Hello and welcome to Alaska! I’m onboard Oceania Cruises’ newly revamped Regatta, a beautiful 684-passenger ship, as we have traveled from Vancouver to Sitka, Juneau, and a gorgeous, gorgeous day at the Hubbard Glacier. Today we’re in Skagway.
As the Alaska/British Columbia cruise season kicks off, what do you want to know about cruising in this part of the world? Are you a veteran Alaska cruiser? What advice would you share with us?
Please chime in and ask (and advise) away.
Carolyn Spencer Brown
Editor in Chief
One of the things that strikes me about Alaska -- this is my second time here but it's been over a decade since the last cruise -- is that for all of its towns and urban haunts, this really is a trip that's about wildlife and experiencing nature. I'd forgotten how absolutely majestic and beautiful Alaska is (we've done only Alaska ports so far aside from our embarkation in Vancouver, which is one of the best cities in the world). Even if you don't have a lot of time in port, it's really critical to get out of town. The towns themselves, save for Sitka which I adored, are a bit on the touristy side. Juneau, for instance, could have a Caribbean port for that it felt like a real place. But I took the Mt. Roberts tram, which is right at the pier, and went up 2,000 feet, and hiked, and it was marvelous. And easy.
We want to see your photos of Alaska. Send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll post them right here.
Another good question to ask yourselves, particularly first timers, is what kind of experience do you want to have? There are so many ship options, and sure, we talk about the big guys, and also more upmarket lines like Oceania and Crystal, but there are some good small ship (meaning under 100 passengers) options, too.
While I've gone on about how Alaska is all about nature, one of the fun things to do in your spare time is to visit shops in ports that really reflect local culture. There have been artist galleries in every port, and this one, in Sitka, is actually staffed by the 23 different artists (from ceramics to watercolors) who are exhibited there. Look for more detail in our updated port profile. They're easy to find if you're keeping an eye out.
FYI, we've posted a couple of photo albums about this trip (one on Sitka, one on Hubbard Glacier) on Cruise Critic's Facebook page -- wander over if you want to take a look. Go here: Facebook.com/CruiseCritic
Next week's Cruise Critic Live! will focus on spas. Ahhhhhhh.....