I was planning on going to China before I have children, but now it's looking that might have to wait a while. Seth and I are saving up for a house and china would be too expensive right now. Also, we're moving in August so we want to make the most of everything there is to do here. We thought of Hawaii, but decided to wait on that, then we saw all these things for Alaskan cruises. I hadn't thought much about going to Alaska in the past, but after reading reviews of other people who have done it, we decided to make this our vacation for the year.
So, we booked a 7-day cruise on Norwegian, the port was actually pretty close to where we live so it was pretty convenient. Well, turns out cruising is not our thing, it was the least favorite part of our trip. The food was bad, the people were annoying, the entertainment was cheesy. Cruises are American culture at it's worst. Way too much consumerism and waste. That being said, Alaska is a tough place to visit on your own. Junau can only be reached by plane or boat, there are no roads going in. We also got to cruise Glacier Bay for a whole day which was amazing. Plus, we got to do whale watching right from our room! So, while I wouldn't recommend a cruise to anyone, I will say if you want to see Alaska it's not a bad way to go, unless your really hard core, which I'm not. We won't cruise again but I don't regret any of the trip.
Here are some of your typical cruise photos:
Seth looking out the window from our room:
Dress up night:
Cute towel animals:
View from the boat:
Now for the good stuff, Alaska! Our first stop was Juneau, the port town you get into is supah touristy, and I've been to some pretty touristy places, these little port towns in Alaska take the cake. It was cute, but just gift shop after gift shop selling totally useless junk. Not a fan. Once we got to the glacier however, it was Uh-Mazing!!!! I have never seen a glacier before, but I didn't expect it to be this cool. I don't know why really, but it was just this amazing experience, like your seeing something so ancient, that it seems like it doesn't even belong there.
We took a little hike up to get closer, and also to check out the little waterfall next to it.
Mendenhall Glacier (photos don't do it justice, mine don't anyway)
Photo shoot at the waterfall!!!!!!! Me and seth look pretty dorky, especially me, just look at that outfit (the shoes! I decided that being comfortable was more important than looking cool).
After the Glacier, we walked around the town of Juneau, which was nothing but jewelry and fur shops. We were sick to death of cruise food, so we ate at this cool restaurant called the Red Dog Saloon. It was around during the gold rush and the floors had sawdust in case people dropped their gold, the owners would try to find it once they left.
After that it was back to the boat!
Skagway was similar to Juneau, very touristy, but cute. We had a whole day here, so we booked a six hour tour, and it was awesome. We did it outside of the cruise line and I'm glad we did. Our tour guide was really cool, he was funny and informative, and you could tell he really loved his job. We drove through the Yukon to the Dog Sled camp, then through a small town called Carcross, and back, where we took a walk around Skagway.
What was cool about the tour is we took a lot of stops. We saw two Black bears and stopped both times to take photos. The tour guide pointed out mountain goats to us and let us use his binoculars to look at them. He even took a jumping picture of us. The Yukon was really interesting because there were a lot of different landscapes all really close to each other. Some of it was green with waterfalls, others areas looked more sparse, and there was even a small desert. You could also see the glacier tipped mountains.
This lake is called Emerald Lake, as you can see it has a beautiful emerald color. Kind of reminded me of parts in Yellowstone.
They call this the smallest desert in the world:
This is the town of Carcross (short for Caribou Crossing) an interesting little town that would have been fun to take more pictures of.
To end our trip, we visited the Dog Sled camp, where we had lunch and went for a ride on the dog sled, which during the summer is on wheels. The dogs loved it, they all got so excited to run, it was pretty funny.
After our ride we got to pet the dog sled puppies! They were all very sleepy little guys.
Museum with creepy dead animals:
After the tour was over, we walked around the city, got dinner, and headed home.
I love wax figures.
Ketchican was also similar to the other towns. So we didn't spend very long here. The one cool thing we did do here was watch a Lumberjack show, Seth was more excited about this then me, but it was actually really fun. They were real Lumberjacks that compete, not just for show. The show was a little goofy but they are really skilled.
The town of Ketchican:
When I first saw these birds they had on display, I thought they were just using them to get money from tourists (they had a sign that said pay $5 and get a picture) until I realized that these were birds they rescued, and the money goes to helping pay to get them rehabilitated. I was relieved, I hate so much when people lock up animals just to get a buck (saw a lot of that in Russia).
There were a lot of brothels back in the day, especially around the time of the gold rush. We took a tour of one called Dolly's house, which was kind of cute.
Probably my favorite day was the day we spent cruising glacier bay, one of the perks of going to Alaska on a cruise. It was one of the most beautiful places (if not the) I've ever been. It was an interesting juxtaposition, being on this big commercial cruise ship, and seeing this ethereal place, almost untouched by humans. Before we got there, a ranger came and spoke about her travels here, and she said her and a crew actually went kayaking and traveled through all of glacier bay, I couldn't even imagine how awesome that would be. Hopefully these pictures will give you an idea of how cool it was.
Majorie Glacier, so cool!
From our window, we did some whale watching. We didn't get good images of it, but we saw a few sea otters, a few sea lions, and a humpback whale!!!!! It was awesome, I also saw an orca while I was running on the treadmill. No, we didn't see it jump out or anything, we just saw it blow out water, and it's tail, or part of its head. Still amazing though. Every time we saw a little creature jump out of the water we'd scream and point like we were 5 years old. It was so cool seeing them in the wild, totally different then seeing them in the zoo or aquarium.
We have wanted to go to Victoria for a while, so it was just a bonus that it was part of our cruise. This is an awesome city, with a great energy. While we were there, they had just won a hockey game and people were going nuts (I gave a complete stranger a high five on the street). It was really nice at night too, everything was lit up, and on one street the trees were lit up to look like they were sparkling. This is a city I could see myself living in.
Me nerding it up:
We saw a lot of street performers in Europe, but these were some of my favorite. Darth Vader playing a violin? Yep.
This guy was awesome, very folky:
Funny little pastry I got at the Soda Shop:
We saw this getting back on the boat. Watch out.
That's our trip! Alaska was great, even if I did have to see Sarah Palin crap (I ran into a life size cardboard Palin that was straight up terrifying) and most of it was very touristy. But Alaska is a beautiful place and I'm glad Seth and I got to see it together.