If you follow me on Instagram, you know I recently returned from vacation cruising beautiful Alaska. So many people choose somewhere tropical or the beach for their vacation (which I love too!), but from an early age, my parents instilled in me a craving for adventure and experiences on vacation. Alaska is one of those rare, untouched places that is a beautiful part of America.
Most of my pictures are of the landscape and wildlife. (I bought a new Fuji XT-30 a few months ago and while the iPhone does take amazing pictures, I am SO glad I had professional camera with a zoom lens.). I’ve outlined our trip, the highlights, and some FAQ in case you are planning an Alaskan adventure in the near future as well….
We took a 7 night cruise on the Celebrity Millennium. It is one of Celebrity’s older ships, but it was recently renovated and we absolutely loves the experience. I flew from Raleigh to Denver to Anchorage. We spent the night in Anchorage and took a gorgeous glass-domed train to Seward the next morning to board our boat.
Day #1: Cruising the Hubbard Glacier
I loved this day as the scenery was absolutely breathtaking and seeing a glacier up close is surreal. We ordered a bottle of wine and a charcuterie board and sat on our veranda for a few hours to watch the glacier and surrounding areas. It was peaceful and gorgeous.
Day #2: Juneau - The only capital city in America that is only accessible via boat or plane.
There is some shopping in Juneau, but for the most part, it seemed a bit touristy so we did not do much shopping here. We did take a whale watching excursion with a salmon bake lunch which was great.
Day #3: Skagway - The Klondike Gold-Rush capital.
Skagway is perhaps the quaintest little town in Alaska. We did a tour where we learned about the Iditarod and got to hold and play with 8 week old Alaskan Huskies. (I had to stop my mom from sneaking one into her luggage.) We also learned about the Klondike Gold Rush and panned for gold. We came away with a whopping $41 in gold!
Day #4: Icy Strait Point - Native owned and operated by the Tlingit village of Hoonan, Alaska.
Icy Strait Point was one of the most unique ports in that it is owned and operated by a small native group of people (the Tinglits) that offer cultural and wildlife experiences for all of the tourists. They had everything from bear watching to zip lining to salmon fishing to seeing a native tribal dance. We opted for a cooking experience and loved learning from a Tinglit woman that grew up on the banks of Icy Strait Point. She taught us how to make various salmon and halibut dishes. She also demonstrated how to fillet a halibut and we were able to cook our own FRESH fish and eat it for lunch. Amazing!
Day #5: Ketchikan - A city known for it’s totem poles and the nearby Misty Fjords National Monument.
Ahh, beautiful Ketchikan! The seaplanes were amazing to watch from our stateroom balcony. We enjoyed the local shops in this town before we headed out on a boat for a trip to Misty Fjords National Monument. Now I know why John Muir called this area the “Yosemite of the North”. It was absolutely stunning!
Day #6: Cruising at Sea - There were a ton of fun onboard activities for all ages.
We mostly stuck to wine tastings, roulette, some game shows and trivia, but I did keep my dad up way past his bed time and convinced him to try silent disco. Anyone else tried this latest craze?
I was also the captain of one of the game show Jeopardy teams. I found out afterward that the other team captain was a legit Jeopardy champion a few months ago. (His sweet wife came up to me afterward and told me he was sweating because he was losing at one point. ha!) Thanks to the Disney category, I held my own, but ended up losing in the end.
If you are interested in booking a similar experience, I cannot recommend Michelle at Shine Travel Co enough. Michelle took care of all of the details and sent us a packet with the itinerary, luggage tags, tickets, and a guidebook for Alaska. (Note: this is not sponsored. We just had an amazing experience.)
Do you feel it is safe to cruise after the pandemic?
Everyone that goes on a cruise must be fully vaccinated and have a negative COVID test before boarding. The ship was very clean and Celebrity took extra protocols to ensure everyone’s health. That being said, I did test positive the day I returned home. Whomp. Whomp.
What kind of stateroom did you have?
It was just my parents and I, so we opted for the Family Veranda. I don’t know if other ships have this option, but it was perfect for us. I had my own small room and shared their bathroom. The BEST part is the veranda. Since we were on the back corner of the ship, we had a huge balcony that was bigger than our actual stateroom. We had blankets our stateroom attendant brought us and it was nice to have a glass of wine out on the balcony and watch beautiful Alaska drift on by.
What else should I budget for on a cruise?
Our cruise package included alcohol, tips, and basic wifi. That being said, we paid extra for some fun wine tastings and tipped little more to the crew that we got to know or that went out of their way to make our trip special. Also, we were fine with basic wifi, but basic means spotty at best, so just be aware.
Would you recommend an Alaska cruise for family with small children?
Without a doubt, yes! There were not a lot of kids on our ship, but there were definitely activities for all ages. If you want to go to Alaska and have kids, I might opt for Celebrity’s sister cruise line, Royal Caribbean. I’ve also heard amazing things about Disney Cruises.