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Remembering My Alaska Cruise with Princess

Remembering My Alaska Cruise with Princess

(UPDATED JULY 2022) Years ago, long before I reached a 55 cruise milestone, I cruised Alaska with my daughter, two close friends, and my favorite Princess Cruise Lines. We chose the Inside Passage itinerary starting and ending in Seattle, WA, with stops in Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, and Victoria, Canada. This was years before cruising Alaska was a major event and so highly popular, so keep that in mind as my pictures are pretty lackluster compared to smartphone capabilities of today’s time as I’m remembering my Alaska cruise.


If you get the chance to cruise to Alaksa, I highly recommend it. Not only is the scenic and wildlife spectacular, but the culture and uniqueness of this region are unsurpassed.


Juneau’s Port of Call

Thinking that a photography tour would be a great way to learn from the pros and combine sightseeing with photography (one of my favorite hobbies), my daughter, Peyton, 13 at the time, and I chose the Photography Tour by Land and Sea with Gastineau Guiding company. The group traveled by bus to the Tongass National Forest, a 16.7 million acre property, to start our tour. Don’t be fooled into thinking Alaska is always cold because, in June, as our weather was upwards of 70 degrees.


We hiked through the forest with no barriers for protection from wildlife and happened upon a black bear right away. Peyton immediately approached the bear for a photo-op. From the split second after seeing the bear, I was frozen with the instinct to protect my child or to let her get the photograph she was perfectly prepared for. I know, dilemma, right?


We all watched in silence with all movements frozen as the bear walked to the water, stared at his own reflection a bit, then waded through the water on his way. Our group breathed a sigh of relief and continued the tour with bear pictures from our to-do list checked off.


Whale Watching

The second part of our tour, a Princess Cruises excursion, was aboard a medium-sized boat, where we received photography pointers from the tour guides throughout the drive. Another boat radioed to us that they had come across a mama humpback whale. She and her baby breached in and out of the water every couple of minutes.

Our group captured this amazing sight for well over an hour, at which time six more boats joined us. The whales aimed to please us as far as entertainment goes and they were enjoying our eyes were fixed on them.


I was never fond of whales, yet at that moment I grew to love the gracefulness and beauty of these magical creatures. We also saw adorable sea lions playing on the buoys, which was great for photo-ops. The journey concluded by seeing a few other whales on the return trip.


Note: Please realize that all tours do not get lucky to see whales daily. It is stated on the tickets and in the contract with touring companies so do not just expect it to happen.

Incredible Glaciers

The most beautiful thing about Juneau, Alaska, was Mendenhall’s breathtaking glaciers around the Visitor Center. Until the , I had only seen photos, which really do no justice to the depths of frozen ice and prisms of colored lights reflecting from, through, and off of the sparkling icebergs. I was spellbound.


The eerie quietness of the surroundings and cool moist feeling you get from just being in the presence of something so cold, old, and special was just riveting. From this one location, I probably took 200 pictures, each and every shot being extraordinary in some way.  


Besides glaciers, a private tour in Seattle taught us to spot eagles from basically anywhere. I never had that knack until the tour guide told us what to look for, and now I can’t quit seeing birds of prey everywhere I go. Good thing because we witnessed dozens of eagles on our Alaska cruise with Princess and were able to get beautiful photos like this one taken by my friend Jo. We even saw eaglets, which are missing the white around their head and neck as babies.


The Red Dog Saloon

After getting back to our cruise port in Juneau, Peyton and I went for a late lunch at the Red Dog Saloon. The Red Dog Saloon is an Alaskan tradition; a bar that is cluttered full of interesting memorabilia, huge crowds, and plenty of fun.

Peyton and I grabbed the last two seats upstairs and within minutes of ordering our food, the entertainment started. The Red Dog Saloon’s piano player and singer who did “Those Were the Days, My Friend” left a lifetime memory for the two of us.To this day, we still request that song on every cruise we go on. Red Dog Saloon is purely for tourists, but you cannot help but have a great time. Bonus, the food was better than average.


With all of the wildlife sightings and incredibly beautiful scenery, Juneau was by far our favorite Alaska cruise port. This place could make an outdoor lover out of anyone! Come see what all the hype is about by taking a family-friendly Alaska cruise like we did.


Check out these other cruise ports:

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Amber Cove, Dominican Republic

Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos

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Tami Wilcox

Friday 24th of March 2017

This would be a dream cruise for me! I've been on a whale-watching trip, but it was nothing like your whale breaching experience! I might have had a heart attack if my daughter approached a bear to take a photo. So glad I have a great zoom lens on my camera, so I don't have to be close to get a good pic!


Friday 24th of March 2017

Lol. I was just telling someone last night about Peyton and the bear experience. It was so fast that I was just frozen. Made for a nice pic though, huh? :)


Thursday 4th of February 2016

Wow, what a great way to see Alaska! I've never been, but I would love to sometime.


Tuesday 18th of August 2015

A photography tour of Alaska. MUST. DO. ONE. NOW. Alaska has been on my list for a long long time and wow, your pictures made me want to go even more.


Tuesday 18th of August 2015

Awesome! I did get some great shots but tried not to kill the viewers. LOL I hope you get there soon!


Sunday 12th of April 2015

Love this article. I've always wanted to go to Alaska, it looks so beautiful.


Monday 13th of April 2015

Thanks so much. I highly recommend going via cruise since you see so many different places and it is very affordable.

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