Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cruising Alaska Part II - It's Not Just for Old People! Adventures in Alaska

Raise your hand if you think Alaskan cruises are for old people? I'm raising my hand with you because I kind of thought they were too. I love to travel and I have always wanted to do an Alaskan cruise, but I still thought they were for old people. But really, they're for all adventuring people!

Now, let's be clear. If you want to bask in the sun in a bathing suit and do nothing, this is not the cruise for you. Some places, like Ketchikan, don't see that much sun and don't expect to sunbathe. At all. But if you like nature, cool history and really good seafood, you'll be just fine!

Let's talk the fun stuff. Let's talk our adventures!

Seattle, WA
We sailed out of Seattle. I specifically wanted Seattle for one reason and one reason only. If you know me well, then you can guess it: Starbucks.  Seattle is home to the first Starbucks and my obsession with Starbucks is strong, ya'll. But I also love seeing new cities and Seattle seemed cool.

We had a little extra time before boarding on Saturday and we had a full day after disembarking the following Saturday. Here are our Seattle highlights!

Lunch at the Space Needle
We did this on the front end. Fun fact, it was Pride week and this was parade day! We thought it was going to be terrible getting around, but we were in walking distance so it was just fine! It was a really gorgeous, clear day, so we were able to see everything, including our ship!

You could even see Mt. Rainier in the distance! Such a pretty day!

First Starbucks
No trip to Seattle is complete for any Starbucks aficionado without a trip to the first Starbucks! Fun fact, this isn't the actual first Starbucks. It's actually a few blocks from there, but I didn't care. It was a 30 minutes wait to get in line and I happily told my family they could leave me there if they wanted, but I was doing it. They stuck it out with me and I got some new Starbucks mugs! Whenever I travel to new places, I always try to get a Starbucks "You are Here" mug. I have quite the collection going!

Duck Boat Tour
Dad's knee was bugging him at this point after standing in line at Starbucks, so this ended up being Aaron, Mom and I. It was so much fun! We rode around the City and through the lake! Our favorite part were the boat houses.  We're also pretty sure we saw Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, so that was cool too!

Juneau, AL
Juneau was our first stop and had the most to do by far. I've told everyone that I would love to go back to Alaska, I just don't know that I would cruise it again. It's a great introduction to some of the towns, but I'd like more time in some of them! We did one of our two big excursions in Juneau and we kicked around town afterwards.

Helicopter Ride and Glacier Walk
Two big bucket list items for me right here - helicopter ride and walking on a glacier! I'm sorry, if you go to Alaska, you better go see a glacier. If you don't, you're doing it wrong. Better if you can touch it and walk on it! We got to fly over the glacier to see it - it's HUGE! We were then dropped off on the glacier and learned facts about glaciers, how old they are, if they're growing or shrinking (this one was shrinking) and we got to drink glacier water!

The view of the glacier from the helicopter. You can see how far back it goes!

You can really see the texture of the glacier in this photo. 

Aaron did a "glacier push up" to drink some of the glacier water!

Red Dog Saloon and Crab Legs
The Red Dog Saloon is one of those tourist trap places that you can't help but love. The waitresses are dressed as wenches and they sing dirty bar songs, many of which I knew from my Irish bar-going days in Fayetteville!  Also, crab legs are a must in Alaska! This is where Aaron learned how to eat crab legs!

Sitka, AL
Have you ever seen the move "The Proposal" with Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock? It's set in Sitka!  Sitka was my second favorite place and where we did our other excursion.

Wildlife Watching and Volcanic Beach
We went wildlife watching in Sitka. We saw a bear, lots of eagles, sea lions, and whales! So many whales! We also visited a beach with volcanic ash sand.

This is a photo from the beach. The sand is black from the volcano. It was also cool to do this beach because they usually aren't able to get to it due to weather.

Eagle! We saw so many of them!

We got really, really lucky when we were out watching whales. They were right beside our boat! We saw at least three or four of them and one even did came out of the water and did a back flip!

Our guides were super cool on this trip and drew a map for us (like they do everyone!) showing our route, where we visited and what we saw. 

Ketchikan, AL
We were only in Ketchikan for four hours and it rained the. whole. time. Not like a misty rain, but a get you wet to your bones rain. And I was determined to see some totem poles.

Totem Heritage Center
Alaska has some great history with their totem poles and we learned about a Totem Heritage Center in Ketchikan that had collected some of the old totems and had preserved them. We went on an adventure to find them!

The Totem Heritage Center was not within walking distance, so we rented one of these cars. It has a little more power than a golf cart, but not by much! We drove through town until we fond the Totem Heritage Center.

But we found it!

So many old totems! And there were plaques that explained what each one meant.  Some represent death, some marriage, some are familial and other are territorial.

The last stop on our cruise was Victoria, British Columbia.  I don't really have anything on here for our adventures there because we really didn't do much there.  We walked around town, had a gelato and some coffee.  We didn't pull in until 6:00 PM and most of the places had closed by then. So we just hung out and then headed for the ship. 

Sarah's Tips:
  • There are so many things to do in Alaska, but most of the really cool excursions aren't cheap.  Pick one or two things you can't do anywhere else and spend the other days in town. You will still have lots of fun!
  • Get on a glacier! Or at least go see one! I don't get much into politics on here, but many glaciers are receding, not growing. They are still huge and majestic and not like anything else you will ever see, but they might not always be there. Take time to go see one!
  • Alaska is all about nature, but people also live there. Learn about the people and the history while you're there, too.
  • Eat! Eat! Eat! The ships has food, yes, but I guarantee you it's not nearly as good as what you can get in town. And if you find a shack selling crab legs with picnic tables out front, even better!
We loved Alaska and I totally get why people go back so many times! I would definitely go back to Juneau or Sitka and Aaron wants to eventually do one of the land adventures too and see Denali. If Alaska is on your bucket list, don't wait until you're old to do it. Do it while you can still adventure!

Looking at the Hubbard Glacier from the bow of the ship! 

1 comment:

  1. Great advice - don't wait until you're old. Do it while you can still adventure! This is good for so many things!