We admit it! We're spoiled! Traveling in our own home for the last six years has definitely soured us to other kinds of travel!
Don't get us wrong! We loved our Alaska Cruise and thoroughly enjoyed experiencing it with our friends. But, the whole time, we found ourselves thinking about how different it would be with our RV!
Reason 1: Strict Itinerary
While having a planned itinerary (that we didn't have to plan) is great, it's also a huge detriment when your one day in one port to go on your most anticipated excursion is canceled due to circumstances beyond your control.
That was the case for our helicopter tour to walk on a glacier, which was canceled because of the weather! ☹️ But, we didn't let that deter us from having fun!
Fortress of The Bear (Sitka, AK)
While docked in Sitka, Alaska, we hopped in a taxi to the Fortress of the Bear. We've had very little luck with seeing wildlife in the wild, so we settled for bears in captivity. Don't worry! These bears are all rescues that would not survive outside captivity and have been rescued from euthanization.
The Fortress of the Bear provides a unique sanctuary for orphaned Alaskan brown bears. Established with a vision to rescue and care for these majestic creatures, the fortress spans over three-quarters of an acre and is equipped with naturalized habitats to provide a semblance of the wild for its furry inhabitants. Visitors to this conservation center are treated to an immersive experience, learning about the bears' behaviors, conservation efforts, and the challenges faced by these iconic symbols of the Alaskan wilderness. The Fortress of the Bear not only serves as a haven for these orphaned bears but also stands as a testament to human compassion and the enduring commitment to wildlife conservation.
Reason 2: Limited Transportation
When you arrive in a port town with thousands of other people, transportation can be an issue. In Sitka, for example, the taxis are unregulated, and the drivers can make up prices at will. Our ten-mile taxi ride was $45 and came with a lecture about how taxi drivers have all the control and passengers get what they get. That was fun!
Creek Street and Whale Watching Tour (Ketchikan, Alaska)
The night before arriving in Ketchikan, we booked a whale-watching boat tour through Eagle One along with Phil and Stacy (Today Is Someday). While we waited for our boarding time, we walked around town and ended up at Creek Street. This quaint little area is a bunch of shops and businesses on stilts all along the river. In the not-too-distant past, the site used to be a red-light district, hosting the area's “sporting ladies.” It's a definite must-see when visiting Ketchikan!
Boarding our whale-watching tour, we had high hopes of getting up close and personal with some whales! Eagle One, our tour company, had a fantastic record of seeing whales on 98% of their most recent tours. However, they didn't factor in OUR record of 2%, and we saw zero whales on the tour. Credit to our captain and crew, though! They tried their hardest and even extended our tour to get us some whales… But, it was not to be. We did, however, get to see other wildlife on the trip, like otters, eagles, and one deer. And, it's always nice to see an area from the water.
Reason 3: No Our Own Home
One of the many ways RV travel ruins other forms of travel is that, in an RV, wherever we go, we have our entire home with us! There's no forgetting to bring an item because it's all there with you. You also have your own bed, living room, office, truck, etc., and don't have to deal with airports or the TSA!
Butchart Gardens (Victoria, Canada)
Our last port of call was Victoria, Canada, and it was a beautiful sunny day! Our friend (and travel agent), Christina, booked a large tour van to take us to Butchart Gardens.
Butchart Gardens, nestled near Victoria on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, is a testament to the transformative power of human vision and dedication. What began in the early 20th century as a project by Jennie Butchart to beautify a worked-out limestone quarry has blossomed into a sprawling 55-acre floral Eden. Today, this National Historic Site of Canada welcomes over a million visitors annually, who meander through themed gardens, such as the enchanting Sunken Garden, the serene Japanese Garden, and the vibrant Rose Garden. The interplay of meticulously curated plant varieties creates a living tapestry that changes with the seasons, offering a unique spectacle throughout the year.
Reason 4: Limited Time
While we thoroughly enjoyed our eleven-day cruise, it was still only seven ports with about 8 hours in each. With an RV, we would have been able to stay as long as we needed in any location to see the sights and also relax a little and take in the area.
Cruises are a great way to see a lot of locations and attractions in a very short time, while RVing is almost the opposite. Rving would undoubtedly be a ton of driving and effort managing the usual “RV stuff.” But, in our opinion, if you are able to RV, it's a far superior way to see Alaska or any part of the country.
- Cruising with RV Friends: 11-Day Alaska Adventure! (part 1): youtu.be/nKR-tkHGnI8…
- Discovering the Gems of Vancouver, BC: Must-See Attractions!: youtu.be/zANt7-R16_E…