2016 - Carnival Legend - Alaska Cruise

Cruise Itinerary: Seattle to Tracy Arm Fjord, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Victoria

June 14-21st, 2016

Day 1, Tuesday, Embarkation Day Seattle

We took the Carnival shuttle from the airport to the ship. It was an easy process, and we were soon onboard the ship, heading to the Lido for lunch. After lunch, we walked around the ship to check it out. The Legend is the smallest ship we have sailed, so it was interesting to see the differences from the Caribbean ships. Soon, our room was ready, and the Muster drill was held. Afterwards, we returned to our tour of the ship, then dressed for dinner.

The ships decor is definitely Art Deco, and a bit overblown mirrors-and-gold, to say the least.

Dinner tonight - Casual night. Robin had grilled salmon, salad and black forest cake. Ron had chicken ala greque, and creme brule. Food was from the old menu, not the new American table. It was good, nothing special.

Welcome show with Jen Baxter, our Cruise Director for the week. It was funny seeing Jen. She had been our CD for our trip on the Freedom last year. The Playlist entertainers also gave a quick show. We were most excited that we had a "Naturalist" onboard the ship all week, who would be giving talks about all the Alaska flora and fauna, glaciers, and whales! She would also be announcing if whales were spotted any time during the cruise.


Day 2, Wednesday, Sea Day

As usual, we were up early and Ron hit the gym. After a shower, we went up to the Lido for breakfast buffet. Aster we ate, we headed down to the ballroom for the Naturalist Michelle's Whale presentation and for Jen's Excursion talk. When those were done, we walked around the decks, looking for any activity in the water. At lunchtime, the Lido buffet area was insanely busy. Since there was no Guy's or Blue Iguana on this boat, we walked arund trying to figure out what to eat, ending up in the shortest line we found, the Burger station by the pool. Uggh, worst burger I have ever eaten, but the chicken nuggest were okay. About the time we finished eating, Michelle came over the loud speaker announcing whales. Yes, it began! Every few minutes she would announce which side of the ship, what kind, and how many. Then we all saw a huge pod of white-sided dolphins (look like orcas but smaller) that put on a show coming straight at the ship. Then more whales.. It was a fun afternoon!

Dinner tonight was Formal Night, which for an Alaska cruise, meant no cutoffs and flipflops. No kidding, people didn't really get dressed up at all. We saw a few men with suit jackets and ties, women in dresses, but that was just a few. Most people were in same clothes as the night before. Robin ordered the red fish and stuffed mushrooms, with fruit plate for dessert, Ron ordered the prime rib, gator fritters for appetizer, and cherries jubilee for dessert. Once again, good but not crazy special.

After dinner we just went back to room with a few drinks and watched tv.


Day 3, Thursday, Tracy Arm Fjord Cruising

The ship was scheduled to cruise up Tracy Arm Fjord starting at noon today. Ron hit the gym again before breakfast, then we went up to the Lido for breakfast. Unfortunately, as we entered the outer islands surrounding the entrance and the inside passage, a heavy fog appeared. We could barely see the water looking straight down! Everyone was concerned we would not see the fjord. Michelle, the Naturalist, came over the loud speakers often, giving us updates. Tracy Arm was blocked with icebergs and no large ships were allowed in as they might get trapped and unable to turn around. This meant, that Endicott Arm was open to ships and we were headed there instead.

As we neared the entrance to the two fjords, the fog began to lift. HOLY COW... we were surrounded by huge mountains covered with snowy caps.

We had booked the excursion for the Small Boat Tour of the Fjord, scheduled to start at 12:30pm. We ate lunch, grabbed all our photo and video gear, and met the rest of the people down in the main auditorium. Michelle briefed us quickly, then we were led to the gangway and our boats were waiting. Half the people were put on one boat, half on the other. And we were off!

The small boats used for the excursion... we got so CLOSE to the glacier!!!

Video: Cruising Endicott Arm June 2016

This excursion was fantastic and worth every penny. If you do the Alaska cruise, no matter which cruise line, you need to do this!

The Carnival Legend met us in the back of the fjord, but could only get about a mile away from the glacier. Our small boat got so much closer, the boat captain and guides said we were 1/4 mile from it. We got to see the glacier calve several times, as well as shooters (ice breaking off under the water, which shoot to the surface.) Our small boat pulled along side the Legend and we got back onto the ship as another group of people boarded the small boat. I am so glad we did this!

Dinner tonight - Robin had grilled chicken with baked potato and salad, date cake for dessert, Ron had jerk pork, salad, and chocolate melty cake for dessert. Food was very good. After dinner we headed to the Playlist Performers show "The Brits". It was good, we hadn't seen that one before, but not our favorite. We were both hoping for more Beatles. After the show, we headed back to the room, it was going to be an early busy day tomorrow.


Day 4, Friday, Skagway Alaska

We arrived and pulled into the harbor early at 7am. We ate a quick breakfast then met down in the auditorim again for our excursion. We had booked the "Best of Skagway" tour. This tour takes a bus tour through town, then up the pass, a return back down on the White Pass train, then the bus would take us to Liarsville gold camp for a salmon bake lunch and show, then a return to town to the Red Onion Saloon and Brothel for a tour and refreshments.

We crossed into Canada, left the bus and boarded the train.

After the bus ride up, then the train ride down, we hopped back on the bus for a short ride to Liarsville for lunch, gold panning, and show. Ron actually found quite a few small pieces of gold as well as some dust.

Our last stop was at an old brothel from the Gold Rush days, the Red Onion.

After the brothel tour by one of the madams, we walked back to the ship, stopping at several stores to shop along the way. It was about a quarter mile but gorgeous and green.

I didn't write down what we had for dinner, I guess it wasn't that exciting.


Day 5, Saturday, Juneau Alaska

Our excursion today was something neither of us had ever done -- ride in a helicopter! And even better yet, we were going to fly up over all the glaciers in the Juneau area, then land on Mendenhall Glacier. There we would be fitted with hiking spikes and would be able to walk on the glacier. How cool. We were both so excited to experience this.

We were bused to the airport where we met with Northstar Helicopter Tours. We were fitted with over-pants and jackets, gloves, and boots. We left our shoes and coats in a locker there, as well as any bags we had. We were only allowed to take one camera each. After giving our weight, we were walked out to the helicopters and placed inside to balance the weight properly. Our group was divided into two, 6 people in one helicopter and four in ours. We both got to sit in the front with the pilot. What a great view. We flew up over the city, then looped up through the spectacular mountains for 30+ minutes, sweeping by cliffs and hanging glaciers. Soon we could see a tiny orange dot on the top of the glacier - our base camp.

We landed near the base camp, where two guides were waiting for us. They unloaded the spikes and as we stood on the ice, they placed the spikes on our boots and handed us each a hiking pole. When the group was done, we began a short safety lecture and then were able to walk around. After about an hour, we went back to the base camp area, took off the spikes and slowly walked to the helicopters. The flight back to the airport was quick, maybe 10 minutes, but once again beautiful. There we removed all the gear they had loaned us, then boarded our van for the return into town. The driver dropped us off downtown and most of the others returned to the ship area. We stopped in the Red Dog Saloon for a quick drink, then went into a few shops as we walked back towards the ship dock.

Dinner tonight - Robin had grilled salmon again with salad and baked potato, Ron duet of steaks, caprese salad, and raspberry cake with sorbet. All very good. After dinner we attended the Playlist Performers show "The 70s". Show was just okay, not really what we had hoped and music was heavy on disco. Oh well, don't think we would sit through that again... not bad, just not our thing.

Video: Helicopter and Glacier Hike, June 2016

Juenau is definitely a port with lots of activities and excursions, something for everybody. It is a port we would love to go back to, so we could do more, like a whale watching boat or wildlife tour.


Day 6, Sunday, Ketchikan Alaska

We had not been sure what to book for this day, but we finally decided to do a boat tour which was to see eagles nesting.

The ship arrived in port and it was a bit overcast. This port, Ketchikan, is considered the Salmon Capital of the World. It is also the rainiest city in the USA. Our port time was going to be short, 7am-1pm. Most of the excursions offered took most of that time, leaving little time afterwards to walk around the picturesque town and shop. Our tour met right at the dock, so we exited the boat and walked to our meeting spot. A bus met us there and soon we were off for a drive to the boat dock.

As we arrived at our tour boat, the clouds cleared and the SUN came out! Woo hoo!

The boat cruised through various waterways, stopped for us to see eagles, eagle nests, etc. The crew provided snacks, hot chocolate and coffee, as well as sodas. On each table inside were binoculars for anyone to use. It was a smoothly run operation and we both enjoyed it. We even got to see an eagle on the shoreline eating a fish he had caught. We also saw some tiny deer that had come down to the shoreline.

After the boat cruise was done, we transferred back to our bus and were dropped off at the same spot we had been picked up, right downtown. We only had about an hour to kill so we ran to Creek street to get some photos, as well as to some of the local shops to check them out.

The clouds rolled in, and it began to drizzle rain. Back onboard, we dashed up to the Lido to get lunch. It was packed. Since none of the excursions provided lunch, everyone needed to eat. No kidding, the entire ship was on the Lido at once. Lines were loooooong.

It was our last day in Alaska...boo. So beautiful and so much to see and do. Oh well, off the ship went right as scheduled towards Canada.


Day 7, Monday, Sea Day and quick stop in Victoria Canada

For us, this port stop was a complete waste of time. Didn't arrive until after dinner, and then stayed until midnight. Unfortunately, Canada requires all ships stop there in exchange for entering their water space. Lots of people got off the ship here, maybe just to walk to the store at the end of the pier to get their passport stamped and a photo in front of the Canada sign. We hit the bar for a few drinks, then off to finish packing our luggage, put it outside our door for pickup, then bed.


Day 8, Tuesday, back in Seattle

This port is the easiest debarkation we have ever seen. Grab your luggagge and just walk off the ship, hand your declaration document to a clerk and keep walking. We got on the bus taking us back to the airport and off we went.