5 Authentic Desserts You Must Try in Alaska

Baked Alaska Dessert

Baked Alaska Dessert

What is a perfect cruise trip without the best delights to accompany you? This is why we are going to give you the names of the 5 must have desserts on your cruise to the one and only chilling destination, Alaska. Alaska is full of beauty, wild life, fun, and romantic sunsets, so it is time to grab your forks and spoons and dig in while you enjoy every moment!

1. Baked Alaska Cake

The best dessert known all over the world and of course, Alaska is the Baked Alaska Cake. This delight is an ice cream sponge cake which is stuffed in delicious, creamy, and fired up with meringue. This classic dessert has yums stuffed inside, including delicious frozen delights. You can even get yours covered in rum! It is time for you to dig into the most delicious treat which Alaska has to offer you.

2. Wild Berry Cobbler

Offering you the juiciest berries and in lots of varieties, this dessert will have you on the edges of your seat. You can choose from your favorite cobbler recipe and top it off with the freshest berries in the entire continent. These lip licking berries include blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries too. After all, the wild berries are the best one, right? Want to make your trip even more interesting? Why not add some more fruits to delight your taste buds? Go for the mossberries, lingonberries, or even the salmonberries as well, spice up your life!

3. Akutaq (Agutuk)

This dish is a challenge to those who dare to try a taste of Alaska for the first time. This beautiful dish was actually created by the natives who called it Eskimo ice cream, which is ice cream with a hint of seal oil, snow, berries, and reindeer fat. Yes this dish does seem like a challenge for those who have never tried some of those ingredients, but, it is rated as an all time favorite of Native Alaskans. All of these unique ingredients are whipped up and the texture of the delight becomes a bit foamy. Sugar is not a part of this dessert, but, you can get it added if you want to for more fluff in your dessert. Are you Alaskan enough to try it?

4. Tongass Cookies (Forest Cookies)

We are still not sure of how this one originated, but knowing that this one of a kind dessert includes ingredients like coconut, healthy oats, and textured Rice Krispies, we think that Santa’s elves came up with the idea for this. The cookie even has 2 different kinds of sugar to delight your taste buds; you can munch on these non-stop on the cruise you do not want to miss. You only need to keep your eyes on the stash though; it will not take long for these chewy delicious delights to come to an end.

5. Romanoff Bread Pudding

What could be more perfect than the combination of strawberries, whipped cream, and last but not the least, liqueur? Dig in to fresh strawberries deeply covered in thick, delicious, and fresh whipped cream topped with your favorite flavor. There is also the heavenly presence of fresh cheese and soft bread pudding too.

For more information on the delights of cruising to Alaska, or any other cruise around the world, give us a call toll-free at 1-800-565-2784!

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A Journey You Will Never Forget – Alaska & Yukon Cruise 2015

Katmai Crater National Park Alaska

Katmai Crater National Park, Alaska

You have done so much for all of your loved ones all throughout your life. Now, it is time for you to lay back, relax, and enjoy the beauty of life at its best. Hop on an Alaskan & Yukon cruise and enjoy every minute by making the most of what matters. Bring your spouse along, and make a trip to the land of natural beauty, highlighting the following sites of unforgettable adventure:

Glacier Bay National Park

We bring to all of our guests amazing attractions such as Glacier Bay National Park. A park which leaves you mesmerized as you lay eyes upon the most beautiful glaciers you have ever seen. Sparkling like diamonds bathing in a beautiful crystal blue color, these glaciers are stunners to say the least. That is not all, enter the bay during the summers and  see whales in their natural habitat.

Sawyer Glacier

Love animals? This is the place to be if you wish to cruise on an Aqua-Safari. Get the chance to see some of the most adorable animals in action. Watch them play, watch them in nature; no bars or sign posts keep them from your scrutiny! Killer whales, seals, otters, find them all at Sawyer Glacier. You can even spot wolves, bears, deer and even moose!

Denali National Park

Welcome to 6 million acres of pure beauty. Here, at Denali, you will find the most amazing forest and tundra, filled with wildlife at its best. While you wait for your next cruise destination, get a chance to click some amazing snaps with ‘The High One,’ the highest peak in all of North America! Zoom through the valleys and enjoy the floral beauty surrounding the entire park. You won’t miss spotting grizzlies going on their hunt; catch them live in action.

Inside Passage

Imagine the smile on your face when you spot the most beautiful sunset ever between spectacular glaciers. There can be no better venue to finally get away to with your spouse, right? There is something in Alaska and in Yukon for everyone, regardless of age; if you are as young as 4 or as young as 40, these views will steal your breath away!

Go Native!

Alaska is not just about the mountains, glaciers and wildlife; there is more to this beautiful continent than which the eye sees. Alaska is the home to many cultures, which it has accepted and embraced as its own. With natives who speak more than 90 languages, this continent will capture your heart. Learn about the stories each totem pole has to say, take a sneak peek inside how they live their lives on a daily basis, sit inside the comfy log house, dance around the camp fire, tell stories from your childhood, let your inner artist out, and pass on the tales of adventure to your grandchildren.

To book your cruise, visit us at www.AlaskaCruiseExperts.com or simply give us a call at the following numbers. Be young, wild, and free in Alaska.

Toll Free: 1-800-565-2784

Vancouver: 604-737-8100

International: +1-604-737-8100

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The Landscape of Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay, Alaska

A visit to Glacier Bay is one of the most common highlights when cruising in Alaska. It is one of the most diverse regions in the state, with 3.3 million acres divided into snowy mountains, beautiful glaciers, temperate rainforest, crystal clear fjords and dramatic coastlines. While Glacier Bay offers an overabundance of sightseeing opportunities for a single day, here are four major natural attractions that cruisers can see during a port stop at the UNESCO-protected Glacier Bay National Park:

  1. Temperate Rainforest – While not something commonly associated with the frozen climate of Alaska, it is possible for plants and animals to survive and thrive in arctic conditions. Huge volumes of annual rainfall fuel the plants growth, which then provide shelter and nourishment to support many different species of wildlife, some of which are unique to the arctic region. While many envision Alaska to be a country of white, parts of Alaska are indeed a rich and fertile green; from the tops of trees to the forest floor, and even the trunks of the trees, coated with lichens and mosses. Travelers visiting in the summer are often taken aback by the vibrant hues of purple, pink, and yellow flowers that flourish throughout the Alaskan landscape.
  2. Glaciers – As one might imagine, one of the highlights of visiting Glacier Bay is, in fact, the glaciers. There are 16 different active tidewater glaciers in Glacier Bay, some of which are more than a mile long and stretch on as far as the eye can see. One of the most remarkable surprises of these glaciers is the spectrum of blues, pinks, and even yellow reflections dancing across the surface of these glaciers.
  3. Fjords are long, narrow valleys in the landscape filled with water from the sea. They provide a navigable network of waterways throughout Glacier Bay Park and offer travelers a perfect way to experience the mountains, glaciers, and other natural elements that make up Glacier Bay. The waters here are crystal clear and still, forming near-perfect natural reflections of the landscapes, as well as providing breathtakingly serene photo opportunities.
  4. The mountains in Glacier Bay are just as impressive and beautiful as the fjords and glaciers themselves, and stand tall as a remarkable backdrop for the exceptional natural features of Glacier Bay. The daring traveler might even try their hand at mountaineering in Glacier Bay, though it is not for the faint-hearted; only experienced climbers will revel in the challenges presented by the harsh climate and tricky, icy conditions.

For more information on cruising to Alaska, or cruising to anywhere else in the world, call us at 1-800-565-2784, or visit us on Facebook.


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What Kind of Aquatic Wildlife Will I See in Alaska?

Photo cred ejphoto.com

Pictured Above: the Alaskan Horned Puffin

It is widely accepted that cruising is an ideal way to experience the unique and wonderful features of Alaska. Between sailing past magnificent glaciers and snowy mountains, the scenery itself is worth the adventure alone. For many visitors, however, the main highlight of their cruise is encountering a variety of aquatic wildlife along the way!

  1. Humpback Whales tend to live in groups in the areas around Juneau, Seward, Homer and Hoonah, and are known to entertain travellers by dramatically arching their backs and flicking their tails up into the air before diving down to get food. Humpback whales are also known to occasionally breech from the water – an exciting scene for keen photographers.
  2. Killer Whales, while they tend to be more difficult to spot than Humpback Whales, also live around the coast of Alaska, and there are a couple resident pods near Juno. It can sometimes be easier to spot the whales from a smaller shore excursion than a large cruise ship, which also enables you to be much closer to the animals, an ideal option for those hoping to return home with some breath-taking photos.
  3. Puffins can be spotted in and around Glacier Bay National Park, one of the most common ports on an Alaskan cruise itinerary. These distinctive birds are easily recognisable by their orange- and yellow-coloured bills, and it is quite special to see them happy and active in their natural habitat, even if you aren’t an avid birdwatcher.
  4. Sea Lions also reside in Alaska, and tend to thrive in southeast Alaska, commonly seen resting on rocks by the water’s edge. These awkward-looking animals are extremely loud when humans get close to them, and tend to live in huge colonies, easily spotted out of the water.
  5. Sea Otters often share a habitat with sea lions, so it’s not uncommon to see both around the same area. Sea otters don’t have the luxury of thick blubber to keep them warm, however, so they’re recognisably smaller than Sea Lions, with thick fur coats instead. You are more likely to catch a glimpse of one swimming than to see them lying on the rocks with the sea lions.

Most aquatic animals are active during the Alaskan sailing season between mid-April and September. Naturally, one advantage of cruising through Alaska is that travellers massively increase their chance of seeing aquatic wildlife simply by spending an abundance of time on the water. For more information on cruising to Alaska, or cruising in general, call us at 1-800-565-2784 to speak with one of our cruise specialists, or get in touch with us on Facebook.


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5 Haunted Places in Alaska

haunted eklutna spirit houses chugiak alaska

Eklutna Spirit Houses in Chugiak, Alaska

With Halloween festivities in the air, we thought it was apt to compile a list of haunted destinations that we sail to. From hotels, to museums and grave sites – if the cool Northern air hasn’t already chilled you to the bone, these five haunted places in Alaska probably will.

  1. Buckner Building – Located in Whittier, Alaska, this building was constructed in 1953 and named after General Simon Buckner, who died in World War II. The building is now abandoned, however it used to contain a movie theater, a bowling alley, and a jail, as well as many tunnels that led to other buildings in town. It is rumored to be haunted by spirits of its past.
  2. Gaslight Lounge - Gaslight Lounge is in Anchorage, Alaska, and revelers have reported hearing strange noises emanating from the walls. Some claim that the jukebox starts up and plays by itself during after hours.
  3. Eklutna Spirit Houses - There is a cemetery located in Chugiak, Alaska with Spirit Houses, or structures built on top of the graves that contain items belonging to the deceased, such as cups, pipes, rifles and utensils. Those who practice the Eklutna religion (a combination of Russian Orthodox and Eskimo beliefs) believe that the souls of the dead wander for 40 days, looking for their personal items. The houses were built in an effort to keep the souls from wandering into their old villages and haunting those who have unknowingly reclaimed the departed’s personal items.
  4. Nana Museum of the Arctic - Urban legend has it that if you leave a basketball in the museum’s auditorium and say, “Alex, come and get your ball!” the sound of a bouncing basketball can be heard. It’s said that the source of the sound comes from a boy who lost his basketball beneath the museum, went to retrieve it, and never returned.
  5. Gakona Lodge and Trading Post - Some say a happy poltergeist roams the grounds of the Gakona Lodge and Trading Post, playing little tricks on visitors and lodge employees alike, such as moving items just a few inches out of place, or turning on lights and water faucets.

While the Alaskan cruising season is generally from April-September, cruises to Alaska can be booked all year round, and there are several other cruise destinations available during the Alaskan cruise off-season throughout the Caribbean, Europe, and South America. If visiting spooky destinations is of interest to you, check out 5 Haunted Castles to Visit on a River Cruise. For more Alaskan cruise inspiration, visit us on Facebook.

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Sea Day and Saying Goodbye to New Friends

A day at sea: the perfect way to end the Best of Alaska cruisetour. A day cruising on the Crown Princess in Alaska certainly isn’t a bore, though. I admit, exhaustion took over me on the last full day of our trip. I could’ve gotten up at my standard time, but I wanted to catch the 10 o’clock comedy show the evening before. The first night we saw the comedian’s show, he was hilarious and I’m glad I caught him the second time around. So I slept in on this last day, and it felt good.


Bored at sea? Not on the Crown Princess.

However, there were a few fun activities I missed like Zumba fitness dance class at 9 am and morning trivia at 10 am. There was also line dancing at 10:45 am and Bingo at 11:30 am.

After enjoying my last sit-down lunch served by Princess’ hardworking waitstaff (I finally had the burger I was contemplating since the start of the cruise), I made sure I would attend the Princess Grapevine Wine Tasting event. Elite members may attend this event free. A $9.50 fee applies to other guests.

Grapevine wine tasting on the Crown Princess August 1, 2014

A list of the wines we tasted.

As a wino, I think this event is worthwhile for those who seek to learn more about wine, but don’t know much.

Grapevine on Crown Princess

Dessert wine is served in the Princess shot glass, which you get to take home as a souvenir :)

Note, if you’re serious about wine already, perhaps a visit to Vines in the Piazza is a better option for you. Tapas and sushi are included with a purchase of a glass of wine. Not sure what to pair with what you’re eating? Ask your waiter for recommendations. We ended up going there later this evening to experience it. This is something I’d do over and over again on my next Princess cruise.

Today was also the day our Best of Alaska group met one last time to socialize. All the way at the top aft of the ship is Adagio, a bar and lounge that not many people are aware of. Thinking about it now, it would’ve been the perfect place to get some writing done! We learned that one of our guests won Bingo that day and at the beginning of the trip, she won a free facial! What a way to start and end a cruise!

We exchanged stories of our shore experiences and what we did on the ship. It was bittersweet. I was excited to get home to see my cat, sleep in my own bed and get back to my regular routine, but I realized I’d be saying farewell to our friends the following morning.

Best of Alaska group July 2014

We gathered at the end for one last photo. Four of us aren’t in the photo :(

I can’t say what the other Best of Alaska groups are like. Looks like they had a fantastic time, too. But I bet I had one of the best set of travelers with me. That is one of our goals on our Best of Alaska trips, though. At the end, we want everyone to feel like they’ve made new friends. I’m also willing to bet the other groups feel the same way we did.

As this trip comes to an end, I want to thank my new friends for joining me and Ian on this trip. Some of my best travel moments happened with you.

For photos of this trip, check out the album on our Facebook page.

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Zipping through the forest in Ketchikan

At the time of publishing, I am now in Vancouver. Internet on the ship was horrendous. I couldn’t connect while at sea at all, which was all day yesterday. But I still want to share my experience, so after this post, there will be another scheduled to publish tomorrow. Thanks for reading!

Ketchikan is known as the Rain Capital of Alaska, with an average annual rainfall 162 inches, but when we were there on the Best of Alaska cruisetour, not one cloud was in sight.

Ketchikan, Alaska

It was a glorious day for us in Alaska’s First City.

With the previous days’ weather typically Alaskan (overcast or raining one minute and sunshine the next, in other words volatile and unpredictable), we were thrilled to have no threat of the city’s liquid sunshine.

The Cruise Experts Travel excursion we did today was the Eagle Creek Rainforest Canopy & Zipline Expedition. I’ve gone ziplining twice before in Whistler on two different courses offered by different companies and this one we did in Ketchikan was hands down the most exhilarating.

Ketchikan Ziplining

Waiting on these platforms was scarier than actually ziplining!

We were led by the most enthusiastic guides who made us feel as safe as one can feel while hanging around at up to 350 ft above the ground.

Alaska Shore experts ziplining in Ketchikan

There zipped across 7 lines.

My heart was pounding each time I waited my turn on the platforms. I held on tight to the tree, hugging it at times as the platform swayed when someone moved. If I couldn’t get a good grip on the tree, I always had one hand on the cable that I was attached to to prevent us from falling over 300 ft to the ground.

On top of that, there was this!

Alaska Shore Excursion in Ketchikan.

We crossed, not one, but two suspension bridges.

I was dared to walk across without hands. Did I? NOPE! I know that I was harnessed to a secure cable, but one slip and we’d all be hanging in the air. My heart was about to come out of my chest when I walked across these bridges.

Oh, and if you didn’t want to go any further, the only way out of it is to be roped down from the platform, which is probably even scarier than finishing the course.

Would I do this exact excursion again? At this time, it’s too soon to say yes. Thinking about it makes my hands and feet tickle. Am I glad I did it? Absolutely! It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Let the thrill and excitement I experienced settle down a bit and ask me in a few months.

Tomorrow, is a sea day, so there will be lots of activities planned on the ship. We also gather one last time for a social function as a whole group.

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Soaring High in Juneau, Alaska

We had another early start today, and it was another exciting day for us. We went on a helicopter tour and walked on Mendenhall Glacier! Two of our Best of Alaska guests did this excursion at the same time as us and they said it was the best shore side experience they’ve had. They did the whale watching and Mendenhall excursion afterwards and said that was fantastic, as well.

At 8:30 am, we met the excursion driver just outside our cruise terminal, at the parking lot where you’d go on the Mt. Roberts Tramway. We were whisked off to the helicopter launching pad from there.

Mt Roberts Tramway, Juneau, Alaska

Mt Roberts Tramway is where we met our driver.

After a mini city tour, we were ready to get on the helicopter and see Juneau from up above!

Mendenhall Glacier helicopter tour.

AlaskaShoreExperts.com’s Mendenhall Glacier helicopter tour.

We did our very first helicopter tour last year in Juneau on a different excursion, visiting a taller glacier with a dog sled camp located there. Walking on Mendenhall was a completely different experience. Last year, the glacier we walked on was blanketed with snow. Today, we walked on ice. Needless to say, it was slippery.

Walking on Mendenhall Glacier

Two of our Best of Alaska cruisetour guests, who also did this excursion. We were standing on 300 ft of ice!

It’s not smooth ice, though, but after a few minutes of slow and careful walking, we still proceeded with caution, but navigated our way on the ice with more confidence. There were crevasses and water running through. Definitely didn’t want to fall into any of those! The blue ice is incredible.

Mendenhall Glacier

Notice the bumpy ice, and see the freshwater glacier running through the middle of this picture.

Do you know why the glacier is blue? Well, glacier is compacted ice and when light hits highly compacted glacier ice, long wavelength colors (red) are absorbed and short wavelength colors (blue) reflect back through the ice.

Mendenhall Glacier moves forward a foot a day, but it’s constantly retreating also. What a cool and educational experience this was. Anyone who has done an excursion like this can’t say enough about it.

Mendenhall Glacier

Mendenhall glacier is the only glacier in Alaska within city limits. Beyond the ice is the city of Juneau.

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The Crown Grill and the White Pass Rail

For only $25 per person, we had dinner at the Crown Grill, Princess’ specialty dining steakhouse. Last night, I had the juiciest Kansas City striploin. You are also offered a side of seasoned salt with three to choose from. The salt I chose though, I think it was smoked chutney, gave my steak a nice change, but I found that I didn’t need it.

Crown Grill Princess Cruises

Crown Grill, Steakhouse specialty dining $25 per person.

Service was very attentive and the ambiance was fabulously quiet and not rushed. It was like you were at a 5-star restaurant on land. If you could try it once, you should. For this type of experience on land and the sort of food served, you can’t get it for $50 for two people.

Today, we were back to waking up early. Our ship is scheduled to be in Skagway from 7 am to 8:30 pm. We had an exciting excursion to get to at 8:30 am, the historic White Pass and Yukon Rail. It started off with a tour of Skagway. Now I was here last year, and explored on my own. Although that was great and we even hung out with some locals, this time around, we learned more of the history of the area.

Skagway museum

Former college for women, then a jail, now a museum.

Take this museum for example, we stumbled upon it last year (this photo was taken then, it wasn’t this sunny in Skagway today). It originally was built as a women’s college, but it didn’t last long as one. Why? Because the girls went to work in brothels! Remember, Skagway was a gold rush town. This building later became a prison and left side of this building, you actually see bars on the windows. If it weren’t for the bars, I’m not sure I’d believe it was one.

Another fun fact: Skagway got electricity before New York City!

On the way to embark on our train, the scenery was amazing. There were so many lakes! We were told that they don’t all have names because there are just so many of them! The emerald water of the lakes look like the colour of the Caribbean sea. This is the result of the glacial silt in there.

Skagway shore excursion

The scenery on our way to board the White Pass train.

It was endless scenery after scenery! What do you take a photo of? The actual train ride, where we got on in Fraser, British Columbia, Canada to make our way back into Skagway, didn’t make this any easier. I had to tell myself to stop taking photos, otherwise, I’m not experiencing it in the moment. The photos I’m sharing here are from my iPhone. So you can imagine how my photos from my camera turned out.

White Pass

White Pass Rail

white pass

White Pass Route

The White Pass Route. You can go as far as the Yukon. We took the shorter ride and only went to Fraser, BC.

It’s incredible to see this railroad that built over 100 years ago in this sort of landscape. And it was done all for the gold! In 1994, the White Pass & Yukon Route was designated an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. To give you an understanding of how awesome the engineering is, the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty and the Panama Canal also hold this honor. Indeed, this completing this route they had to overcome design challenges, granite mountains, steep grades, cliff turns and freezing cold temperatures.

When you’re in Skagway on your Alaskan adventure, make sure to include this experience. We’re off to Juneau tomorrow. Looking forward to visiting Alaska’s capital city again!

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Glacier Viewing Days: Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay National Park

Heading to Whittier to board the Crown Princess, we were relieved that we’d be unpacking only once more for the rest of our trip, but sad that we’d be leaving Jen and Mike, our Tour Director and Driver, respectively. They did a splendid job, giving an inside look at life in as an Alaskan.

The group we’re traveling with is fantastic, too. Always on time for our activities and over the 5 days, we’ve become friends. You’d think that on a ship carrying about 3,000 people, you wouldn’t see much of each other afterward, but we’ve been bumping into some of our friends nearly every time we’re in a public space. It’s fun exchanging what we’ve been up to, what we’re doing and what we plan to do later on. Bumping into old friends on the ship, that’s what it’s like. That’s what it is.

Formal night Alaska Cruise Crown Princess

Bumped into some of our friends on the first formal night.

Our ship arrived at Hubbard Glacier yesterday afternoon and today we’re in Glacier Bay. After the land portion of our trip, these two relaxing days is very much welcomed by everyone in our group!

Ian and I are in an oceanview room this time around, and it has turned out to be a lot more comfortable than we had anticipated. During the times we want to hear commentary, we’d turn on our television.

crown princess e419 oceanview

Oceanview stateroom.

Those with a balcony stateroom have their own private viewing deck. Regardless, even if this is the case for you, I recommend you go outside your stateroom for a bit. It’s a different experience, especially the Lido Deck where you’re engulfed by towering peaks and have views that take your breath away in a panoramic setting.

Alaska glacier viewing

It’s been drizzling the last couple of days and Alaska simply looks stunning. The clouds hovering the mountains give the area a mysterious feel. Having visited Glacier Bay when it was sunnier out, I suppose you can never really be disappointed in the scenery, rain or shine, but I almost prefer how the area looks when there are grey skies.

Hubbard Glacier

Hubbard Glacier’s face spans 6 miles. This photo was taken on the public deck outside the Adagio Bar, located aft.

Margerie Glacier

Margerie Glacier at Glacier Bay National Park. Only 2 ships per day are permitted to enter the perserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tonight, Ian and I are off to the Crown Grill. We’ve yet to experience this specialty dining venue. I’ll be sure to include a review on that. Tomorrow we’re in Skagway.

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