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My Alaska Cruise Vacation
Our 2003 trip to Alaska is one I will always remember. Alaska is a beautiful state from it's majestic mountains to the amazing glaciers and the wonderful wildlife and delightful flowers that make their home there.
This page will give you the highlights of the trip and give you a pictorial view of our trip.
photographs by Mary Beth Granger
Vancouver, Canada - looking back at city from the cruise ship
We boarded our cruise ship, the Dawn Princess, in Vancouver, Canada. We took a 7 day cruise from Vancouver to Anchorage and then a land tour from Anchorage to Fairbanks, Alaska.
Seven Wonderful Days of Cruising
Cruise Featured Four Ports
and a Cruise through
Cruise Ports of Call
five stops on our Alaskan cruise
The cruise navigated Alaska's inner passage and stopped at four ports of call, along with cruising in Glacier Bay.
Each of the towns where the cruise stopped were small but distinct. We took one of the tours offered through the cruise lines at each of the ports of call.
Juneau is the capitol of Alaska. It is located in the panhandle of Alaska and is 900 air miles north of Seattle and 600 air miles southeast of Anchorage. The population of Juneau is 30,711. The economy of Juneau is from government, tourism, mining and fishing. On our stop in Juneau we took a tour to the Mendenhall glacier.
Skagway had frontier style storefronts and was a great place to browse the shops. While in Skagway we took a ride on the oldest narrow-gauge railroad in the world. We saw some beautiful views as we rode up the mountain in the railroad car.
Ketchikan is billed as the salmon capitol of the world. In Ketcikan we took a tour of a salmon hatchery. It was very interesting to hear the story of the salmon and how they always come back to the place where they hatched to lay their eggs.
Sitka is a very unusual little town of just under 9000 people. It has a rich history from it's past with the Tlingt culture and its' Russian history. You can read more about Sitka's fascinating history at City of Sitka. At Sitka we saw some of the unique totem poles and took a carriage ride through the town.
Glacier Bay was wonderful. It is a network of inlets that channel the frozen tide to the sea and covers over 3.3 million acres. The cruise ship was required to stay at least a mile away from the glaciers for safety reasons, but as you can see in the photos, it looks like we were right next to the glaciers. Beautiful views and when one of the glaciers break off a piece (calving) it almost sounds like thunder. It was an unforgettable sight!!
Mendenhall Glacier - tour from Juneau
On our Juneau stop, we took a tour to Mendenhall glacier. It was incredible. The glacier is 12 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. There was a nice park near the glacier where we were able to get great views and some good photographs.
View from the Skagway Railway - breathtaking viewsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Gacier Bay - views from the cruise ship-over 1 mile from the GlacierClick thumbnail to view full-size
Alaska Cruises and Ports of Call - guide to Alaska
It's always good to read up on the ports of call before you go. I would suggest reading this guidebook to find out the places that best fit your interests. There are several choices at each port of call and only time to take in one or two tours.
The Land Tour of Alaska
Tour of Anchorage
Visit to Denali State Park
Glass Top Train to Fairbanks
Iditarod Trail Race Headquarters - stop on bus trip from Anchorage to DenaliClick thumbnail to view full-size
Denali National Park - beautiful scenery
This photo was taken at Denali. We stayed in a lodge near the great mountain and then the next morning took a bus tour in Denali National Park. It was very cloudy when we were there and the mountain was visible only for very short periods. Unfortuanately I did not get a good photo of the mountain.
The park was beautiful, though, we saw beautiful wildflowers and an occasional glimpse of wildlife in the distance.