It is now Day 5 of the cruise – Tuesday, May 15th, 2012, and I had to wake up early because my shore excursion meeting time – for the tour titled Juneau City and Mendenhall Glacier Tour – is scheduled for 9:30 am. This will be shore excursion no. 2 for me, even though it is the third port (I didn’t do an excursion when in Icy Strait Point).
I walked past the train which was right outside where the cruise ship docked, and was half hoping that my excursion would involve a train up to Mendenhall Glacier, but I knew from the tour instructions on my ticket that I would be going on a bus again. It was only a two or three minute walk, but I was almost late, so I ran the last half minute to the bus. I was supposed to have been there 15 minutes before the bus set off. Here are some pictures taken during one of the stops prior to getting to Mendenhall Glacier. We stopped so that we could take some pictures of the Radiance Of The Seas, and of course, I just loved to take pictures of that beautiful ship. Here are some of the ship with Juneau in the background:
Here are some pictures taken from the bus, please excuse the reflection of the windows, I just couldn’t stop taking pictures:
I think these pictures were taken on one of the stops when we got out of the bus:
I could keep going on, and inserting more pictures, but I think I should stop at that. I’m sure you can see how beautiful Juneau is, and why Alaska is worth the visit? Then we went to a place called Chapel By The Lake (it was like a Log Church), and took a quick look inside, but I was mainly keen to get outside to take pictures:
We then drove to another stop to take some pictures of Mendenhall Glacier from a distance:
And now we have arrived at the final destination – first some preliminary pictures of the arrival area:
Then, beautiful Mendenhall Glacier, awesome, breathtaking, what can I say?
Here are some more pictures of the area surrounding Mendenhall Glacier, isn’t the blue color that’s in the glacier incredible?
Well, after all those breathtaking pictures (even though I do say so myself), it seems like a let-down to add pictures of a different kind, but I must finish up, here are some pictures of downtown Juneau, near the cruise ship where our bus took us after the amazing visit to Mendenhall Glacier.
A little background on Juneau: It was discovered in 1880 due to the discovery of gold, Juneau began its history as a prosperous and unique mining town, you can see some of the recommended sightseeing spots by viewing the picture of the sign post below:
You are probably wondering about the food in Juneau, here’s a picture of a menu:
Here’s some pictures I took near to where the cruise ship was docked
PS: If you are going to be in Juneau on June 7-9, 2012, you should not miss Celebration 2012. This is a major dance and cultural festival held every two years. Read more about the festival right here: http://www.sealaskaheritage.org/celebration/celebration_2012.htm and to view beautiful Alaskan Native art showing fabulous Tsimshian culture, please take a look here: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/terrance-h-booth-jr.html?page=2
I really hope that you like my pictures of Juneau, and the Mendenhall Glacier. You just have to visit this amazing place, it was well worth the visit. Gold was discovered here, but there is so much more to discover too.
Icy Strait Point
It is now Day 4 of the cruise – Monday, May 14th, 2012. I don’t have any excursions booked for today, but one of the main excursions for this port is the zip line – which is for all those who wish to experience adventure, excitement and who aren’t afraid of heights. I’m not daring enough to take the zip line – I like adventure, and excitement – but I think I either don’t like to be too high up or I’m just afraid of rides.
Icy Strait Point is very picturesque, and I’m glad I came off the ship to take a look. There were several people onboard the ship who didn’t want to get off today because it was raining, and there had been a steady drizzle for most of the day. We had to get on a tender boat to get to where the boat docked, and when I got off, I couldn’t help but be in awe of how beautiful the Radiance Of The Seas looked against the snow-clad mountains.
After taking pictures of the ship, I walked along the beach, to where I could see the zip line. The rain kept on falling on the lens of both my camera and camcorder, so I kept on putting them away, and then getting tempted to take them back out again a few moments later, and then away again after a few minutes because of the rain. It was a busy time mostly due to the rain. Here are some more pictures that I took along the way.
As you may have noticed in one of the pictures, somebody had started a little fire on the beach to keep everyone warm. It was quite icy cold in Icy Strait Point, it surely lives up to it’s name! The drizzle did put a little damper on my outing, as I would definitely have liked to take more pictures, but I didn’t want to damage my camera, and already had got it wet various times.
I walked into the big brown building which was kind of like a museum towards the end of the pier, and this building also had quite a few shops. Apparently, I had missed a native dance, and found out about this later.
I then started on the track of one of the nature trails on the other side of the building shown above (museum) to the left of it, and discovered a most incredible sight – a lake with trees and snow-clad mountains in the distance (shown below). By this point, it was drizzling quite a bit. I then recorded the zip line on my camcorder, and will have to put it into a video later and add the link.
Altogether, I spent about two and a half hours in Icy Strait Point, and would definitely recommend that you get off the ship to visit this port. Don’t listen to those who tell you there’s nothing to see here, if you like natural beauty, you will see a lot of that around you. I then proceeded to take the tender boat shown below at the dock back to the Radiance Of The Seas.
Recommendations: take your umbrella to Alaska, and a thick jacket, plus gloves, and you can’t go wrong. Will soon write about Day 5 of the cruise.
It is now Day 4 of my trip, but Day 3 of the cruise – it is Sunday, May 13th, 2012, and it is also Mother’s Day. Ketchikan was our first port visit on the cruise, and therefore, my first real glimpse of Alaska. I had a shore excursion that I had pre-booked with our CruiseOne shore excursions provider http://www.shoreexcursionsgroup.com/Ketchikan-Shore-Excursions-s/104.htm. The shore excursion consisted of three excursions in a package, and would allow me to experience Ketchikan, as well as two of the other port stops – Skagway, and Juneau. The price was really good, and I figured that instead of just walking around the pier where the cruise ship docks, I should go further into these destinations, and go to the main attractions. So, today’s Excursion 1 (out of 3) is the Saxman Native Village and Ketchikan City Tour.
I live in San Diego now, so it’s a little like someone coming to San Diego, but not knowing about the beautiful beaches of Del Mar, La Jolla, and Encinitas or about Balboa Park, or the Hotel Del in Coronado. If they just wander around the cruise port area, all they would see is beautiful SeaPort Village, and the harbor area near Anthony’s Fish Grotto Restaurant. There would be so much left of San Diego that would be left undiscovered, and that is why you sometimes just have to take these excursions, so that a professional tour organizer will take you to the best spots.
I only had to walk about two or three minutes away from where the cruise ship docked to check in with the bus – all the information about the meeting point was on my ticket. The bus set off promptly at 8:30 am and altogether this excursion lasted about two and a half hours. We went past the downtown Ketchikan area, which is within walking distance of the cruise terminal, and then made a few stops along the way to our ultimate destination – Saxman Native Village – which is where all the totem poles are. The two stops we made along the way were so we could take pictures of a waterfall, and a lake.
Here are some pictures of these two stops along the way:
I kind of like the picture above, even though it’s not the best since it was taken in the bus, and shows one of the passengers in the way of the view. The waterfall pictures were not that unique, so I didn’t include. Below is a picture of the lake where we stopped, and then I just had to take a picture of a house in Ketchikan. Then there are some pictures of totem poles, and some interesting street signs, as well as a Ketchikan trolley.
After viewing all the totem poles, we headed back to downtown Ketchikan, which is where I took the rest of the pictures below:
Don’t forget to visit Dolly’s House on Creek Street, this is a tourist attraction – with a story behind it that I won’t get into here. Ketchikan is well worth the visit, it is so colorful, I could not stop taking pictures. I hope you enjoyed looking at all of my pictures, and please let me know if you have any comments.
Today is Day 1 of my trip, and it is Thursday, May 10th, 2012. I left San Diego on an early flight and got into Vancouver at around 1:30 pm. I was daring, and took the train which is right outside of the airport to one stop before Burrard Street, I think it was called City Centre. I say daring because I had two suitcases with me, a large one, and then another bag with my laptop, other electronics and paperwork in it. If my third bag, a small carry-on that had to be checked in – hadn’t got misplaced – I would have had to take a taxi or a shuttle bus, but since the airport promised to deliver the delayed bag to me that evening, and since I had only two bags or cases, it was manageable on the train. It was a 35 minute train ride from the airport to the stop which was most convenient to the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver, where I would spend my night. The train ride was only $8.75 Canadian dollars for a one way trip and I purchased my ticket from the machine outside on the platform.
When I got off the train, I asked someone where the hotel was, and it was easy to walk to, just about a block and a half away, probably less than a five minute walk. I checked into the Hyatt Regency, and was very pleased with their check-in and with their level of service. Since one of my bags had been delayed, I informed the front desk about this – so that if I was out in the evening, they could look out for my bag for me. They asked if I needed toiletries, and I told them I was okay, that I had those with me. However, after I had arrived in my room – 2003 – on the 20th floor with the awesome view shown above (fourth picture) – there was a knock on the door, and I was handed a toiletry bag complete with toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shaving stick and shaving cream, and other items. I was really impressed. I loved the room, it had a really nice modern feel to it, and I also loved this hotel – what’s not to love when it has a shopping mall attached right next to it, that you access from the lobby of the hotel, and there is a Starbucks right in the lobby too!
Vancouver is so pretty. Make sure that you allow yourself more than just a day for this beautiful city. I had only one day here, and it was not enough. This was my second visit to Vancouver, I spent about two weeks here previously many years ago. If you have only a short time in Vancouver, I recommend taking the Red Hop On Hop Off Bus which I took, and it allowed me to see much more than if I would have ventured out on my own. There is commentary, and part of the bus is uncovered, which is excellent for those of you who want to take pictures and videos. I will be posting a video soon. Look out for it on my YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/luchaniktravel
If you would like to see more pictures that I took in Vancouver, please take a look on my Facebook page, and please consider pressing “like” on my page. Thank you. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.433759606649054.105771.182290738462610&type=3 By the way, I love Stanley Park – beautiful place to go and take pictures.
Update: I have another post on Vancouver and a video, you can view it here: Vancouver
The Ship – Radiance Of The Seas
Today it is Day 2 of my trip, but Day 1 of the Cruise. The Radiance Of The Seas is very fitting for an Alaska cruise, as this stunning ship is practically encased in floor to ceiling glass windows, giving you unbeatable views of incredible scenery, without you having to go outside on the deck to take it all in. The main restaurant is Cascades, and there is a beautiful lobby, swimming pool, casino, fitness center, many specialty restaurants, and pubs/bars. The itinerary for the 7 day cruise that we went on included port visits to Ketchikan, Icy Staits Point, Skagway, and Juneau. Don’t forget to take your camera as you will want to take pictures of the ship, as well as beautiful Alaska.
Update on June 5, 2012 – I have added a separate overview of the Radiance Of The Seas, you can see it at this link: https://luchanik.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/radiance-of-the-seas-an-overview/
12 Day Trip Vancouver to Alaska, May, 2012
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I flew into Vancouver from San Diego on May 10, 2012, and spent a day there, and then caught a seven day cruise on the next day from Vancouver to Seward on the Radiance Of The Seas. The port visits for the seven day cruise from Vancouver to Alaska include Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, […]