Alaska cruise, 1/2 day in Seattle-must see?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jim_F, Jun 5, 2002.

  1. Jim_F

    Jim_F Screenwriter

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    After a very long stretch of short and/or very spartan vacations (if any) I've booked an Alaskan cruise for the end of August. This will be my first cruise of any kind. Departing from Vancouver, ports of call will be Juneau, Skagway, Haines, and Ketchikan. There are quite a few excursions to choose from, involving anything from bus trips to kayaking. I should be up to any physical demands that might arise during activities offered to the general public. I'm thinking at least one helicopter trip and bike tour (rented bikes-blech!) will be on my agenda. I probably won't be able to resist a brief foray into panning for gold. The fishing trip looks expensive, but I might try that, as well.

    I'll also have about half a day where I'll be fresh enough to see a tiny bit of Seattle. Though my cruise departs from and arrives back at Vancouver, I don't think my schedule or my baggage will favor my exploring that fine city.

    Tell me, what are some must see/do things to look for on such a trip? What might not be worth bothering with (and why)? Any reasonable chance of seeing an aurora around that time and those places?
     
  2. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Jim,

    I cannot help with suggestions on Seattle, but my wife and I took an Alaskan cruise a couple of years ago and really enjoyed the trip. We embarked from Vancouver, and disembarked in Seward, then enjoyed a week-long land trip from Anchorage to Fairbanks, with a stop at Denali, before flying home.

    Our cruise ports of call were Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, along with cruises through Glacier Bay National Park and College Fjords. In Juneau, I would highly recommend a wildlife cruise. We saw humpback whales, orca whales, harbor seals, eagles and had a great view of the Mendenhall Glacier. If you enjoy hiking, there are some beautiful trails at the top of Mount Roberts (I think that's its name -- the tram car is a short walk from the dock).

    At Ketchikan, we took a seaplane trip to the Misty Fjords National Monument. It was a beautiful area, and the plane lands on one of the fjords. The kayak trips are supposed to be nice, too.

    At Skagway, I would recommend the train trip. This was already booked, so we took a motor coach that followed the same path and ended up in the Yukon Territory. The train trip has been featured on the PBS HDTV national broadcasts. Since this trip fills up early, you will want to reserve a spot before your cruise, if possible.

    You can probably find someplace to pan for gold in Skagway, but I was not looking for such a place. We visited a gold mine in Fairbanks and panned for gold. It was more of a tourist trap than anything else.
     
  3. Keith Outhouse

    Keith Outhouse Stunt Coordinator

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    How about a trip to Adire Audio[​IMG]
     
  4. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Space Needle- Gimmicky but fun
    U District is a blast for we youngins
    Iwajimaya if you're an asian culture fan
    The Salmon run in Puget sound is very cool. There's an underwater bubble you go in
     
  5. Adam Gregorich

    Owner

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    Space Needle, Farmers Market, EMP, Underground Tour, ride the duck tour. Any of these would be enjoyable and all but EMP would give you a taste of Seattle. you should eat lunch at the Brooklyn. It can be pricy but they have the BEST food!
     
  6. PatrickM

    PatrickM Screenwriter

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    Too bad you don't get any time in Vancouver. A ton to see here and your US dollar makes shopping for HT stuff that much more enjoyable.

    Patrick
     
  7. Alex Prosak

    Alex Prosak Supporting Actor

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    The fishing trip may be pricey but should be well worth it, go for it. I also highly recommend the kayak trip. Have fun!
     
  8. Christopher P

    Christopher P Supporting Actor

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    I've never been to the EMP here, but heard it takes a while to take it all in..in you don't have much time, you might want to pass. People always recommend the Pike Place market, and while it is very representative of the area, I don't find any charm in it. The Space Needle is a unique building to check out. Nice, but expensive, restaurant at the top. There are several boat trips that go around the sound, that I don't believe take too long. Underground Tour is different but cool.

    Geez it's hard to think of things when you're around them everyday. If you let me know what if you have any specific interests, maybe I can better recommend things for you.

    Chris
     
  9. Jim_F

    Jim_F Screenwriter

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    Thanks all for the suggestions!

    I guess the simplest pick in Seattle is the Space Needle. I remember wanting to see that since seeing the photos in National Geographic when I was a kid.

    It looks like several of the top picks are all on my Juneau day, so I guess I'll have to choose. Tough life, huh?
     
  10. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    seattle is a VERY VERY cool town, I don't think you'll have any trouble filling your afternoon, even if you arrive with no plans at all.
     
  11. Steve Enemark

    Steve Enemark Second Unit

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    Don't forget to ride the monorail on the way to the Space Needle! Of course, that cuts into time you could be spending inside the Cinerama, the best theater in town, if not the Pacific Northwest.
     
  12. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Hey cool, I will be in Skagway the 2nd of August. A friend of mine and I are backpacking the 33 mile Chilkoot trail from Dyea to Bennett and taking that RR back (White Pass and Yukon RR). Should be a hoot! Then I'm going to Anchorage to spend some time in the backcountry of Denali, things I didn't get time to do when I was there last year. I'd second the RR trip in Skagway if you have the time, it looks like a good trip. If you have a day, you can do a section of the Chilkoot, there are various places you can drive or get off the train and do a short hike if you wish.
    I believe there is a bike store in town that you can ask for recommendations on some off-roading on mountain bikes.
    There are also kayak excursions on the Yukon river that you might be able to get a guide to lead ya and pick ya up at the end.
    Your cruise isn't on the Alaska Marine Highway System ferry is it? I know that it goes down to Seattle area and stops in Juneau, Haines, Skagway, etc. I'm flying into Juneau and taking a small Cessna into Skagway after finding the fast ferry booked (Alaska Fjordlines).
    Have fun [​IMG], I know I will.and post lots of pictures of the beautfiful state! Don't forget to bring bug spray though and a wide variety of layered clothing.
    Jay
     
  13. Jim_F

    Jim_F Screenwriter

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    Well, my travel agent called today. It seems the cruise line oversold my ship. They offered the same itinerary on an identical ship leaving from Seattle (instead of Vancouver) a day earlier (I'm flying into Seattle a day early, anyway) This is fortuitous, since I was feeling uneasy about crossing into Canada with an ancient misdemeanor on my record after reading a thread here (it's no biggie if they stop me from going to Casino Windsor for an afternoon, but when my whole prepaid vacation's on the line...)
    Instead of a porthole on the lowermost deck, I get a picture window and sitting area 2 decks above the main deck.
    Oh, and the price of this upgraded adventure? Full refund!
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    That's one heck of a deal, Jim. A free Alaskan cruise! You will really enjoy having a balcony instead of just a porthole. There are a few days where you will be at sea, so it's nice to be able to take in the scenery from the privacy of your own room -- especially if you are cruising through Glacier Bay National Park. You will be able to whale watch from your room. We ordered breakfast in a couple of mornings and ate on our balcony.
     
  15. Jim_F

    Jim_F Screenwriter

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    Yes, the price is more than right! Takes the sting out the 40 yard line lower bowl tickets I found on Ebay for Lions vs. Packers at Ford Field.

    The stateroom sitting area's inside, there's no balcony, but the picture window's a lot bigger than a porthole.

    I'm waiting for confirmation on my pre-booked excursions. I'd booked the Mendenhall Glacier and wildlife quest; the Misty Fjords seaplane trip; the White Pass scenic railway; and a short bicycle tour.

    What a great day (did I mention I'm on vacation from work for 3 weeks?) I can't stop grinning!
     
  16. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Hey Jim_F, have a great time on the cruise!!!! I just came back from Skagway and did take the ferry from Skagway->Haines->Juneau but since it was nighttime, we didn't see much wildlife, just other cruise ships.
    Since I have returned from Skagway and I did take the hiker's shuttle on the train there (narrow gauge-White Pass and Yukon RR), I can say that it would of been a great train ride if it had been sunny the day of our return. But instead it was fogged up and moist. However, it was still cool and we were all smelly and looking for real food which is the obvious reason why us smelly backpackers get our own train [​IMG]
    In skagway there are some great day hikes, including A-B mountain, Denver glacier and even shorter half day hikes like Yakutania Point. There are also some heli touring there, checkout TEMSCO aviation:
    http://www.alaskaone.com/temscoair/skagway.htm
    These guys operate a fleet of helicopters tours out of Skagway.
    Other things not to miss: Glacier Bay!!!!
    The Eagle Raptor center in Haines.. if you go at the right time (now might be close) you can see all the eagles in Haines as they gather for the salmon migration. On Aug 3rd, I was able to see alot of salmon (Cohos I think) going up the Taiya river during my hike of the Chilkoot trail.
    In Skagway, check out the RR museum, the visitor's center on Broadway, the Cone Company for ice cream :) And the Red Onion Saloon for good food. They're all on Broadway and not hard to find.. I mean the town has only about 800 year round residents.
    basically all the tourist shops are on Broadway and the rest of the town is residential. They have horse drawn tours and also a good free walking tour given by the National Parks Service daily.
    Have fun!
    Jay
     
  17. Jim_F

    Jim_F Screenwriter

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    Thanks Jay, I'll have to see what all I can fit in. Should be a great time.

    BTW, I'll have to make a point of checking my messages more than once every 6 weeks :b
     

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