We just returned from our Alaskan cruise, May 20th - June 1st.
Vancouver has some wonderful shopping, but it's not right down town near the Gastown district. We found the best and most interesting deals in Granville Island. Easy to get to. Lots of Alaskan and unique Canadian crafts. Wonderful sweaters, etc.
Juneau: Is a nice little town. Shopping is really easy as all the tourist shops are RIGHT there near the pier. Tshirts, stuff toys....
There is so much to do in Juneau...we didn't spend much time shopping.
Did find one special place there called 'Invisible World'. Really beautiful sweaters, scarves, gloves...and other things. I've already order some more things through their website since we've been back (ONE WEEK!)
Ketchikan: Again...all the touristy shops are right there off the pier..BUT we went first to Creek Street...a VERY easy fun walk. Great little shops..unique gifts and crafts. Cheaper than on the main drag. GO THERE FIRST. It won't be listed on your cruise shopping guide because all the business there refused to sign contracts with the cruise lines giving them a percentage of the take.
On the main drag, facing the pier in Ketchikan are mostly Jewerely stores. My sister and brother-in-law did get some beautiful jewerely at wonderfully low price! Really good stuff.
There are serveral Russian shops with some very beautiful things! I got some absolutely wonderful gifts for myself and friends there. Check out a place called Czar's Teasures 209 Main street. But there are other shops too with great stuff. Be sure to check out the streets OFF the main drag.
There is one tiny shopping mall...cute stuff...most of it touristy.
Skagway: Very cute SMALL town. Easy to get around. Some decent shopping...go off the main drag too. They have a really cute StarBucks right on the main street. After the terrible cruise coffee...it was so welcomed! Evidently we weren't the only ones who missed good coffee..the place was hopping!
Hope this helps a little. Alaska is so beautiful and there is so much to see...we didn't have a whole lot of time to shop...but since the shopping areas are right there at the pier... it makes it easy to shop before or after your excursions. Most shops stay open until the cruise ships have their final boarding or leave.
By the way: All the ports have shops that specialize in real Alaskan handi-crafts.
Oh, by the way...noticed this was your first cruise.
We really OVERPACKED! Try not to do the same. We took jackets, sweaters, big boots...the works. When we got there it was warm! Except when we were near Hubbard or the ice fields. And Ketchikan is always on the cooler side.
YES...take your winter stuff, because you never know in Alaska...but try not to OVER pack. We found that fellow cruisers really don't care if you wear the same outfit more than once!
I have a feeling we may be trying to take too much also, and went through and eliminated a few things that were not essential allready. Unfortunately you never know what the weather will be like up there. Watching the weather channel on the internet for our ports, and will check out one of their 10 day forcasts just prior to final packing just in case. And of course you just gotta have room for that souvenier sweatshirt to keep you warm .
Independance of the Seas
Monarch of the Seas, October, 2007
Serenade of the Seas June, 2006