Last May we checked a huge destination item off our travel bucket list: an Alaskan cruise. We left hot and humid Houston for cold (to us) and rainy Seattle, and spent 48 sleepless hours exploring Seattle before our 7-day cruise to Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway in Alaska, and Victoria, British Columbia in Canada.
Day 1 of Cruise – Early Access VIP Tour of Pike Place Market (before cruise)
Day 2 of Cruise – At Sea
Day 3 of Cruise – Ketchikan, Alaska (Excursion: Back Country Jeep & Canoe Safari)
Day 6 of Cruise – At Sea
Day 7 of Cruise – Victoria, British Columbia, Canada (Excursion: High Tea at the Gatsby Mansion & City Highlights)
We enjoyed five major attractions in and around Seattle before our cruise including Woodinville Wine Country, which is only 30 miles east of Seattle, but vastly different in scenery. Visiting wine country in the Pacific Northwest is a must for any wine lover, and Woodinville is conveniently close and accessible without burning more than a half or full day. Read all about our Wine Trail to Woodinville from Seattle here. We visited four wineries in a half day. Very efficient! We also enjoyed a VIP walking tour of the world famous must-see Pike Place Market. This place, which covers several city blocks, is a foodie paradise! Since this is the most visited tourist attraction in the area, we skipped lines by letting our tour guide escort us around the market. Read all about our Foodie Tour of Pike Place Market in Seattle here. We tried a little bit of everything in the span of about two hours.
Maybe I’m just a wino, but one of the things we do during the First 24 Hours on a Cruise Ship is look for wine tastings. This is a great way to taste the available wines on the ship without committing to a full bottle (or glass). When we cruised Ruby Princess from Seattle to Alaska last summer, we found SIX wine tastings available during our sailing. And yes, we made reservations for (most of the time required) and attended every single one of them. Read all about our Wine Tastings on Ruby Princess here.
During our Back Country Jeep and Canoe Safari excursion, we enjoyed a short shuttle to nearby Tongass National Forest, a crisp group canoe paddle across Harriet Hunt Lake to a pop-up picnic of salmon and chowder, and then took turns driving Jeeps through the forest. The forest was rugged and beautiful! Read all about our day in Ketchikan here.
Waking up at 5:00 am on vacation might seem ridiculous, except when on an Alaskan cruise taking a detour up a fjord. So that’s exactly what we did. On our way to Juneau from Ketchikan, we turned into Tracy Arm Fjord in the early morning hours and sailed as far in as allowed with icebergs in the water. This is the day I saw my first iceberg. Pictures don’t do them justice, they are milky blue to crystalline, and so incredible striking! When we had sailed as far in as we could go, the ship rotated 360 degrees continuously for almost an hour while we snapped pictures, enjoyed the serene silence, and breathed in the pure, cool, mountain fog. Read all about our Scenic Cruise up the Tracy Arm Fjord here.
When we arrived in Juneau around mid-day, we went on our Mendenhall Glacier Helicopter Tour excursion. The coolest thing I’ve ever done was take a helicopter ride to a glacier and walk around on it. My inner geologist was beaming! Our ride was about 15 minutes up the glacier and down to a stable spot, where we spent a half hour walking around on the glacier, and about a 10 minute ride back to Juneau airport. Best hour spent, and so completely worth the money! Read all about our Mendenhall Glacier Helicopter Tour excursion here. Since our excursion was so short, we had the rest of the day to explore the city of Juneau. Read all about our free time in Juneau here.
On our final day in Alaska, we stopped in Skagway, an old Victorian mining town beautifully preserved. Our excursion was Musher’s Camp & Sled Dog Experience, where we toured a sled dog summer camp and snuggled with future Iditerod athlete hopefuls (puppies!!). We then got a vigorous sled ride through the forest by some very excited dogs. After our excursion, we spent the rest of the day walking around Skagway on a self guided tour of Victorian houses and other points of interest, and did a little shopping. Read all about our sled dog experience here and our walkabout in Skagway here.
Victoria, British Columbia, is the most British of all Canadian cities, so of course we had to enjoy high tea. Our excursion, High Tea at the Gatsby Mansion & City Highlights was just lovely. We enjoyed a beautiful drive around Victoria and surrounding area, and had tea and three tiers of sweets and savories before enjoying a walk around Victoria. Our time in Victoria was short but very sweet. Read all about our evening in Victoria here.
Have you ever been on an Alaskan cruise, or do you have plans to go?
Some past cruise adventures:
Don’t forget a corkscrew (read about my TSA-compliant Carry-On Corkscrew here)!