Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Legendary Trip North to Alaska- Ketchikan, AK

10 Year Anniversary Cruise 2016- Carnival Legend

Slugs, Slugs and More Slugs
Ketchikan, AK
Sunday, June 26, 2016

We loved Ketchikan and the nature walk was OK. It was a walk in the park woods that was labeled as a hike but was hardly what I, and especially Chris, would call a hike. We enjoyed this old mining town in Alaska and enjoyed sampling the world's greatest salmon. 

Despite being in Alaska and the "cold" temperatures we slept all night with our balcony door open letting in the cool air in our cabin. Since day 1 our cabin was unbelievably hot and near unbearable but unlike previous cruises with Carnival, our room steward did not bring us a fan for comfort. We had the AC repair come to our cabin 2 separate times and say it was working but it never got cold or even cool in our room so we decided to just sleep with the door open. (We learned our neighbors rooms, even the Captain's suite wrap-around, were overheated too) It was a wonderful night's sleep.

Our 1st view of Ketchikan... I swear EVERY cruise port in EVERY country has a Diamonds International! 
Another view of Ketchikan. 

I cannot wait to explore this city!

The Carnival Legend was in port in Ketchikan for a very short 6 hours from 7AM to 1PM so we wanted to get off as soon as we could to see the town before our "Nature Hike" excursion. We went back to the Pizza Pirate for the omelet station and once again ordered our customized omelets and were sitting down to eat within 7 minutes. 

We got off the ship around 7:15AM and spent nearly an hour exploring this old mining town before meeting up with our tour at 8:15AM. Keep in mind lots of the stores in Ketchikan were not open this early since it was a Sunday. We met up with our tour but had to wait nearly 30 minutes for late arrivals before boarding our bus to the far side of Ketchikan for our hike. Ketchikan is officially the rainiest city in America, but we had no ran this day.

Alaskan's 1st City and the Salmon capital of the world! 

The Tongass National Forest Welcome Center... It was closed! 

The Liquid sunshine (rain) gauge... So far in 2016 they have received 140+. 

The Salmon Market... This place is a MUST see! The owner is incredible and gave us FREE salmon just to come back after our tour, which we did! 

Happy Sunday Y'all from Ketchikan! 

Our actual 7349 balcony... (dead center) EASILY the best balcony and cabin we have EVER had! 

We booked this tour through Viator based off a recommendation from a cruising friend who did this exact tour in 2015. She saw salmon and bears on her hike but I found out once we arrived on this tour that those types of sightings happen in JULY not June. This tour was over 3 miles through the wilderness and woods just north of Ketchikan. We spotted several types of Pacific Northwest tress and especially slugs. In fact, we spotted all five types of banana slugs. This tour was fun and we enjoyed it but I think it was VERY overpriced for what we actually did. This tour cost $89/per person and I feel it was worth about $39-49/ per person. Some of this frustration was brought on by the fact that we toured Capilano Bridge in Vancouver, BC just a week earlier where we learned much of the same information. "Next time" we will do something different in Ketchikan but with so few port hours it made it difficult no matter what you did. 

Our 1st slug... the white banana slug!

Western Hemlock... well known on the west coast and the leaves have a citrus taste! 

The famous salmon berry... Too bad on the others on our tour were hogs, we never got to taste one!

The Broad Maple Leaf- Not necessarily the maple leaf from the Canadian flag.
This was my favorite tree of the tour! 

"Spaghetti Leave" tree- This was around even when the dinosaurs were there! 

I loved the gorgeous flowers on this tour!

This is the creek where the bears and salmon are but again... IN JULY!

Our tour was over around 11:45PM and we then walked around town getting last minute Alaska souvenirs and went to the Salmon Capital of the world at the Salmon Market. We got several gifts of salmon for ourselves and family and then headed back to the ship. It was about 12:15PM and this was the longest line we had encountered yet with over 500 people trying to get back on board. 

Once back on board we put away our souvenirs and then went to the only food option open on this day which was the Lido buffet. We never felt the "smallness" of this ship and we have never felt crowded on ANY Carnival ship... until now. I swear to you ALL 2,600 passengers were in line for the Lido lunch buffet. In fact, there are 4 buffet lines and the lines themselves were so long they were over-lapping each other. I would suggest ordering room service on this day! 

After lunch we went back to our balcony to watch sail away from Ketchikan. It was beautiful and we stayed out on the balcony for nearly 2 hours. We knew when we booked this cabin that we wanted to spend LOTS of time on the balcony and that is pretty much all we did the whole cruise. I would highly recommend this balcony style when sailing in Alaska. 

The picturesque mountains in Ketchikan from sail away! 

We loved this little town... So simple and so cute! 

The other ships in Ketchikan: 
The Celebrity Millinium- After seeing the Aft Suites on this ship, ours is NOTHING!
I want to sail on this ship before I die. It is my new BUCKET-LIST cruise ship! 

The Celebrity Solstice.
It had to tender into Ketchikan because 3 weeks prior a cruise ship came into the pier too fast and damaged Ketchikan's 4th terminal. So be advised there is a possibility your ship MAY tender in Ketchikan! 

The Grand Princess (sailing from San Francisco)

Mid-afternoon we decided to get out and explore the ship more as we had not done that too much on this trip like usual. We hit up the Coffee bar and then went and played Harry Potter trivia. As expected, we did not win! No 24K piece of SHIP on a stick for us this time! We were sad and even tried to buy one but it is something that has to be earned! BUMMER! 

We came back to the room and you guessed it... sat on the balcony until dinner time. By this time (5PM) we had sailed past the Alaska mainland and saw several small islands on the port side of the ship but on the starboard side was all ocean. We did not see any whales at this time but this was the area near Stephen's Passage where we spotted the previous whales. 

Time for some pre-dinner selfies!

It was the 2nd formal night of the cruise and we wanted to get there early in hopes of a faster and smoother dinner experience. This was a great idea as the service was some of the best we had experienced... until the dancing. The waiters once again started singing and dancing and the service came to a halt. Once the dancing started it took 30 minutes just to place our dessert order and then the process of getting the dessert and finishing dinner made our final dinner time of 1 hour and 55 minutes which is just too long for two people, even for a formal night, in my opinion. 

After dinner we went exploring ship. All week we had seen a veteran with his dog who was a service dog for PTSD. We had wondered all week where the dog "relieves himself" and then we found this! 

Doggie Bathroom!  
After dinner craziness! 

This was the evening that the Playlist Productions performed the "Epic Rock" show in the Follies lounge. Chris and I both love Rock N Roll music and had not seen this Playlist show so we were very excited. We made a pit-stop at the Taste Bar and were not disappointed with the Blue Iguana samples. Once again, let me tell you how much better Carnival ships are with the 2.0 upgrades! 

We saw Jen, the cruise director, on our way to the show and were able to get our traditional cruise director picture with her. Now I know that Chris and I had gained some weight from the Seattle trip and cruise in general but this picture just made us look like giants... That is because Jen is 4'2"... literally! But she was a GREAT cruise director and we enjoyed her a LOT! The "Epic Rock" show was AMAZING and one of our all time cruise ship favorites.If you like Rock N Roll you need to be sure to attend this show on the penultimate evening! 

Our traditional Cruise Director picture! 

We also saw our 1st comedy show of this cruise on this night. It was an adult only comedy show and it was not too bad at all. This comedian did not over use curse words or talk about lucrative subjects like sex or drugs. He was tasteful and I appreciated that. As we walked out of the lounge we saw the sun setting so we raced to the aft of the ship to our room to catch it and we barely did. We spent the following 3 hours on the balcony looking at the stars and just talking. We went to bed at 11:30PM but since we had to move our clocks forward back to Seattle time it was 12:30PM. 

My favorite towel animal of the cruise! 

Another GORGEOUS Alaskan sunset! 

I love the colors! 

This day was unique in the fact we were able to see an Alaska port and get half of a sea-day at the same time. We enjoyed Ketchikan and Alaska but unfortunately we will not be back for 6-7 years. Once again, God's creation was shockingly gorgeous and breathtaking. 

Next up... Victoria, BC, Canada! 

God is good... ALL the time! 

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