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June 2020 First time Alaska Inner Passage cruise. 

Would love to suggestions and recommendations about excursions, what to pack. We are casual people. Holland America line / Koningsdam.

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Welcome to Cruise  Critic.  What to pack (for day time) is determined at least in part by the type of excursions you want to do. There are a few forums you can check out. For ship hoard info, look at the HAL board. https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/103-holland-america-line/


For excursions, see what your fellow cruisers on your sailing are planning on your Roll Call: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/52-holland-america-roll-calls/  


Also have a look at the Ports of Call forum:  https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/33-alaska/


Have a lovely cruise. 

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We love Inside Passage cruises - make sure you check the projected route map, as some cruises actually sail west of Vancouver Island and miss the beauty of the true Inside Passage that you usually get sailing in our out from Vancouver.


Alaska is a wonderful cruising area!  Bring Binoculars and a pair of gloves, but there are lots of shops at the various ports if you forget something or need an additional layer of clothing.

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Thank you for your comment. Now I know that it's "Inside Passage". Thank you, I will check the map.

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Caroloue doesn't specify the ports they will be seeing, but a few comments.


I spent a lot of time on the Ports of Call section before our Alaska cruise -- more time than I do on most cruises, and I spend a fair amount of time always.  I read through lots of postings to get a real feel for comments about various tour providers --- one or two comments are not enough and can be out of the mainstream for this or that provider.


That being said, we always take private tours, either by ourselves or with others arranged on the Roll Call.  That can be challenging on Alaska cruises as there are lots of families that make up their own groups for tours, but you can find people if you keep at it on the roll call.


In Ketchikan, we used Island Wings for a float plane tour that included a landing on a small "lake" in the mountains, and a chance to get out and talk about the place.  Michelle was highly recommended on the Ports of Call section, and they were right.  The plane is kept in great shape, she was really nice to talk to, was easy to work with.  It was great.  Then we walked around town a bit.


In Juneau, we used Harv and Marv for a whale watching trip which was fantastic.  Small boats (we were on a six-passenger) so lots of interaction with the guide/captain, and a great whale watch experience. We were in among about 20 whales that were feeding, and it was incredible.  While the ship did not offer it, we wanted to squeeze in two tours, so after the whale watch, which we started early in the morning, we went to Northstar Trekking to have a helo ride to the top of a glacier and then take a one-hour hike on the glacier.  As I recall, Harv and Marv's driver took us to Northstar so we could make it all happen.  Again, both were highly recommended and were easy to work with.


In Skagway, we used Dyea Dave for a tour up to the Yukon and back.


We boarded our ship in Seward, and having gotten there early in the day (around 10 or so), we took the Kenai Fjords boat tour for about five hours.  Of all the things we did in Alaska, that might have been the number 2 item.  The small boat got in close to a lot of wildlife and then got close to a glacier.  Cruise ships stand off about a mile, but when you get close you not only can see some calving up close but you can hear the glacier, and glaciers are not quiet!  (Denali was undoubtedly the number 1 thing on our trip.) 


I hope this helps you.

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Binoculars, a light jacket, and a camera.  


Make sure you plan things to do in port - I know some of them are expensive, but we did a float plane to a remote lake for a crab feast.  The things you see from the air are indescribable.  In Skagway, we took a short bus ride to the Canadian border and saw bears and mountain goats in addition to the outstanding scenery.


Hopefully, you have a balcony cabin.  You can sit on your balcony, wrapped in your blanket, and see a true miracle.

The buffet area (lots of windows, inside the heat) was very very crowded up Tracy Arm, and I guarantee you, you will WANT to see every bit of that.  They turn a lot of the sound off so its pretty quiet.  But there is narration over the intercom at the entrance.


In June, the sea lions were calving, so we saw a lot of little ice chunks that were pink/red tinted.  We were assured that nothing was killed - they were just calving.  Lots of whales - you will watch for spouts ALL THE TIME.  Breaches are very difficult to get on camera, but fun to try.


Have fun!

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Thank you for taking the time. Did you book your excursions before boarding  or after, or did you book on your own?

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