We choose to do all our trips through Princess and in Juneau we went on The whale watch & Mendenhall Glacier trip. we were taken by bus straight from the quayside to the harbour were we picked up our boat that took us to see the whales. The guide was extremely knowledgeable and so enthusiastic as was the Captain of the boat. He knew there was a pod of Orca's in the vicinity and made every effort so we could see them, which we did. He also found Humpback whales for us to see. On returning to the quay side we also spotted our first Bald Eagle. We then were taken to see Mendenhall Glacier were we were split into 2 smaller groups and taken off on trek through the Tongass national forest were the guide explained all the native wildlife, flora and fauna. We then came to a clearing on a beach were we had a spectacular view of the glacier. We were then taken back to Juneau were we got off downtown and explored the shops. We also enjoyed the hospitality of the Red Dog saloon, The Red Dog is a tourist bar but there again the staff were great and the locals very friendly. We then took the courtesy bus back to the ship. Juneau is interesting in itself and definitely worth exploring but as we didn't arrive till 13.30 and has we had pre booked our trips we didn't have enough time to do anything to in depth.
Skagway itself is a small town and the main street is full of jewellery shops, I know these towns survive on tourism and if you are accepting of that fact it does a lot of history as well. It's position on the Yukon Border made it a gateway for the gold rush so perhaps the jewellery stores are appropriate.
We went on the Eagle Preserve Jet boat tour and had to go over to Haines on a ferry. The trip itself went without a hitch, fantastic scenery and of course wonderful wildlife pointed out to us by a knowledgeable guide who was enthusiastic throughout. We were also treated to the hospitality of the people who run these trips and experienced my first weeny roast which was a chance to meet the other adventures on our trip.
The ship docks right in the heart of downtown, and the buses for the trips are only a few steps from the security gate,
We went on The Neets Bay Bear Watch, this trip involves going on a float plane and was the highlight of my holiday. I can only say we were maybe very lucky on the day but to see seven bears all at the one time was truly memorable. We also saw seals, bald eagles, stellar jays and sea lions. Again the guide was extremely knowledgeable and very personable which we have found through out all our tours that we took,
We took a few days extra at the end of our holidays to explore San Francisco. We did the usual Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf and Alcatraz. it is a busy bustling place and not cheap to get around in. The cable cars are $6 a trip so the best advice is to get a three day pass for $21 which will give unlimited travel although there are some restrictions.
The restaurants are always busy at dinner time and you can expect to wait to be seated. Although breakfast and lunch time don't seem to be that bad.
A city that never sleeps we were staying in the Mark Hopkins in Nob Hill and although we are quite fit some of the hills are challenging. Not recommended to walk this city in anything but comfy shoes.