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Alaska What Not to Miss


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Looking to book a once in a lifetime crusie to Alaska in 2022. What is can't miss areas of Alaska? What cruiseline have the best itinerary and why?  What tours in different cities should we consider? I want to make this an unforgetable trip for my wife and I as we have been talking about this trip for years. All recommendations welcome, please and thank you. 

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Are you just doing the cruise, or are you interested in a land tour in Southcentral Alaska after your cruise through Southeast Alaska?

If so, I recommend the land portion be done DIY using a rental car. There's plenty of planning help on the TripAdvisor Forum for Alaska travel.

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2 hours ago, pajazz28 said:

Looking to book a once in a lifetime crusie to Alaska in 2022. What is can't miss areas of Alaska? What cruiseline have the best itinerary and why?  What tours in different cities should we consider? I want to make this an unforgetable trip for my wife and I as we have been talking about this trip for years. All recommendations welcome, please and thank you. 

 

I don't want to sound sarcastic but based on the total lack of information about what you are looking for, your budget, the time you have for the cruise, and a lot more detail - we can hardly give you any useful information.  Do some research on AK and come back w some specific and more detailed questions and lots of us including me on the board will be happy to help you.

 

DON

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2 hours ago, pajazz28 said:

What is can't miss areas of Alaska?

 

My first reaction to your question was:  Everything!!

 

35 minutes ago, donaldsc said:

lack of information about what you are looking for, your budget, the time you have for the cruise, and a lot more detail - we can hardly give you any useful information.  Do some research on AK and come back w some specific and more detailed questions and lots of us including me on the board will be happy to help you

 

This gentleman is offering an excellent suggestion.  Alaska is called America's Last Frontier as well as The Great Land.  There are good reasons for that.  Sharpening your thinking a bit will allow us to provide better specific recommendations and suggestions.  

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Pointers:  Cruise only,  leave from Vanc. instead of Seattle.  Make sure you see Glacier Bay.  If you see Hubbard too, bonus.  Go middle July thru Aug.  Holland America offers an excursion for a small boat trip up Tracy Arm to see Sawyer glacier.  Amazing sights.  Rent a car in Skagway and drive up to Canada or take the train.  Ketchikan offers a float plain to see the fjords.  

Holland America, Celebrity, and Princess are good choices.  Pick the ports, then the ship.  Good luck.  We did R/T on the Volendam and are going on Celebrity Millennium southbound from Seward next Aug.  

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Sail from Vancouver for better scenery.  Choose a cruise that goes to Glacier Bay National Park.  If you want to include a land tour but don’t want to drive yourself the cruise lines offer various itineraries and handle all hotel, luggage, and narrated transportation.  If you choose a cruise line tour to Denali you need to be sure to have two nights at Denali and the Tundra Wilderness Tour included.   

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Go to your bookstore and purchase Lonely Planet Cruise Port Alaska. Maybe find other guides to cruising Alaska. Read. Narrow down from there and then post here again re: specifics.

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My list of things not to miss might be different from yours. For instance, I've never done any flight tours. A couple on the land portion of our cruise tour took several of them. That couple was also making a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Alaska. 

 

We went with Princess for the land portion as well as cruise the one time we took a cruise tour. Princess has been doing tours in Alaska for more than 50 years. We had a great time. Princess is very organized. You just put out your luggage in the morning, and it shows up at your next hotel in your room. Of course going with a tour limits you to doing the things included on the tour or offered as optional excursions--as opposed to renting a car and going where you want whenever you want.

 

My list of things not to miss would include glaciers, wildlife, hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, historic sites, and local food.

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What's not to miss? It'll be my first time cruising Alaska later this fall 2021. We're hoping to see glaciers, whales, sea lions, bald eagles, New ports, locals, and checking out the local fare for king crab! 

 

Hopefully going a day early to Seattle we can see some of the Deadliest Catch fishing boats.

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5 hours ago, ClevelandCruisin said:

What's not to miss? It'll be my first time cruising Alaska later this fall 2021. We're hoping to see glaciers, whales, sea lions, bald eagles, New ports, locals, and checking out the local fare for king crab! 

 

Hopefully going a day early to Seattle we can see some of the Deadliest Catch fishing boats.

Not sure how many you will find in Seattle but I found many of the "Deadliest Catch" boats on a cruise that stopped in Homer and Kodiak.  (See Time Bandit below).

 

https://rogerjett-photography.com/wp-content/gallery/homer/P5298777-2.jpg

 

https://rogerjett-photography.com/wp-content/gallery/homer/P5298900-2.jpg

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6 hours ago, ClevelandCruisin said:

What's not to miss? It'll be my first time cruising Alaska later this fall 2021. We're hoping to see glaciers, whales, sea lions, bald eagles, New ports, locals, and checking out the local fare for king crab!

King crab season is winter time so any King Crab probably comes from Costco while  Dungoeness crab should be fresh.

 

Crab Fishing on the Aleutian Ballad will bring you very close to eagles as they swoop down to grab fish that the crew tosses into the water. 

 

Bring a pair of 8 X 32 binoculars to scan the water for whales and otters, water edge for bears and deer, and tall points (trees, poles, and railings) for eagles.

 

https://rogerjett-photography.com/wp-content/gallery/eagles/P5050061.jpg

 

https://rogerjett-photography.com/wp-content/gallery/eagles/p5201814.jpg

 

https://rogerjett-photography.com/wp-content/gallery/eagles/p5161819.jpg

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9 hours ago, ClevelandCruisin said:

Very nice! What area?

West Side- Avon Lake. You?

Our very first cruise was to Alaska on the NCL Pearl with a group of 23 (my Oregon sisters, families and friends). We had a great time. This time it is just DH and I but after our cruise we take Amtrak from Seattle to Portland to spend 10 days with the sisters et al.

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3 hours ago, TMLAalum said:

West Side- Avon Lake. You?

Our very first cruise was to Alaska on the NCL Pearl with a group of 23 (my Oregon sisters, families and friends). We had a great time. This time it is just DH and I but after our cruise we take Amtrak from Seattle to Portland to spend 10 days with the sisters et al.

Westlake. 

 

We took the Pearl to the Panama Canal. 

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32 minutes ago, ClevelandCruisin said:

Westlake. 

 

We took the Pearl to the Panama Canal. 

Will be in Westlake later today. Library, then Crocker Park for shopping and Bar Louie for happy hour!

The Porter Library has several books that will help you plan your Alaska Cruise- one of the best is the Lonely Planet Guide.

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On 7/15/2021 at 9:49 AM, pajazz28 said:

Looking to book a once in a lifetime crusie to Alaska in 2022. What is can't miss areas of Alaska? What cruiseline have the best itinerary and why?  What tours in different cities should we consider? I want to make this an unforgetable trip for my wife and I as we have been talking about this trip for years. All recommendations welcome, please and thank you. 

Depends on your fitness level as well. Just my 2c:

 

Best hike: ride Juneau Tramway 1/2 way up Mt Robert's. Takes you to 1800' then a great easy walk up to 3800+'. Bring binoculars to watch bears fish in river below you. The marmot are friendly and expect a few to cross your path as you go up or down. Cloudberries are delicious. 

 

Best zipline: I prefer Ketchikan to Skagway but that might just be me

 

Totems: Totem Bight and Saxman are both on the city's bus system as is Totem Park. Saxman has Clan House, Native Carving Shed, Gift Shop, a short walk through the rainforest, and eagles in the area. Totem Bight also has a clan house in a wooded setting and wasn't as crowded.

 

Whales: I watched them from my balcony having glass of wine / 

 

Not much to do in Skagway. My August cruise goes there so my plan:

Juneau: Tramway

Skagwag: zipline 

Ketchikan: city bus to totem sites

 

Almost forgot: had an amazing hike in Haines a few years back

Edited by Ombud
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I lived in Alaska 3 years, travelled a lot and still go back whenever I can. There is still a lot of the state on my bucket list. If you are taking the "basic" 7 day cruise, I would definitely include Glacier Bay for the best glacier experience. I would also encourage you to include Icy Strait Point (Hoonah) or Sitka for a real Alaska experience. (Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan are great towns, but cruise ships really change their character. There you will most likely be dealing with seasonal employees who really don't have a clue about life in Alaska. The Diamonds International in those towns is just like the ones in Cozumel or St. Maarten. In Hoonah and Sitka, you will meet real Alaskans who live there year round and love talking about their towns and lifestyle.)

 

If you have more time, do a one way cruise to Seward or Whittier and do a DIY land trip. You could easily spend another week on the Kenai Peninsula and visit Seward, Homer, and Girdwood before getting to Anchorage. And of course there's Denali (and Talkeetna) - 3 or 4 days minimum. 

 

Do as much as you time and budget will allow. No matter what you decide, you will constantly be surrounded by breathtaking beauty and abundant wildlife.  

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