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Patty & Craig's Alaska Cruise

San Francisco, California

A ten day cruise to Alaska from San Francisco is somewhat unusual, so we decided to take it. First we spent a day in San Francisco, then boarded the Sea Princess.

After checking in to the Mark Hopkins we looked at the view from Nob Hill and decided to walk down, then up to Coit Tower. As you can see, the hill up to Coit Tower is fairly steep and most people try to drive - rather than walking like we did - but there is very little parking at the circle in front of the tower.

From the top there is a great view of the San Francisco Bay area and Patty took full advantage of it.

Here is a view of Lombard Street - the crookedest street in the world - from Coit Tower; then a view of Coit Tower from Lombard Street.

We took a trolley car back to our hotel, then walked down to Ghirardelli Square in the evening for chocolate and dinner.

Coming back via a trolley car, Patty held on to the outside running board.

Golden Gate from Mark Hopkins roomship & bay from Mark Hopkins

The next morning we got this view of the city and Golden Gate bridge from our hotel room, then went to the Top of The Mark and found the Sea Princess at her berth in the San Francisco Harbor.

Leaving in the afternoon, we got a great view of both the city and the Golden Gate.

Leaving San Franciscopast the Golden Gate

At Sea

We had two days at sea before we docked in Juneau, Alaska and there was lots of time to roam the ship and aquaint ourselves with our dinner partners - Mable & Anthony and Wayne & Lillian. We also met Captain Stenzel.

As we entered the Inside Passage on the second day, the Alaskan vista was very impressive.

Juneau, Alaska

Entering Juneau we had to take the obligatory picture of the most common mode of Alaskan transportation - the seaplane.

Craig & Patty on the open deck above their cabin.

Mendenhall Glacier

We took the city bus to the glacier - it stopped at the entrance, a mile from the park office - and got this view of the glacier while we were walking in.

This is a common view of the glacier, with Nugget Falls shown at the right.

The Mendenhall Glacier is known for its clear, blue ice and an example is shown in this picture.

See the tiny, tiny people at the bottom of Nugget Falls? This trail head is where they started to walk in to see the foot of the falls. We didn't try out this trail because it was near 6:00PM and that was the time of the last bus back into Juneau.

Getting ready to climb on the return bus we got this view of the glacier, with the park office in the front.

Mt. Roberts


We took a tram from downtown Juneau to the top of Mt, Roberts and got the following views of the channel leading past Juneau...

Skagway, Alaska

White Pass Railroad

In Skagway we took a tour on the White Pass Railroad past White Pass Summit to Fraser, Canada. This famous narrow gauge railroad was constructed to move gold miners from the seaport of Skagway to the goldfields in the Yukon at the turn of the twentieth century.

The scenery on this steep, twisting railroad is always spectacular and well worth the trip.

We got off the train in Fraser, Canada and boarded a bus for the rest of our tour.

suspension bridgeview from suspension bridge Patty with Mounties

We drove to the Yukon Suspension Bridge, intended for tourists.

It was fun crossing the Tutshi River - over some class 3 rapids.

Of course Patty had a White Pass tourist hat.

Finally Patty posed with some old-fashioned Mounties.

return to Skagway

We returned to Skagway by bus and stopped shortly after we passed the border between Canada and the U.S. at White Pass Summit.

At the stop we ran into Anthony and Mabel starting a biking tour down to Skagway - they liked to stay active.

Craig in Jewel Gardens

On the outskirts of Skagway we stopped for lunch at Jewel Garden - Alaskans are very proud of their flowers in the summertime - although it is Craig we see in this picture.

Glacier Bay, Alaska

The mouth of Glacier Bay is 68 miles from the end of the bay where two glaciers come together.

In 1750 the glacier was at the mouth and has receded to its present position since that time.

approaching Margerie Glacier

The Margerie Glacier is the cleanest and fastest moving of the two glaciers, but the Pacific Glacier - the black bar on the right in the picture to the left - is by far the largest.

We got some shots of the Margerie Glacier calving and these three pictures illustrate the process.

Finally, leaving, Craig is in this picture of the Margerie Glacier.

Ketchikan, Alaska

Coming into Ketchikan there were already four cruise ships ahead of us and we had to tender into port - passing a seaplane harbor on the way.

a hidden lake

We had decided on a 4-wheel drive and canoe ride tour and our off-road excursion ended at a hidden lake where logging had been a primary industry until some 30 years ago.

Craig and Patty mount one of the remaining stumps nearby.

When we started the canoe ride part of the tour, the large canoe on a nearby lake was able to handle everyone - Patty thought this was really cool.

approaching canoe docks

We each got in and rowed across the lake to a lunch spot on the opposite side.

This is near the southern end of boreal forests in North America and we got lessons in what that means. Trees would die and fall over, then other plants and trees would start growing on the top side of the fallen tree, and finally the tree would completely rot out leaving large gaps where roots of the trees growing on the top of the fallen tree would be exposed. Then the cycle would start all over again.

boreal forest Patty & Craig in a tree

Victoria, B.C., Canada

Upon arrival in Victoria, Canada, we saw a number of different kinds of limousines waiting to take passengers on tours of the area. In this picture there is a 1955 Cadillac, new Lincoln stretch limo, a Rolls Royce, and a Lincoln Town Car.

Of course everyone - including Patty - had to have their picture taken in front of the Empress Hotel.

We walked up through the main area of downtown Victoria to Chinatown, on the north end, then meandered back through the city to Beacon Hill Park on the southern side.

Beacon Hill Park is quite sizable and a beautifully quiet place to wander.

When we got to the shorefront we took a picture of Patty looking toward the Sun Princess, then returned and took a picture of where Patty had been standing.

As we pulled out we got our last look at land before we would dock in San Francisco again.

Seagulls seemed to like the ship railings and didn't leave until we were well out in the ocean.

Finally, the pilot boat came alongside to pick up the local pilot who drove the ship out of the local harbor waters.

At Sea

Our final time at sea was spent wandering the ship and getting photos - on our balcony, relaxing on deck, and cruising the open ocean.