Join Davinder on her 4 day cruisetour of Alaska, which started in Seward at the end of the 7 day cruise from Vancouver to Alaska.
Day 1 of the Cruisetour was busy and very memorable with visits to the SeaLife Center, a Resurrection Bay Wildlife Cruise (where Davinder saw a whale, at least a glimpse of a whale), and a wonderful trip on the Wilderness Express train where she saw a Bald Eagle. The day finished with a stay overnight at the beautiful Alyeska Resort and Hotel, which is one of the best ski resorts in Alaska.
A cruisetour is different to a shore excursion, because the latter is available as an optional trip during a cruise ship’s port visit, while a cruisetour, is a trip you can make either prior to your cruise or after. You can take cruisetours virtually everywhere you embark on your cruise, or disembark, so next time you think of a cruise whether it’s from Venice, Rome, London, Miami, Vancouver, or any other port at all – think about a cruisetour, and you will get to see more of that particular place. A cruisetour allows you to visit different places, and to see them in greater depth. Transportation is included, as well as accommodation, and some meals. Most cruisetours are run by cruise lines, so it makes sense to book them along with your cruise. You should always book your cruisetours prior to taking your cruise.
I took a post-cruise tour, which started from Seward, which was where the Vancouver to Alaska cruise finished. Also, just something to note…..I would never have seen bears during my cruise – even on the shore excursions that I took (however, there are some excursions where there is a chance to see bears), and since I love bears, this cruisetour made it worthwhile to me, especially when I saw the Grizzly Bear in Denali Park. The Black Bear that I saw even though it was in a Conservation Center, was also another highlight of my cruisetour, as was the Wilderness Express train, and my stay at the Hotel Alyeska. I also enjoyed seeing Mount McKinley. Therefore, as you can see – you would not be able to experience Denali Park, Mount McKinley, the Wilderness Express train, Mount McKinley, or Hotel Alyeska without going on a cruisetour, unless you fly to Alaska just specifically to experience these places. I hope this explanation has made it a little clearer to you as to what a cruisetour is, and sometimes it is more difficult to write about it than to show it in a video, so I’ve attempted to explain it in a video that I made – please see the next post, and I will also put a link here: Cruisetour – Alaska
Anyway, to continue my recount of the cruisetour, I have included some pictures below. The bus was right outside the cruise ship, waiting to take us on the next adventure.
We then went to the SeaLife Center (I showed you some pictures of the sea lions and seals in a previous post), here are some pictures of the actual Center
We then went back by bus to near where the cruise ship was docked to catch a Resurrection Bay Wildlife Cruise. This is where I caught a glimpse of a whale, you can see that in my video that I will post at the bottom of this page. Here are pictures of the port of Seward:
Now, for the highlight of the cruisetour, or at least my favorite part – the Wilderness Express train – you just have to experience this train. It has two levels, and has a glass dome, which makes for excellent viewing. You can see the wildlife of Alaska as you zoom on by, we saw caribou, and bald eagles (you will see the bald eagle on my video, didn’t get a picture of it, just video footage).
That’s me – Davinder – both outside the train, and on level two of the train in the glass dome portion of it. Everybody else had gone downstairs to eat.
Here I am with a fellow CruiseOne franchise owner and his wife, and another travel agent.
Have you ever delved into your food, and then realized you should have taken a picture first? Well, this halibut was so good, that I could not resist, and I took the picture too late. I probably should not even include this picture here, but I promise this was just about the best dish of food I had during the whole trip to Alaska – it was delicious!
I’m not sure if I showed you this picture of the caribou, but we saw these from the train.
Well, if they could make a song and sing it to the tune of “Welcome to the Hotel California”, they should do it for the Hotel Alyeska. Welcome to the Hotel Alyseska, it’s a lovely place. We arrived at this beautiful hotel way too late, it must have been at about 9pm. The next day we had to leave at around 11 am, and that certainly was not fair. I just loved this hotel. It is simply beautiful, and I could easily stay here for three or four days at least, a visit of one night is not worth it. It has so much atmosphere, and words cannot describe it – both inside and outside of the hotel, it is exquisite.
It was snowing when we arrived there, and this was on Friday, May 18th. The Hotel Alyeska is one of the best ski resorts in Alaska. It is a very popular place, and rightly so.
The next morning, we took a tram up to where all the skiing takes place, and there was so much snow.
Out of the four hotels that I stayed in during the four day cruisetour of Alaska, the Alyeska Resort was undoubtedly the best. It is just magical.
Goodbye, Hotel Alyeska and the Wilderness Express train. I wish I’d had more time with both of you – you were both part of my most incredible experiences of the cruisetour, and both occurred on Day One of the four days. I’m glad that I captured you in photographs and video, as now I will always remember you.
It is now day 8, and it is check-out day, goodbye day, and time to leave the Radiance Of The Seas. It is Friday, May 18, 2012. The ship had arrived at Seward, our arrival dock at 4am. We had got our numbers to put on our luggage the night before, the numbers are really important. The following picture of the ever helpful Cruise Compass will give you an idea of what I mean. You could get a number such as 5, 6, 20 and 21 that had a departure time of 6am, or be slightly more lucky if you are booked on a cruise tour like us – our number was 82, and our departure time was 9am. This of course, gave us more time in the morning. The last numbers were scheduled to be called at approximately 9:30 am.
The last few pictures I took of the ship were these:
Excuse this picture as it is not the best, I used my camcorder again, and it was major clean-up day for the Radiance Of The Seas staff, so I had to take the picture while they were in the midst of their cleaning.
The games room – Seven Hearts – I never even got the chance to sit in this room.
This is the centre of the mid-area that overlooks the Centrum and can be seen from all the floors just about. Quite a design!
I snuck a look at an ocean-view cabin on my way out.
It is bitter-sweet leaving a ship when it’s the end of the cruise. However, the nice part of this journey is that even though one adventure is over, the other one is just about to begin, as now it is time for the cruise tour. Our bus will take us from Seward today to the Sea Life Centre, and then drop us off so that we can take a boat tour on Kenai Fjords Explorer, and have a chance to view whales, otters and sea lions, etc. Later, we will take the Wilderness Express train to Girdwood, where we will stop the night at Hotel Alyeska. I will write up on that part of the journey soon. Thank you for reading.
Here are some of my pictures of wildlife taken in Alaska after the completion of the recent Radiance Of The Seas cruise in May, 2012. On May 18, 2012 our cruise ship finished the 7 day cruise in Seward, Alaska and we got on our post cruise tour, which was hosted by Royal Caribbean. There’s a difference between shore excursions and cruise tours. The excursions allow you to see the ports that the ship visits, while the cruise tours allows you to see more of a particular area or country better. For example, our cruise tour started in Seward, and then we went to Girdwood, Talkeetna, Mount McKinley, Denali Park, and Fairbanks. By way of the cruise tour, we were allowed into the wilds of Alaska.
This particular post is not in sequential order of the cruise tour visits, as I mainly wanted to show the wildlife viewing opportunities. This Grizzly Bear was an amazing sight to see, and was out in the wilds of Denali Park, which was part of our 4 Day cruise tour hosted by Royal Caribbean. However, personally, I prefer the Black Bear that I saw at a Nature Reserve. I just love bears, and I guess Black Bears are one of my favorites, along with koala bears. There is a lot of history behind Denali Park, and we really need to treasure places that are out there that protect wild animals, and also allow us to view them as safely as possible.
I’m not very good with certain animals, does anyone know if this is moose or bison?
Not really wild life, but just had to include this picture here:
Dall Sheep scattering up mountains
Well, if I can’t tell the difference between bison and moose, I also can’t tell the difference between sea lions and seals. This second picture (below) was taken at the Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward, Alaska where the cruise ship docked at the end of the 7 day cruise. It was easier to see the sea life closer in this setting than it was in the wild in the picture above which was taken when we were on a boat tour with Kenai Fjords Tours on the same day after the cruise had finished. Both these excursions were part of our 4 day cruise tour, which had just got started from Seward.
The boat tour had been really enjoyable and we actually saw whales – I think I have got video coverage of it – too hard to get on camera. Denali Park is also an extremely important experience. So, as you can see if there is any one reason to go to Alaska (other than the mountains, the snow, and the ice) – guess what it is? It’s for the wildlife! Go just to see the wildlife, and you won’t be disappointed.