7 Night Alaska Cruise from Vancouver

Princess Cruises DocumentAlaska, here I come! I was beyond excited when I booked my Alaska cruise. To eliminate the need to fly, I was initially looking at a Vancouver roundtrip cruise. I decided against that because I preferred the northbound itinerary on the one-way cruise with the Diamond Princess. I mean, I was going to Alaska, I may as well see as much as I can in the time frame available.

Our northbound cruise to Alaska from Vancouver couldn’t have been more perfect. The weather, the scenery, the Princess crew, the people of Alaska, and the cities and towns. Here’s a summary of what we experienced.

We embarked in Vancouver at Canada Place cruise terminal. From the airport, the taxi ride is about 30 minutes, approximately $30 not including tip. There’s also public transportation, what locals call the skytrain, that is a short 20 minute trip straight to the terminal.

Alaska cruise from Vancouver

Downtown Vancouver skyline on June 8, 2013.

Looking ominous in the photo above, the sun did manage to shine for us as shown in the photo immediately below.

Cruise ship under Lions Gate Bridge

Leaving the harbour, we sail under Lions Gate Bridge. Lions Gate Bridge has a ship clearance of 62 metres, preventing large ships such as the Celebrity Solstice from sailing out of Vancouver.

An advantage to cruising to Alaska out of Vancouver versus Seattle is sailing the lush and scenic inside passage right away. When sailing out of Seattle, ships sail along the west cost of Vancouver Island and half of the ship’s view is the open ocean.

Alaska cruising

Lush inside passage

Our first stop was Ketchikan. Unfortunately, we didn’t spend any time exploring this cute looking town. Instead, we did a kayaking excursion, discovering the surrounding area. I don’t regret this — as with any trip, you can’t do it all and I’ll just have to return for more some day!

Cruise Experts Travel kayaking excursion in Ketchikan

Our guide pointing out a whale in the distance! Cruise Experts Travel offers shore excursions in Alaska. Make sure you get in touch with our shore excursions department.

Our guide was personable and informative, and there were only two of us on this excursion! He said that they don’t work with the cruise lines as they prefer to offer more intimate experiences and cater it to the desire of the people on the excursion.

kayaking in Ketchikan

For a good chunk of the time, it was just the three of us on the water, complete serenity. And check out the sky. I made the mistake of not wearing a hat this day.

Picnic after kayaking

A picnic was waiting for us on the boat after we finished kayaking for 2.5 hours. The whole experience lasts 4 hours.

Back onboard after dinner we decided to hang out at the atrium. There was an interactive martini shaking contest that caught our attention. Beware, being a spectator may result in participating in some fun activities!

Diamond Princess

Back onboard, I was lured into participating in the martini shaking contest. Got to enjoy the fruits of my fun, err, labour afterward.

Our next port of call was Juneau, the capital of Alaska. We were in Juneau until 8 pm, so had a lot more time to explore than we did in Ketchikan. With dog sledding on a glacier excursion booked mid day, we walked around Juneau, which was unexpectedly, yet not surprisingly hilly.

Exploring Juneau, Alaska

Be prepared to walk up and down hills if you’re going to explore Juneau on foot.

Our helicopter and dog sledding excursion was the most exciting activity. It’s truly something you must experience, soaring above Juneau and hovering over ancient glaciers.

helicopter tour of Juneau

Up, up and away. En route to a glacier where we’d meet cute iditarod dogs.

The helicopter ride was about 20 minutes and it was breathtaking. This for sure warrants its own blog post.

mushing on a glacier

Dogsledding on a glacier. Everyone was on a high after this excursion.

Our last port of call was Skagway, Alaska. It was another brilliantly warm and bright day. So what did we do? We found a local pub and enjoyed beer on the patio. The town is very small is home to about 1000 people in the summer. The number goes down drastically in the winter season.

Skagway on an Alaska cruise

Exploring this well-kempt town was delightfully relaxing, particularly on this warm June day.

The next two days were spent sailing aboard the Diamond Princess glacier viewing. Because we booked a balcony, we enjoyed both days, mostly in the privacy and comfort of our stateroom.

College Fjord Alaska

College Fjord

Glacier Bay

Only two ships are permitted to enter Glacier Bay in one day.

Glacier Bay was another amazing experience. We ordered room service and watched and listened patiently for the glacier to calve. Our cruise ended in Whittier, but the Alaska experience wasn’t over for us just yet.

midnight sun Alaska

The sun doesn’t really go down this time of year. Never having experienced this, it was odd to never really see the dark sky.

We booked Cruise Experts Travel’s transfer from Whittier to Anchorage which costs less than the cruise line’s AND includes a one hour stop at the Wildlife Conservation Centre on our way to Anchorage airport. The driver was wonderful! He pointed out spots and shared stories of life in Alaska.

wildlife conservation center

Seeing wildlife up close at the Conservation Center was a great way to end this amazing trip.

The Conservation Center takes orphaned animals and nurses them. Unfortunately, most animals cannot be released because the wouldn’t be able to fend for themselves. Fortunately, though, they have plenty of room to roam.

My Alaska cruise was an amazing trip that I’ll have to do again. Next time around will be a cruisetour which goes further inland and visits Denali National Park. A girl can dream, right?

If you’d like to experience Alaska, you can start off by browsing the deals we offer or even better, call 1-800-565-2784 to speak with an Alaska Cruise Specialist.

About Vanny

Vanny is Cruise Experts Travel’s Social Media Coordinator. She is a passionate world traveler and has been given an exciting opportunity to share experiences, tips and advice on everything cruising and travel in Alaska.
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