Alaska 2010 Cruise

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Alaska, the Last Frontier
In July of 2010, we went on our 2nd cruise to Alaska. This intro video includes scenes from some of the highlights of our trip.

Vancouver, British Columbia
Our cruise ship was Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas. We started in Vancouver, British Columbia, and then sailed to the Alaskan ports of Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, and Seward.

Vancouver to Ketchikan
After leaving Vancouver, we sailed up the west coast of Canada on our way to Ketchikan Alaska.
Star of the County Down performed by Mark Stillman

Ketchikan, Alaska
Our first port of call was Ketchikan. We went on a coastal wildlife cruise in the morning. Then back to the ship to get Mom and Arne so that we could go down on the dock for lunch - deep fried Halibut and French fries.

Coastal Wildlife Cruise Excursion
During our visit to Ketchikan, we took the Coastal Wildlife Cruise excursion to see black bears, harbor seals, bald eagles, and other wildlife.

Ketchikan to Icy Strait Point
The view from our balcony as we sail Alaska’s inside passage from Ketchikan to Icy Strait Point.
Delbert's Tear - Written and Performed by Jay Ungar and Molly Mason

Icy Strait Point, Alaska
Our second port on our Alaska 2010 cruise was Icy Strait Point, next to the town of Hoonah Alaska, and just south of Glacier Bay National Park. Icy Strait Point does not have docks large enough to accommodate cruise ships, so we had to anchor in the harbor and use our lifeboats, called tenders, to get to shore.

ZipRider at Icy Strait Point
Icy Strait Point is next to the town of Hoonah Alaska, just south of Glacier Bay. It claims to have the world’s longest zip line at over 1 mile (5,495 feet long) with a 1,320 foot vertical drop from the top of the mountain to the landing spot, with speeds up to 65 miles per hour. The ride lasts 90 seconds.

Juneau, Alaska
Our third port on our Alaska 2010 cruise was Juneau, the capital of Alaska. A popular tourist attraction in Juneau is the Mount Roberts Tramway, which takes people up from the cruise ship docks to an elevation of about 1,800 feet.

Photo Safari by Land & Sea Excursion
During our stop in Juneau Alaska, we went on a whale watching and nature walk excursion.

Juneau to Skagway
Video from our balcony as we leave Juneau and head up the Lynn Canal to our next stop in Skagway Alaska.

Skagway, Alaska
Our 4th port on our Alaska 2010 cruise was Skagway, home of the famous White Pass Railroad.

Glacier Discovery by Helicopter Excursion
During our visit to Skagway Alaska, we went on a helicopter excursion which landed on a glacier, allowing us to walk around and see what a glacier looks like up close.

Sailing the Lynn Canal and Icy Strait
After leaving Skagway Alaska, our ship headed south along the Lynn Canal, past Haines, and then turned west into Icy Strait along the southern edge of Glacier Bay National Park. Just before sunset, we past by a pod of orcas that decided to show off for the ship’s passengers.

The Hubbard Glacier
The Hubbard Glacier is the longest tidewater glacier in Alaska at about 76 miles from its source on Mount Logan in the Yukon of Canada. Before it reaches the sea, the Hubbard is joined by the Valerie Glacier. It is one of the few glaciers that is still advancing. It reaches the sea in Disenchantment Bay (inside of Yakutat Bay, Alaska), which is very accessible for cruise ships. This was one of the highlights of our trip to Alaska in 2010, as we had perfect weather and several hours to view the glacier from our ship’s cabin balcony.

Seward, the Alaska Sea Life Center & Resurrection Bay Wildlife Cruise
We disembarked from the ship in Seward Alaska, and then continued our trip by train and bus with stops in Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali National Park, and Fairbanks. Before boarder the train, we had most of the day to explore the Seward area, with a stop at the Alaska Sea Live Center, and a Resurrection Bay Wildlife Cruise.

Seward to Alyeska
One popular way to extend an Alaskan cruise vacation is to go on a land and sea cruise tour. After leaving the ship in Seward, we took a train north to spend one night at the Hotel Alyeska. The Alyeska Resort is a popular ski resort during winter. Before leaving the next day, we rode the tram up to the top of the mountain for spectacular views of the area.

Alyeska to Anchorage to Talkeetna to Denali
From Alyeska, the rest of our journey north through Alaska is by motor coach, with a stop for lunch in Anchorage, then on to Talkeetna for the night, and then to Denali National Park for two nights.

Discover Denali Program and Owls Along the Trail
We spent two nights at the McKinley Village Lodge, which is located just outside the entrance to Denali National Park. At over 6 million acres, the park is larger than the state of New Hampshire. The park is centered on Denali, the highest mountain in North America at 20,156 feet above sea level. During our stay, we went on the Discover Denali Program which gave us an introduction to the park. After checking into the lodge, we walked the trails along the river to see a pair of Great Horned Owls.

McKinley Peak Experience Flight Seeing Excursion
The tallest mountain in North America is Mount McKinley, or Denali as it is called by its traditional Athabaskan name. It is so tall that it creates its own weather system. Only about 30% of the people who visit Denali National Park ever get to see the top of the mountain due to the cloud cover. We flew in a twin engine plane capable of flying above the clouds to get a view from above. Our pilot said at one point we were within a quarter mile from the side of the mountain at an altitude of about 18,000 feet, or some 2,000 feet below the top peak of the mountain.

Fairbanks, Alaska
Our last stop on our Alaska 2010 vacation was Fairbanks. We stopped for lunch in downtown Fairbanks, before heading out of town to the El Dorado Gold Mine.

Eldorado Gold Mine
Located about 10 miles north of Fairbanks Alaska, the El Dorado Gold mine is a real gold mine founded in the early 1900s. Today it is a tourist attraction that teaches visitors about the history of gold mining in Alaska.

Riverboat Discovery Excursion in Fairbanks Alaska
Before flying home from our Alaskan 2010 cruise and land tour, we rode a riverboat on the Chena River in Fairbanks Alaska.


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