Alaska Inside Passage

Old Oct 31st, 2004, 09:04 AM
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Alaska Inside Passage

Looking for advice/opinions/information on the Alaska's Inside Passage....what to aviod? not to miss? not to be missed stops? stops to definately miss? ALL will be appreciated!
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Old Oct 31st, 2004, 09:42 AM
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You left out some very important info. Are you traveling on a cruise line with specific stops and if so which stops, and the other is are you traveling via the Alaska Marine Highway ferries?

Anyway I thought the best places were Skakway ( If you like to wet your wistle and listen to live music in an acual historic brothel) , Sitka, and Ketchican. The most boring waste of time was Wrangle. Most people like Haines but I did not. Juneau is the largest city and the capital but has very little to offer except for the Mildenhall glacier 30 minutes away by bus, and its not a tourist trap. A Must See if you go to Juneau. If you stop in Skagway take the AM or PM train ride up the mountain. Lots of history. And beware, everything is expensive in Alaska. There are no free rides except for your own two feet. If you stop in Ketchican Do Not buy tickets to "The Internation Lumberjack Championship" which is held every day a cruise ship pulls into town!! Go to the state park nearby which has authentic Native American structures and wood sculpure poles.
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Old Oct 31st, 2004, 11:01 AM
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If this is your first and possibly only trip to AK, my advice is always to get a cruise that goes beyond the Inside Passage and reaches Seward or Whittier, then get a land tour.

Inside Passage cruises rarely let you get far for the tourist areas and the geography is gorgeous, but very similar. The best of Alaska runs from the Kenai Peninsula through Anchorage and the Mat-Su to Denali.
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Old Oct 31st, 2004, 10:14 PM
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Consider only round trip Vancouver cruises if you are not adding land touring- superior for inside passage sailing. But you need to also consider ports, time in ports, glacier, price , route- then find a ship A lot is packed into 7 days. If going one way- ideally add another 7 days- distances are VAST- don't spend all your time in transit. Probably the "state Park" referenced in Ketchikan is Totem Bight? You need a rental car or tour to get there.
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Old Nov 1st, 2004, 03:59 AM
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I'm not sure how to word this. Whittier is on some cruise ship itineraries now. It is fascinating historically and driving thru the tunnel to get there is an experience but if I was on a limited visit to Alaska, I would not go to Whittier. It's a former military base and the huge concrete building that used to house everything is abandoned and decrepit.
Relatives who did a cruise only felt they missed a lot of Alaska and I think they did. I agree that a land-based tour should be added to a cruise.
I loved Skagway even if it's sort of a tourist trap. We stayed overnight in the former brothel. We had purchased a book in Seattle with some great stories about the gold rush and Skagway.
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Old Nov 1st, 2004, 08:21 AM
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dfrostnh,
I only mentioned Whittier because it and Seward are the only ports that allow one to get to the best areas of Alaska. Whittier isn't a destination, it is merely a transit point.

My only trip to Whittier was to catch a sailboat charter to PWS, spend a few days at a Forest Service cabin, and sail back. The highlight was stopping to pull a shrimp pot and boiling them on the spot.

I wouldn't spend any more time in Whittier than it takes to get off the boat.

Seward is an entirely different matter. Plenty to do and see there.
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Old Nov 1st, 2004, 11:18 AM
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Repete: I agree, Seward is a much better choice than Whittier. Your advice to choose a tour that goes beyond the Inside Passage is a good one. My husband was so anxious to leave Whittier that we were first in line to enter the one way tunnel. Then he kept saying "Hope the signals aren't messed up and the other traffic is really stopped".
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Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 04:36 PM
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Hey Robert, are you reading any of this? How about some follow-up? We didn't respond for nothing.
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Old Nov 4th, 2004, 05:00 AM
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Do you enjoy watching every conceivable type of evergreen tree..do you enjoy watching them GROWING? This is just one (of many) things you'll experience cruising through the Inside Passage.
Don't get me wrong, it is stunning and wonderful just being there but you will not necessarily be seeing fabulous overlooks and vistas at every bend...you'll see a lot of evergreens, though.
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Old Nov 4th, 2004, 05:09 AM
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I agree about going to Seward. Hpwever, if you're even a slightly experienced traveler, I'd encourage you to consider combining the cruise with some do-it-yourself travel.

We did the Vancouver-Seward cruise and enjoyed Sitka the most of any port -- an amazing amalgalm of Russian, Native American, and western European cultures! Then, while everyone else from the cruise got on the buses for the long ride to Anchorage, we opted out. Took a wildlife-sighting cruise on a small boat from Kenai Fjords Cruises, then took the wonderful Alaska Railroad train from Seward to Anchorage. Spent a day or two in Anchorage, then rented a car and headed up to Denali for several days. The best part of doing it this way was not being herded here and there with everyone else; we set up a schedule that suited us. Plus, the rental car gave us lots of freedom to explore places/restaurants that wouldn't have otherwise been possible.
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Old Mar 25th, 2005, 01:31 PM
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I'm looking for ideas for shore excurions for Sitka. Since you liked it the best, what can you suggest? In another post a wildlife cruise was highly recommended but should we do this if we're taking the Kenai full day tour and also doing whale watching in Juneau?
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Old Mar 25th, 2005, 04:05 PM
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All your boat tours are different. In Sitka you always see sea otters, usually humpbacks. St. Lazaria is also a large puffin rookery. But there is plenty to see on land too and it is just an excellent walking city- without mobility limitations. There is also a loop shuttle bus- about $7 for all day. Request their visitor guide www.sitka.org look over your shore excursion list and see what may be of interest for you.
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