To say I am excited about our summer cruise to Alaska is an understatement. Those who knew me when I was a child, heard me chatter incessantly about visiting Alaska and seeing the snow and mountains. I used to study maps. MAPS! If Google Earth would have been around during my obsessive map phase, you would have never gotten me off the computer. I digress. Finally, approaching the age of 40, I am making it happen. The Dunlop family is going on a Disney Cruise!
Our cruise is 7 nights with a round trip route out of Vancouver, Canada. Our trip begins in early June right after the kids get out of school for the summer. We literally fly out the first day of summer break. We have three stops on our cruise: Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan.
I did some research this week and finally decided on our shore excursions. I planned what I wanted to do, as no one else in the family had an opinion. (They usually leave all the planning to me, and it usually ends up a win-win for everybody!) I pretty much used trip advisor to research the most popular things to do at each stop. I did not book through the cruise for a couple of different reasons. One, it is usually cheaper to book directly with the travel company itself and two, this way I can read customer reviews and make sure what I purchase is well recommended.
First stop: Skagway, Alaska. I decided on a train ride/bus tour up to Lake Bennett, British Columbia through Chilkoot Charters & Tours. They will pick us up at the cruise dock and take us to the train station which is a 28 mile ride up to Fraser, BC. Once we get to Fraser we then have to go through immigration and customs. We will board a different train which will take us up to Lake Bennett. Once in Lake Bennett, we get to have lunch and visit a dog musher camp. We get to pet the husky puppies. On the way back to the cruise ship, we take a tour bus and get to stop at several scenic photo op places. The whole trip is supposed to take about 8 hours. It's going to be a long day, but so worth it.
Second stop: Juneau, Alaska. For Juneau, the big attraction is the Mendenhall Glacier. Mendenhall Glacier is a part of Tongass National Forest and has a visitors center, as well as many different walking trails. I booked a city and glacier combo tour with Juneau Tours. We start out with a bus tour of downtown Juneau and then head up to Mendenhall Glacier. We can stay for 45 minutes and then return with the bus, or we can stay as long as we like and then take one of the shuttles back to the cruise ship when we are ready. The shuttles leave every 30 minutes and are included as part of the tour.
Third stop: Ketchikan, Alaska. Our third stop is the one I am most excited about. I decided to splurge and book a Misty Fjords Flightseeing Tour with Taquan Air. For this excursion we get to go up in a little float plane and fly over the wilderness and view waterfalls, wildlife and even land in the middle of the fjord. This is going to be amazing!!!
We also have one full day in Vancouver before we get on the cruise. I haven't planned out what we might do there. I'll have to figure that out at some point. 104 days and counting!