Star Princess Pool, Vancouver, Viki
Star Princess Alaska Cruise – Vancouver
Getting to your Star Princess Alaska Cruise in Vancouver BC is easy. The Star Princess docks downtown. The Canada Line metro train runs from the Vancouver International Airport directly to the Waterfront Terminal. The Waterfront Terminal is at the Canada Place cruise ship terminal. The Canada Line only costs a few dollars and even allows you to tap a charge card and ride. You can also purchase tickets from machines at the Vancouver International Airport. The Canada Line is easy to use and inexpensive, so you don’t need to purchase a transfer from your cruise ship company.
Creek Street, Ketchikan
Star Princess Alaska Cruise – Ketchikan
After a full day at sea, our Star Princess Alaska Cruise arrived in the early morning at Ketchikan. Eight killer whales passed right beside the ship in the narrow channel less than a mile from the dock. I decided to create my own self guided Ketchikan Walking Tour. We started by walking along Creek St. We were there so early that we were all alone, which was very nice. Next we rode the funicular up to the Cape Fox Lodge, where we admired the dug out canoe hanging from the rafters.
After that we wandered along the Ketchikan River. We visited the Totem Heritage Center and the fish hatchery, which is no longer open to the public. Then we walked down the Married Man’s Trail, which was short and pleasant. The Married’s Man Trail is easier going down because it is a steep path with lots of wooden steps. Back down at Creek St we saw the salmon ladders. The salmon weren’t around though, because the salmon run doesn’t start until the end of July in Ketchikan.
Totem Bight Clan House, Ketchikan
Our second self guided tour of Ketchikan was a trip on the local bus to Totem Bight. You can get information on where to catch the local bus from the Tourist Information Centers at berth 2 or berth 3. We caught the Silver Line North on the street along the harbor. The fare was $2 or a day pass was $5. It took less than half an hour to reach Totem Bight. The bus drops you off in the Totem Bight parking lot.
A $5 entrance fee and a short walk through the forest brought us to the totems. The Totem Bight poles all face the ocean front. A shed with a glass side lets you see a pole they are working on. The clan house is very large. You enter the Totem Bight clan house through a small hole at the front. Inside a large group was listening to a guide from an organized tour. We only spent about 10 minutes at Totem Bight. That allowed us to catch the Silver Line bus a few minutes later and return to Ketchikan. Otherwise we would have waited an hour until the Silver Line bus made its next visit to Totem Bight.
Saxman Village Clan House
On the way back from Totem Bight to Ketchikan, we learned that the same bus continues on to Saxman Village. The Silver Line bus takes the back route through Ketchikan, so the bus route goes high up on the hillside away from the harbor. The bus is then called the Silver Line South, but it’s the same bus as the Silver Line North. There’s really only one bus. The Silver Line stops at the ticket entrance to Saxman Village, which is about three miles south of Ketchikan. The fee to wander past the Saxman Village totem poles was $5. The clan house is not open to drop in visitors though. You have to be on an organized shore excursion to get inside the clan house and see the native dancing. Organized tours also can enter the workshop where totem poles are carved.
We spent about 10 minutes at Saxman Village. When the Silver Line bus came by on its return to Ketchikan we were waiting at the stop. This was a perfect way to see Saxman Village on a quick trip. In total we spent $15 each in Ketchikan. For that price we got 3 bus rides and two park admissions each. Plus we did our self guided tour of Ketchikan for free. What a great way to see the sights of Ketchikan.
Orca Pod Killer Whales, Juneau Whale Watching
Star Princess Alaska – Juneau
The weather was perfect for our shore excursion on the Star Princess Alaska Cruise visit to Juneau. We started out at 8:30 by riding up the Mount Roberts Tramway for a view of Juneau under sunny clear skies. Next I headed out on a Juneau Whale Watch Tour. The tour takes you to Auke Bay. The 48 passenger Juneau Whale Watch catamaran was fast and comfortable. Full glass siding provides great views. When you stop, there are viewing areas at the front and on the top deck.
Our first Humpback whale sighting was close to the shore. The Humpback whale was lunge feeding, which is unusual. After a while our pilot sped off a long distance up the bay. We quickly passed a couple other Humpback whales and came instead upon a large pod of killer whales. Killer whales are also called Orcas. The killer whales moved steadily. Their backs kept showing as they swam. At one point a large male killer whale bobbed its head out of the water too.
Steller’s Sea Lions, Juneau Whale Watching
Even more impressive to me were the great mountain vistas along the fjord. We saw the Mendenhall, Eagle and Herbert Glaciers against the snow capped peaks ringing the sea. After the whale watching, I added on a trip to Mendenhall Glacier. I made the 45 minute round trip hike to the waterfall near the glacier. The weather as sunny, warm and clear. Another perfect excursion.
After lunch on the ship, we took a second trip up the Mount Roberts Tramway. The second trip was free, but not quite as much fun as the earlier trip that morning. The crowds from all the cruise ships made it very busy and the afternoon light wasn’t as crisp as it as in the early morning. Even so, the view was amazing.