Cruise Chronicles Part 5

09 Jun

May 31, 2007


     Fifth day and Skagway day.  Today we did not request for room service breakfast because we knew we had plenty of time to eat in the café before going ashore.  We woke up after seven and after last night’s stomach trouble, I found myself feeling fine and ready to start the day.  Showered and powdered, we dressed warmly after our experiences in Ketchikan and Juneau.  The sky was dry, thank heavens.  But the wind was howling making it really, really cold, bitterly cold.  There was a shuttle outside the gangway that charges $1.50 every ride.  The ride included some narration about the town’s history.  We found out that we took the shuttle when the town was about 10-15 minutes walk away. 



     Skagway is called the gateway to Klondike.  It sits in Alaska coast and the town comprised of five blocks lengthwise and 27 blocks crosswise. The downtown is seven blocks with Broadway as the main drag.  The downtown area is under Parks services.  The buildings in Broadway are all preserved and/or renovated buildings from the days of the Klondike gold rush.  The only stone building belongs to Wells Fargo/Bank of Alaska on Broadway.  This is a tourist town.  According to the locals, there are 850 people in this town.  Today with four cruise ships on dock and with each one carrying about 2,500 passengers and crews, this picturesque coastal town swells.  Tourists are like ants smelling some sweets.  It is something to behold.  It’s like a scene out of a movie.  This quiet town of old Victorian buildings framed by the snowy peaks of the mountain on the background gets swamped by all these camera-toting tourists shooting pictures in the middle of the street.  I am one of them today.



     We first walked around town.  Yes, there was a Starbucks.  Much as I am a fan of this overpriced coffee chain, not all locations deserve/need one.  This is one of those locations that the presence of Starbucks ruins the idyllic setting.  We went inside the train station debating about whether to shell out $98/pp to ride the Yukon White Pass rail along the picturesque Alaskan mountainside.  We finally said it was too much money to spend.  Further down the town, we chanced upon one of the shops that advertise private tours.  This one is called Klondike tours.  This is a shuttle tour about 2.5 hours long running parallel with the train route but on the road going up to the Alaskan border with British Columbia. 



     The tour was awesome at $45/pp.  Jaime our driver/tour guide is a transplant from Yreka, California.  She first took us to pan for gold.  We collected about 5 gold specks (We believed were planted there purposely to satisfy tourists).  We took to the road again and stop at mountainside to gaze at beautiful mountain peaks, waterfalls, mountain goats, and the backcountry of Alaska and British Columbia.  The vista was magnificent.  I guess my pictures will speak for themselves.



     Just like every one else, we did come back to the ship for lunch.  Why pay extra outside when there is plenty of free food inside 15 minutes walk away (that is probably why the small tourist town of Skagway does not have a successful restaurant business)?  Our shopping was done in the morning too before lunch.  We bought some souvenirs and found thankfully an internet spot where one can buy an hour’s worth of internet time for $6.  When we first arrived, one of the computers still had time and we emailed our family and check some news for about 30 minutes.  We asked the store clerk if we could return later and use our minutes, whatever is remaining; except that we still had all of them.  We returned to use half of it after our tour and thought we could get half our money back but the storeowner said they don’t give refund.  Hubby just passed it on to Pablo, our cabin attendant.


     We just had our usual afternoon ritual of LAS TRAMBLAS tapas and desserts afterwards.  We had bread pudding tonight.  Then watched the show by an Alaskan native.  He brought some CDs to sell after the show.  WE bought one.  WE both support local individual artist and this man is one.   


Posted by on June 9, 2008 in Uncategorized


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3 responses to “Cruise Chronicles Part 5

  1. megamomph

    June 12, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    I so love the photo of the road and at the end of it the snow-capped peak! That is sooo Alaska.
    Did you ever mention what cruise line this was?

  2. ewok1993

    June 12, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    This was NCL cruise line departing from Vancouver.

  3. bw

    June 13, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    “We collected about 5 gold specks (We believed were planted there purposely to satisfy tourists).” – looks like the tour folks are very enterprising businessmen hehe 🙂

    I love the wilderness scenario for the far north. I’d prefer the mountains over the beach anytime 😉


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