Tag Archive | shore excursions

Royal Caribbean’s Radiance Of The Seas, Vancouver to Alaska – Part 1

This video will show my photos and video footage of the cruise, and the port visits, including pictures of Mendenhall Glacier and Hubbard Glacier. Part 2 will have more cruise coverage.

Some people go on a cruise ship for the destination, and some go for the experience on the ship.  I liked both aspects, because I just love cruises, and love traveling.  My other favorite parts of the actual cruise were the entertainment (got a little bit of Bollywood), the Park Cafe food, and the Indian food in the Windjammer Cafe, where I also got Indian tea.  It’s important to have some of those home comforts!

Skagway

It is now Day 6 of the cruise.  I will be taking excursion no. 3 today, and it leaves at 8am.  Who said cruising was all about relaxing?  I have had to wake up early every single day, and one of the days when there wasn’t a port visit, I had a CruiseOne seminar from 9 am to 4:30 pm or so, and still had to wake up early.  Today’s excursion is called Skagway City and White Pass Summit.  By the way, the three excursions that I booked through my own website (http://www.likecruises.com) with our Shore Excursions provider were only $141 in total for all three – that’s a very good deal, and as you can see from yesterday’s excursion to Mendenhall Glacier, it’s worth getting on a bus and exploring.

The instructions on the ticket said to be just outside the cruise pier, and to check in by 7:40 am.  It was a good job that I brought my passport with me, as we were supposed to go into Canada, just past the border.  I managed to make it to the bus in time, and we set off promptly at 8am.  Here are some pictures that were taken at some of the stops, and this time I am going to use bigger pictures instead of thumbnails, please feel free to let me know if this is a better choice or not.

We must have been near Brackett Wagon Road according to this sign

Skagway

I wonder what’s nicer – being on the train, or being at a distance and seeing the train?

Skagway, near White Pass Summit in Alaska

The landscape is now changing as we are climbing higher up the hills in the bus, this picture was taken from the bus, and shows the trees are now dotted with white.

and it is getting whiter and whiter……..snow!  And lots of it!

It’s beginning to look very white out here, and the sun is trying to break through the sky, but it is very cold!

Snow and Sun, Skagway, Alaska

Welcome to Alaska, a must-have photograph – everyone wants their picture taken here.

White Pass Summit, near the border of Canada

There was too much snow, that we couldn’t go past the border, what a shame!  I would so much have liked to go into Canada again, even if for just a few moments.  We were told the roads were not clear enough, and not passable. Now we headed back down to Skagway from the White Pass Summit.

We stopped here because it was another scenic spot to take pictures.

Scenic Skagway, Alaska

The Norwegian Pearl, side by side with the Radiance Of The Seas.

The Norwegian Pearl, and Radiance Of The Seas in Skagway

We went on a short hike, and saw the Gold Rush Cemetery

Gold Rush Cemetery, Skagway, Alaska

Gold Rush Historical Information, Skagway

Be prepared for a short hike up, about a 5 minute walk to this waterfall, past the Cemetery.

Waterfall, Skagway

Scenic, magical, mysterious Skagway

We are done with the excursion, and I’m off the bus and decided to walk around Skagway, instead of heading back to the cruise ship.  The excursion lasted about two and a half hours, and it is only 11 am or so.  However, we have until 4pm today in Skagway….so might as well see it.

Downtown Skagway, five minutes or so from the cruise ship

Downtown Skagway, Alaska

Tlingits are an Alaskan Native people who have lived in Southeast Alaska for generations.  You can read more about the Tlingits by looking at the picture.

Tlingits, read about Alaskan Native history

Skagway City Museum

Interesting choice of names for these chocolate-covered concoctions. I chose the fudge instead.

Alaskan Fudge Shop Treats

Alaska is famous for its fudge in addition to its natural beauty and wild life, gold panning, Native American history, etc.

I did try their chocolate almond fudge – it was so good!

Alaskan Fudge Shop, Skagway

Nice house in downtown Skagway

Found an Indian restaurant – didn’t eat there though, perhaps next time.

Indian Restaurant in Skagway, Alaska

Downtown Skagway, Alaska

Looks like there’s inscriptions on the rocks, or are they signs?

Skagway

Want to buy gold?  There is still a lot of signs of the Gold Rush era.

Gold Shop, Skagway

A golden hotel…..the Golden North Hotel

Golden North Hotel, Skagway

Really wished I had taken this train to the White Pass Summit

White Pass Summit Train, Skagway

Interesting name for a place

Red Onion Saloon, Alaska

That’s the Norwegian Pearl in the background

Norwegian Pearl in Skagway

Looking back at Skagway for the last few minutes before I head back to the cruise ship.

Downtown Skagway street scene

The trains of Skagway.  I think I like trains…..

    

      

The walk back to the Radiance Of The Seas rock….I passed interesting rock art, trains, and the Norwegian Pearl…..

      

The Norwegian Pearl in Skagway

Now I see the Radiance Of The Seas

The Radiance Of The Seas in Skagway

Now, I am back on the ship, and tomorrow is the last full day of the cruise.  Will let you know how Day 7 goes.  Thank you for reading.

Juneau

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:

Radiance Of The Seas in Juneau, Alaska

Radiance Of The Seas in Juneau, Alaska

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.

Ketchikan

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:

This picture was taken while in the bus on the Saxman Native Village Tour shore excursion

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.

Some historical information about the totem poles

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.