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Alaska - Voyage of the Glaciers (Northbound) Ports and shipAuthor: Laura Hanna
Date of Trip: May 2013
May 18th - 25th Voyage of the Glaciers (Northbound) Vancouver
First off, our cruise was not normal as everyone that worked on the ship kept stating to us, we has clear beautiful weather the whole trip!
We were definitely spoiled.
We are in our late 40's
Having been on the Princess before, we are use to the ships layout. The nice thing is that you are allowed to bring bottles of wine on board. No hard stuff, I put a small mickey in my suit case and it was taken out. (Never returned, or asked to be picked up at the end of the cruise)
ROOM: We lucked out in getting a mini-suite. Loved it! It was at the back of the boat though, so the first night/day at sea and they really motor, it was a little rocky and my partner did get slightly sea sick.
FOOD: We booked the Sterling Steakhouse on the fist sea day. (Birthday) What I dont like about this boat is that it is not its own restarant. They actually section off, (there are doors) the buffet dining room, and make this into the restaurant. Yes, they spiff it up with nice tables and all. But still, it seems like I am in a buffet... The food was really good, my steak (rib eye) was cooked perfect! We ate a couple of times in the dining room, as well as the buffet. Both were ok. I had their pork roast in the buffet, and it was extremely tender, wanted more. The Alaskan afternoon lunch special that they served out on the indoor pool deck was ok. Everything was salmon, no shrimp, no crab. If you dont like salmon dont bother waiting the 40 minutes in line for this.
The scrambled eggs are horid! Stay away (I think they are powered). Order an omlet, or have the pouched eggs.
POOL/GYM/HOTTUB: Well you are in Alaska, so no the pool was NEVER in use. Even the indoor one. But, we did use the hottub, and really enjoyed it in Juneau as we sat in the hot tub at the back of the boat and just looked at the scenery, and enjoyed the fresh air. We also, did the same thing when we were College Fjord. They stayed so long there, that a after taking pictures up on deck we went into the hottub as well. I worked out once in the gym, (glad they put extra machines in the gym area) but then the knees really started to bother me, could be from the beds that were alittle to firm. We did take advantage of the spa. we totally enjoyed the vapor sauna, showers, and warm stone loungers! Well worth the money, and I think a had a quick 10-15 minute nap every time. Totally relaxed!
SHOWS: This is the first time we had no interest in taking in the shows. (except the cooking show on the last day at sea, that was good and some good chuckles)
INTERNET: expensive as always. Bought 100 minutes for I think $69. MAKE SURE YOU LOG OUT! I had two browsers open, and when I hit the log out button, it did not stop counting minutes! Not impressed, then had to argue with them regarding this.
CASINO: Never used once, dont smoke, dont like the smell, even on their "non-smoking" nights, still stunk.
ROOMSERVICE: We ordered coffee every morning. Good way to start the day. Ordered GREAT pizza at night, but there is a 3$ charge for that.
We did not book any tours from the boat, perfered to do the research on trip advisor and book local.
KETCHIKAN: Did the THE BERING SEA CRAB FISHERMEN'S TOUR
This was ok, the crew were fantastic and spoke really well, but it kinda was hocky. Meaning, that everything was staged. Same crab pots in the same spot with the same crab in the pot from one tour to the next. They put the crab back into the pots. It was really neat to see how they work, and the stop for the eagle feedings was amazing! But, we did not get to eat any crab :( ( Next time I would book the Crab feast) I wanted to do both, but we had a short day there so we could not.
Get your souvenirs here, they seem to be the cheapest.
Unfortunately, our whale watching tour with "Harv and Marv's" was cancelled! We were extremely disapointed as I ended up NOT seeing any whales at all, the entire trip.
The water was too choppy, turns out we spoke to others later on on another tour and they said they went out with their tour, but the water was basically slapping up against the windows and they felt like they were in a washing machine. Then they turned around after an hour and cancelled the tour.
So, we walked the town, and took a transfer to Mendenhall glacier for $8 /one way, walked to the huge waterfall, took some good pictures. Stopped A COUPLE of times at Red Dog Saloon for beers, the old guy playing piano and singing songs was a hoot, had the whole bar singing. Stayed away from the tram, as from what I heard, most of the trails were closed up there, so for $30/pp you are paying for a ride to the top to take a picture.
Chilkoot Charters & Tours: WHITE PASS SUMMIT BUS & RAIL EXCURSION
This was fantastic. Small bus, only 8 on it. So, he picks you up and then takes you to the train. You take the train, and catch the bus down so you see different scenery going up and down. Liked the fact that you can get out of your seat and take pictures outside on the the platform while the train is moving. Saw a mother and her two cubs. The change in scenery as you go from Skagway up into the mountains was beautiful. They only disappointment I had was that our tour guide had to rush down becuase a couple did not consider that it may run alittle late, and had to board their boat... But, our tour guide did drive back up and show us other locations because of this. Then dropped us off at the Red Onion Saloon, which is really nothing more than a bar. They should take lessons from The Red Onion Saloon...
Tune your tv into the narrative cast of the Glaciers. (what they are saying over the speakers)
AMAZING! Get up early, go to the buffet, and grab a great table.
Takes all day. The ride to the Glacier starts out nice, then as you get close it starts to get really windy and cold, I guess from the way the wind comes down the mountains.
So dress warm from the start. Some people are rude, and just hog the railing and dont let anyone else in. :(
We were lucky to have a balcony, so as the ship turned around we went down to our room, and had our own personal view. Opened up a bottle of champagn and enjoyed!
And they really are right, ignore anyone talking to you, if you hear the crack then look, you will miss a beautiful "calving" of the glacier. I was able to get one on video.
Again, this takes a while to do, and Princess spends a great deal of time there. So, you have lots of time to take pictures.
Not as good as Glacier Bay, because they can not get that close to the glaciers, but this little inlet has 10 glaciers feeding into it.
Take shuttle out of there. There is nothing in Whittier. Only 200 people live there, and they all live in the same building. Most often it is in a fog, because of how the clouds basically end there because of the mountains.
We took a shuttle that had a stop at the Wilderness Conservation Park via: Anchorage Tours and Transfers.
First off, remember, the opening through the tunnel is on the hour every hour. So, if you miss the 9:00 opening you are waiting until 10 am. This is what happened to us. (Issue with the driver...) Then, they let the BIG buses through first. Then the cars, then mini-buses. So, we never got through the tunnel until 10.20.
If you have a zoo, that has moose, bear, buffalo, and elk just take the shuttle directly to Anchorage, and do something there. Or if you already seen these animals on your Voyage skip it. Yes, it is good that they do this, but, we thought it was a bit lame.
HOTEL: Hotel Captain Hook
If only staying for one night, don't bother. Yes, it is a REALLY nice hotel. But, too expensive. We wanted to relax in a hot tub, but their hot tub in in the "Fitness Center" and yep, looks like a Olympic pool. Pool and hot tub, surrounded by cement walls. Nothing relaxing about that. Plus, no complementary breakfast, and shuttle is 12/pp to airport.
FOOD: Took cab to Moose's Tooth Pub and Brewery
AWESOME pizza! Yes, you will probably have to wait, but well worth it!
Glacier Brewhouse: Stopped and had lunch here. Great fish and chips, and really nice atmosphere!
WHAT WE WOULD DO DIFFERENT:
We would take the same trip! Loved the stops.
Buy more in souvenirs in Ketchikan, NOT do the the Bering Sea crab tour. (I guess it is a been there done that now) Book the Alaskan Crab bake tour.
Still book the Whale watching tour! Really disappointed we did not.
Rent a RV in Anchorage for a week after and really enjoy Alaska.
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