Alaska Cruise Summary
We just returned from an amazing ten-day Alaska cruise which included Glacier Bay and Victoria, British Columbia. This is a trip we’ve dreamed of going on for years. We went with my family of four plus my sister, niece and mom. My mom was the one who made the whole thing possible. THANK YOU, MOM!
We sailed with Princess Cruises aboard the Grand Princess. The cruise started in San Francisco, which for us saved having to fly to the departure location. This apparently is a popular option for Californian’s as almost everyone on our ship was from California. We took a shuttle from home to the ship and found the entire process easy. Soon we were on the ship, enjoying a beverage and buffet and getting to know where we would be spending the next ten days.
Leaving from San Francisco was quite a treat. The sun was shining. There were people walking across the Golden Gate Bridge cheering and waving. People on the ship were doing the same. The ship was blowing its horn so we got a lot of attention. We got to sail out under the Golden Gate! What a view!
Our stops included Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan in Alaska and Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. We also had a day sailing in Glacier Bay. Click the pictures to see larger versions of each.
In Juneau, our group split in two: one went on a bicycle trip and the other whale watching. I was in the whale watching group and it was fantastic. We saw both Orca/Killer Whales, which apparently is quite rare up there (they said 10% of the trips out get to see them), and Humpback Whales. In addition, we saw many other wildlife on this trip, including so many Bald Eagles they almost became commonplace, but this is a bird I can never tire of seeing in the wild. We saw Sitka Black-tailed deer which are smaller than the deer we have back home. They were actually quite cute.
In Skagway, we spent the day aboard the White Pass and Yukon Railroad. My son is a BIG railroad fan and this was a real treat. I found the sounds and motion of the train very relaxing and the scenery was beautiful. As you make your way up the very steep incline, there is an incredible drop off which leaves you wondering how they ever built the train tracks here all those years ago.
Glacier Bay was amazing and unique, I am so happy we could see this area. We woke up to the ship blowing its fog horn and were worried that we would not see the glaciers but the sun came out and it was a beautiful day. We had a balcony and I highly recommend this for the inside passage. It was so nice to be able to go inside when needed and not fight the crowds for rail space to see the Glaciers and wildlife. We loved all the colors in the ice in the glaciers, it was so beautiful! We saw several glaciers and even saw some calving of the ice. In addition, we enjoyed whales, seals and porpoise in the bay. I only wish we could have spent more time there.
We ended up having to find alternative plans in Ketchikan as our tour was cancelled at the last minute. We ended up on a bus tour of the island and learned a lot about life there and saw our only bear of the trip. The Bald Eagles are everywhere here as well, and we saw many young ones which do not yet have their trademark white head. We had a great time even with the last minute change. Tip for other travelers – there are many tour operators just waiting for you to exit the cruise ship and in some cases you may get even better pricing. We also watched the Alaskan Lumberjack Show which was really fun and entertaining.
Victoria was our last stop on land and we took the opportunity to go to Butchart Gardens. This place was breath taking. I truly wish we had more time as this was such a short stop on our trip. Our group decided this was a not to be missed experience, absolutely spectacular! We had a very entertaining and informative bus driving who provided a lot of interesting information and he showed us a lot of Victoria and told us about its history.
Our time on ship was spent eating and enjoying the activities, like line dancing class, trivia games, movies and more eating. There was so much food, admittedly something my boys were all looking forward to very much. We also attended the naturalist talk and we would recommend these as she provided a lot of information and pictures for your upcoming stops.
I will share more details from our Alaska Cruise and pictures from our trip in the upcoming weeks. I also have a few recipes inspired by both our cruise ship and the locations we visited I will share. Please subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss any of the trip report!
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