Juneau had a clear, warm and sunny weather, which we were told, was not the norm. My boys and I took the Mt. Roberts Tramway to the top and did some hiking and enjoyed a free show on Tlingit Native culture and a free musical production, as well. We enjoyed spectacular views of the city and port, as well. My wife and mother-in-law took a tour to the Mendenhall Glacier which they enjoyed very much. Once, again there is a large number of activities available for shore excursions. After departing Juneau in the early afternoon we cruised into Tracy Arm and up to the Sawyer Glacier. This fjord-like passage has gorgeous scenery and terminates at the glacier. The turn-around at the head of the fjord was very interesting, as it requires the ship to turn 180 degrees on it's own length.
Our first port-of-call was Ketchikan where we had a charter fishing trip set up. We had good success and will be receiving our salmon, halibut, and rockfish filets any moment now - all arranged by the charter service. In all the ports there are a number of shore excursions and activities available, ranging from sightseeing and shopping to some very active sports activities like zip-lining and hiking. I would say that even if you don't book ahead or through the on-board concierge, you will not be disappointed with the activities and vendors available on the docks. In all likelihood the prices will be cheaper than those booked through the cruiseline. The cruise out of Ketchikan was stunning. We had great weather and the scenery was awesome. However, the best was yet to come.
Went to the National Park Service and took a free walking tour with a Ranger!
Skagway was the next stop and we took a free walking tour led by the National Park Service. Very informative and the stop at their Interpretive center is well worth it. Many local tour service are available as well, and we heard a lot of positive comments from others about them. After lunch aboard ship we took the White Pass and Yukon Railroad train tour up to the top of White Pass and the Canadian border. It was well worth it! There are a number of options here as well with one-way railroad combined with tour coach drives to different local attractions. The one we would have done, had we heard about it early was the trip up to the top, followed by a bicycle trip back down the road into Skagway. After the train trip we walked around Skagway (it is a small town). We boarded and spent a day at sea.
Victoria was the final port of call. My wife and Mother-in-law took a tour bus out to Butchart Gardens, while the boys and I rented bicycles on the dock and did a self-guided bike tour to downtown Victoria. We parked and locked the bikes at the inner harbor area and enjoyed a "classic" boat event and then walked around the Empress Hotel. Victoria is a beautiful city and a vacation destination in its own right. We could have spent several days there.
Boarding in Victoria was with some regret as it meant we would be done with the cruise the next morning. But all good things do come to an end and we would do it all over again. However there are other destinations to look forward to, as well.
A do not miss experience!