364 Sitka Cruise Reviews

Raptor Center, Russian Dancers and St Michael's Russian Orthodox Church were wonderful. Locals were helpful And friendly. Not enough time in port
Raptor Center, Russian Dancers and St Michael's Russian Orthodox Church were wonderful. Locals were helpful And friendly. Not enough time in port Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
JUNE 24 If you put a gun to my head, and said, "Move to Alaska," I'd say, "Okay, Sitka." But I wouldn't need a gun put to my head; Sitka is charming. It is large enough to feel like a proper town, but smart ... Read More
JUNE 24 If you put a gun to my head, and said, "Move to Alaska," I'd say, "Okay, Sitka." But I wouldn't need a gun put to my head; Sitka is charming. It is large enough to feel like a proper town, but smart enough to stay uncorrupted by the cruise industry. A few years ago, some developers wanted to build a dock large enough to accommodate large cruise ships. But the citizens voted it down. Only ships willing to anchor out in the harbor and tender in passengers come here. Sitka still has gift shops and jewelry stores, but in far fewer numbers than in Juneau or Ketchikan or Skagway-- all of which feel like "Epcot Alaska." Sitka savors of authenticity and hard-won prosperity. No big excursions today. I will admit to being tempted by a local man standing on the the dock (dog at his side) holding a sign reading "Sea Otter Expeditions," but Sitka has enough history and character that just walking around town is entertainment enough (at least for us). We enjoyed the small museum at the National Historical Park, walking the totem trail, and tidepooling along the beach (no starfishes this time). It was grey and foggy and drizzly and chilly all day. The Alaska Raptor Center was interesting. They rehabilitate injured birds-- eagles, mostly, but also owls, hawks, terns, puffins-- pretty much any bird native to Alaska-- and when possible, release them back into the wild. Not a lot to see here: several outdoor habitats for the birds, and one large indoor area, but I did not mind the $12 admission fee; it goes to a good cause. We walked-- still in the rain-- back to town. We explored Castle Hill-- site of where Russia officially handed the keys over to the US, and also of where, several decades later, the first flag with 49 stars was raised, marking Alaska's official statehood. We stopped in a chocolate shop, and then tendered back to the ship. We decided to stay casual, and went to the Terrace for supper. Tapas, sushi, a few entrees, and lots and lots of desserts. We put a serious dent in all those desserts. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
I mentioned this above. I would suggest you do a little reading about Sitka before you go so that you can appreciate and enjoy the history of this city. Don't miss the the world biggest dandelions, reallly.
I mentioned this above. I would suggest you do a little reading about Sitka before you go so that you can appreciate and enjoy the history of this city. Don't miss the the world biggest dandelions, reallly. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We did the Bike & Hike tour, it was good and they tell you alot about the local flora and fauna. I recommend you can just rent bikes for $25 and ride on your own if you want, there is a main road that leaves the city along the coast, ... Read More
We did the Bike & Hike tour, it was good and they tell you alot about the local flora and fauna. I recommend you can just rent bikes for $25 and ride on your own if you want, there is a main road that leaves the city along the coast, goes up to Whale Park (didn't see any whales, it is a scenic overlook) It is a hilly road along basically a highway with wide shoulders. Or you can walk to the raptor center, and walk through the park that has the totem poles, all within walking distance of the port. We went to the museum that is in the library. Take a look at the house on the point that you can see from the library, we saw about 8 eagles nesting there and flying all around. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
In Sitka we did the dry suit snorkel which was a hoot. More vegetation to view than wildlife except for starfish. Recommend this tour for those interested in a 30-35 minute experience.
In Sitka we did the dry suit snorkel which was a hoot. More vegetation to view than wildlife except for starfish. Recommend this tour for those interested in a 30-35 minute experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
What a great town - weather was rough so not a good day for exploring but lots to do - great local crafts and excellent shopping overall. We spend the last 3 hours in our room because the view of the island full and I mean full of bald ... Read More
What a great town - weather was rough so not a good day for exploring but lots to do - great local crafts and excellent shopping overall. We spend the last 3 hours in our room because the view of the island full and I mean full of bald eagles - they were flying within 50 feet of our room - amazing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Sitka - Nice town. Had to tender ashore and back again since there is no docking for a liner. If you want something unique, try the local jams and jellies at Simple Pleasures by the harbor. They had a sale of any six 4 oz jars for $25 with ... Read More
Sitka - Nice town. Had to tender ashore and back again since there is no docking for a liner. If you want something unique, try the local jams and jellies at Simple Pleasures by the harbor. They had a sale of any six 4 oz jars for $25 with samplings. The Sitka National Park with totems and the site of a battle with the Russian America Company vs. the local tribe. A contract post office is in the downtown area. Saw the one grocery store just to see the prices....very high! Everyone liked Sitka over Juneau. Could have used more hours here. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Great port. Enjoyed whale watching and walking around town. Went to see the Totem Poles which were neat. We had a nice time in Sitka.
Great port. Enjoyed whale watching and walking around town. Went to see the Totem Poles which were neat. We had a nice time in Sitka. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Our first trip to Sitka. We went kayaking which is my husband's new hobby and my first experience. It was fun -- we saw eagles and a bear. The city is very quaint and walkable. Again, beautiful weather to just wander around.
Our first trip to Sitka. We went kayaking which is my husband's new hobby and my first experience. It was fun -- we saw eagles and a bear. The city is very quaint and walkable. Again, beautiful weather to just wander around. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Great walking city with lots to do and see.
Great walking city with lots to do and see. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Very quaint. Our fourth visit. We love Sitka and have met some very nice locals that have been there their entire lives and love to talk with people from the lower 48 states.
Very quaint. Our fourth visit. We love Sitka and have met some very nice locals that have been there their entire lives and love to talk with people from the lower 48 states. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
The ports of Busan, Vladivostok, Petropavlosk & Kodiak were not listed but very easy to get to as we opted for our own sightseeing. Busan in Korea had a free shuttle bus to downtown 25 mins away Vladivostok, you are right at the city ... Read More
The ports of Busan, Vladivostok, Petropavlosk & Kodiak were not listed but very easy to get to as we opted for our own sightseeing. Busan in Korea had a free shuttle bus to downtown 25 mins away Vladivostok, you are right at the city Petropavlosk was a tender & you could walk 15 mins to the city Kodiak & Sitka also a tender & you are right in town Sitka was a lovely place but only 5 hrs there to see the township & Raptor Centre. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
I was amazed with the beauty of Sitka, Alaska. The town is absolutely charming, not too touristy. The Raptor Center was definitely worth it. I recommend walking there from the port, you will see so much more of the town and parks. We took ... Read More
I was amazed with the beauty of Sitka, Alaska. The town is absolutely charming, not too touristy. The Raptor Center was definitely worth it. I recommend walking there from the port, you will see so much more of the town and parks. We took a 2 1/2 hour kayaking tour and were blown away with the beauty around Sitka. I highly recommend the kayaking for a more "nature" experience. It was by far my favorite port on the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We were going to sign up for one of the bike tours HAL offered but we weren't sure about what we would do if it rained. We got to Sitka on a beautiful day so we just went to the Yellow Jersey bike shop and rented two bikes for $27 ... Read More
We were going to sign up for one of the bike tours HAL offered but we weren't sure about what we would do if it rained. We got to Sitka on a beautiful day so we just went to the Yellow Jersey bike shop and rented two bikes for $27 each and he gave us a map and told us how to get to Blue Lake which is where the bike tour was going (for $119 each). Anyhow it was a great ride, beautiful scenery and for those less adventurous the is a paved bike path along the coast east of town, that since it is along the coast, is relatively flat. After our ride we turned in our bikes and had a nice walk around town visiting the Bishops House and the Russian Church. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We walked around town and checked our email on the free municipal Internet. A one mile walk took us to the Totem park and a easy walk through a rain forest. It is a beautiful town and well worth a visit.
We walked around town and checked our email on the free municipal Internet. A one mile walk took us to the Totem park and a easy walk through a rain forest. It is a beautiful town and well worth a visit. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Sitka was our favorite port! If you are able, try to explore Sitka on foot. The Oosterdam dropped anchor in Sitka Sound and we used a tender to get us to the O'Connell Bridge Visitor's Dock. I suggest picking up a "Sitka ... Read More
Sitka was our favorite port! If you are able, try to explore Sitka on foot. The Oosterdam dropped anchor in Sitka Sound and we used a tender to get us to the O'Connell Bridge Visitor's Dock. I suggest picking up a "Sitka Through 4 Seasons" Book at the dock. It is free, and it has a wonderful walking tour map inside. From the dock, we walked up Northeast up Harbor Drive to Lincoln Drive. This is a lovely walk past the Crescent Harbor Dock and St Peter's by-the-Sea Episcopal Church. We passed the Sheldon Jackson Museum and started our trek through the temperate rain forest at the Sitka National Historical Park Visitor's Center and Totem trail. The park's trail takes you by the site of a Tlingit Indian Fort and many Tlingit Totem poles. There is also a battle site where the Tlingits fought with the Russians in 1804. We took the trail to Sawmill Creek Boulevard where we followed the yellow bird's feet to the Alaska Raptor Center. Our family loved the Raptor Center where we got to see numerous birds of prey. We were lucky enough to be there at the right time as they brought out an immature bald eagle who was born with a beak deformity. It was almost as big as its trainer! After leaving the Raptor Center we walked back down Lincoln to Harbor drive and past St. Michael's Cathedral, a Russian Orthodox church. We ended our exploration at Castle Hill. Baranof's Castle was the site of the transfer of Alaska to the United States. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Did a private wildlife tour with Captain Davey (puffinsandwhales.com). It was a four hour tour that showed us whales, puffins, sea otters, eagles. We went to St. Lazaria Island and it is an amazing place. Dress warmly, it gets cold out on ... Read More
Did a private wildlife tour with Captain Davey (puffinsandwhales.com). It was a four hour tour that showed us whales, puffins, sea otters, eagles. We went to St. Lazaria Island and it is an amazing place. Dress warmly, it gets cold out on the water. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Very quaint! Sea Otter and Fortress of the Bear excursion was worth every penny!
Very quaint! Sea Otter and Fortress of the Bear excursion was worth every penny! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
As in Icy Strait, we went wildlife watching with Allen Marine on another of their catamarans. Sitka is a tender port, and Allen Marine picked us up at the ship. They promised sea otters, and delivered big time - dozens and dozens. We also ... Read More
As in Icy Strait, we went wildlife watching with Allen Marine on another of their catamarans. Sitka is a tender port, and Allen Marine picked us up at the ship. They promised sea otters, and delivered big time - dozens and dozens. We also saw harbor seals, a few whales, and the captain even found a bear exploring the shoreline. Sitka has managed to resist the onslaught of cruise-oriented stores; the town still has a genuine historical feel to it, and most of the stores are run by locals. The restored Russian Orthodox bishops house (part of the national park) was interesting to visit, and the rest of the park (far end of town) has a very nice collection of totem poles in a woodland setting along with an active totem pole carver's shop in the visitors center. There's a recently carved pole outside the visitors center commemorating the history of the park, including an image of a buried Russian claim plate (claiming the land for the Russian Czar) that was found in Sitka. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Sitka is a tender port. We had beautiful weather today. Our tour today (Raptor center and Sea Otter) isn't until 12:15. They charged us an additional $25.00 to go to the Raptor Center, but I was glad I went as I missed all the other ... Read More
Sitka is a tender port. We had beautiful weather today. Our tour today (Raptor center and Sea Otter) isn't until 12:15. They charged us an additional $25.00 to go to the Raptor Center, but I was glad I went as I missed all the other rehab centers on the tours. We had to wait for tender tickets for about half an hour. We just made it to the dock in time for the tour. We went to the Raptor Center first - the bus driver did provide some narrative, but if we hadn't been sitting right behind him, we could not have heard what he said. At the Raptor Center, we saw the flight cage where the birds that they are preparing to release are housed. We were not to use cell phones or flash because we were behind one way glass. It was hard to take photos because of the reflections on the glass from the sunlight in the flight cage. Then we went into a demonstration room and saw a short video, and then they brought in an immature eagle to show us. This eagle was dropped off when she was about 2 months old. She was starving because she had a malformed beak and couldn't tear her food into small enough bites to eat. So she can never be released. Then we went into the shop, and I used the bathroom. It was so warm that I had taken off my coat (!!!) and when I came out of the bathroom stall I realized that I did not have my cane anymore. So I went back and found it. Bob meanwhile was walking around the outside cages where the birds that can't be released are kept. I went out and sat on a bench in the sun to wait for the bus to come back. I saw a truck come with a travel container (like a big cat carrier) and one of the workers said that they had gotten an eagle from Juneau. The bus came back and delivered us to the docks where we boarded a catamaran with about 80 other people who had just signed up for the Sea Otter part of the tour. They would have had a chance to eat lunch before they came, which we did not. Bob had a couple of chocolate chip cookies that he saved from his box lunch in Anchorage so we each ate one of them. The catamaran had a naturalist on board and he kept us entertained with narrative between sightings. It was cooler, so I put my coat back on. We saw humpback whales really really close, and I actually got some pictures of them. We also saw some sea otters, a bald eagle nest with two chicks in it, and even some starfish (which I didn't get any pictures of as my camera was too slow to focus). They served us a sample of smoked salmon, a scone and hot chocolate. He brought us right back to the tender dock on the ship, which was good as we didn't have to go up the ramp from the excursion dock and down the ramp to the tender dock and then ride the last tender back to the ship. Also one tender wouldn't have held all of us. The last tender was waitig for us to leave the tender dock so it could unload the last group of people. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Weather: 60 F and sunny. May 24 This is the most beautiful port yet, and that's saying something. The harbor is very protected, many small islands and the extinct volcano Mt. Edgecombe providing spectacular views anywhere you look. We ... Read More
Weather: 60 F and sunny. May 24 This is the most beautiful port yet, and that's saying something. The harbor is very protected, many small islands and the extinct volcano Mt. Edgecombe providing spectacular views anywhere you look. We go on the Sea Otter and Wildlife Quest, through the ship but run by Allen Tours. This is a tender port but the Allen boat picks us up directly from the ship , a nice convenience. We tool around the bay & out into open water for a bit as the day is so nice for about 2 1/2 hours. We see dozens of sea otters, males and females separate in groups called rafts. Some of the females have babies on their bellies. We see a group of harbor seals sunning themselves on rocks, and we also see a nesting pair of bald eagles. We spend the last hour chasing after a couple of humpback whales. Several good sightings, nice dives with tails etc. Not as good as Juneau but nice to see whales again, and very nice for the folks on board who did not go whale watching elsewhere. No puffins or dolphins. Well run excursion, they give us a great snack of smoked salmon. We spend the afternoon walking around Sitka, very pretty town and easy to walk everywhere. We visit the St. Michaels Russian Orthodox Church, very simple structure with beautiful paintings and icons. We stop at the Red Hot Reindeer Sausage Stand and pay $6.50 for a 1/4 lb. reindeer polish dog, inc. chips and a soda. Great lunch, we sit on the plastic chairs and soak up the sunshine. The dogs are very good, the couple running the stand are a project manager and physician's assistant who work at the local hospital but take their combined lunch hours to run this stand. After lunch, we go to see the Shelden Jackson Museum. This is not to be missed. It is an amazing collection of very beautiful native artifacts mostly from the 1880 - 1910 era. The gift store is small but very nice. I stroked a pillow of sea otter fur, it is absolutely the softest thing I have ever touched. I left it at the museum for someone else, not having budgeted $350 for a small pillow. We walked back to the tender dock, shopping a little as we went, and wishing we had more time in Sitka. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Sitka - they charged us an additional $25.00 to go to the Raptor Center, but I was glad I went as I missed all the other rehab centers on the tours. At the Raptor Center, we saw the flight cage where the birds that they are preparing to ... Read More
Sitka - they charged us an additional $25.00 to go to the Raptor Center, but I was glad I went as I missed all the other rehab centers on the tours. At the Raptor Center, we saw the flight cage where the birds that they are preparing to release are housed. We were not to use cell phones or flash because we were behind one way glass. It was hard to take photos because of the reflections on the glass from the sunlight in the flight cage. Then we went into a demonstration room and saw a short video, and then they brought in an immature eagle to show us. This eagle was dropped off when she was about 2 months old. She was starving because she had a malformed beak and couldn't tear her food into small enough bites to eat. So she can never be released. I bought a shirt in the shop (an eagle with the caption "I AM smiling"). Bob meanwhile was walking around the outside cages where the birds that can't be released are kept. I went out and sat on a bench in the sun to wait for the bus to come back. I saw a truck come with a travel container (like a big cat carrier) and one of the workers said that they had gotten an eagle from Juneau. The bus came back and delivered us to the docks where we boarded a catamaran with about 80 other people who had just signed up for the Sea Otter part of the tour. They would have had a chance to eat lunch before they came, which we did not. Bob had a couple of chocolate chip cookies that he saved from his box lunch in Anchorage so we each ate one of them. The catamaran had a naturalist on board and he kept us entertained with narrative between sightings. It was cooler, so I put my coat back on. We saw humpback whales really really close, and I actually got some pictures of them. We also saw some sea otters, a bald eagle nest with two chicks in it, and even some starfish (which I didn't get any pictures of as my camera was too slow to focus). They served us a sample of smoked salmon, a scone and hot chocolate. He brought us right back to the ship tender boarding area, which was good as we didn't have to go up the ramp from the excursion dock and down the ramp to the tender dock and then ride the last tender back to the ship. Also one tender wouldn't have held all of us. The last tender was waiting for us to leave the tender dock so it could unload the last group of people. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011

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