Lots to do here that we did not have time for before our cruise. We did take a bicycle tour around Stanley Park and spent a good part of a day at the aquarium. Easy city to walk, and lots of public transportation options. I can't wait to go back.
Ketchikan deserves more than just a few hours. We took a tour with an independent operator that was just fabulous. After a 20 minute ride out of town, we had our first face to face encounter with Alaska - and it was adrenaline pumping to zip through the forest and to ride over the bays at 25 mph or more. Can't wait to watch the videos from the Go Pro cameras! The climbing tower was just challenging enough that the 13 year old could ring the bell at the top while our 11 year old could not.
Zodiac Boat Rating:
This was not a Disney ride, but a real aluminum bottom inflatable with a 40 HP motor on the back. It easily got up on plane and zoomed all over the waves. You take turns driving, and you certainly may get wet! The guide was in another boat nearby. We ended up not seeing much wildlife, but still had an awsome ride. Again, Go Pro videos will be viewed again and again!
Creek Street is really neat too, especially if you can find a time when fewer people are there. We spent too much time trying to claim our charms from the jewelry stores closer to the ship, and missed out on spending more time on Creek Street. There's always next time!
Renting a car and striking out on our own was a good way to go. Things in Juneau are surprisingly spread out. Mendenhall Glacier on a nice day is a must do, and will take a couple of hours. The Mount Roberts Tram and hikes from the top were another significant part of the day, but again, we had great weather. We had a bit of a problem finding a suitable place to eat lunch and ended up in the Red Dog Saloon with our 11 and 13 year old girls. That might have been a mistake, but we all survived.
There's nothing ther! And if there was, you wouldn't be able to see it because of the clouds and rain. Think of Whittier as the dark end of the tunnel. Alaska's beauty awaits on the other end. Just plan ahead on how you will be getting out of Whittier, because space on earlier trips is limited.