Tag Archives: Skagway

Alaska: A Dawn Arrival in Skagway.

One of the best things when on a cruise is pulling into port, especially around sunrise. It’s the beginning of a new day and you’ve arrived at a new place like Skagway, Alaska.

Skagway, Alaska, Celebrity Cruise

Skagway is a historic gold rush town that sits at the top of the Inside Passage and panhandle of Alaska near the border with Canada and the Yukon.

Skagway, Alaska, Celebrity Cruise

We weren’t alone as it was summertime at the heart of the Alaskan cruise season. The town population of 900 doubles this time of year with tourism traffic.

Skagway, Alaska, Celebrity Cruise

Skagway, Alaska, Celebrity Cruise

Walking up-top the Celebrity Solstice in port we enjoyed the calmness of the Taiya Inlet waters and the early morning light shinning on the snow-capped mountains.

Skagway, Alaska, Celebrity Cruise

Skagway, Alaska, Celebrity Cruise

Skagway, Alaska, Celebrity Cruise

Skagway, Alaska, Celebrity Cruise

Skagway, Alaska, Celebrity Cruise

Skagway, Alaska, Celebrity Cruise

Skagway, Alaska, Celebrity Cruise

It was the wee hours of the morning so of course a coffee and it’s mug had to take in the experience too. 🙂

Skagway, Alaska, Celebrity Cruise

Skagway, Alaska, Celebrity Cruise

Well it was time to get off the ship and head for some rafting fun on the Taiya River. What a great first taste of Skagway, Alaska though by pulling into port at dawn.

What ports have you enjoyed pulling into when on a cruise? Any Alaskan favorites?

#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: Rafting the Taiya River.

During our stop in Skagway, Alaska on an Alaskan Cruise, we went on a rafting excursion through Skagway Float Tours. They picked us up in a van at the cruise ship dock…

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

…and we went on a forty-five minute ride along Nahku Bay and the Dyea Valley, a lot of the time on a narrow dirt road. We went through what was once the Klondike Gold Rush town of Dyea.

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Along the way there was one eagle sighting after another.

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

We crossed over the Taiya River, our rafting destination.

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Once along the shoreline we put on waterproof boots and life preservers and we’re told the proper procedures to get in and out of the raft, as to not fall into the icy cold glacier water.

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

It was then time to get out on the open Taiya River. Our tour guide did the paddling as we mingled with him and the six others sharing this adventure. He shared lots of tidbits about Alaska and the area, seeing greenery, the open river, snow-capped mountains, glaciers and more along the way. I’ll let the pictures do the talking. 🙂

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

About an hour later and a few miles downstream we reached the end point. We took a few minutes to stare at all the Alaskan beauty around us, while enjoying the snacks and Alaskan salmon they provided us.

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

The park bench and…

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

…raft were hanging out and soaking in the Alaskan beauty too!

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

It was time to head back out onto the open dirt Dyea Road and to Skagway.

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Along the route was when I realized how far north we really were. It was only a short drive to the Yukon and Canada. On the way there we stopped for scenic and panoramic views of Skagway and the surrounding area. More on that in a future post. 🙂

It was a fun, memorable time hanging out on the Taiya River. Our tour guide was nice, giving us ideas on things to do back in Skagway. I would recommend checking out Skagway Float Tours and their Scenic River Float trip when looking for an excursion in the area.

What memorable excursions have you done when on a cruise? Any Alaskan adventures?

Photo(s) of the Week: All Signs Point to the Yukon.

While in Skagway, Alaska you’ll notice lots of signage that includes Whitehorse. Whitehorse is the capital and largest town in the Yukon in Canada. It’s a relatively short drive north. Twenty miles to customs!

Yukon travel signage in Skagway, Alaska

Yukon travel signage in Skagway, Alaska

Yukon travel signage in Skagway, Alaska

Alaska highway signage

In fact you’ll see travel signage pointing you to several Yukon destinations.

Yukon travel signage in Skagway, Alaska

A Canadian road trip to the far north anyone?

Pre-Cruise Concerns, No Worries!

I’ve traveled a lot over the years by car, plane, train and on foot. Never exclusively by water. Never via a cruise ship. A new experience was in store for both my fiance and I as we got ready to go on a Celebrity Alaskan Cruise.

Celebrity Solstice cruise ship in Ketchikan, Alaska

There were a few things, concerns if you will, going through my head beforehand. I love being out on the open road traveling, being able to venture as far or as short a distance as I desire. How I would feel being so-called “trapped” in a small area, with water all around, for two days at a time?

Once on the cruise ship, I started walking and exploring going in a given direction until I met railings outside or a dead-end inside. I had the confined feeling.

Alaskan Cruise, Celebrity Cruise

As time went on though I realized with the width of the cruise ship and the number of decks, there was more than enough things to checkout. With a library, multiple pools, bars, a theater and casino, an outside lawn and more, there was lots of exploration possibilities.

The Library and indoor pool, whirlpool on the Celebrity Solstice cruise ship.

Being on an Alaskan cruise and going through the Inside Passage we were pretty close to land at all times so every time you looked the landscape and water were different and always spectacular. I thought to myself, I wasn’t trapped. There is the Tracy Arm Fjord right in front of us from our concierge room and the mountains from an outside deck with Skagway straight ahead.

Tracy Arm Fjord in Alaska from concierge room

Lawn, Deck 15, Celebrity Solstice in Skagway, Alaska.

Another concern was the weather and the waves and the possible motion sickness as a result.

The first night while trying to sleep, the waves on the open sea didn’t help my thinking. It seemed to be much better when out-and-about and having fun than when parked in one spot or trying to rest in the room. Checking out the waves up close in front of night two seemed to help. 🙂

Throughout the week-long cruise I noticed a lot of people wearing wrist bands and patches by the ear to help combat the motion sickness.

Not packing enough was at the forefront of my thoughts too. Swimming, the excursions, having to pack for all seasons and the formal dinners and functions on the ship all lead to what if I forget to pack something.

It turned out to be warmer than usual so a lot of the heavier clothes never got used. The rain jacket turned out to be my best friend, when it was cooler, raining or just damp like at the Sawyer Glacier.

Wearing rain gear at Sawyer Glacier in Alaska.

While on the cruise ship you could hangout and enjoy everything at your own pace, even more than I realized. What about the formal dinners and other functions? The timing of those was somewhat loose and if you felt like getting soft-serve ice cream and random assortments of food for dinner wearing shorts and flip-flops, you could have at it. There were plenty of shops on the ship and at the ports of call in case something was really needed.

Now on the silly side before the trip I was thinking about what I was going to do about my morning coffee. The excursions and ports of call fun were thought out ahead of time so I knew that there were coffee opportunities off the ship. What was on the cruise ship was more of mystery until we got on it. The first morning put the biggest smile on my face when I read the ships daily newsletter and saw that they had a grind of the day at a coffee shop on board, Café al Bacio!

Café al Bacio, Celebrity Solstice cruise ship, coffee shop

What a sigh of relieve. With specialty drinks and more, that meant it wouldn’t be exclusively black coffee on the open water. 🙂

A lot of the worries and concerns I had beforehand turned out to be an afterthought as the cruise got going. The Alaskan Cruise was an amazing experience for the both of us and next time I can just say, “No worries!”.

What things or concerns were on your mind before your first cruise?