I'm in a funk over our stop in Sikta in july. When I booked the cruise i made the mistake of thinking it went to skagway....but its doesn't. After looking around for a way to get from sitka to skagway it looks like we're stuck. As of now we're going on the otter wilderness cruise there. It seems like most people's favorite thing there is the bird refuge....growing up in florida, this was almost as common as 7-11, so not a big draw for us.........Can anyone offer up the positive side of sitka?
The otter adventure really sucks!!!!!!!
We got sick and all we saw was a "raft of otters and a deer on shore"
Sitka isn't so bad, the town is cute go see the st. micheals church its nice, walk around lots of russian art. But that otter tour oh my god!!!!!!! its really BORRRRRRRING.
Good luck, we are going back this year, but no sitka, new port iecy srtiate point, can't wait.
Let me know what you think of sitka and the otter tour.
I know that I booked my cruise this year in large part in order to visit Sitka. It has the rapter center which features bald eagles, and it also has Russian culture with St. Michael's Orthodox Cathedral and the New Archangel Russian Dancers. There is Sitka National Historical Park where the 1804 battle of Alaska was fought. From all accounts, Sitka is a lovely town!
I question your reasons for traveling Alaska??? Sitka is an excellent port and vastly different for any other- as they all are different. The Raptor center has close up views of eagles/owls, not likely seen in Florida? There is a loop bus $7 that takes you to sites. Bishops House, Sitka heritage Park, Raptor Center. The boat trips get great reviews, whales have moved into the Sitka feeding areas the last few years so sightings are more common. Request their visitor guide for a closer look at this interesting port.
There is a semi-submersible that seems interesting. I found Sitka the best walking town. I really consider it a don't miss port.
I didn't care for the Russian Dancers. They're all women, all amateur. It was a bit hokey.
I totally understand that if you've seen the amazing parrot parks in Florida, the eagles and owls would seem boring by comparison. I help raise rare and endangered exotic parrots in my spare time and, although I'd definitely go back, it's not like the Florida sanctuaries. It's a bit like comparing apples and oranges. It's a rescue operation, and hearing about that part of it is pretty fascinating.
I think you'll like a day of walking around there, and maybe sitka.org as Karen suggested can give you a few more ideas.
I saw a comment on the semi-submersible in the Caribbean saying that every trip has many who get seasick. The cabin smelled like Pine Sol over vomit. Accoriding to the poster, the ship crew said this happened every time. We would like to go on the semi-submersible if we can do it without getting sick (from the smell). I would like to see others comment on this.
Just returned from 12 days aboard Celebrity Mercury..We were supposed to go to the new port, Icy Straight Point..but I guess they are not quite ready..so we were rerouted to Sitka...It was ok....it is a "real" town as opposed to a tourist trap...we hiked down to the National Park. & around on the trails (the trails are free) .that was beautiful...LOTS of bald eagles in Sitka...the scenery is wonderful...not my favorite port...but it was a new port to us..
have a great trip! I am missing those wonderful dinners!
On my Alaskan cruise back in 2000 Sitka was the port that i enjoyed the most - the history of the town - the national park - great views of the harbour and the cruise ships - the baranof castle hill - the old historic church and a more down home tourist town than either Juneau or Skayway.
I have done floatplanes out of Sitka, great scenery, I also have sailed St. Lazaria Island several times, your best opportunity for puffin viewing- inside passage. The Sitka Heritage Park- purchase the cheap guidebook for commentary on the poles, several museums, Raptor Center.
Last August we were late arriving in Sitka due to a terrible storm the night before. As a result, one of the tours I was looking forward to on the cruise was cancelled...it sounded wonderful...Harbour Mountain and Starrigaven (sp?) River Tour. It was a van tour towards an old fishing village, up Harbour Mountain (where we have heard the views are beautiful), a short hike, watch the salmon in the river, etc. There certainly is a variety of options in Sitka for most to choose from. You'll have to take a second Alaska cruise to explore Skagway...enjoy your trip!
Yes I am biased since I live in Sitka. But I worked for 23 years in a local gift shop and heard from many cruise passengers that Sitka was their favorite Alaska port for a variety of reasons including: less crowded, locally owned unique shops, most beautiful scenery, easy to walk to most sites of interest, mix of Tlingit and Russian history, great state museum (Sheldon Jackson Museum), Russian dancers, friendly people, real sense of community, Tlingit tours, not "Disneyland," no Caribbean chain stores, wildlife (eagles at Raptor Center and wild, bears at Fortress of the Bear and wild, whales, seals, sea otters, sea lions, deer...), great fishing, National Historical Park, Russian Bishops House, wildlife tours ....
So I guess it depends on your expectations. And of course if you get seasick doing something on the water, your entire experience is colored a bit. So wear a seasickness patch or take a pill before going on a boat excursion.
Not quite sure how this old thread bobbed back up to the top.
But, for sure, Sitka does not suck! Sitka is one of the most fascinating ports in Alaska and I am sorry it is not on more itineraries. We also love Skagway, but let's be honest Skagway is one huge tourist trap and it is very hard to find anything real there unless you drive over the pass into the Yukon.
Sitka, in my mind, is associated first and foremost with the sea otters! These little creatures are wonderful, and Allen Marine has the perfect boats for seeing them. As a bonus, on our last trip there we also saw whales very close up.
The Dancers are a delightful folklore group and we always enjoy the show. The are indeed amateurs but the show approaches professional quality.
The old Russian Orthodox Cathedral is well worth a visit for its beauty. The local museum also has some very interesting displays of native artifacts.
The bird sanctuary is NOT a parrot farm! Perhaps you believe birds are birds, but the eagles especially are a magnificent sight for those who have not seen them close up.
And of course, for those who miss it in Skagway, there is plenty of shopping!
The answer is yes. I lived there 10 years, and stayed there mostly for the beauty of the place. But what I could never come to terms with is how there could be so many ugly, dregs of the earth people, and so much human pain and suffering in such a beautiful place. It's the people that make Sitka suck so much. There's an overabundance of alcoholism, drug abuse, spousal abuse, child abuse, jealousy, backstabbing, murders, suicides, ending up brain damaged from aspirating after drinking too much alcohol, drowning in mud puddles because you're too high, drowning in hot tubs because you're too drunk, and the worst part is that everyone in Sitka, rather than dealing with it, which is the only way it could ever heal, will deny everything, so they can continue their sick, ugly lives without change. Change is something Sitkans never want. That's why year after year after year they do the same things, on the Fourth of July it's the booths, the parade, and the Coast Guard fly over. Then there's Alaska Day with the sleezy Keystone Kops, the longest beard contest, the uppity Alaska Day dance that only the same people are allowed to attend wearing Alaska Day dresses. In the spring the quilt show, halibut, The Blessing of the Fleet. Running of the Boots in September. Same old same old every year. It's not a place for anyone who didn't grow up here, or who has any imagination, or wants to do something different sometime. Yeah, skip Sitka and go to Skagway.