Our family of 7, age ranging from 5 to 61, travelled from Vancouver to Seward on our bucket list cruise. For my husband and I, it was our second cruise, having been to the Caribbean on Adventure of the Seas, but for everyone else it was their first cruise experience.
We spent a couple nights in Vancouver prior to cruise, staying at the Rosellen Suites within a couple blocks of Stanley Park and shopping. We rented bikes and biked the Sea wall - 4okm one day. Beautiful relaxing way to see the city sights. Highly recommend biking early in the morning to avoid crowds. The second morning I tried out the Shaw Mobi bikes (grab and go from various spots in city) and cruised the sea wall again. Loved it!!! Enjoyed our breakfasts at the Red Umbrella Cafe, and amazing dessert waffles at Nero’s Belgian Waffle Bar.
We went to the ship around 2pm and had a very quick embarkation process. Being crown and anchor members we got into the quick line up, and within 15 minutes we were on the ship, touring. Our rooms were ready, and after checking them out, our luggage had arrived. It was great timing! Being a warm sunny day, we headed straight for the main pool, and soaked up some sun while we could. We grabbed some lunch from the Windjammer and had an amazing afternoon on the ship. At 5:00 we had to meet for the safety meting, however we were lucky and just had to go the theatre. It was quick and painless.
For Canada day on board the ship we took part in Canada Day trivia - lost the tie breaker, and won the family scavenger hunt. Prizes were very sad - highlighters, key chains, etc. It was nice to see them decorate for Canada Day and have some special events.
Ketchikan was our first port. As expected it was cool and rainy. We walked to Creek Street and strolled the area. My grandson and I checked out the museum and then it was time to meet Deven for our kayaking adventure with Ketchikan Kayak Company. Deven had made arrangements to fit our family in when I contacted him prior to our trip, so we were fortunate to have the owner himself do our eco tour. He took the 5 year old under his wing and taught him many things as he showed him all the sea creatures as we kayaked. My 22 year old daughter had been afraid to kayak, but she had more confidence with Deven as our guide. Having a private trip, was an amazing experience, despite the wind and rain that came up at the end. No whale sightings. Deven offered to take us to Totem State Park to make up for cutting our trip short due to the strange weather, but we were all happy with crackers and smoked salmon spread :) Highly recommend Ketchikan Kayak Company.
Icy Straight was a rainy day again. We walked into Hoonah after getting some wifii at the restaurant just off the ship. Hoonah just reminded us of communities around home - nothing exciting, but the walk had some beautiful views. We could have sat on a bench for hours watching for whales, however, the rain made us hurry back. We went back on the ship for lunch and then ventured out again with my grandson in the rain. He enjoyed skipping stones and strolling the nature trail. Beautiful spot for photos. Back on the ship, we were fortunate to watch a pod of orcas from our balcony. Despite there not being a lot to do at the port, we enjoyed the nature viewing and relaxing time there.
Juneau was our 4th of July stop. I had planned on taking the local bus out to Mendenhall to see the glacier, but due to the holiday that was not an option. We had to splurge $35 per person to take the Blue Bus. We hiked to Nugget Falls and enjoyed the glacier sights and the power of the falls. The 5 year old was able to walk the majority of the way without complaint, in the rain. We were not able to make it back for the parade in town, and ended up catching a white bus back instead of waiting longer for the blue bus. A porcupine walked over to the crowd waiting for the buses. After lunch on the ship, my husband and I took Mount Roberts tram to see the sights, and the others strolled town. It was still a little foggy and very wet up top, so we did minimal hiking - saw another porcupine. Overall the tram was not worth the money that day. We had a quick drink at the Red Dog Saloon - cool spot right by the ship’s dock.
Skagway was our favourite port, but that might be because we woke to our first sunshine. Three of us took Frontier Excursions and Adventures bus to the WhitePass route, stopping at various places for photo ops. It gave us a good look at the scenery of the area. My grandson enjoyed drinking out of his first water fall. After lunch on the ship, we ventured out on a hike - Lower Dewey Lake. It is easily accessible from the cruise port area. It started off with a steep climb, but became an enjoyable hike through the forest to a very peaceful lake. We did not have time to explore further on. We strolled town after the hike and bought shirts at the Alaskan T-shirt company for a very reasonable price. We watched a beautiful sunset from our balcony that evening.
I awoke early and got a spot on the Heli pad to see Hubbard Glacier up close. The wind was cool as we waited the arrival. It was exciting to hear the calving/ thunder and see the majestic glacier up close. We did not get as close as they usually do, due to the number of icebergs, but it was still amazing. We were able to watch as we ate breakfast on our balcony. They then rotated the ship so all could see. I did not really need to wait on the heli pad, but it was nice to see the whole view as we approached.
We disembarked on our own at Seward, walking off with our luggage around 9am. No waiting in any lines!! We stored our luggage at Harbour 360 Hotel for $5.00 an item as we were taking the Anchorage Transfer at 6pm. We caught a shuttle just down the block for $15. per person to Exit Glacier. We enjoyed this hike, getting an up close view of the large blue creveses. It was sad to see how much it has changed over recent years. Thankfully there was a waiting room with great wifi that we were also able to hang out at, as my grandson was beginning to come down with the flu. We strolled the harbour area, seeing seals and sea otters. We had great smoothies from Nature’s Nectars, and some amazing sundaes from an ice cream shop across the road, Harbour Street Creamery. Our transfer to Anchorage by mini bus consisted of only two others and our family so we had lots of room. The large windows allowed for great views of the amazing scenery. We stopped at Summit Lake Lodge along the way, for a pit stop. What a gorgeous peaceful spot. The restaurant had amazing desserts and ice cream, too!
Our grandson loved his experience at the Ocean Adventure kids program. He chose to go there for about three hours daily, usually while we were having our dinner at Cascades. He took part in a pirate performance at the Centrum. We were very impressed with the programs offered. Our grandson can experience anxiety in new situations, but he was very comfortable with the people there right from the start.
Cascades - We enjoyed dining at Cascades nightly. We liked that it was not too formal so we still felt comfortable. We were able to sample everything we wished, and received the best service from our waiters Reegan and Ronald. It was a relaxing couple hours, and we were even able to see whales during our dining experience.
Windjammer - The Windjammer was our go to for breakfast and lunch. There was variety to please everyone. We loved the ice cream bar.
Fitness Centre - Worked out a couple of times, but never joined a class. Was disappointed when I went at 6am and it was closed, but I discovered after that it was likely open from the outside. Better signage about how to get in, if the spa door is closed would be nice. Hours could even be earlier than 6:00 to give lots of time to workout prior to excursions.
Shows/movies/ activities/casino - We never attended any shows. Kids watched one movie, but it played again on another day. Grandson participated in juggling lessons in the Centrum and we watched family feud, egg drop, etc. Always lots going on.
Rooms 8512, 8513, 8511 served our needs well. It was nice having one balcony for the group despite the higher cost.
We loved our cruise experience, and our first time cruisers are looking forward to their next!
We enjoyed the balcony and were able to watch the glacier calve and watch dolphins and whales from it. Lots of storage space. Great shower. Slept well in the bed. Great service!
Took a shuttle for $15. per person out to Exit Glacier and hiked. Beautiful sights and great learning centre there as well.
Hiked Dewey Lower Lake located very close to cruise terminal on our own. Strenuous start then levels out. Very enjoyable and peaceful lake at the end.View All 44 Hiking Reviews
Drove up the scenic highway to white pass summit, with many stops along the way for photographs. Great views for much cheaper than the train.View All 117 Scenic Drive Reviews
Enjoyed the hike to glacier and the powerful Nugget Falls.View All 971 Mendenhall Glacier Reviews
Decided to go up in rain, as clouds were lifting but it was too wet up top to do much hiking, and views were not that great. Not worth the price unless are able to hike at the top.View All 263 Mount Roberts Tramway Reviews
We strolled into Hoonah, enjoying scenery along the way. Nothing at the end of walk worth walking to though, in our opinion. Enjoyed the nature trail, and watched orcas from our balcony at port. Pod of Orcas was definitely the highlight.
We had an awesome experience with Deven. It was just our family of 7 with Deven and he made everyone feel comfortable, despite our inexperience. Our 5 year old grandson kayaked with Deven, and was immediately comfortable with him. Deven shared knowledge of the area, and showed us sea creatures encountered along the way. Highly recommend!View All 58 Kayaking Reviews
We spent a couple of days ahead of the cruise here, and loved touring on bikes. Beautiful area to explore very close to cruise terminal. Walking or biking is all that is needed!View All 47 Stanley Park Reviews
My grandson loved his time there. Stopped while biking the sea wall. Some of us just relaxed outside while the others toured and enjoyed the sea otter and dolphin shows.View All 6 Vancouver Aquarium Reviews