This past month, I took a 7-day Alaskan cruise with my family. It was such a fun and relaxing trip – something I desperately needed! We did the Inside Passage with Glacier Bay trip with Princess; this started in Vancouver and went to Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Glacier Bay, and ended in Whittier.
I’m just going to say it right now – I absolutely love Vancouver. It’s such a clean, beautiful city, and everyone is just so nice! Even the busses say “Sorry, out of service.” We stayed at the River Rock Hotel which was gorgeous. They had the prettiest flower arrangements in the lobby:
In the morning, we got on a tour bus from Westcoast Sightseeing and they took us all over the city. My favorite part by far was Stanley Park, a 1,001-acre park that borders downtown. We saw a wedding happening, and I definitely jotted that down for the future (come and get me, boys). Stanley Park is SO green and lush, and there were flowers everywhere! People were rollerblading, biking, and running all around us, so naturally we just sampled some delicious maple ice cream (Americans…).
The view of the Vancouver skyline was beautiful, even though it was cloudy out. They said it rarely snows there, and it’s not too cold at all during the winter. It’s also nice and cool during the summer. I would definitely consider moving there one day!
Oh, that’s my brother, Jared. You’ll be seeing a lot of him in this post.
The most beautiful part of Stanley Park was the Lions Gate Bridge. The view of the bridge itself was incredible, and looking over the water was so serene – especially with all the fog.
After Stanley Park, we went to Granville Island, which was just adorable. There were so many cute shops and markets, and zero chain restaurants! All Mom & Pop places, just like I like it. Jared and I ate some delicious sushi – the start to a 90% seafood diet for the week.
We boarded the ship around 6pm, and then we were off!
First Formal Night + Ketchikan
Our first formal night on the ship was a ton of fun – it’s always nice to dress up! I didn’t want to get too fancy with a long dress, so I packed a cocktail dress from J. Crew and some of my newest jewels from Rocksbox. Dinner was delicious that night – we went to the steakhouse on board and ate literally everything. Helloooooo, surf and turf!
Our first port of call was Ketchikan, which has been dubbed the Salmon Capital of the World. Ketchikan is the southeasternmost city in Alaska, and has the world’s largest collection of standing totem poles.
While we didn’t do any excursions in Ketchikan, we did explore the town a LOT. My favorite area was Creek Street, which used to be the red light district there.
Our second (and my favorite) port of call was Juneau. I’m going to start off by saying that we had 15 hours there, and it still wasn’t enough time. We got up bright and early to go whale watching. Our boat had about 13 people on it, so it was pretty intimate and everyone got their chance to grab pictures and videos. We saw a ton of wildlife… mostly humpback whales but also sea lions and bald eagles. Our tour guide said that he follows the whales to Hawaii every year, which is where they migrate to when it gets cold in Alaska.
After our adventures whale watching, we went to the Mendenhall Glacier, which was magnificent. We stayed there for about 45 minutes – we could have hiked to that waterfall you can see on the right of the photo, but it would have taken longer than we had allotted time for. If I could do it again, I would schedule time for the 2 mile hike!
When we got back to town, we took a cable car up to the middle of Mount Roberts, which was terrifying and amazing at the same time. Jared and I hiked up the mountain more until we hit snow, which was amazing! It was nice to get some exercise after eating so much food on the ship.
We were exhausted after hiking, so we found a quirky little place called the Red Dog Saloon. There was a local artist playing some well-known country songs, and you could tell that this was a place for locals and visitors alike. We were pretty sad when it came time to get back on the ship… we could have spent a few more hours in Juneau! I didn’t get to visit the Alaska Brewing Co, but it’s on my list for next time.
Skagway is one of the smallest towns I’ve ever seen. They have one cell tower in the whole place, and no hospital. The women go to Juneau a month before their due date to have their babies because there just isn’t anywhere in Skagway to do it. So crazy!
Our first (and only) activity in Skagway was the White Pass and Yukon Road Railway. We took a shuttle about 45 minutes there, and actually went into Canada for a bit. We met the train at the station, and it took us right back to Skagway – the ride was about an hour, and the views were incredible:
After the train, we walked around town a bit. Like I said, the place is tiny so it didn’t take a long time to go over everything. There’s a brewery there, and a delicious popcorn shop! There are also plenty of outdoorsy stores, for all the hikers and campers that visit every summer.
Our last port wasn’t really a port at all – our ship stopped for most of the day in Glacier Bay, which is exactly what it sounds like.
They had a few park rangers get on the ship and talk to us over the PA system about the glaciers. It was so nice to be able to go back to our room and see the glaciers from the balcony!
We docked in Whittier, and I had a friend who lives in Anchorage pick me up. We spent the day there, and it was just as beautiful as the rest of the state. What a great way to end the trip! P.S. If you find yourself in Anchorage, you must eat at the Snow City Cafe.
One thing I totally forgot to talk about – the ship! We cruised with Princess on the Star Princess. This beautiful ship was huge, luxurious, and filled to the brim with entertainment, amenities, and great food. The shows were fantastic – my personal favorite was called British Invasion! I’ll let you picture that one in your head. We also got upgraded to a family suite at the last minute… they really had to twist our arms on that one.
I also enjoyed a bit of time in the casino – I learned how to play craps and did pretty decently! When not in the casino, I spent a lot of time in the spa. And took lots of naps. And read lots of books. And laid out by the pool (did I mention yet that it was sunny and 75 the whole time? Unseasonal, but we got lucky!).
This Alaskan cruise trip was amazing and I would definitely do it again. Next time, I’d like to do a few more outdoorsy activities – rafting, dog sledding, kayaking, and fishing. As for cruising, I am a definite fan. I loved being forced to relax and how I woke up in a new city each day. Bottom line: worth it.