Saturday, July 25, 2009

Alaskan Cruise: Ports Of Call

The second installment of photos from our cruise to Alaska focuses on the Ports of Call that the ship visited during the seven days. Technically there were three, but I am throwing in one more because it was a bit of a special trip.


Our first stop in Alaska was Ketchican. It is really a neat experience to wake up in the morning, look out the window, and be docked in a new town.

Welcome to Alaska!

Natasha in the streets of Ketchican.

We found Ketchican to be a somewhat rundown place, but we took a walking tour that took us all through the old section of town so we may have a different perception than those who stick to the newer areas. There is a lot to do, but due to the short time we were docked there, we didn't do any activities, only some sightseeing and shopping.

One thing that you will notice in both photos above is the prevalence of diamond and jewelery shops. The towns that cruise ships stop in are literally stuffed with them, as apparently people go cruising especially for this type of shopping. We steered clear and kept to the more interesting shops and sights.

Here we are by the water after some shopping.

A picturesque view of Ketchican.

Even though we found some areas of town to be in rough shape, there are some great views to be had, this being one of them. You can see that some of these building reside on piers, and it is a fact that a significant part of the town is built out over the water.

One of the nice decorative statues on the pier.

This type of flower could be seen throughout Alaska.


You would think that the capital city of the state would be a lengthy stop, but as it happens, the cruise ship had a mere half a day at the port, so we were off and on the boat within a couple of hours. For those eager to get up early, they had more time, but this was our vacation!

A quick glimpse of Juneau.

When we arrived in Juneau, we had no planned activities. However, we quickly found a ton of tour companies selling cheap trips via bus up to a glacier. So, for under $30 (cheap for an excursion), off we went. It turned out to be a nice little trip which included some hiking, and some good photo opportunities. On the bus ride we saw up to 50 bald eagles, as well as the only actual Starbucks shop of the entire trip. Here are two photos of the glacier.

Above and below photos show the Mendenhall Glacier near Junea.

Did you know that 5% of Alaska is covered by glaciers?

Tracy Arm Fjord & the Sawyer Glacier

This wasn't a port of call, but it was a special stop that the ship made so I am counting it here. In order to see this glacier, the cruise ship must pass through the Tracy Arm Fjord, a narrow valley of water, going 30 miles in. The scenery was amazing, as were the iceburgs, and we even spotted a seal or two.

Proudly posing in front of the glacier.


Our last stop of the trip, Skagway, was the longest of them all, 13 hours. As usual, we slept in and were off the boat by 9:30 or 10am. We had to be back on board by 8:30pm so there was no rush.

The main road down through Skagway.

We found Skagway to be the nicest and best kept town. Juneau seemed bigger, but just in terms of the touristy district, we liked Skagway the best. This was the only place we were able to find Starbucks coffee, although it was not actually a true Starbucks location (they just served all the same drinks).

Just after noon, we boarded the White Pass & Yukon Route train which takes you up the mountain following the same route that the people took during the gold rush and which they eventually built a train route for.

All aboard!

This train ride gives one a good insight into just what was involved in travel during the gold rush era. It also provides some great photo opportunities. The round trip is about three and a half hours, a pleasant way to spend the afternoon with your traveling partner.

Andrew in front of one of the engines.

In the train station.

Later in the afternoon and after supper back on the ship, we went out for a little more shopping. This photo is looking back from further down the main street towards where the cruise ships are docked. Unfortunately, it was at this very moment that the sun decided to shine... the last hour before we headed home.

Our boat on the right, the Norwegian Sun

After the last stop, we boarded the cruise ship and enjoyed a relaxing two day trip back to the port of Vancouver. Overall, we enjoyed the cities we visited, and if we were to return, would likely have many other things to see and do, especially now that we know what's there!

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7 Smart Remarks:

Anonymous Mr. H. said...

Great! Enjoyed it very much!

5:44 AM  
Anonymous e. said...

Very nice Photos...Interesting indeed !

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Susanna said...

Loved all the pics, especially "A picturesque view of Ketchican."

12:10 AM  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

Enjoyed the blog alot! Gives a person an insight of what you would see and do there!

Looks like lots of fun!

8:06 AM  
Anonymous shelley said...

The picture of the cruise boats is funny. Looks like the boats are parked on land.

The flower is called Lupin, quite common here too, and as I discovered rabbits love them!

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Nick Amado said...

Great Shots. Keep up with the pictures.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Mom Hoyer said...

What a great cruise you guys had!
Love all the photos :-)

7:51 PM  

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