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beeandkmon

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About beeandkmon

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  1. We were on the Jewel and did whale watching excursion in ISP with Icy Strait Whale Watching Tours. I don't have anything to compare them to but I really enjoyed it! My trip report has a full review of the trip. I will say we also saw whales on our Major Marine Tour (which we loved!) in Seward.
  2. We used the park to park shuttle service booked with our major marine boat tour. However, our cruise left out of Seward and the bus was to downtown Anchorage. If the timing works for you I would recommend a Major Marine boat tour.
  3. We really enjoyed our two days in Seward- we loved our Major Marine boat tour and had a spectacular time ice climbing. If you decide you can't make it to Denali make sure you at least stay in Seward for a few days.
  4. There were small children on our whale watching tour in icy strait point Icy Strait Whale Watching Tours. We didn't have any with us but you could bring them on this boat. In Skagway we did the hiking service train and hiked to Laughton Glacier. This hike would be too much for the little ones but the train to Denver might be nice. You would take a 20 minute train ride then get off to hike and take the train back. This would allow the kids to ride the train (which they may like) and also have a nice hike. Ive heard the Denver hike is easy to do. You can book here: https://wpyr.com/excursions/
  5. When we arrived at 1:00 there didn't seem to be a whole lot of tour operator booths...I think may they are had already "booked" for the day and closed up shop.
  6. We really enjoyed Seward so if you have the time I would consider staying for the day- it was our favorite port!
  7. I know a little late to the post but just in case others are reading this for more information: - Waterproof hiking boots- we did go hiking a lot so this was an obvious item for us; however, we tended to wear our boots whenever we got off the ship. As they were comfortable and waterproof they were the perfect shoes to wear even just for walking around a port.
  8. If you take the Major Marine tour in Seward (as is very recommended here) they will store your bags while you are on your tour. Actually, we arrived in Seward much before our tour and they stored them for a few hours before and during the trip.
  9. We basically did the one way cruise from option 2 in reverse. We had a great time pre cruise in Seward. There were so many things to do here and we found it a great port. We loved having the two days pre cruise in Alaska.
  10. Just got off the Jewel- there was a free shuttle that was constantly running.
  11. We had an 11:05 time and made it just fine!
  12. The Jewel Review: When I booked the trip we chose the Jewel for 2 reasons: we loved the itinerary and it was less than half the price of other Alaskan cruises (which allowed us to book more activities!). So we were doing this trip for the ports. There were a lot of things about the Jewel we were not impressed with; but, we didn't book this trip for the ship. We felt that the sea days were slightly lacking in activities and a lot of the activities were just ploys to sell you stuff. When its cold sitting by the pool is not so enjoyable so we wished there were more activities! We loved the cruise director and felt he did a good job; however, some activities run my others could be a bit disorganized. We were not too impressed with the main dining room. We felt the quality was a bit lacking. I had some salmon that was so dry it was almost inedible and my husband had a very over cooked steak. Believe it of not we did much better at the buffet and my husband said the steak there was actually great. We also felt the service wasn't the best in the main dining room- drink refills that were promised never came, appetizers took forever to arrive but main courses arrived while we were still eating appetizers. We also enjoyed eating in O'Sheehans and loved that his was an option. Inside areas of the ship were very crowded. The buffet was always jam packed. We did discover rather quickly that La Cucina was open for additional seating for the buffet. This was always a great place to bring your food and have a more relaxing time (although it was a bit of a walk). As people weren't necessarily sitting on the deck it made lounges and other spaces feel a bit tight. We also felt that the Jewel often got the short end of the stick at ports. We had to tender in ISP and in Juneau were a bit far (although a free shuttle was offered). This was not really a problem- just an observation. We loved the shows- they were fantastic each night! A couple did acrobatics and we loved them. We felt that embarkation and debarkation went very smoothly. We felt that we had a lot of storage in our stateroom. It may seem like I had a lot of complaints about the ship- however- I would still recommend this cruise in a heartbeat. You don't go to Alaska for the ship- you go for Alaska. This ship let us see great ports and we loved being in Seward for a few days before. We wanted to maximize our time in Alaska and this itinerary did that. We also were able to get a really good deal which gave us a little more room in the budget to do things like ice climbing and whale watching.
  13. Day 9: Vancouver We had an arrival time of 8:00 and an 11:05 flight- so we knew when we booked we would be cutting it close! However, it ended up being more than enough time. The day before arriving we were told our ship would be in port at 7:00 and that we could self disembark at about 7:30- maybe earlier if they cleared the ship on time. We got in line at 6:45 and were one of the first. By 7:20 they were letting people off. We went through customs and jumped on the skytrain to the airport. I had written down very clear instructions on how to get on the skytrain but they weren't needed. Everything was so well marked and easy to figure out. Getting off the boat quickly ended up being a huge advantage as customs and security had no line. It took us 90 minutes from exiting the ship to the time we were seated at our gate enjoying the free wifi. We had two hours to spare! However I think that 30 minutes later may have resulted in a wait at the airport. Unfortunately, all we got to see of Vancouver was the airport. We would have loved more time but had to get back!
  14. Day 8: Cruising Not much to say about this day- I'll give a review of the Jewel itself at the end
  15. Day 7: Ketchikan We didn't really plan anything for Ketchikan as we thought we may just want to walk around in our last port. I also didn't find anything that I really wanted to do. Our boat docked at 1:00 pm so we got off right away and walked around town. We went into a few shops and then took the public bus to Totem Bight. The Silver Line leaves from First City Saloon at 11 past the hour. It is $2. We thought that the totem poles were interesting to see- but an hour was more than enough time to see them in. If you do go they ask for a $5 donation but there is not a worker so exact change is needed. When we returned to Ketchikan we spent a long time looking at the Salmon in the creak. By this time other boats had started to leave so it was really uncrowded. Ketchikan was also a good place for us to do some shopping. The only thing we'd bought up until this point was some train items for my "choo choo" loving toddler in Skagway. This was our first day where we weren't super busy so we were able to look into shops. In Skagway we had been told to look for a sticker that says "locally owned" in the window of shops as the cruise lines own most of the shops closer to the ships. We tried our best to support local vendors.
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