A few years ago my mom called and said something along the lines of , you probably won’t be interested but how does a cruise to Alaska sound? I said something along the lines of ARE YOU CRAZY?? THAT SOUNDS AMAZING! At that time that was the only cruise that I was really interested in. So Mom and I went to Alaska on a Norwegian Cruise. It was AMAZING!
We had a balcony and I just can’t tell you how wonderful it was sitting out on that balcony in the morning drinking coffee in my pajamas. We took binoculars and since you are usually close to shore going up the inside passage, there was always something beautiful to look at. Some days we had Dall’s porpoise along the ship which were so fun to watch. They look like miniature killer whales! The balcony also came in very handy on the day we were in Glacier Bay. The decks got pretty crowded with people trying to get up front and get a good view of the glaciers so we just went down and sat on the balcony. We saw a humpback whale breech over and over in the comfort of our own cabin. While balcony cabins are always amazing this is the one time that I am going to say you really should splurge if at all possible and get a balcony!
Juneau was our first port in Alaska and we went whale watching. As soon as we got on the bus to go to the boat we saw a lot of bald eagles. It was the first time I had seen them so I was pretty excited. On the whale watch we saw both humpbacks and orcas. The orcas came right up next to the boat, they were so close that we could have touched them! I wanted to, but I wasn’t stupid enough! We also went to an old gold mine and had a salmon bake. This was my least favorite excursion but it was still interesting, had amazing scenery and the salmon was pretty wonderful.
In Skagway we went horseback riding and then took the train up the White Mountain Pass. This is the pass that the gold miners took to get up into the Yukon. We saw a bear and a moose! The guides were very interesting and talked about how the miners had to go though to get up that pass and into Canada to hopefully strike it rich. There are several different versions of this excursion including dog mushing and panning for gold and I highly recommend it to everyone. This is also one that can often sell out so it is best to make reservations way in advance.
In Ketchikan I went snorkeling while my mother shopped around the town. Yeah,,,snorkeling in Alaska! It was fascinating! There was a kelp forest, really tiny jellyfish, starfish and sea stars and more.
We also stopped in Victoria BC. My mom and I split up here because I wanted to do a ghost tour and she wanted to go to the Butchart Gardens. My tour was o.k. but she loved the gardens and I wished I had gone with her.
You do not have to take shore excursions and they can really add to the cost of your trip. Some people never take any shore excursions because they prefer to look around the town or just stay on the ship and enjoy the times when most people are off the ship! I recommend looking at them and then picking one or two that you really want to do. It is a great way to get a taste of each port that you visit no matter where you are. Your travel agent may also have a vendor that will provide many of the same shore excursions at a lower cost so check with them before you book!
Even with our shore excursions we still had time to shop in most of the ports and see a lot of beautiful locally made items. If you like to cook or you have a knife lover in your family I recommend checking out ulu knives. I got one that was handmade with an antler for a handle. I still love it and it is very handy in the kitchen.
I just can’t tell you how much I loved that trip! It was a great time with my mom and I also discovered a love of cruising. The food was amazing and such a huge variety things to try. I got to try several different things that I had always wanted to like lamb. I would never order it in a restaurant because I was afraid I wouldn’t like it. There was always something to do on the ship from silly games to trivia to karaoke and dancing lessons. There are a lot of fitness activities and most are include in the price of your cruise. There is also a spa with a lot of different treatments to choose from.
I have mainly cruised Norwegian and I really enjoy their line. I like the Freestyle dining option where you are not tied to a seating time. I think that traditional dining definitely has it’s advantages though. It’s great to have the same staff at your table every time. You get to know each other a little and they often have your choice of beverages waiting at the table for you when you get there. Even if you are on a ship with a traditional dining plan with seating times you can always choose to head to the buffet instead.
**Pro tip- temperatures can vary a lot. Make sure as you pack you are checking the extended forecast for the ports you will be visiting. It was not a cold as I though it would be! Some ports tend to have a lot of rain so make sure you are packing some rain gear. You can get ponchos for $1 at a lot of stores to throw in your bag. They are good enough for most of what you will be doing there. I went ahead and got a good rain jacket/ light weight jacket. I think the only time we had rain was when we were at sea but it came in handy for years after I got home so it was worth it. Also the dining areas and any inside area of the ship can be cool so I recommend having a light jacket or something you can wear anytime on the ship.
If you are interested I have some spots available for an Alaskan cruise on the Norwegian Bliss. This is one of their newest ships and it looks amazing! The cruise is June 30 -July 7, 2019. A deposit of $50 per person is due by February 20, 2018 and the final payment is not due until February 20, 2019! This will give you over a year to pay it off and possibly 2 tax refund checks! Contact me for more info.
If you have any questions please contact me or leave a comment below.
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