Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage
One of my all-time favorite cruises was to Alaska’s Inside Passage. The seven-day journey embarked in Seattle, Washington, allowing us a few days to explore the state before taking to the high seas. I cruised Alaska’s Inside Passage with my two best friends and my daughter, Peyton, aboard the Golden Princess.
The selling point of this cruise was the itinerary as we had three ports in Alaska offering different scenery, as well as a visit to British Columbia. The ports of call for our trip were Juneau, Ketchikan, and Skagway, Alaska, and Victoria, British Columbia.
Port of Call: Juneau
In Juneau, it was amazing to see the bald eagles and bears in their natural habitat. Mendenhall Glacier was epic; I had no idea the glaciers would be that huge, beautiful, and mesmerizing. Peyton and I singing “Those Were the Days” with the crowds at Red Dog Saloon was memorable as well.
In Juneau, Peyton and I opted for the Photography Tour by Land and Sea, an excursion offered through Princess Cruises. We saw adorable sea lions lying on buoys and playing in the water. Near the end of the tour, we came upon a mother whale and her calf, who provided hours of entertainment for us.
Peyton wanted to join me on the Inside Passage cruise to recreate Holly Madison’s “Girls Next Door” episode in Ketchikan. Holly had a picture made on Barnaby’s giant stuffed moose. We were able to recreate that moment for Peyton, which made her whole trip. Barnaby’s is a local souvenir shop that has been visited by dozens of celebrities.
My friend Jo, more adventurous than myself, flew over the Misty Fjords in Ketchikan, took a helicopter ride to dog sled in Juneau, and took the train from Skagway to Yukon Territory; seeing mountain goats, bears, and the Alaskan Pipeline along the way.
The cruise port of Skagway has many interesting shops to explore. We shopped, and shopped some more, as tried the local cuisine, even sampling reindeer sausages. Then, we took a bus through US customs to partake in a salmon bake excursion with the cruise lines. The salmon bake in Liarsville was a bit too cheesy for my taste, and I did not particularly care for the food.
At Victoria, Peyton and I hired a rickshaw driver to take us on a tour of downtown Victoria. He showed us many great sites plus we stopped by two restaurants for microbrews and appetizers. Peyton enjoyed the homemade root beer. I loved seeing Victoria’s impressive Chinatown. The fiddling Darth Vader in front of the Fairmont Empress Hotel was super cool.
Our cruise to the Inside Passage included a day of scenic cruising through the Tracy Arm Fjord. We stood, suited up in coats, hats, and gloves (the only time of the trip) on the front of the boat as the cruise ship slowly made its way through the fantastic ice caps. The ice formations were somber and chilling; it was fascinating! Everyone oohed and aahed at the seals and other wildlife spottings.
We cruised on the Golden Princess ship which was dated at the time but has since been refurbished.
Onboard, we enjoyed our usual activities such as playing trivia, bingo, and participating in the group scavenger hunt. I took full advantage of the gambling options at the Grand Casino, which had many of my favorite slots. Guests were winning money! The four pools on this Golden Princess ship were pristine, though not many people were using them due to the chilly temperatures.
Our favorites were the afternoon tea that Princess does better than any other cruise line, and Movies Under the Stars. We hung out in the Adult Sanctuary much of the time to enjoy the peace and quiet.
Peyton thought that the Remix teen club was the best one she had experienced on her many cruises thus far.
Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage had a surprise buffet one evening featuring local foods that were exceptionally well received.
Princess has two optional pay restaurants, Sabatini’s and Crown Grill, that we all visited. The restaurant’s food quality and preparation is tremendous, plus you get plenty of it for a small surcharge. At Sabatini’s, be sure to try the antipasto and tiramisu. Crown Grill is famous for juicy thick-cut steaks and delicious side dishes.
Cruising Alaska is a Must
I would recommend cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage to anyone. It was just enough time for seeing all the ports, and traveling through the fjords was both memorable and exciting. The ship’s captain always broadcast things of importance and where to see cool stuff from the boat as we were cruising.
The only cold temperatures we had in Alaska in June was while sailing through the Tracy Arm Fjord. I actually had to break down and put on a coat, hat, and gloves for this portion. The rest of the time, we wore light jackets. Through the fjords, the boat weaves its way, melodically, through giant blue icebergs. Peyton compared it to the Titanic sailing.
Princess was the first to sail through the frigid waters of Alaska and the only one I would want to do it with.
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Check out our other cruise port adventure in Juneau, AK
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