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Home > Member Reviews > medford2's Port Reviews of Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Prince Rupert

medford2's Port Reviews of Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Prince Rupert
Norwegian Star cruise in May 2010
Member Name: medford2
Cruise Date: May 2010
Embarkation: Seattle
Destination: Alaska
Member Review: medford2's Norwegian Star Review
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
We had tours scheduled for every port except Prince Rupert, and as I looked closer at our schedule, I realized the short amount of time we were in each port, that we had no time to shop, so I cancelled our crab feast tour in Ketchikan, and we made it our shopping port. We were still going to go to the Totem Bight park, but never made it there. We wandered around town a little, went down Creek Street, then just shopped which really wore us out. The Destination Alaska coupon book saved us a LOT of money AND time. You'll find prices in Ketchikan are actually very good. If you weren't able to stock up on Soda in Seattle, you can stock up for a good price at Tongass trading, right at the dock. The towns of Ketchikan and Prince Rupert are the closest to the dock, being just right there. Juneau and Skagway were just a little further away. Weather-wise we were very lucky for our whole cruise. Ketchikan which is famous for the enormous amount of rain it gets annually, was sunny and warm the day we were there

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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Tuesday morning, June 1st, our 37th wedding anniversary, found us pulling in to Juneau. Had an early breakfast at the Market Cafe. Getting off the ship was relatively easy. At 8am a Harv and Marv van pulled up and about 6 of us were on our way for a morning of whale watching. It was cloudy, cool (low 50's) and a little drizzly. While it was fun, and we saw some sea lions and eagles, the whale watching was a little disappointing. We DID see several whales from a distance, just surfacing, and submerging, flipping their tail in the air, but never got closer than a quarter mile or so. Our guide...I believe his name was Steve...while he was very accommodating, my opinion...was not very aggressive in getting us close to the whales. Maybe I'm all wet, but I would think when a whale was spotted a half mile away, we would run-and-gun to get at least noticeably closer to where he may be surfacing again. Again, I may be all wet on this. Steve took us by Mendenhall Glacier for some pictures on the way back, and while we weren't there long, I really didn't have any urge to take the long hike (if we'd had the time) to get closer to it. We got some good pictures. We got back to our ship with no real time to see Juneau which was a good half mile away from the pier.

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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Wednesday morning it was back to the Market Cafe for an early breakfast, then we were off again for another adventure. Disembarking was relatively painless again, and we met our Chilcoot tour guide, Matt, right on the pier. We were taking a 7 1/2 hour tour with him. We were put on a passenger car on the White Pass and Yukon railway just a short distance from the pier. We got a seat on the left side that I had been advised to do, and it was good advice. Most of the trip the right side of the train only had a view of a rock wall. Saw a lot of beautiful scenery on the way up over White Pass, and the narration we got over the intercom was very informative. We got off the train at Frazer, B.C. (Your passports are checked here). Matt picked us up and we were off for the Yukon. What can I say? Snow-capped mountains and crystal clear lakes doesn't really do it much justice. We saw 2 black bears on the way feeding on dandelions along the roadside. Matt stopped and gave us plenty of time to take pictures of both bears. A few miles before we reached Emerald Lake we pulled into a small compound where we ate a good meal (included in the tour price) of BBQ chicken and the fixings. After we ate, we browsed through a gift store, and an EXCELLENT wildlife museum. My wife went to see the dogsled puppies while I went back and bought an Alaskan beer to suck down before we moved on, just to say I did. Then it was on to Emerald Lake.

I've heard a lot about this lake and wandered what the big deal was about it. Well, it's a two-tone lake. The main color of the lake water is an intense blue which is common of most of the lakes in this part of the country, but there are also wide streaks of turquoise colored water caused by run-off from a nearby glacier. It is a very pretty and unusual lake. We left the lake and re-traced our route back to the ship, making several stops along the way for pictures.

This was easily my favorite tour. We got back with just a little extra time to see Skagway which is a little closer to the pier than Juneau was, but we decided against it, which wound up being a good decision. The day had been beautiful short-sleeve weather most of the day. When we got back to the ship, we were faced with a long line of cruisers waiting to get back on. We'd barely got in line when clouds started rolling in, the temperature dropped a good 10 degrees, it started spitting rain a little, and the wind started HOWLING! I live in Oklahoma and am a pretty good judge of wind speed, and I'm sure we were getting peak gusts of over 50 mph. We managed to get on the ship, and went up to the 7th deck to see how everybody else was faring. I'll have to brag on the Star crew as I watched then dash out into the howling wind and driving mist to help elderly, disabled, and children back to the ship. I'm ashamed it never occurred to me to go out and help them.

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Prince Rupert
Port Rating: 1.0 out of 5+
We pulled in to Prince Rupert at 4pm on Thursday. We were scheduled to pull out at 10pm. It was a cloudy, cool, drizzly day, and started raining harder after we returned to the ship. Prince Rupert, BC, is a picturesque small town nestled into the mountains, right on the coast. From the number of boats I saw, I would say commercial fishing is the mainstay of their economy, along with our cruise ship. I don't know if any other ship besides ours stops here or not. We just got out and looked around a little. It was a stampede for everybody to get off the ship, even though we had a hamburger basket at the Blue Lagoon when disembarking started to give the crowd a little time to disperse. Don't forget your passport. All we basically found was a tidy little town with the customary tourist trap souvenir gift shops close to the dock. Then there was a stampede back on the ship when everybody realized there really wasn't anything here. Got my picture taken with a Mountie. Told him I was a cop too. He didn't seem impressed. In my opinion, if I had a choice of visiting Prince Rupert, or spending the time at sea, I'd pick Prince Rupert, but I'd much rather take Prince Rupert completely off the itinerary, and give us more time in the other three ports.

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