TRAVEL DIARY || TWO WEEKS IN ALASKA

October 16, 2017 Glacier Bay Basin, Alaska, USA

This post is sponsored by Princess Cruises and SheKnows Media. 

If you've been following along on my Instagram and watching my Instagram Stories you may have noticed that I've been spending two weeks in Alaska. It was such a surreal moment as I was surrounded by towering mountains and breathtaking glaciers while on Princess Cruises. I was lucky enough to partner with Princess Cruises to share with you my experience in Alaska. When I landed in Alaska, I was amazed at how beautiful it was. I didn't imagine Alaska's landscape would be covered with luscious green trees with a hint of autumn foliage.


The first part of my trip was the Connoisseur Escorted Cruisetour. My tour guide Lacey, was amazing and made sure I knew the itinerary for each day. I went on a wilderness tour in Denali National Park and it was absolutely stunning, an experience I'll never forget. While on the bus I was able to spot wild animals like the grizzly bear in their natural habitat. I appreciated how Alaska was respecting and taking measures to conserve the land and nature. One of the lodges I stayed at, McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge was located on Denali State Park. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge had an amazing view of the mountains and I was able to walk on the trails surrounding the lodge. I stayed at Denali Lodge, Fairbanks Lodge, and Mt. McKinley Lodge during my week land tour and I felt right at home. I always had a warm fireplace to read and keep warm during the cold nights.


The food was amazing as well! Three course meal for dinner at North Fork Restaurant in Mt. McKinley Lodge was my favorite. I first started with a salad with blueberries with a blueberry vinaigrette which I wish I had the recipe for. So good! For my main entree I had shrimp scampi for dinner at  - amazing. For breakfast, I always had the Alaskan breakfast, sunny side up eggs with bacon and toast! I appreciated how there was attention to every detail and everything was prepared fresh!


After several days between three different lodges, I took the Direct-to-the-Wilderness rail service which was quite a sight. The 500 mile journey was incredible and I was able to see what it was like living in Alaska, passing by residential homes and enjoying the spectacular view from the glass-domed rail car. Shortly after, I was onboard Star Princess to discover the last frontier. Thank you to Princess Cruises for the warm welcome with a bottle of champagne and flowers in my room!






Day One and Two

The first two days onboard was spent cruising and admiring the Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay, seriously stunning! I also got my manicure at the Lotus Spa, a relaxing space where you can get everything from a haircut to a massage. I ended up getting a haircut and pedicure before I stepped off the cruise for the last time. The staff at Lotus Spa use only my favorite brands and products and I left feeling refreshed and pampered!


While aboard on the cruise, I was able to take advantage of the different amenities Princess Cruises offered. My balcony room gave me picturesque views of the sea. I was able to see whales and seals while at sea, truly unforgettable! Due to my dietary restrictions, I thought I wouldn't be able to eat proper meals but the staff was very accommodating and understanding. Two of my favorite specialty restaurants onboard that you must try while on the Princess Cruises are Crown Grill and Sabatini's! Hernan and Stephen from Sabatini's were wonderful and always happy to chat about their experience onboard and the places they visited. The staff onboard truly elevated my experience on the cruise. I was touched when they prepared dairy free dessert for me! There are several dining options onboard as well and always prepared fresh, which was a plus in my book. I always had fresh fruit, sunny side up eggs, and a toast with tea for breakfast. I was also able to enjoy the local Alaska seafood onboard, one of the freshest fish I’ve had. Some of the other cruisers onboard participated in the Cook My Catch experience, where they caught fresh fish in port and the Star Princess chef prepared it for them once they got back onboard.


Day Three

Landed at Skagway! I was told that Skagway was rainy the past couple of days so I was lucky to have been blessed with the weather. I wandered around Skagway with my brother before heading to Kroschel Wildlife Refuge Center. I had switched my horseback riding excursion last minute because I saw that there were two spots left on this tour and I've been on the waiting list. Princess Cruises teamed up with Animal Planet for this exclusive excursion and I was so excited to see animals I never would've imagined seeing in such a close proximity. I would have to say this excursion was my favorite out of the three I went on, because I was able to have an up-close and personal experience with the animals. Steve Kroschel, the founder of the wildlife center was also very hands on and made the experience unforgettable. I even kissed Karen, the moose!

I was a bit bummed I missed the Puppies in the Piazza experience, but I was able to catch a glimpse of the puppies as they left. Puppies in the Piazza experience is where sled dog puppies come onboard Star Princess where guests can meet and greet with the puppies, but luckily I knew next day in Juneau I would be able to play with puppies!




Day Four

When I woke up I was a bit disappointed to see that I could barely make out Juneau because of the foggy weather. I had a helicopter tour but sadly all helicopter tours were cancelled for the day because of the inclement weather, but luckily the weather cleared up for my dog summer camp later in the afternoon. I explored Juneau for a bit and came across a coffee shop called 60 degrees, which is in my top 5 favorite coffee places. Amazing coffee and you can add chaga, a superfood, into your coffee! One of the owners, Gavin, was such a nice gentleman and we chatted about coffee for a bit before I headed to my excursion.

I went to a dog summer camp to see how Alaskan mushing dogs have evolved over the past decades and play with the puppies. All the dogs were very friendly and eager to play, and I could tell that the staff were taking well care of the dogs. Overall, a very fun experience and interesting to see how dogs have played a huge part in Alaska's history!



Day Five

Arrived at Ketchikan! Today was the last day for excursions and I took advantage of the sunny weather by booking an adventure kart! I took a bus up the mountains which led me to the path I would go on my ATV ride. My brother drove and went over every pothole, which probably explained my headache at the end but nonetheless it was fun! Our guide brought us to the top of the mountain where there's a picturesque view of small islands and the sea. Being surrounded by nature is truly special and I'm happy to have had the opportunity to experience my last day in Alaska up on the mountains. 



Day Six and Seven

It was time to say goodbye to Alaska and Princess Cruises. I spent the last day on the cruise looking over my photos and relaxing onboard. It was time to say goodbye to Alaska and Princess Cruises. I spent the last day on the cruise looking over my photos and relaxing onboard. There was always something to do while at sea. Almost every night I grabbed a blanket and popcorn on the 14th floor for Movie Under the Stars, where I would watch the latest movies on the open deck. If it was too cold or windy I would go to the gym where they had everything I needed and even had yoga classes in the morning!

It was hard saying goodbye to my comfy balcony room and the staff, but I disembarked and started my day in Vancouver, BC. The staff and guests onboard were heading to Hawaii, but hey - Vancouver was on my bucket list and I was so excited to venture out.

Ah, where do I start! All my friends recommended renting a bike and biking around Stanley Park. The park had a bike path which made biking around stress free and I really enjoyed the scenery. I can see why everyone loves Vancouver. My one day in Vancouver really made an impression on me...I want to move here.

My hotel was located in the heart of Vancouver on Robson St. so I walked around everywhere! That's one thing I love about Vancouver, almost everything I need was within walking distance. Vancouver reminds me of NYC, except obviously much cleaner and spaced out. Food was also amazing! Few places I stopped by was Nelson the Seagull, 49th Parallel, Sura Korean, and Honolulu Coffee. All these places I would go again in a heartbeat!

A big thank you to Princess Cruises for the opportunity and unforgettable trip! Thank you for allowing me to come back new. I felt refreshed and inspired after the past couple of months not traveling have left me itching to pack up my suitcase and travel. I sometimes forgot I was away from home as the people I've come across have been only welcoming and genuine. One thing I would like to mention is that the cities I've visited with Princess Cruises are places you can't travel into by car, so I would suggest booking with Princess Cruises when you plan to take a trip to Alaska! 





Love, Sharon

2 comments

  1. Honestly, wow. These photos are breathtaking. I've never really thought of visiting Alaska until now, I had no idea there was so much to do there, and of all of the beautiful views! It sounds as though you had a wonderful time, your beautiful photos definitely show that xx

    Sending light & love your way,

    My Lovelier Days

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  2. Epic blog post!!

    Alaska is now firmly cemented onto my wanderlust travel list!

    Brilliant photographs and congrats with partnering with Princess Cruises -

    Hugs
    Hayley (www.ourdubailife.com)

    ReplyDelete

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