Originally Posted by smalltowngirl
Hi all! Traveling with 7 others on our first Alaska cruise July 2015. Would like advice on what is a must do in each port. We have a 7 day pre cruise land tour (Fairbanks, Denali, Talkeetna, Anchorage, Seward) then then a 7 night cruise (Seward, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Straight Point, Ketchikan, Vancouver). Any must see places?
Some other questions:
1. Is a winter coat necessary or is layering more beneficial?
2. Are shorts needed? (we are from Michigan so we are used to the cold)
3. We are staying in Vancouver for an extra night. Suggestions on hotels and what to do.
4. If we had to pick whale watching or a flightseeing tour, which would you recommend?
Thanks for any and all advice!
1. Layering is more beneficial. It could be wet, dry, warm, cold, or any combination of these all on the same day. Have a small sport sack or backpack to hold what you don't need. We went in May and got by with fleece jackets or sweatshirts covered by a waterproof shell. The ability to stay dry is most important.
2. We sure did not need any shorts, but you will be there in July so it could be warm, but will you need them like you would in Florida? No. You would probably be comfortable in jeans.
3. Loved Vancouver. Stay in the area where the ships dock, right on the beautiful bay with a backdrop of cityscape ringed by mountains. Miles of walkways along the sea wall, lots of restaurants and lots of high end hotels. It is very walkable and safe, near Stanley Park and many tourist sights and historic areas. We stayed at the Pan Pacific which sits atop the cruise ship terminal. We literally walked off the ship, crossed the street and into our hotel. One of the most beautiful areas I have ever stayed in. You can walk outside the hotel door and there are tour buses lined up. We did Capilano Suspension Bridge and CliffWalk, Stanley Park and Granville Island. I would say must dos would be Stanley Park, bicycle it if you have time and energy, and Granville Island. The Market there is incredible.
4. If I HAD to choose between whalewatch and flightseeing, I would pick the flight. In fact, we did. We had seen the whales in Hawaii, but had never done a flight over the Juneau ice fields and glaciers, so opted for that. Booked Taku Glacier Lodge Flight and Feast through the ship. If yours does not offer it, you can book independently with Wings Airways. It is the same tour. Take a look at their website. They pick you up at ship. This is a seaplane. The water take off and flight over the Glaciers was jaw dropping. We flew to the Taku River where we landed on the river, walked up to the lodge and explored the grounds while they grilled fresh caught salmon and chicken. The meal was outstanding. You are right across the river from the Taku Glacier which comes right down to the water. The local bears like to attend the cookout, so you will probably see them in July. They were still sleeping when we were there in May.