Saturday, August 2, 2014

Our Alaskan Cruise

We did it! We finally get to cross 'go to Alaska' off our bucket list.

We went to Alaska to celebrate my parents 50th wedding anniversary. They have always wanted to go to Alaska so we made that wish come true. 

Here is a poem Phil wrote for them:

There once lived a man named Dennis LeFleur.
On an Iowa farm he shoveled manure.
He met and married Kathy,
Because she made him happy.
Yet 50 years later she’s not sure.
Two daughters bring joy,
When they married good boys,
Whose intentions were nothing but pure.
After all these years married when things get harried,
Their love is always the cure.

Here are the excursions that our family went on. Rated 5 as best and 1 as not so good!

Skagway- To the Summit (bus tour)   Rating 4 This excursion is a good value. We had 3 stops to take pictures. There were a lot of waterfalls to enjoy. We would recommend this tour for someone on a budget.
Takshanuk Mountain Trail by 4X4 –Rating 4 (food is a 5!) The views were very beautiful, the 4x4s were fun, and the tour guides were very engaging. The only reason I gave it a 4 is because we could have done this at home in Colorado. For someone who doesn’t live in the mountains, I think it would be more fun and I would recommend it to them. The 4x4s are Kawasaki Mules (basically a 4x4 golf cart) and with all the tight turns, we didn’t get to go very fast.
Ultimate Yukon & White Pass Railroad Adventure 
Rating: 4-Of course we were disappointed that there was a train derailment two days before arrival and we could not take the train. However, the bus ride gave us more opportunity to stop to take pictures, where the train would continue moving. The driver was informative and told lots of stories of the gold rush days. We were expecting to see more wildlife throughout the tour. Only saw one black bear, alongside the road.

Juneau-Mendenhall Glacier and Tram Rating 4 We were disappointed by how far the glacier was from the visitors center. We did enjoy the beautiful waterfall by taking a trail. There wasn't enough time to hike to the glacier to see it up close.  The tram: We had never ridden anything like this. It was a beautiful ride to the top. Lady Baltimore (Bald Eagle) is amazing to see up close.  We had so much fun on the Tram that we rode it twice just for fun.

Dog Sledding on Mendenhall Glacier via Helicopter- I would rate the helicopter ride at a 5 because every helicopter ride is always fun 
and the terrain was amazing. The dog sledding was also really enjoyable. We were hoping to go faster, so that is why I rated it as a 4. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I’m glad we went! Following the tour, the bus driver took us on an extra little tour so we could see the Mendenhall Glacier while in Juneau.

Rain Forest Canopy & Zip Line Adventure-– Rating 4 This was also very fun and zip lining through a rain forest is something everyone should do at one point in their lives. The guides were fun and made it enjoyable. There were 10 zip lines (some short, some long) and 2 suspension bridges. We were often hanging 180-feet in the air!

Mendenhall Glacier and Wildlife Quest Rating: 5  We were excited to see many humpback whales on this excursion. Our naturalist said she had never seen so many humpbacks in one location, breaching as a group as they were feeding. We saw as many as 12-15 at a time. What a show!  Because of spending more time watching the whales, we didn’t have much time at the Mendenhall Glacier, so us old folk could not walk to the falls and glacier and get back to the bus in time for departure. Overall a very good see!

Victoria- Orca and Wildlife Quest-The goal of the tour is to see orcas and we did, so I’ll give this a 5. The ride would have been more enjoyable if there were fewer people however. We saw numerous orcas! We had a great time watching them play!

Some of you have said you are interested in going on an Alaskan Cruise. DO IT! We LOVED it. 
Here are a few things I would recommend that you bring with you:

Here is a game we played while we were cruising. Good luck!


  1. Sounds like, overall, twas a good time. I enjoyed it with you second hand!

  2. What tour company did you use in both Juno and Victoria

  3. Of course the glacier was far from the visitors center, its rapidly receding. 10 years ago the view was much different. In 10 years you probably wont even be able to see it from the center. The hike to the water fall is always a great hike (walk) and you get a closer view of the glacier. The hike to actually get to the glacier isnt technically a city approved trail. You start on West Glacier trail then go off on another direction. The trail is in no way is maintained by the city and you have to forge rock cliffs just to get to the glacier. A very unsafe hike, one which I enjoy very much, but not one fit for the average tourist.

  4. Thank You so much. Just starting research for our first cruise ever. This is important to me.