I have always wanted to visit Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands because my grandfather was a ship's carpenter there in 1910. I turned 80, the first night on the ship. Northern Japan has the influence of both Asia and Siberia in the faces of the people. Petropavlovsk on Siberia's Kamchatka Peninsula was fascinating because very few of us get to Siberia and this was an easy way. The volcanic museum was amazing, as was the presentation by its director. It's a large city with soviet-era block apartments and undoubtedly, subs anchored offshore. The sailing across the Bering Sea was uneventful. Sure, swells but I enjoy them, and these big ships have good stabilizers. We changed time zones 8 times! I kept asking reception for the correct day. The Aleutians are remote, and few Americans know the the history of the Japanese facing American troops there in WWII. Kodiak was picture perfect, although the bus driver tried, but could not find a bear for us. Still hibernating. I especially liked Seward, a small community with its harbor and Russian Orthodox Church. I had been there in the late 80's and like everything else, it has turned into a cruise ship port. The ship's entry into Lynn Canal and the Hubbard Glacier had everyone on deck to watch the calving and scenery. Ketchikan was ok, but by then I was spoiled. Victoria and Vancouver are always worth visiting. Both are beautiful cities with outstanding museums, well worth the time to visit. Landing in San Francisco and my home (only 45 minutes after disembarkation) was a definite plus. The crews and service staff on this cruise line are always superb. Unfailingly kind, courteous, knowledgeable and very smart. (All international.) This cruise had some passengers traveling with canes, 1 or 2 wheel chairs, oxygen, etc. The crew was there pronto whenever anyone needed help. The ship's Norwegian medical officer (whom I had met on another cruise when I carelessly fell on my tush) was kept reasonably busy. I loved having the stateroom all to myself. Sorry, hubby. Fabulous adventure.
I love to read, curl up and look out the window so I appreciated having the room to myself. I can't compare not having used other cruise lines. But, based upon comparisons, the size/arrangement is spacious for the category, with beautiful bathroom and ample storage.
I saw huge pieces of luggage arriving. Travel reasonably light!
Easy to take a cab into town and the small museum. No one else did it. Not sure why.
Museum was good
Our group was hosted by local group who dressed in traditional peasant style and played antique instruments, while we enjoyed homemade soup. Very worthwhile
Most touristy of all stops
Easy just to take the shuttle bus and then walk around the community.
Just took the shuttle bus. Very convenient drop off. Enjoyed lunch in waterfront cafe; visited the museum that I've visited before. Excellent deplays of First Nation artifacts, history. The totem poles were outstanding.
Addendum: Ketchikan has an unparalleled, guided collection of totem poles that are usually one selection among any cruises shore excursions. Seeing Petropavlovsk, Siberia is the only chance that most of us will have to view up close what is considered by many an enigma to the western world. If I wanted to make this adventure cruise worthwhile, then the most important purpose was to expose myself to the history and culture. Thats why my husband I travel - to be travelers, not just tourists. (Correction: I said Seward when I meant Sitka.)