- Photo Tours
- Carnival Breeze – Exotic Eastern Caribbean
- Carnival Freedom – Western Caribbean
- Carnival Miracle – Mexican Riviera
- Carnival Pride – Bahamas from Baltimore
- Coral Princess – Ultimate Alaska with Cruise Experts Travel
- Cuba Cruise Louis Cristal – Cuba
- MSC Divina – Eastern Caribbean
- Norwegian Breakaway – Christening
- Norwegian Epic – Eastern Caribbean
- Norwegian Pearl – Alaska RT Seattle
- Quantum of the Seas – Preview Cruise
- Zuiderdam – Alaska Inside Passage
- Hurtigruten FRAM – Antarctica
- Hurtigruten Midnatsol – North Cape
- Passing Cloud – BC’s Gulf Islands
- Passing Cloud – Haida Gwaii
- S.S. Legacy – Columbia & Snake Rivers
- Safari Endeavour – Alaska’s Glacier Country
- Safari Voyager – Mexico’s Sea of Cortes
- Schooner Zodiac – Brew Cruise 2013
- Schooner Zodiac – Wine Cruise
- Silver Discoverer – Australia to Indonesia
- Silver Explorer – Arctic Svalbard
- Silver Explorer – British Isles
- Silver Galapagos – Galapagos Islands
- Wind Spirit – Stockholm to Oslo
- Wind Star – Rome to Nice
- EUROPA 2 – Greece & Turkey
- Queen Mary 2 – Eastbound Transatlantic 2012
- Queen Mary 2 – Westbound Transatlantic 2015
- Seabourn Sojourn – Ultimate Alaskan Sojourn
- Silver Shadow – Exotic Alaska
- Silver Shadow – Southeast Asia & Myanmar
- Silver Spirit – Athens to Barcelona
- Silver Spirit- Eastbound Transatlantic
- Silver Wind – Mediterranean
- Silver Wind – Middle East
- Silver Wind – South Africa
- AmaLotus – Cambodia & Vietnam
- AmaLyra- Danube Christmas Markets
- American Empress on the Columbia
- Emerald Waterways Emerald Star – Danube Delights
- G Adventures – India’s Ganges
- S.S. Maria Theresa – Christening
- Tauck ms Inspire – Maiden Voyage
- Tauck Swiss Jewel – Blue Danube
- Viking Baldur – Danube Christmas
- Viking Baldur – Rhine Christmas
- Viking Forseti – Chateaux, Rivers & Wine
- Viking Freya – Danube Christmas
- Viking Longships Christening 2012
- Viking Longships Christening 2013
- Viking Longships Christening 2014
- Viking Longships Christening 2015
- Viking Vidar – Grand European Tour
- Upcoming Cruises
- About FTDC
Hiking Wrangell’s Rainbow Falls
Friday, June 30, 2017
At first blush, this is the kind of place you wouldn’t think to come to: a small village nestled into a hillside in the middle of nowhere. There are no big-name tourist shops. Diamonds International and the like have never had foothold here. And when Norwegian Cruise Line tried to turn this into a major port of call back in 2004-06, it didn’t take.
It might be precisely for those reasons that I love Wrangell, Alaska. I first came here back in 2005, aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Sun. And while Wrangell may not have suited guests on that 1,948-guest ship, it is the perfect fit for Seabourn’s 450-guest Seabourn Sojourn.
Today, only small-ship luxury vessels call on Wrangell. Just 24 calls will be made this year, and that’s up substantially from years’ past. But keeping things on the small-ship luxury level allows this gem of a town to stay that way, and the low passenger counts of ships like Seabourn Sojourn means that the town’s guests don’t overrun the place.
Situated at the north end of Wrangell Island just up the Clarence Strait from Ketchikan, the town of Wrangell has a population of approximately 2,300. If you’ve taken other cruises to Alaska before, you’re probably sailed right on past it and never knew: Wrangells is located about halfway between Ketchikan and Juneau.
Wrangell’s greatest strength is its authenticity. A real, working-class village, Wrangell is graced with two grocery stores; a number of cute little shops and cafes; a hotel; and one of the roughest-looking bars (the Totem Bar) in Alaska. Its residents are hugely friendly, and seem to appreciate the small ships that call here. They’re more blunt about Norwegian Cruise Line’s efforts a decade ago. “Those sonsabitches wanted us to sell our stores to ‘em”, one local told me this morning.
If you’re here, there’s plenty to do. Wander along Front Street from the cruise ship dock. If you hang a right on Stikine Avenue (which turns into Evergreen Street), you can walk to one of my favorite spots: Petroglyph Beach. It’s about 1.5 miles away from the pier, and you can reach it in an easy 30-minute’s walk. Here, ancient carvings are still visible etched into the stones on the beach.
Follow Front Street around town and you’ll end up on Shakes Street. This serves as the entrance to Chief Shakes Tribal House, a recreated Tlingit tribal house located on Shakes Island that’s well worth the visit.
Back on Front Street wandering from the ship, hang a right on Campbell Street. You’ll pass behind Bob’s IGA grocery store and end up at the Wrangell Museum. The museum itself is quite fascinating, but the really noteworthy thing is the museum’s great gift shop, which boasts a fantastic selection of local interest books and handcrafted souvenirs. Outside the museum is a great vantage point with beautiful views of your ship.
You should also be sure to pick up a copy of the Wrangell Sentinel. For $1, you can catch up on all the latest happenings in Wrangell. I like the quaintness of the paper, which prints a list of who’s celebrating a birthday or an anniversary in town. It also includes a fascinating police blotter of various disturbances and incidents in Wrangell over the past week.
After walking around town, I departed from my usual routine of heading for Petroglyph Beach and instead joined one of Seabourn’s Ventures by Seabourn shore excursions.
Seabourn offers a total of 12 excursions in Wrangell, three of which are part of its exclusive Ventures lineup. The three Ventures by Seabourn tours for Wrangell are:
- Rainbow Falls Adventure Hike: 5 hours, $179 per person.
- Rainbow Falls Adventure Hike – Up & Over: 7 hours, $229 per person.
- Anan Creek: Exclusive Bear Viewing & Photography: 7 hours, $699 per person.
I chose the first option – the 3.5-hour Rainbow Falls Adventure Hike. The longer seven-hour hike was more strenuous and sounded amazing, but I wanted to have some free time to explore Wrangell.
Seabourn does a great job of preparing you, in their written pre-cruise documentation and on-line, what to expect from each tour. I found the description of my hike through Rainbow Falls, about five miles outside the city, was perfectly accurate.
After a short drive onboard a local schoolbus, we entered into the Rainbow Falls trailhead. The trail is highly accessible, with wooden boardwalks topped with mesh metal grating throughout. While we covered less than a mile in distance, we made up for that with our elevation gain: about 500 feet spread out over 200 steps scattered along the trail.
Rainbow Falls is a mixture of new and old-growth forest. It’s lush, quiet and serene. After hiking up at a comfortable pace for an hour, we reached a scenic lookout where our local guides distributed chocolate bars as a little energy boost. Our Seabourn Ventures expedition specialists were also there, accompanying our local guides, and adding to their advanced knowledge.
I also learned later that this particular hike was so popular that it was waitlisted by 17 people. Most cruise lines would say, “gee, we’re sorry, but the tour is full.” Seabourn added another departure entirely, which ended up being the one I was ticketed on. Talk about luxury!
Getting to Know You
Back onboard, Seabourn Sojourn let go her lines and we slipped away from our berth in Wrangell just after 4pm. Captain Tim came over the public address to inform us of the weather conditions on our overnight run up to Glacier Bay National Park, which will take us into the open Pacific. Summarized: rain, wind, and some swells.
There are plenty of things to enjoy about a Seabourn cruise, as I’m discovering. I’ve been floored to have received dinner invitations each and every night – a common thing on Seabourn for guests travelling solo, and even as couples. Each dinner has been a spectacular event, with great hosts and compelling guests filled with amazing stories. It’s been a hugely pleasant surprise.
Today, another Seabourn first: at 6:00pm, guests were invited to step into the corridor and stand outside their stateroom doors to get to know their neighbour. It’s a great idea, one that the line calls its Seabourn Block Party. I must admit, though, my suite’s location is a bit problematic for this, as it’s adjacent to the card room and the machinery room for the swimming pool. I can only see my neighbour across the way.
Evenings onboard Seabourn Sojourn are relaxing and uncomplicated. Live music takes place in several venues around the ship, and one production show or entertainment event is offered nightly in the Grand Salon on Deck 6.
Happening tonight onboard Seabourn Sojourn, from the Seabourn Herald:
- 5:00p: A Conversation with John Fonseca, “Gold Rush Ports”. Grand Salon, Deck 6
- 6:00p: Seabourn Block Party. Corridors.
- 6:30 – 8:00p: The Club Trio featuring Danielle on Vocals. The Club, Deck 5
- 6:30 – 8:00p: Panoramic Piano Moods with Bruno. Observation Bar, Deck 10
- 9:00 – 9:45p: The Club Trio featuring Danielle on Vocals. The Club, Deck 5
- 9:30 – 12:00mn: Smooth Piano and Vocals with Bruno. Observation Bar, Deck 10
- 9:45p: Showtime – Seabourn Sessions. Grand Salon, Deck 6
- 10:45p – late: The Club Trio featuring Danielle on Vocals. The Club, Deck 5
How do you choose what to do? Just know this – you can’t make a wrong choice aboard Seabourn Sojourn.
Our Voyage Report from Seabourn Sojourn’s Ultimate Alaska voyage continues tomorrow as we spend the day cruising Glacier Bay National Park. Follow along with our latest cruise adventures on Twitter: @deckchairblog.
Seabourn Sojourn - Ultimate Alaskan Sojourn
|Monday, June 26, 2017||Vancouver, British Columbia||Embark Seabourn Sojourn||1700|
|Tuesday, June 27||Cruise the Inside Passage; Seymour Narrows; Queen Charlotte Sound|
|Wednesday, June 28||Ketchikan, Alaska||0800||2300|
|Thursday, June 29||Scenic cruising Misty Fjords|
|Friday, June 30||Wrangell, Alaska||0700||1600|
|Saturday, July 1||Scenic cruising Glacier Bay National Park||1000||2000|
|Sunday, July 2||Cruising Tracy Arm and/or Endicott Arm|
|Monday, July 3||Haines, Alaska||0700||2000|
|Tuesday, July 4||Juneau, Alaska||0800||1700|
|Wednesday, July 5||Sitka, Alaska||1000||1900|
|Thursday, July 6||At Sea|
|Friday, July 7, 2017||Seward (Anchorage), Alaska||0700||Disembark|
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- October 2016
- September 2016
- August 2016
- July 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- November 2015
- October 2015
- September 2015
- August 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- November 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009