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2016 trip reports


mapleleaves
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Here's my pretty detailed trip report. I still have to add the last 2 days, but those aren't as exciting, we didn't do as much. All our excursions are done though. I have a ton of pictures and some videos as well...

 

This was the Carnival Legend, July 12th sailing

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2382500

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Our Ultimate UnCruise Adventure 2016: 2 July - 16 July

 

Ship: The Wilderness Discoverer

 

Itinerary: Ultimate Bays and Fjords - From Sitka to Juneau, Juneau to Ketchikan with stops in Glacier Bay National Park, Wrangell, Tracy Arm, Misty Fjords National Monument and more

 

Excursions: In Sitka - the Alaska Raptor Center and The Fortress of the Bear, In Juneau - Mendenhall Glacier, and in Ketchikan - Totem Bight State Park

 

Travel Group: 78 Passengers total, 9 in our group including 7 adults and 2 teenagers.

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So excited! Can't wait to hear from recent cruisers as well. My biggest concern is weather - which, I know, is beyond my control, and mosquitoes - although being from the South it's not like I'm not used to them.

 

Please tell us how great the recent cruises were!

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Crrown-Princess-nsde-passage_zps6grtq5wn.jpg

 

We sailed on the Crown Princess, roundtrip from Vancouver. Our itinerary included Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay and Ketchikan.

 

I have put together a pictorial cruise blog which also includes our pre and post cruise adventures in Vancouver.

 

Warning: This review contains hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of photo's!



http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2383166

 

Join us on our adventures as we cruise the Inside Passage...

 



Cruise-blog-d_zpsmqz0sym1.jpg

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What a gorgeous display of photos and wonderful narrative! We're headed out on the Island Princess next week to do a Northbound cruise and totally enjoyed your blog. Excellent job!!!:D

 

Thank you so much for your encouraging compliments! Your kind words are much appreciated. Have a wonderful Alaskan cruise!

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  • 2 weeks later...

From mom02. Celebrity Solstice, 6/17-6/24, Seattle RT.

 

Travelling with 2 kids ( 6yrs and toddler) and extended family.

 

Itinerary included:

KETCHIKAN - lumberjack show, lunch at Alaska Fish House

ENDICOTT ARM substituted for Tracy Arm

JUNEAU - shuttle to Mendenhall w/ walk to Nuggett Falls, dinner at Twisted Fish

SKAGWAY - Dyea Dave train/van combo

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2371561

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iPhone Photo Review

Celebrity Solstice Tracy Arm Aug 19-26 (but went to Endicott Arm)

 

Celebrity Suite 1233 - Luminae, Michael's Club

Ketchikan: Misty Fjords Air, visit with local family, Totem Bight Historical Park

Endicott Arm: JU94 - Tracy Arm Fjord and Glacier Explorer

Juneau: JU63 - Alaska's Whales & Rainforest Trails

Skagway: Chilkoot Charters and Tours Bennett Scenic Journey

Victoria: walk to Empress Hotel

 

Twin sister and myself

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2395708

Edited by twins_to_alaska
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I just wanted to say thanks to mapleleaves for this thread. I enjoyed reading through each of the reports and viewing the pictures. I don't plan to write a review, but when my wife gets through sorting her pictures and uploading them as slideshows to her website, I will come back and post a link to the Travel section where they will be available for viewing.

 

Alaska is amazing. I'm glad so many people have the opportunity to cruise there.

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My wife and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary on a 14 day cruise on the Holland America Maasdam August 1-15, 2016. It was round trip from Seattle. Our port calls were Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Anchorage, Homer, Kodiak, Sitka and Victoria, BC, as well as Hubbard Glacier and Dawes Glacier (substitute for Sawyer Glacier at Tracy Arm.) It was a fantastic, amazing experience.

 

A link to my wife's photo journal is below.

 

14 Day Alaska Cruise 50th Anniversary on Holland America Maasdam

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My wife and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary on a 14 day cruise on the Holland America Maasdam August 1-15, 2016. It was round trip from Seattle. Our port calls were Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Anchorage, Homer, Kodiak, Sitka and Victoria, BC, as well as Hubbard Glacier and Dawes Glacier (substitute for Sawyer Glacier at Tracy Arm.) It was a fantastic, amazing experience.

 

A link to my wife's photo journal is below.

 

14 Day Alaska Cruise 50th Anniversary on Holland America Maasdam

 

Beautiful photos. I enjoyed them. We are doing a 7 day R/T Seattle next year.

 

Tell me about the Allutian Ballard excursion. We are contemplating doing the excursion.

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Beautiful photos. I enjoyed them. We are doing a 7 day R/T Seattle next year.

 

Tell me about the Allutian Ballard excursion. We are contemplating doing the excursion.

 

It was a fantastic experience and so much fun. The guys that run the "show" are very informative and entertaining. The boat was a short walk from where our ship docked. We were met on the pier by one of the crew from the Ballad who lead us to the boat.

 

One tip I would offer. If you plan on taking pictures, get to the seats in the front row facing the glass tanks. We didn't realize this so my wife's pictures were not as good as she hoped. We were in the second row and had a lot of heads in the way. If the weather is rainy or windy you can sit up on the higher seats under the heaters. The weather on our excursion was cool and foggy.

 

During the ride, the boat will pass an area where Bald Eagles are nesting. One of the men throws bits of fish into the water and the eagles swoop down to catch them. Fantastic! There is a small gift shop on the boat where you can buy souvenirs.

 

I highly recommend it and would do I again. Have fun! Alaska is amazing!

Edited by JimAOk1945
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It was a fantastic experience and so much fun. The guys that run the "show" are very informative and entertaining. The boat was a short walk from where our ship docked. We were met on the pier by one of the crew from the Ballad who lead us to the boat.

 

One tip I would offer. If you plan on taking pictures, get to the seats in the front row facing the glass tanks. We didn't realize this so my wife's pictures were not as good as she hoped. We were in the second row and had a lot of heads in the way. If the weather is rainy or windy you can sit up on the higher seats under the heaters. The weather on our excursion was cool and foggy.

 

During the ride, the boat will pass an area where Bald Eagles are nesting. One of the men throws bits of fish into the water and the eagles swoop down to catch them. Fantastic! There is a small gift shop on the boat where you can buy souvenirs.

 

I highly recommend it and would do I again. Have fun! Alaska is amazing!

 

Thank you!

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Nearly everything on the bucket list for Alaska covered!:D

They said it was too early for the Northern Lights, but around midnight each evening they showed up and the captain quietly announced them.

They said it was too late in the season for whales, but we saw a lot - and right from the ship!:)

They say only 30% of the visitors actually get to see Denali, as it is so often covered in clouds; but she shone beautifully!:cool:

Unexpected treats:

I saw something resembling dolphins (about 6 of them) racing towards the ship. As they got closer, they were black and white like orca but only the size of humans. We discovered they were Dalls Porpoises. Never heard of them, but they were magnificent.:)

Once aboard the train we saw Baluga Whales in the Turnagain Arm. They are quite rare it was explained, and we saw several.:D

Other sightings: Calving in both Glacier Bay and College Fjord, bears in Glacier Bay, whales and Orca along the coast between Glacier Bay and College Fjord, sea lions and sea otters in Glacier Bay. Moose, dall sheep and caribou in Denali National Park. Eagles and salmon in Juneau on the hike to Nugget Falls.

Disappointments: We booked our flights through Princess, which took us from the east coast to Vancouver on United; returning Anchorage to east coast on American. Both flights were cramped, tight and uncomfortable. On United we had an air bus with no video or audio. You could hook into their wifi, but we did not bring screens to accommodate this.

McKinley Princess Lodge.... There was nothing there. You can take a bus to Talkeetna (one hour away) for $10. Riding another bus is something you don't want to do at this point in the journey, and other passengers reported it takes longer to get there than the amount of time visiting the entire town.

Customs/customs and immigration: When you are on the plane to Vancouver, you get a customs form to fill out. Checking in through Canadian customs is not bad. Then you get on the bus and go directly to the port, where you now have to enter U.S. Customs and Immigration. This takes nearly three hours for the entire process.

 

WHAT I LEARNED:

1. The end of August is a perfect time to book an Alaskan Cruise/Tour. No bugs and lots of sightings.

2. Don't fly into Vancouver if you can avoid it, or plan to stay a night and get to the customs/immigration before the planes arrive. I might sail from Seattle if I did it again.

3. Skip McKinley Princess Lodge and do two days at Denali Princess Lodge. There is more to do and see.

4. Book my own flight on a more comfortable plane.

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Sounds like you had a good time!

We went beginning of August. Took bug spray and never needed it. Saw Denali 3 times.

Air travel, in general, is becoming a real pain in the rear end. I booked on my own and was pretty happy with how it all ended up except for a delay returning home that almost made us miss our connection in Chicago.....except it was delayed too (no aircraft available)

 

I agree about McKinley Lodge. Nothing walkable nearby. But I wholeheartedly disagree with the negative assessment of Talkeetna. For 10 bucks (round trip) you get a ride. Yeah, it's another bus, but at slightly less than an hour, it's a piece of cake compared to what you've been doing by that point. You can book a rafting trip or a float plane ride or a few other things, but this, for us, was one of our planned "no plans" days. And into Talkeetna we went. It's a funky little town with a cat as mayor. How could you not like it? I was interested primarily because the town was the inspiration for an old TV show called Northern Exposure. The whole town is walkable. And yes, I know there are several gift shops, but look at some of them. You see things that you haven't seen in the shops at every lodge location. Then there's Shirley's...good burgers...fireweed ice cream. And Aurora Dora's...awesome photos of northern lights, printed on metal, and a truly charming woman to chat with. Nagley's Store....you just gotta go in . Denali Brewing Company, West Rib Pub...had an Alaskan beer here called Panty Peeler! Really high alcohol content and only comes in 22oz bottles...we split one cause we still had to walk.. there's a little coffee shop at the far end of town ("far" being relative as you can basically see everything from anywhere), and lots more. It's just so different from almost anything else you've been doing.

 

Sorry for rambling, but we spent and entire day wandering Talkeetna and had a really good time. Sometimes just sitting and talking to locals. My wife tells people it was one of her favorite days of the whole trip. So I guess it depends on what you're looking for, but I, personally, disagree with people saying it's "an hour and a half town"

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