.
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North Carolina
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Originally posted by sue402001
Thank you LJ.

My hubby actually talked to possibly Capt. Joe today and we're all set for August.

Good deal - may the Fish Be With You!!!

L.J.
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L.J. and Bev

2016 - Aug Millennium - Alaska 4.0!
2015 - Alaska 3.0!!! - Two week land tour, 2013 Oct Jewel of the Seas - Southern, 2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!, 2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern, 2010 March Carnival Dream - Western, 2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!, 2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern, 2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern, 2006 May Mariner of the Seas - Western, 2005 March Voyager of the Seas - Eastern

North Carolina
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Heading off to the Carolina Nature Photography Association Annual Conference tomorrow. I'll get back to posting when we return. Here's to hoping one of the photos from this trip does well in the photo contest!

L.J.
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L.J. and Bev

2016 - Aug Millennium - Alaska 4.0!
2015 - Alaska 3.0!!! - Two week land tour, 2013 Oct Jewel of the Seas - Southern, 2012 July Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA 2.0!!, 2011 May Serenade of the Seas - Southern, 2010 March Carnival Dream - Western, 2009 May Radiance of the Seas - ALASKA!, 2008 April Adventure of the Seas - Southern, 2007 April Mariner of the Seas - Eastern, 2006 May Mariner of the Seas - Western, 2005 March Voyager of the Seas - Eastern

356 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by WalleyeLJ
Thanks MSM!

The questions has been asked but I'll be glad to answer. My primary camera is a Canon 7D (it shoots 8 frames per second - key for the upcoming eagle phots in Ketchikan), with a Canon 50D as back up/alternate (if I was using both at the same time for wildlife and scenic shots). The wildlife photos were shot with either a Sigma 150-500mm OS (optically stablized) or a Canon 70-200, f/2.8 IS (image stablized) lens. The mid to wide angle shots were primarily a Canon 18-200mm IS, often with a circular polarizer attached, and I also rented a Canon 17-40mm f/4 for the trip.

Renting is a nice way to go to bring some nice lenses without putting out a ton of money for one, if you at least have a DSLR body. You can even rent those if you need to but they do take a little time to get use to all the functions (unlike renting just lenses).

Nikon, Sony, Sigma and Olympus all offer good to great systems, both cameras and lens, if you aren't a Canon person. I happen to be, so that's what I know best. If you have any other questions, please let me know and I will do my best to answer them!

L.J.
L.J. & Bev thank you for sharing your trip with us--Great review! I know you are a cannon fan--have you used the rebel T4? I am Looking at buying a new camera and have narrowed my choices to the Rebel T4 or the cannon 60. I know their is a huge difference in price between these two models. Any comments?
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Michigan
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Originally posted by WalleyeLJ
Heading off to the Carolina Nature Photography Association Annual Conference tomorrow. I'll get back to posting when we return. Here's to hoping one of the photos from this trip does well in the photo contest!

L.J.
Good Luck LJ!
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L.J. Good luck & best wishes at the nature conference!
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