I have wanted to visit Alaska for a while and managed to persuade my parents to come join me on my cruise on Regent Seven Seas Mariner. We cruised from Anchorage (Seward) down to Vancouver, visiting Sitka, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan on the way. With its stunning scenery and landscapes, Alaska is not a conventional cruise holiday, it is an adventure. From the icy glaciers to its gold rush history, there is so much to do, see and experience in this beautiful destination. I recently visited Alaska on an ultra-luxury cruise with Regent Seven Seas Cruises, here are my top tips for visiting North America’s most inspiring scenery and amazing wildlife.
Embarking on our Alaska cruise
To break the journey up, we decided to fly out to Seattle on the 29th August to spend one night there. We were able to have a good walk along the waterfront, enjoying a beer looking out over the water and taking in some of the sights, before flying to Anchorage the next day to spend a night there before beginning our cruise from Seward.
In Anchorage, we chose to rent an Air BnB apartment, rather than booking into a hotel, although Regent Seven Seas Cruises were using the local Hilton Hotel for their pre-cruise accommodation. However, we opted to add on the transfer to the ship with Regent Seven Seas Cruises, due to the long distance from Anchorage to Seward.
We decided to get up early and get booked in for the transfer time. Before catching our transfer and making our way to Seward, we enjoyed some American pancakes and waffles at Snow City Café, which I highly recommend if spending a couple of days in Anchorage. I would also recommend either the 49th State Brewing or Glacier Brewhouse for meals, as they were excellent for some lunch and dinner.
The cruise line advised that on the morning of the transfer between 7am and 10am, we had to go to the conference room to collect our transfer ticket and time. The transfers were starting from 09.45 and the last one departed at 11.45, as we got there just before 07.00, we were able to get on the first transfer and get to the ship around 12.30 to start enjoying it. The last transfers didn’t arrive until about 15.00.
We were unlucky with the weather for the first couple of days, with high winds, large swells and lots of rain. Unfortunately, we were unable to visit Hubbard Glacier, but both the cruise before and after did get to visit it. Nevertheless, the excellent treats and cocktails made up for it along with the exceptional service on-board.
Cruising to Sitka, Alaska
On our visit to Sitka, we decided to go on the Sea Otter and Wildlife Quest. Again, the weather wasn’t great but it held out for the majority of the boat trip. We saw the Sea Otters, Bald Eagles and were very lucky to see a brown bear and her triplet cubs!
Next stop- Juneau, Alaska
We docked in the heart of downtown. Our morning trip took us on a Gold Mining adventure, which was a fun experience to learn a bit about the history of Gold Mining in the area. We even mined a little gold ourselves to bring back home (about 50 cents worth), which made for a brilliant souvenir.
In the afternoon we went Whale Watching. The tour company that did this excursion was excellent- we were able to see 14 humpback whales in the time we were out on the boat and also some more bald eagles. We then took the trip out to Mendenhall Glacier. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t fantastic at this stage so it made accessing the glacier a challenge.
The beautiful town of Skagway, Alaska
Our next stop was Skagway. This was a beautiful little town. For the first part of the day, we went out zip-lining through the forests. This was something a little different to the standard sightseeing, or Denali National Park and history tours. In the afternoon we took the Skagway Streetcar, which was created back in 1923 when President Harding visited Alaska and went on a sightseeing tour.
Final stop- Ketchikan, Alaska
Our final stop was Ketchikan. I found that a number of the little villages and towns which we visited were quite the same, with similar jewellery, tourist and clothes shops. So, we decided to go to the Alaskan Lumberjack show. This gave us some time to enjoy the ship afterwards, whilst a number of guests had gone on other tours and the weather had brightened up. The Alaskan Lumberjack show was entertaining and rather a unique experience. They got the crowd involved and put on a good show.
Why Choose An Ultra-Luxury Cruise To Alaska?
Regent Seven Seas Mariner is a beautiful ship. I stayed in a deluxe veranda suite, which was sizeable and offered stunning views approaching our ports each day.
The entertainment on-board was varied, with the entertainment team doing dancing and singing shows. They did a Country Rock show, a Tuxedo show and then their final night was some of the top performers through the decades!
The food on-board was exquisite, of course. The main restaurant, Compass Rose, has a huge range of choices. They had options which were always available and then daily specials each evening. We also ate here for breakfast and lunch on some days. The Miso Salmon was amazing and I highly recommend this if you see it on the menu.
Prime 7 was incredible and Chartreuse was great, although I am not usually a huge fan of French cuisine. I would advise, when on-board, to look out for Prime 7 and Chartreuse opening for lunch, which they sometimes do, perfect for when the weather’s not too great, to sit and enjoy a lovely lunch in good company.
The buffet restaurant, La Terrazza, provided a variety of options for lunch and then turns into an Italian dining venue in the evening.
For, those moments of brilliant sunshine, head to the top deck and enjoy a burger at the Pool Side Grill. On a couple of nights, they opened the Pool Side Grill for a more casual evening meal, with grilled meats and fish on the menu.
For those with a sweet tooth, look out for their afternoon tea, with some days focusing on a specific thing such as cheesecake or brownies.
Overall, I thoroughly recommend Regent Seven Seas Cruises, especially for cruising to Alaska. All of the trips and excursions we did were included within the holiday cost, which made such a difference, making the holiday all the more relaxing, knowing that every detail had been taken care of from the moment we stepped aboard.