Alaskan Review with PICS!

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Houston, TX
124 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
We booked Harv & Marv’s Whale Watching Tour for the evening (it stays super light outside until late!). I believe we paid around $150 each for this for 4 hours. This was one of the best things of my life and money cannot compare to the experience you get from doing this!!!

We were picked up at the ship and were taken to the pier. Our guide was great (don’t remember his name ☹), very knowledgeable and funny. This time of the year is perfect for the whales. They are “bubble-netting” (wiki is great for info) and allowed me to get these shots. You’re not as close as you think, but is still amazing. We saw many large boats (ship-booked trips) that had people fighting to get the great view. Ours was a small boat (big enough for about 8 people) that allowed me to sit at the tip of boat with my legs dangling in the water as we were anchored to watch (I needed those awesome shots and I had to get as close as I could!!).

Driving through Juneau

Bubble-netting humpbacks. Got him with his mouth open!

Along with the humpbacks bubble-netting, we saw a baby who was still nursing (not concerned with the fish like his parents) who was showing off for a good 15 minutes.

We also saw porpoises that rode the waves of our boat and sea lions on the buoys.

On the way back our guide showed us where local bald eagles nest and even saw these guys at the pier.

Houston, TX
124 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
On the way back to our ship the guide drove us to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center where we were able to take a couple of quick photos before we had to be back!

The harbor


Love these

FINALLY getting dark outside

Weather report: I was perfectly fine with my outfit from earlier in the day and took off the coat for the most part of the boat ride. The town was relatively warm; I could have been in short sleeves.
Eastern North Carolina
4,563 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Thank you for the review and pictures. I love your pictures. So, what new camera did you purchase?

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624 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
loving your review
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34 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Originally posted by luvtwotrvl
Thank you for the review and pictures. I love your pictures. So, what new camera did you purchase?

I was just going to ask the same question! Love the review and photos! Just returned from Alaska last week and am enjoying reliving the cruise through your review. Can't wait to read the rest!
Thanks for doing this.
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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
Central Valley, CA
737 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Had to laugh at this picture!...So that's where all the Alaskan Beer is? The Sea Princess ran out on our June 2 sailing, how can you run out of Alaskan Beer on an Alaska cruise four days into a 10 day cruise? Can't remember HAL ever running out.

Need to book another HAL Alaska cruise!!!!!!

Hi vbmom! We have the Alaska bug really bad, just finished our fifth trip and looking at the Statendam for next year. Gave DD choice of Disneyland/Las Vegas or Alaska cruise next summer, she's says, "can we do a b2b?" What have we created? It's ALL good!
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Link to Shutterfly site for Oosterdam departing 4-3-18 --27 nights
Silverhill, AL
15 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
Originally posted by luvtwotrvl
Thank you for the review and pictures. I love your pictures. So, what new camera did you purchase?


I would love to know the camera you purchased as well. It took wonderful pictures.

I created an account on here just so I could tell you thank you for your posts. I can't wait to read the rest!

Houston, TX
124 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Hi everybody! SO glad you're enjoying the review, it's nice to write something for fun for a change instead of college papers!!

To answer your questions, I purchased a Canon Rebel T3 DSLR.
Houston, TX
124 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Instead of choosing to take the train like most cruisers, we decided to rent a car so that we could see more and stop at our leisure.

After we got off the ship we took a short walk into the town and visited a few shops. It’s amazing what you can see right off the ship ☺

This was right next to the ship! Baby otter calling for his mommy! Adorable.

We found a printable guide online (Murray's) that we took with us to help us determine where all the good spots were. Unfortunately, it was not completely accurate about the mile markers so after a few frustrating turnarounds, we were able to find all of the great stopping points. Many of them are off the road places, but the road that you stay on throughout the drive has many drive-off spots where you can stop and view. The guide was better than nothing. We found a lot of great places we wouldn't have otherwise seen.

Hello fellow cruisers!

Tourists adding to nature.

Officially in British Columbia

Houston, TX
124 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Lake beach


Made a wish to return

In Carcross

We ended at Emerald Lake in (Canada) and then turned around to make the drive back.

I highly recommend bringing Ziplocs on your cruise so that you can pack a lunch from the ship (cereal boxes, breads with peanut butter, pastries, etc.) because there aren’t any places along this route to stop!! We did stop at a gas station at the end to grab snacks but got completely ripped off because we didn’t have Canadian dollars and didn’t know how to convert. Also, bathrooms are scarce and are usually porta-potties. Bring hand sanitizer, tissues and those little seat covers! Also, you have to cross the Canadian border so bring your passports (you can get them stamped in Carcross ☺)
Houston, TX
124 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
I wanted to get closer to the snow peaks, so we partially hiked up this mountain and found this little oasis of a pond and lichen covered ground. I was hoping to see a mountain goat up here; if I were a mountain goat, this is where I would be!

Back in AK

The town

After we returned the car, we saw the small town and did some quick shopping while the guys went to the Red Onion Saloon (over rated, IMO).

This was great scenery and we were glad we rented a car so that we could see it all, but it was a long day driving and definitely wore us out. You have to weigh your options of having a relaxing day on the train, or getting to see all the small things that you would otherwise not see but spend all day in the car.

Weather report: Skagway was warmer than the other ports, but Yukon was hot! I had to roll up my sleeves on my sweater and wish I had sandals instead.
Beautiful, BC
2,478 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Beautiful photos!! We are just about to head off on our 4th Alaska trip here in a couple days. We too are in our 20's and have really enjoyed our HAL cruises also. Camera bags are packed!
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Anchorage, Alaska
3,201 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Originally posted by BeachBum1007
We ended at Emerald Lake in (Canada) and then turned around to make the drive back.
Wonderful photos! We will be driving this route for the first time next week. Hope our weather is as good as yours was.
Philadelphia area
600 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Beautiful photos. I also appreciate your concise, directly on point commentary.
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New to cruising, but an experienced traveler
San Angelo, TX
291 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Love your pics. Especially like the whales and the otters.
Making me so excited for my second trip to Alaska next year.
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Previous cruises:
X Mercury to Alaska 2006
X Solstice Inaugural 2008
Carnival Dream Eastern Caribbean 2011
X Solstice to Alaska 2013
Carnival Magic Western Caribbean 2015
Carnival Dream Western Caribbean 2016

624 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Alaskan beer? first of heard of it was it nice.Any one know if all ships have it
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Hawaii NCL Pride of America Oct 2009
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88,488 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Great photos and great narrative and it's so nice that you all went as a family.

You will have wonderful memories not only of what you saw but spending the time with your family both which I think is quite important.


New England
641 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Thank you for such a detailed review..we are also whale watching with Harv and Marv on our upcoming cruise (2 weeks from today!). Glad to hear that this was a great experience. I love small boats.
We have also reserved a car in Skagway to drive to Emerald lake. Thanks for the food and potty tips! We are the type to want to stop and take in the details of the scenery so I am sure this is the best way for us to experience it, over the railroad.
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