Our first port of call was Ketchikan. This town is a sleepy sea side town in Southeast Alaska. This is where we first got to see the beauty of the rain forest. I never new Alaska was a rain forest. This is what makes the trees and flowers lush and green and beautiful. There are plenty of excursions to do here. We went to the Great Alaskan Lumberjack show. It was campy and a real tourist trap but a lot of fun. I would definitely do this one again.
Beware the jewelers. Every port on this trip had the same jewelry stores and the ship even had a "Shopping Consultant" that would help you get the best price with his "VIP cards" for your purchase. I am sure there are plenty of people that enjoyed spending thousands of dollars on their jewelry but this came across as a thinly veiled attempt to part by wife from her money. Anyway, I recommend looking into the prices of of stones of what you want, before you go, so you know if you are getting a deal or not.
In Juneau we got to see more of the natural beauty of Alaska. We went of a Whale watching excursion here that was incredible. We got to see Orcas and Humpback Whales. The Orcas are not always around and our tour guide told us we were lucky we saw them that week. My wife was take aback by the size of these creatures and the fact that they just about anything that isn't too big.
The Humpback Whales were amazing. We saw a few individual whales along the way and at the very end of the tour we found a group of Humpback Whales that were Bubble Net Feeding! I couldn't snap pictures fast enough it was incredible watching a group of whales all working together to feed on Crill. Absolutely unbelievable. Our tour guide explained that Bubble Net fishing is a learned trait and only found in Humpbacks in Alaska. There is a lead whale (always a female) that descends blowing bubbles and singing. The other whales follow blowing bubbles. They move in a ring around the crill. The crill become confused by the bubbles and don't cross the bubble line. the Crill follow each other in a circle and once they are in a circle the feeding begins. The whales come up gobbling mouthfuls of fish at a time. It was a tremendous experience.
One thing to note here. Do not choose the earliest excursion for Whale watching as they spend a significant amount of time finding groups of whales. The group that left after us went directly to the Humpbacks bubble net fishing and most likely had more time watching whales instead of trying to find them.
Skagway is home to the White Pass Rail Road, a Rail Road built in the 1890's that ascends close to 3000 feet over 20 miles into the Yukon territory in Canada. You do not need a passport here as you don't get off the train in Canada. The scenery going up the mountain in breathtaking. I rode almost the whole way outside between the rail cars so I could see the scenery and get some incredible pictures. It is a most enjoyable trip and I highly recommend it to everyone.
The town is small and full of Jewelry stores (Beware again), and other shops of all kinds of trinkets for tourists to buy. It definitely worth the train ride and the town was fun to walk around in. If you are a railroad buff this is the place for you.
Price Rupert is dead. There are few places to shop. The best part about this place was the excursion to the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary. This excursion was our favorite and the best part of our trip. You will travel by boat about 2 hours to the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, where, if you are lucky, you will get to see Grizzly's from boat you are on. It was an incredible experience. We got to see 2 sets of grizzly mother bears with their cubs and a single female. The scenery is incredibly beautiful and is was well worth the price of the excursion to see the Grizzlies in their native habitat.