Tag Archives: Inside Passage

Ketchikan, Alaska From The Boat

Ketchikan is a small fisherman town within the Inside Passage of Alaska and a popular stopping point for cruise ships. It was the first port of a Celebrity Alaskan Cruise I went on a while back. Being the first stop a lot of people were ready to get off the ship, walk the town and go on excursions.

I was surprised how few people there were as we came into and also when we left port. Being me I ran quickly from one side of the ship to the other and from the front to the back. I wanted to capture the town and its surroundings. This felt like an excursion in and of itself.

Ketchikan, Alaska, coming into port on a Celebrity Cruise

As we came into town in the morning, it was cool and overcast which was the norm. I got my first taste of the colorful buildings and houses that make up Ketchikan.

Ketchikan, Alaska, coming into port on a Celebrity Cruise

Ketchikan, Alaska, coming into port on a Celebrity Cruise

Ketchikan, Alaska, coming into port on a Celebrity Cruise

Ketchikan, Alaska, coming into port on a Celebrity Cruise

Fishing and crab charter boats went from docked…

Ketchikan, Alaska, coming into port on a Celebrity Cruise

Ketchikan, Alaska, coming into port on a Celebrity Cruise

…to out on the open water. The Aleutian Ballad Is part of the Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s Tour, one of the more popular tours in all of Alaska. Speaking of fish, Ketchikan is known as the salmon capital of the world.

aska from the Celebrity cruise ship

Besides boats, I watched seaplanes take off and land on the water and cars take the ferry across the Tongass Narrows over to Ketchikan International Airport, as there is no land access. The air and water are the two ways people can get into town. There is no road access to the outside world from Ketchikan, which resides on Revillagigedo island.

Ketchikan, Alaska, coming into port on a Celebrity Cruise

Ketchikan in the Inside Passage of Alaska

Being the first major cruise ship destination coming from the south there were other large ships docked.

I can’t get enough of looking at the colorful fisherman village style buildings that make up the town.

Ketchikan, Alaska from the Celebrity cruise ship

Ketchikan, Alaska from the Celebrity cruise ship

The tan, expansive building with the American flag on top is the historic Tongoss Trading Co. Their ideal location right along the docks, led me and scores of other tourists into picking out various Ketchikan and Alaskan souvenirs. For locals, sports gear, furniture and apparel are aplenty throughout.

The capturing continued as our stay in Ketchikan ended and we started heading north, getting further and further out.

I made sure to look up and out all long the way as Ketchikan is surrounded by the Tongass National Forest.

Ketchikan in the Inside Passage of Alaska

I previously posted about the scenes I was welcome to on a dawn arrival in Skagway, at the top of the Inside Passage. Stay tuned as in-between our Alaskan journey brought us into the capital city of Juneau.

Are there any scenic places you visited on a cruise that got your camera out coming into and leaving port?

Photo of the Week: Welcome to Ketchikan, Alaska.

One of the more frequent stops on an Alaskan cruise is Ketchikan within the Inside Passage. One of the more popular shots in town is the welcome-to sign. That’s right up my alley so of course I was going to capture it. 🙂

Ketchikan is known for tourism and fishing. Hello to the “Salmon Capital of the World”!

welcome-to-ketchikan-alaska

#ElCafeDe2013: The Coffee of Inside Passage Alaska.

While on an Alaskan Cruise this summer we made three stops within the Inside Passage of Alaska. Of course there was going to be some coffee shop exploration at each. Our first stop was in Ketchikan and the coffee shop of choice was Good Coffee Company.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Ketchikan

After a pre-dawn start watching our ship come into port and then exploring the town and having some cruise excursion fun, the basic latte I ordered definitely hit the spot. Note: Good Coffee is cash only.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Ketchikan

I scoped out the cream and sugar stand. Notice the Deadman’s Reach sticker? Foreshadowing for the coffee I’d be trying out later. 🙂

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Ketchikan

The outdoor terrace behind the building was the place to enjoy the coffee. It was fun being in an establishment with a quiet and local feel versus the countless cruise ship owned jewelry and tourist shops that lined the streets.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Ketchikan

It’s a recommended spot being a short walk from the cruise ship docks.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Ketchikan

Further up the Inside Passage and the next day we were in the capital city of Juneau. The first place (shop) we went into off the cruise ship was Heritage Coffee Roasting Company.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Juneau, Heritage Coffee

We were at their downtown location, as they have six locations in and around Juneau. It was a mix of locals and their laptops and tourists charging their phones. All were enjoying freshly roasted coffee from Heritage’s vintage roaster.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Juneau, Heritage Coffee

I enjoyed checking out their logo everywhere and chatting with the friendly baristas.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Juneau, Heritage Coffee

Went more specialty coffee here getting the recommended Almond Joy Latte. I normally would go for a coffee mug, but the paper cup was distinctive with the logo on it. Note: Get the paper cup, it also makes for a great souvenir.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Juneau, Heritage Coffee

At the top of the Inside Passage and another day later we were in the gold rush town of Skagway. We checked out a couple of coffee hot spots, the first being Glacial Smoothies and Espresso in the heart of town, but off to the side from the tourist shops.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Skagway

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Skagway

A warm inside atmosphere awaited us as well as…

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Skagway

…locally brewed coffee. They serve the aforementioned Raven’s Brew Coffee. Raven’s Brew was originally based in Ketchikan, Alaska.

I went with their Deadman’s Reach coffee. The dark roast hit the spot while watching fellow cruise ship patrons and locals come and go. You’ll find a large offering of smoothies naturally as well as sandwiches, muffins, bagels and more. Note: If you’re looking for wi-fi, the only place to reliability find it in this town is the library.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Skagway

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Skagway

While walking along the cruise ship docks in Skagway heading towards the ship, we stopped in at The Caboose On the Dock for another caffeine pick me up.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Skagway

Within the small, train car shaped building I ordered their White Pass Gold coffee. More Alaskan brew, more caffeine, more deliciousness.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Skagway

Checking out the coffee shop and local brew scene within the Inside Passage of Alaska was fun, delicious and helped to keep the motor running in order to enjoy everything Alaska has to offer.

Alaska: A Visit to Mendenhall Glacier.

A short drive north from downtown Juneau within the Mendenhall Valley is the glacier of the same name. People from all over the world, a lot of times via an excursion off of a cruise ship, head to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center to checkout the glacier along with the mountains, wildlife, greenery and more.

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska, alaskan cruise

My fiance and I visited via an excursion in the early evening and immediately walked towards one of the vista points.

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska, alaskan cruise

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska, alaskan cruise

The Mendenhall Glacier is currently twelve miles long carving it’s way through the Mendenhall Valley ending where you are viewing it from in the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is part of the largest forest in the United States, the Tongass National Forest.

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska, alaskan cruise

We were lucky enough to be there in during an unusually warm and sunny day. That led to some glacier reflection shots off Mendenhall Lake and time up close…

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska, alaskan cruise

…with it’s cold glacier water.

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska, alaskan cruise

As you can see on the map above you’ll find plenty of walking trails to enjoy the Alaskan wilderness and different vantage points. It was a combination of tourists and locals walking their dogs and running.

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska, alaskan cruise

Due to the warmer temperatures on average the Mendenhall Glacier has been receding faster from the front than it’s forming in the back. They say it might not be that many years before it will be hidden from view from the Visitor Center.

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska, alaskan cruise

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska, alaskan cruise

Off to the right of the glacier when viewing from the vista points is Nugget Falls, whose water falls into the lake, originating from the Nugget Glacier.

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska, alaskan cruise

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska, alaskan cruise

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska, alaskan cruise

All around the lake your bound to see mini floating icebergs broken off from the glacier.

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska, alaskan cruise

Walk less than a mile on the Nugget Falls Trail from the Visitor Center to see the falls up close.

Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, Juneau, Alaska, Nugget Falls trail

Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, Juneau, Alaska, Nugget Falls trail

Be on the lookout for bears when in the park. No food is allowed within.

Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, Juneau, Alaska, Nugget Falls trail

It was a beautiful evening and time at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska, alaskan cruise

We got to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center by signing up for a tour/excursion through ShoreTrips and it was run locally by Orca Eco Tours. Our host and tour guide were very informative giving us lots of information about both the glacier and Juneau. Checkout other Juneau excursion options from ShoreTrips.

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska, alaskan cruise

Some additional tidbits:

  • Checkout the history of the glacier in the Visitor Center. There is a $3 fee to enter. It sits up-top a small cliff.
  • It’s free to walk the trails, use the restrooms and visit the souvenir shop.
  • There are other trails going away from the waterfall and glacier where you’ll probably spot a bear and see lots of salmon swimming in the water.
  • The park is opened year around but just on the weekend with shorter hours during the winter and colder months.
  • Leave at least a few hours to explore all the trails and stare at all the scenery.

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska, alaskan cruise

What glaciers have you visited in your travels?

Photo(s) of the Week: Approaching an Alaskan Port.

The Celebrity Solstice’s first port of call, on our recent Alaskan cruise, was the colorful fishing town of Ketchikan. It happen to be at around 6 a.m. local time. I decided to make the trek out of bed and out to the bow of the boat on the top deck in the cold, rain, wind and fog. There were only a few people out there with me as we came into this Inside Passage town in Alaska. I did have coffee to help get me through. 🙂

Some photos of that experience.

Ketchikan, Alaska - Alaskan Cruise

Ketchikan, Alaska - Alaskan Cruise

Ketchikan, Alaska - Alaskan Cruise

Ketchikan, Alaska - Alaskan Cruise

Ketchikan, Alaska - Alaskan Cruise

Ketchikan, Alaska - Alaskan Cruise

Ketchikan, Alaska - Alaskan Cruise

We weren’t alone cruise ship wise.

Ketchikan, Alaska - Alaskan Cruise

The coffee and cup wanted to get their picture taken in front of Ketchikan too haha.

Ketchikan, Alaska - Alaskan Cruise

It was a fun early morning getting a first glimpse of the state of Alaska. Stay tuned more posts and photos of Ketchikan, the other ports of call in Alaska, the cruise itself and all the coffee consumed along the way.

Have you ever been on a cruise? An Alaskan one? If so, what was your favorite port to go into?