For those who don't already know, we took a 2 week trip to Alaska for our honeymoon. We delayed our honeymoon a bit because, well, you can't really go to Alaska in March on a cruise ship (unless you want to end up like the Titanic). We are finally back from our 2 weeks in paradise, and the reality of us coming home has hit us HARD. Alaska was the only vacation I've ever been on that I wasn't ready to come home at the end. I could have stayed there forever....well at least until the snow hits.
I wanted to give a detailed overview of our trip so it can help those of you who may want to travel there someday...and you really should travel there someday.
Before I go into all of the details, I want to give a brief overview of the way we did our trip. We decided to go on a cruisetour. If you don't know what that is, half of the vacation you are on a normal cruise ship. After that you disembark and tour different portions of the inland while staying in hotels/lodges. We had only been on one short cruise to Mexico through Carnival which was fun and all, but not really our ideal trip for a honeymoon.
We did months of research before booking this trip, and decided the best value for money was through Princess Cruise Line. We decided to do the cruise portion first (northbound), and the land portion second. You can choose either way, but typically the land first (southbound) is more expensive.
To keep this post from being too long, I am going to split it up into two parts. Part one will be our cruise portion, and part two will be our land portion. I will give all the deets of what I though of each portion at the end of each post. :)
Here's an overview of the places we went for our cruise portion, and what we did each day:
Day One: Vancouver, B.C. Canada
Our first day we flew in bright and early into Vancouver, and went straight to the ship. Our transportation and luggage were both taken care of by Princess, and we actually booked our flights through Princess EZ Air too. They seemed to have the cheapest prices (surprisingly), and you are guaranteed to get on the ship if there is a delay in flights. The boarding process was very smooth. We were on the ship within 2 hours of landing at the airport, and it's a 45 minute drive from the airport to the ship. I wish we could have spent an extra day in Vancouver, because it looked like a really cool city (possible future vacation?). Our luggage was in our stateroom by the time we got on board, and we spent the rest of the day scoping out the ship and relaxing since it was pouring rain outside.
Day Two: At Sea
Day two was a very relaxing day. As much as I wanted to sleep in, I was actually awake by 6 AM due to the time change and it being extremely light outside. It never gets dark in the summer in Alaska, and the further north we went the more daylight lingered around.
We were at sea the whole day, so we got ourselves some fancy drinks, splurged and got a couples massage (thank goodness for on-board credit), and dressed up for our for first formal night dinner. The weather was a little better, so we spent quite a bit of time outside.
There were lots of events to go to after dinner, so we decided to go to the comedy show. The comedian was Carl Strong, and he was absolutely fantastic! He kept it clean for the most part, but still had us rolling on the ground! He did such a great job that he actually did another unplanned show due to popular demand!
Day Three: Ketchikan
Our first stop was in Ketchikan, which is Alaska's first city. In my opinion, this was probably my favorite town we stopped in. I'm sad we weren't able to stay at this port longer. We were only there from 6 AM-2PM. We didn't have any excursions planned for this port since we were there such a short time, so we spent the day exploring the town. It was small of a town to walk around by foot, so we didn't need to worry about transportation. It definitely has an old, fisherman style to the town. We found some trails to explore, and found a cool restaurant/bar to hang out in too. Seriously, such a cool place!
Day Four: Juneau
Our second port and fourth day was in Juneau! We had a lot of time in this port (we were there 12 hours), which was a great thing because there is a lot to do here! This was a close second to Ketchikan. We had booked our excursion for Juneau through Princess prior to our vacation, so it was nice to have our day kinda planned out for us. We spent the morning going river rafting and got some really cool views of the Mendenhall Glacier (which is HUGE). Photos will never do glaciers justice. They are super fascinating and absolutely beautiful in person. As for river rafting, we had a blast! It wasn't anything crazy, in fact a lot of the time we were scenic floating so you could have your camera to take photos and videos. It was such a beautiful ride.
After our ride, we grabbed lunch on the ship and walked around. We rode a tram that gave us magnificent views of the town, and lead us to some hiking trails.
We took a five mile hike to the top of the mountain, where we found lots of cool trees and incredible scenery. It wasn't a super hard hike, but it was definitely steep. We were thankful it was raining the whole time to keep us cool. The hike was totally worth it, I mean look at the view! We even found snow!
Day Five: Skagway
Our third and final port off the ship was in Skagway. We had our excursion planned prior to porting again, so most of the day was planned out. We took a scenic train ride up to the White Pass Summit, and it was incredible! We didn't see any wildlife (surprisingly), but the scenery took my breath away. It was raining all day again, so it was nice to be indoors. The train actually broke down while we were on there, and it took 40 minutes to get it running again. So we got to see some of the scenery several times, which was nice! The train ride took up the majority of the day, so we walked around town a little bit (there wasn't much to see), and headed back to the ship after our train ride.
Day Six: Glacier Bay National Park (Scenic Cruising)
By the time day six came around, we were super pooped. We decided to sleep in and get going on our own time, since we were cruising today. Words can't express how beautiful it was scenic cruising through Glacier Bay! Look at the size of that glacier! Photos will never do the real thing justice, so you will just have to go see it yourself!
Day Seven: College Fjord (Scenic Cruising)
Our final day on the ship was another day of scenic cruising through the College Fjord. We weren't at the actual College Fjord very long, but in my opinion I thought it was even more incredible than Glacier Bay! The ship was stopped perfectly so you could get a panoramic view of all three glaciers. It was one of the most beautiful things I saw on the whole trip! Since it was the last night on the ship, we got dressed up again for dinner as it was the second formal night on the ship. We were definitely ready to get off the ship after two days of cruising, so it was good that we were disembarking in the morning.
Overall Thoughts of Cruising Portion:
The cruise really was outstanding, and I really have no complaints about it! The staterooms were nice and clean, and although the interior of the ship is a little outdated it's still classy and beautiful! We could not get over how amazing the service on the ship was. Everyone was happy to be there, and was immediately there to serve you as soon as you sat down no matter where you were sitting.
Our favorite part of the day was dinnertime, because we chose anytime dining and were able to sit with new people every night. It was so fun to get to know new people, and an even bigger bonus that most of the people we sat with were Australian! It was interesting to learn things about their country and what their culture is like.
I will put a small disclaimer that we were most definitely the minority in age on the ship. In fact, we were probably the youngest people on the entire ship. Alaska isn't really the first place 21-year-olds
decide to take a vacation, and it's kinda pricey for people our age. We knew long before we booked our vacation that it was going to be mostly and older, retired crowd. We didn't mind at all! Older folks make great company. :)
The food was fantastic. The drinks were fantastic. We had a blast! Although it was only our second cruise, we were so impressed with Princess Cruises. Overall, I have zero complaints.
As for the land portion of our cruise, I'll write that in a separate review. I think this one has been long enough! And if you've stuck with me to the end of this one, thank you! I hope it was informational.
See ya in the next one!