We arrived in Vancouver 2 days prior to the start of our Cruisetour. We stayed at the Pan Pacific hotel. It is right on the waterfront in beautiful Vancouver, and an elevator ride to boarding your cruise!
We boarded the Star early in the afternoon and that gave us time to explore before departure. Leaving Vancouver was quite an experience. As you leave the port, you go under the Lion’s Gate bridge with not a lot of clearance! We managed to get a spot at the front of the ship! It is a beautiful journey up the west coast of BC. We had gorgeous weather and were able to spend lots of time outside.
The first day of the cruise was an at sea day. We spent a lot of time outside watching the world go by. The second day we woke up in Ketchikan. It was July 4. We chose to do the Deadliest Catch Crab Fisherman’s Tour. It is aboard the Alleutian Ballad which is one of the ships from the TV series the Deadliest Catch. It was a great day. Lots of great scenery and a great education about what really happens out on the Bering Sea. We had a bright sunny day with calm seas. Nothing like you see on the TV program!
The next day was Juneau, Alaska. We chose not to do an excursion that day. I enjoyed a massage on board in the morning, and then we went into Juneau and walked around and did some sight seeing and some shopping. In Juneau there are many excursions for those that want to go hiking on glacers and do some whale watching.
Our next port of call was Skagway, AK. Skagway was the gateway to the gold fields back in the 1800s. In Skagway we chose to do the Red Onion Breakfast, Summit & Suspension bridge tour. The Red Onion Saloon is one of the old brothels from the gold rush days. We then boarded the bus up the Klondike Highway to the Yukon Suspension Bridge. We actually crossed back into Canada on this excursion!
The next 2 days were 2 stunning days of cruising through Glacier Bay National Park and College Fjord. This truly shows the beauty of nature in its most true form. In Glacier Bay National Park, the Captain stopped the ship and rotated around 3 times so that regardless where you were you on the ship you could see everything. We were lucky enough to see the glacier calving.
The next day was a day of cruising along the beautiful coastline. Again we had gorgeous weather and were able to spend so much time out on the deck and our balcony it was fabulous. We arrived in College Fjord which is named after prestigious east coast schools by the college professors who first discovered the area. Again, another stunning day of the beauty of nature.
The night was so beautiful that we sat on our balcony with just light sweaters on till almost midnight. Being this far north it never got completely dark.
Unfortunately we didn’t see a whole lot of marine life on the cruise. We did see some backs of whales, but none of them surfaces completely or breached.
We had an early morning disembarkation to board the Direct-to-the-Wilderness rail service which took us to the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge. The train took us along the Alaska Railway right into Denali National Park. We spend 2 nights at the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge. We did a tour through the park and again, gorgeous.
The next trip was on to the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. We boarded the bus in the morning at Denali and arrived at the Mt. McKinley Lodge. This was a beautiful location with a huge deck that had a gorgeous view of Denali. We were in the lucky 30% of tourists that actually gets to see Denali. Most of the time she is shrouded in clouds so you aren’t able to see the full mountain. We were actually able to see her 4 days in a row, which is very rare.
Our last night was spend in Anchorage at the Captain Cook hotel right in downtown. We did a short tour of Anchorage and learned a lot of the history saw all of the sights.
It was an absolutely amazing trip. If this is something that you are considering. Do it. I never thought I’d enjoy an Alaska cruise, but I did, and it is something that I would recommend to anyone.