Alaska was my childhood dream destination because as a little girl who lived in a tropical country, I imagined it to be a winter wonderland! This is why we took an Alaskan cruise as part of our month-long honeymoon! And because I haven’t shared about it yet here on my blog, I’ve decided to make a throwback entry, 4 years too late. Here’s what Alaska was like, back when we went in May 2012!
Mor and I took a 7-night cruise with Royal Caribbean (but more about the cruise experience next time.) We stopped at three ports in Alaska: Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. Plus our cruise ship made a quick pass at Tracy Arm Fjord.
We decided to do three things at Juneau: see the Mendenhall Glacier, go whale watching and take the tramway up Mt. Roberts. Nothing special about the tramway, just nice views, so I’m not gonna elaborate anymore on it.
The Mendenhall Glacier is one of the highlights in Juneau so we decided to take a look. There are many options to see Mendenhall but we opted for the most basic one, which is just to view it at the visitor’s center area, because the others were too expensive. Hehe. Couple starting out, over here!
Mendenhall Glacier has been retreating every year, which is so sad. So better catch it while it’s still there!
Then we joined a whale-watching tour because I imagined there would be whales jumping up and down the water beside our boat. Haha! In reality, this was mostly what you’ll see:
… quite disappointing! We saw a lot of whales, sure, but you can only see their backs! But still, it was pretty cool to see the whales in their natural habitat! We also saw sea lions and bald eagles. Although Alaska is full of wildlife, unfortunately, we didn’t come at the right time to view them so we didn’t see a lot. I heard that the best time to visit was around summer time. We visited too early in May! Aww.
In our second stop, which was in Skagway, we joined a tour called Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp. Liarsville is a fake, recreated town for the tourists so that we can “experience” how it was like during the gold rush era. I’m not sure how I feel about this. 50% of the time, I was secretly enjoying and the other 50% of the time, I felt that it was too “theme-park-y” even for me.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by these adorable huskies. I’m not much of a dog lover, but I’m trying to smile and pretend that I’m not scared! We were given some warm apple cider (yum…) and treated to a performance by these folks.
They sang and performed a small skit about the history of Skagway and its famous/infamous gold rush era. I always enjoy performances and mini plays so I enjoyed it.
Then we went “gold-panning”. Or more like, pretend gold-panning. Very kitschy activity but it was part of the package so we just did it anyway. We all got to take home the “gold” we discovered at the end. (Which reminds me… where did I keep that?)
What I don’t like about the ports we visited in Alaska is that everything seemed like a set-up. What I mean is, all the stores, cafes, etc. all seem to have been made for tourists specifically. People from all over would come here to work when it’s ‘tourist’ season and they would leave once it’s over (met some people who worked there for the month but are originally from New York, New Jersey, etc.!).
Almost all the people who walked around the streets were cruise passengers too! It felt like a theme park! An eerie theme park!
And another thing we did was take the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. They say this is the most famous Alaskan excursion and because I try my best to religiously follow online reviews, we tried it! It was a relaxing train ride with great views.
This is one of the beautiful spots we passed by! But as we got higher, all we saw was white, white, white! It was full of snow outside, and the sun was in my face… I almost dozed off! Nevertheless, I’d recommend this experience if you want something slow-paced. Otherwise, you might want to try something else.
Tracy Arm Fjord
One of my favorites of the whole trip though was waking up early and going up the roofdeck of the cruise ship to see the Tracy Arm Fjord. SO BEAUTIFUL. Too bad we couldn’t go closer and it wasn’t the time when the ice would melt and fall, but still it was so huge and beautiful and for lack of a better term, majestic.
So we just took some cheesy couple shots (…with a bear)
Ketchikan was our last stop. When we arrived, it was raining, which was too bad because that made it hard to go around. This time, we didn’t join any excursions or tours because nothing interested us. We opted to just walk around and explore on our own.
We passed by the Totem Heritage Center, which is a small museum where you can see actual totem poles and learn about the history. A good indoor activity since the weather wasn’t cooperating.
So those are the ports we visited during our Alaskan cruise.In the end, Alaska didn’t turn out exactly as I pictured it in my head (should’ve visited during winter for my winter wonderland, duh!) but it was gorgeous nonetheless!
I’ll talk about our cruise experience on another post because it deserves its own! What do you think? Would you like to visit Alaska?