Posted April 22nd, 2018, 06:25 PM
We've cruised out of Vancouver and also out of Seattle. The Vancouver trip was much smoother and IMO the scenery as we left Vancouver was beautiful! You're in for quite a trip!
There is so much to see an do in Alaska that you sometimes have to make tough choices. On both trips we crammed in as much as we could and did squeeze in a couple of double excursions in the same day. We self booked all of our excursions, some the very same as the ship tours, but at less cost. It's very easy to negotiate Alaska via bus, cabs, or pick up from excursion companies.
In Ketchikan we went on a Misty Fjords flight (a bit expensive), as well as the Bering Sea Crab boat tour (enjoyed alot). On our first trip we also took a float plane to a secluded area to see bears, but didn't see any :-( . This was very-very expensive and a big bust for us. Ketchikan is a quaint town and on both trips we spent time meandering about. IMO this is the best port to shop for souvenirs. If you are lucky, you'll hit Ketchikan when the salmon is running. Since much of the town is on stilts, you can readily see the salmon working their way up river.
Your cruise will bring the ship up and back through Tracy Arm. If you look at google maps you'll see that Tracy Arm looks like an inlet that forks in 2 directions. At the end of each prong is a glacier; both referred to as the twin Sawyer Glaciers. Your route will depend on how much ice is blocking the way. The Solstice will be too big to get super close to the glacier face, but you should be able to see it from the distance, as well as lots of icebergs. On our trip through TA we saw beers on the shore and whales in the water.
When we visited Juneau we were able to squeeze in whale watching (vendor across the street from pier), a helicopter trip with a glacier landing (booked through whale watch vendor), plus Mt Roberts tramway (across the street from pier) all in the same day. Fellow passengers said they enjoyed Mendenhall glacier (via local bus), excursions to Taku Lodge (ship tour), and gold mining (touristy but fun), so this will be our plan for the next time we visit.
In Skagway we took the bus up/White Pass train down (purchased tickets online), then walked over to Yakutania Point to see if any seals were basking in the sun (none the day we were there), walked around town, then took a last minute helicopter glacier landing and walk (very expensive but awesome flight/walk).
By the time we reached Victoria we were exhausted, so took the shuttle to downtown to look around and spent a short amount of time in a local pub before heading back to the ship.
We also really enjoyed our time in Seattle. There's also lots to see and do there. Be sure to visit the fish market if you can.
***X Eclipse South America, Dec 2018***X Edge, Eastern Caribbean, Jan 2019***X Equinox, Southern Caribbean May 2018***X Summit, NE and Bermuda July 2017***X Equinox, Southern Caribbean May 2017***Expedition, Galapagos/Machu Pichu August 2016***X Reflection, Caribbean December 2015*** X Equinox, Caribbean April 2015*** X Infinity, Panama Canal Nov 2014*** X Reflection, Mediterranean August 2013 *** X Reflection, Eastern Caribbean April 2013 *** X Solstice, Mediterranean, August 2012 *** X Summit, Bermuda, July 2012*** X Silhouette, Eastern Caribbean April 2012 *** X Millenium, Western Caribbean Jan 2012 *** X Solstice, Mediterranean, July 2011 *** RCL Explorer of the Seas, Bermuda/Bahamas April 2011 *** RCL Explorer of the Seas, Bermuda/Bahamas April 2010 *** HAL Zaandam, Alaska July 2009 *** NCL Majesty, Bahamas Dec 2008 *** X Millenium, Alaska July 2008 *** NCL Majesty, Western Caribbean April 2007 *** Disney Magic, Eastern Caribbean June 1999 *** NCL Majesty, Bermuda June 1996 *** American Family Cruises, American Adventure, Eastern Caribbean August 1994