Background..Myself, my sons ages 23 and 19, my brother and my Mom (age 82) all with backgound in cruising ranging from 3 to over 20 cruises. We were traveling with a group of 39 people who have lost a firefighter in the line of duty. Survivors who have met through the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
We arrived in Anchorage (barely) on July 30 after our flight from Newark , NJ. It was a very long flight with a stop over in San Francisco. We stayed at the Comfort Suites on International Dr in Anchorage. Good for one night..... On Sunday We checked our luggage at the hotel and took a cab to the Market and did some shopping. Back to the hotel to get on our way for our land tour.
Land Tour...........we arrived back at the airport to catch the bus to the McKinley Lodge. We were the last bus so we had to wait for late arrivals. note to all...if your package says your bus is at 3 you can arrive anytime after 12 for the bus...wish we knew that. Off we went, driver stopped about half way so we could get ice cream. Arrived at McKinley.... Very foggy and rainy. Got settled in our room, had a drink and went to bed. Breakfast and then we learned our flightseeing tour was canceled due to the weather, made back up plans and went into Talkeetna and did shopping and lunch followed by the Jet boat Wilderness Tour. We saw bald eagles. It started to rain again, back to the Lodge for dinner at 20320, started off with hot chocolate...LOL.I guess you have figured by now.....we did not get to see Mount McKinley..Back to the room as it was off again early in the morning for the Denali Princess...We arrived, went to our rooms, took the trolley around the resort and then across the street to buy sandwichs at Subway for our Tundra Wilderness Tour which left at 2:30. It was awesome..........we saw moose, grizzly bears (about 8 incluing mama and her 2 cubs, dall sheep, caribou.) My trip was made!!!!!! Back to the resort at 10 ish for a cocktail and then off to bed.....as our land tour has ended............
Off to the train depot......We left on time, our group had the back half of a car. The scenery was awesome. I found the seating to be very uncomfortable for a 9 hour trip. No way could you take a nap.....LOL. We ate breakfast at our table upstairs and went downstairs for lunch. We went for a walk (up and down) through all the cars and came across a car that had regular train seating with seats that reclined. A problem we encountered was it was quite chilly in our car, I wore a sweatshirt the entire time....other cars I walked though were very toasty. Once again the rain started again, arrival in Whittier in the cold, damp pouring rain.
We walked to the ship. It was nice to know that once we unpacked that was it for 7 nights!!! We had balcony cabins on Baja 637 and 607.
The weather finally got somewhat better, however we couldn't go to see Hubbard Glacier, too foggy and too much ice in the water.
Food......We ate all breakfasts in the Horizon Court and was very happy. We ate one lunch in the dining room, the rest in the Horizon and I found I had to supplement 2 lunches with pizza as I couldn't find much to my liking...no problem though, the pizza is delicious. We ate all our dinners in the anytime dining restaurant. Only had to wait on the last night for a table (over 30 minutes) as everyone wanted to eat at 6:30.....LOL I found the service to be slow with anytime dining, we were there most nights anywhere from 2 hours to 2 1/2 hours. I learned my lesson that when traveling with a group maybe traditional is better so we could all gather and find out how everyone's day was. The food I would say was good to very good.....
Entertainment....I went to the first production show, "Do You Want to Dance" I was disappointed as it was singing and dancing to back up music on a CD, I prefer a live band. I saw the ventiloquist who was enjoyable, the magician in my opinion was a whack o...if I had been sitting on the end I would have walked out. I also went to see Adrian Zmed who put on a entertaining show with the dancers and singers. I thought the Crew Talent Show was awesome...they all sang with the live orchestra....
Naturalist...I went to a few talks and of course listened to his commentary while cruising the glaciers.
Skagway...I booked an independent tour with Dyea Dave. Eleven of us from our group were in his van, the other people who booked went with Debbie. The trip was awesome and the weather cooperated. He showed us some sights in town, once we were headed out on the highway we saw a black bear cross the road. We made several stops for pictures and history of the area. We stopped in Carcross to stretch and shop a bit. We stopped for lunch at a cute restaurant where you must follow what the owner says...LOL. I can't spell her name but don't touch her pie plates....LOL. My brother went to take one as he was sharing the 2 samdwiches he bought with my Mom and he just about got his hand slapped....LOL. We then went on to Emerald Lake, turned around and made several stops back along the way. We came across some bikers who had stopped for a bear, watched him for quite awhile. Dave is and "Elk" and so was one of our group so when we got back into town some of us went to have a drink and a tour at the Elks Club. did some quick shopping and back to the ship.
Juneau....I booked another independent tour with Orca for a whale watch. I think 13 of my group went. I seemed to be using the word awesome alot. We saw quite a few whales. Back into town and some of us went up in the tram for a visit to shop and eat lunch.
Ketchikan....My family and I, minus Mom got off the ship early and went shopping and for a walk up to Creek St. Back on the ship for lunch and then on to the Bering Sea Tour. We truly enjoyed it. A must if you are traveling with kids as we got to hold shrimp and crabs. Lots of photo ops.
I would love to do another Alaskan cruise someday, I want to flight see, I want to see Mount McKinley, would love to see more whales, however at his time I need to think about the warmer seas....and beaches......
I made 3 stops in the casino...
1... put $50.00 in the $1 Wheel of fortune, walked out with $125.00
2. put the $75..00 in walked out with $50.00
3. put another $50.00 in and walked out with $545.00. I hit for $500.00 and took the money and ran .