Jon’s family really enjoys cruising, and Jon has never understood why I don’t enjoy cruises (I had two bad experiences and haven’t felt compelled to go on another cruise). But one cruise that I WOULD consider is a trip to Alaska. Neither Jon nor I have been to our uppermost state, and as much as we love the outdoors it’s towards the top of our list of places to see. So, we’re going on a Raimer family cruise in 2017!!
Being experts at the “cruise” game, Jon’s folks are shopping for our trip itinerary, so I’ll do more researching once we know which ports we’ll be stopping at. In the meantime, I’m just doing some high level research on the best things to do at the main/more common stops along the way.
2/13/17 Update: Cruise is booked!!
Jon’s folks found an itinerary that included BOTH Glacier Bay and Tracey Arm. Wow!!
Plus stops in:
Juneau (9 hours in port, arrive at 1 PM and depart at 10 PM)
Ideas include – Mendenhall Glacier & Salmon Hatchery
http://www.alaska.org/detail/mendenhall-glacier – sounds like great hiking. Glacier and waterfall! Take a cab and save money for excursions elsewhere?
Excursion (from email Tim sent): http://www.shoreexcursionsgroup.com/tour/mendenhall-glacier-trek-climb/AKJNABVGLTREK
$266 to hike ON THE GLACIER.
Excursion for the guys? (from email Tim sent): http://www.shoreexcursionsgroup.com/tour/juneau-salmon-fishing/AKJNAGTHLFSAL
$226; half day
Skagway (14 hours in port, arrive at 7 AM and depart at 9 PM)
Ideas include – White Pass and Yukon route narrow gauge railroad, but bus option is cheaper and more enjoyable since you can get out and take pictures.
Area is also known for bald eagles and gold rush/mining.
Excursion (from email Tim sent): http://www.shoreexcursionsgroup.com/tour/white-pass-summit-skagway/AKSGSECITYSUMT2
$55, not sure if this is the bus type that Tim/Ruth did before that they liked.
Excursion (from email Tim sent): http://www.shoreexcursionsgroup.com/tour/white-pass-summit-rail/AKSGWHTRAILBUS
$178 but “best of both worlds” since you do train AND bus. Hint: If you take the train up to the Summit, sit on the left side, and if you take the train down from the Summit, sit on the right side as most major landmarks are on the same side.
Also nice that neither excursion takes up the whole time in port, so could still do something else in the afternoon.
- Hike The Chilkoot Trail: Adventuresome travelers may want to more closely approximate the gold-seekers’ struggles by taking a backpacking hike., which begins about nine miles out of town in Dyea, is the highway to the Klondike. A 33-mile climb up and over the “Golden Stairs,” immortalized in Charlie Chaplin’s silent film, “The Gold Rush,” takes you on the stampeders’ route to the gold mines. It’s a commitment: on average, the trek takes five days to complete and requires a permit to cross the border. But you don’t have to do the whole thing. You can also take a shuttle to the trail head and set off for a day hike.
- Some good resources here: http://www.cruiseportinsider.com/skagwayonyourown.html
- More good resources: http://eatsleepcruise.com/2016/04/top-things-to-do-in-skagway-alaska-on-a-cruise/
- More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chuck-mirarchi/5-must-sees-in-skagway-al_b_5628238.html
Ketchikan (8 hours in port, arrive at 10 AM and depart at 6 PM)
Ideas include – Misty Fjords waterfalls (part of Tongass N.F.), Neets Bay (usually to see bears July – Sept), Tongass National Forest. Known for totem poles and “salmon capital of the world”
Excursion for the guys? (from email Tim sent): http://www.shoreexcursionsgroup.com/tour/salmon-fishing-ketchikan-alaska/AKKTKCBSALFSH
$263, half day
Excursion (from email Tim sent): http://www.shoreexcursionsgroup.com/tour/misty-fjords-flightseeing-ketchikan/AKKTMISFLTSEE
$257, 2 hours. May want to do the 3:30 so that we can have time to hike, etc. beforehand or find an earlier excursion through another provider?
Must do Deer Mountain hike! http://www.experienceketchikan.com/ketchikan-hiking.html But might be snow packed before June
Long list of day hikes but need to click into each link: https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/tongass/recreation/hiking/?recid=78613&actid=50
Looks like a good resource: http://www.alaska.org/destination/tongass-national-forest/trails
Good Excursion recommendations: http://www.hillmanwonders.com/alaska_cruise/best_ports_alaska_cruise.htm