Destination: Alaskan Cruise » Joel and Amber Photography Blog

Destination: Alaskan Cruise

J&A Wanderlust

Jun 28, 2018

Cruise to Alaska // Wanderlust // Wedding Photographers Huntsville Alabama

We know a lot of people have been waiting for this one, and here it is! Welcome to our Alaskan cruise wanderlust edition!

{To hear the story on how this adventure came to be, you can read about it here.}

We started our trip with a few days in Vancouver and Victoria, BC. Before we knew it, it was time to board our cruise ship at the port in Vancouver! This is the second time we’ve cruised with Holland America, and we love them. They’re elegant, sophisticated, and the food and service is top-notch.

We waved goodbye to Vancouver and said hello to breath-taking Alaskan scenery!

Ketchikan

After a day at sea (which we filled with ship activities, afternoon tea, and unwinding our minds from work), we arrived at our first port! Ketchikan was Alaska’s first city and is actually Alaska’s 4th largest city.

Joel couldn’t wait to find a place for a JA coffee adventure. So Boardwalk Cafe it was!

After coffee and perusing the touristy part of town, we set out to wander through the city on our own. Everything was so peaceful! It was probably one of my favorite towns to explore.

We saw a Salmon Ladder. Salmon is obviously a huge thing in Alaska. We were only 2 weeks too early for the salmon run, too. So close! Salmon have to swim upstream against the current to get to their destination. These salmon ladders are sometimes placed next to an area with really difficult currents. It helps the salmon survive, which is good for everyone.

Welcome to Alaska’s 4th largest city….

One of the charms of Alaska is its remote beauty!

Ketchikan obviously gets a ton of rain. It rained at least half of the day we were there. I think they’re proud of their rain…

As we waited to sail out of port, we were treated to a perfect view of a pod of humpback whales! If you look closely, you can see both their water spray and their backs. Can you imagine living in those cute houses and watching whales outside your window? So neat.

Juneau

Next stop: Juneau! If you follow our adventures at all, you know that we’re on a quest to visit all of the state capitals. Juneau made #17, and might have just been one of the reasons we were swayed to settle on an Alaskan cruise for June! You can only get to Juneau via plane or boat, so this is a huge one for us to knock off our list.

But before we made our way downtown, we took a morning excursion to Mendenhall Glacier. We loved the whole experience! The 20 minute bus ride included a native local who shared history and interesting facts along the way. It was great getting outside the city and seeing a little bit more of Alaska’s beauty.

We took a gorgeous little hike…

…to see this! Ahhh! Breath-taking. We loved it. I think it was the first tidal glacier either of us had seen.

The waterfall wasn’t too shabby, either. Soooo pretty.

Our Alaska State Capitol! We literally sat on a bench in front of the building and commented on how incredible it was that we had an opportunity to visit this place. We always figured that Juneau would be our “well, we’ve hit all the other 49 states, so we’d better take a trip to Juneau to finish our quest” one.

Juneau was also the only day we didn’t have to wear our winter coats. We weren’t expecting it to be that cold in June. We were really thankful for that Juneau day just to thaw out a little bit!

It was a very small, unassuming state Capitol building. We just walked in and wandered around the hallways. No security or anything.

You know we had to find some coffee.

After coffee, we enjoyed as much of this “warm” weather as we could! We wandered around Juneau, which was definitely much bigger than any of the other ports we visited. Such pretty views!

The Governor’s Mansion was one of our favorite houses. It was set up on a hill, and you could see it from the streets below.

Totem poles everywhere.

Even at the Governor’s Mansion.

This was the touristy part of Juneau. We usually spend about 10% of our time there – just enough to find our token magnet!

Skagway

Next stop: Skagway! This was our smallest port town and the coldest port day we had. Thankfully they had a few indoor museums and theaters that gave us a great background of this town’s history. It survived primarily because of the Klondike gold rush, and is still around today because of the cruise industry.

We learned a ton about the Klondike gold rush on this trip, and it just blew our minds. I can’t imagine what those men went through – all to arrive and discover that everything was claimed and the gold was all gone.

Trains are also a big part of Skagway’s history, so there was train stuff everywhere.

One of the nice indoor museums we took refuge in from the rain.

But oh, was it beautiful anyway!

Pretty much the whole town was a long street of tourist shops and restaurants. When you visit these port towns, it seems like every other store is a jewelry store (bonus of it’s tanzanite).

One of the cool historic buildings they had. Some business owners from Seattle decided to form a Lodge and crafted it from driftwood.

They had a cool garden project that showcased some of their native plants.

This rock wall had emblems from all different cruise ships over the years. It must have been quite a project to get up there and paint them!

Glacier Bay National Park

This was our favorite day, hands down. We didn’t leave the ship this day, but we floated through the amazing Glacier Bay National Park. The Marjerie Glacier is that stunning white tidewater glacier set among the mountains.

We had a chance to see the glacier calve AND heard the “white thunder” as it came off. Such a neat experience.

These glaciers are constantly moving. A little comes off the end, but more is created at the base with snow, ice, and pressure.

There were floating ice chunks everywhere. And check out that water!

We saw a ton of wildlife in GBNP! This otter was ADORABLE!! On this trip through Alaska, we also saw sea lion-covered rocks (see the next picture), whales, puffins, trumpeter swans, moose, bear, caribou, and arctic terns.

Goodbye, Glacier Bay!

After a really wavy day at sea as we crossed the Gulf of Alaska, we arrived in Seward. It was cold and rainy, of course, but gorgeous.

We took a 2 hour bus ride up to Anchorage, found some (delicious) coffee, and went exploring!

But Anchorage is for another day. :)

*hugs*

Amber

Want to take another trip? Choose your adventure:

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Destination: Acadia National Park, Maine

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