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Home > Member Reviews > World Gallery's Port Reviews of Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, Victoria, Seattle

World Gallery's Port Reviews of Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, Victoria, Seattle
Oosterdam cruise in July 2011
Member Name: World Gallery
Cruise Date: July 2011
Embarkation: Seattle
Destination: Alaska
Member Review: World Gallery's Oosterdam Review
Juneau
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
We loved Juneau and we had a sunny, clear day, which made it a great day. We did Mt. Roberts Tram on our own in the morning (highly recommend this only if it is a clear day because the hike is beautiful) and Whale Watching/Glacier Photo Safari with Gastineau Guiding from 2:30 - 7:30, which can only be booked with the ship. The best way I can sum up this tour is, "We had a great time in spite of our tour guide." We had one of the worse guides we have ever had on any tour (and we travel a lot). I have a point and shoot camera and not one thing was said about how to use a point and shoot (but when I called, they said that they discuss all cameras). Actually, it was as though our guide, a young guy named Kenneth, was a participant on the tour, taking his own pictures most of the time, ignoring the people on the tour. Really, it was unbelievable how little information we received from him. Now the positive about this tour: great captain on our whale watching portion; great, small boat; beautiful weather, clear and sunny; saw lots of whales, one that came within about 4 feet of our boat and saw bubbling feeding; great views of the glacier because it was a clear, sunny day (my pictures are nice but nothing special that I couldn't have done on my own). The whale watching part was great for all of the boats we saw that day in the area. All of the tour operators are in the same area and therefore, those people out there at the time were were out there on that day will probably have great reviews. It was an active day for the whales (this was mid July)!



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Sitka
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
We also loved Sitka. The weather wasn't the best but not too bad either (gray day with some light rain). We did the morning on our own, going to the Raptor Center (very informative guides there. You join a group that comes in for a guided tour or you can do it on your own), Russian Bishops House, the Russian Church, and a few shops. I highly recommend the Russian Bishops house. They do tours every half hour. Very informative and interesting. You will gain an overall understanding of Sitka's history. Sitka was more spread out than I had imagined based on reviews I have read on CC. We ended up getting a taxi to go to the Raptor Center in order to save time and do all we wanted to do. At 1:00, we had a kayak tour with Sitka Sound. This was the first time we kayaked and it was fun but their online information is misleading. Our tour guide gave us very little info while kayaking and we only saw one sea lion, one eagle, and a few starfish. Do this tour if you want to kayak but not if you want to see wildlife or learn about the area.


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Ketchikan
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
We did a walking tour with Joe Williams of Eagle Walking tours. He has a contract with Princess but will include others on the tour if you contact him by phone or email (just Google Eagle Walking tour.) He is a native and grew up in the area. He was an excellent guide and told many stories about his childhood there. Overall, he gave meaning to a great walk through the town of Ketchikan and it ended on Creek Street, where we stayed, walked around and toured Dolly's house. Afterward, we wanted to eat at Alaskan Surf because of the great reviews. It is right on the dock. It is very much overrated in our opinion. There were 4 ships in port and they only had 2 people working, one cooking and one taking orders. The line was long and getting your food was very slow. We got it just in time to take with up back onto the ship and had to eat it on the ship. Not worth it for sure and not the best fish and chips we had on this cruise.



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Victoria
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Victoria is a beautiful city. We ended up taking the "Stroll through Victoria" walking tour that we booked with this ship (HAL) that day. It was with Old Victoria Walking tours and Ian Smith was our guide. There were only 12 of us in total on this tour. It was a great tour so I can't understand why there were so few people. It is a great way to learn about the area in a short time. We walked along the harbor, through an historic neighborhood, through Beacon Park (beautiful!!), then to downtown, where the tour ended and you can stay on your own to explore more (or go back to the ship with the guide). We stayed and ate at the Empress Hotel in the Bengal Restaurant/Bar, which had a jazz band that night. It is a beautiful restaurant and the fish and chips were great. We took a taxi back to the ship for $8.50 and it took about 10 minutes to get back. Taxis are waiting right in front of the hotel.



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Seattle
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
We had one full day in Seattle post cruise and stayed at the Mayflower since it was downtown. Pike's Market is a 10 min walk and we spent some time there. Great food! We sampled and ate at the Crumpet Shop, Jack's Fish (fresh fish), and a few other places. Best shopping place there - "Hands of the World" on the bottom level. Great, handmade items from around the world. I could have spent hours there. We did a segway tour with Magic Carpet and it was a ton of fun! This was our 2nd time on a segway and this was a much more difficult tour than our one in Cozumel but we loved it and after about 10 minutes, you get a good feel for it. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone but if you in reasonable shape and not afraid to ride it around alot of people (we rode through Pike Market!), then go for it. We loved it. We also did the Underground Tour and loved it. I was very reluctant to do this tour because I really didn't understand what it was all about but it ended up being a very informative, fun tour and we learned a lot about the history of Seattle. Our tour guide was excellent!



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