First of all, this is the second of many posts about our cruise to Alaska with Inspiration Cruises, Max Lucado & Steven Curtis Chapman Cruise To Alaska 2016. It also included Brandon Heath, Anita Renfroe, Travis Eads, Jim Barker and Scott Simpson. You can read about all these people in my first post here.
Next, I had so many pictures I wanted to share from our Alaska Cruise this post is long. Be sure to use the arrows to continue viewing pictures of our whale watching adventure in Juneau and pictures of the best king crab legs.
We have been fortunate to experience Juneau, Alaska twice. Juneau was a port stop on our Disney Wonder Cruise to Alaska in 2011. This summer we experienced it again while on our Alaska Cruise onboard Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam.
We booked this trip with Inspiration Cruises. We spent time not only seeing the beauty of Alaska but also got an opportunity to experience Alaska with Max Lucado and Steven Curtis Chapman. It was the trip of a lifetime. If you have not read my first post about Inspiration Cruises, be sure to do so here.
Our First Trip To Alaska
The first time we were in Alaska, we did not venture far from the ship. Our Disney Wonder Alaska Cruise was our first cruise and our first time not being extremely close to a neurosurgeon. If you follow my blog, you already know that I have a son named Caleb. He has had seventeen brain surgeries. These surgeries have all been life-threatening emergency operations due to shunt failures or infections. Caleb has been doing well, and he has not had any shunt problems in the past four years. After praying about it and finding comfort, we decided to explore Alaska a little more this trip.
Best Humpback Whale Excursion
Juneau was our first excursion onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam. Our primary goal was to see whales, so we booked a Humpback Whales tour with Gastineau Guiding. We were all excited and could not wait to see the whales.
We book Gastineau Guiding Discover Alaska’s Whales because they take a small number of people on each tour. Our whale watching excursion only had 19 people onboard including my husband and I plus four of our children. The small group allowed everyone to see the whales better. It was the perfect size group and boat for whale watching.
Whales we saw while on Gastineau Guiding Discover Alaska’s Whales Tour. We were with a small group of 19 people. The whale watching boat in the picture is another whale watching boat full of people. [tps_title][/tps_title]
Gastineau Guiding Discover Alaska’s Whales Boat – You will have a great time with a small group of people. The boat seemed new and spotless. The huge windows opened up wide to allow great viewing of the whales.
What We Did Not Realize Before Booking With Gastineau Guiding
Gastineau Guiding Discover Alaska Whale Watching adventure was much more than watching whales. Our Guide’s name was Chelsea. Every time Chelsea takes a tour group out to observe whales, she records the information for the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Studying the Humpback Whales
The University of Alaska is continuously studying the humpback whales that migrate to Alaska from Hawaii each summer. Humpbacks have their babies in the winter in Hawaii and then travel to Alaska to eat all summer. The water around Alaska is full of rich nutrients due to all the many glaciers in the area.
Collecting Data on Whales While We Watch Them
Our whale watching tour group played a part in an ongoing documentation and data collection for the University. Chelsea took pictures of the whales’ tales to identify them in a collection of whale tale pictures that has been taken over the years. Each whale tail is a little different. When a new whale is discovered in the area, the whale’s picture is added to the collection, and the whale is given a name.
University of Alaska
Over the years, the University of Alaska can tell which whales come back to the area, how many years the whale has been in Alaska, who had a baby and so much more. We were able to snap pictures of whales and compare the pictures we took with the collection of whale tail pictures from years past.
Three and Half Hour Tour
The tour is over three-hour with two and a half hours on the water. You are guaranteed to see whales, or you get $100 back for each quest. For additional information, see Gastineau Guiding Discover Alaska Whale’s here.
Gastineau Guiding Discover Alaska’s Whales Tour Guide Chelsea – The boat was enclosed, but the windows opened for great picture taking.
We were all so excited to see a mama whale with her baby.
What did we catch?
On our whale watching experience, we stopped to pull in a basket. This starfish was one of our surprises in the basket. Casey, my oldest son, was able to hold this Sunflower Starfish.
Casey, my oldest son, was able to hold this Sunflower Starfish.
We had a surprise visitor while whale watching.
Best King Crab Legs
After finishing our Whale Watching adventure, we headed to eat the best King Crab Legs ever at Tracy’s. We found Tracy’s King Crab Shack the first time we visited Juneau. They served fresh steamed King Crab, crab bisque, and crab cakes. Everything is super fresh and delicious. Four years ago, it was a little shack right on the water with a tent and a few tables. The shack was no bigger than a food truck.
Tracy’s has grown tremendously
Over the past four years, they added lots of tables everywhere and even a gift shop. Not only had the physical space for Tracy’s grown but the crowd was much larger too. There was a line, but it went fast, and we were entertained. We could see the man cooking the crab from where we were standing. They serve extremely fresh enormous King Crab Legs. The legs are as long as my arm and incredibly meaty too. They are seriously one of the best meals I have ever had.
The shack was no bigger than a food truck.
Tracy’s has grown tremendously over the past four years with lots of tables everywhere and even a gift shop. Not only had the physical space for Tracy’s grown but the crowd was much larger too. There was a line, but it went fast, and we were entertained.
Cooking Fresh Crab In Juneau
We could see the man cooking the crab from where we were standing. They serve extremely fresh enormous King Crab Legs. The legs are as long as my arm and incredibly meaty too. Believe me, when I say these crab legs are seriously one of the best meals I have ever had.
If you are wondering about the cost, Tracy’s is expensive BUT ooooh worth it.
Most people only get to Alaska once in a lifetime if at all, you have to experience the King Crab.
Sit Inside or Outside to See Alaska The Beautiful
Tracy’s has several places to eat inside and outside. It sits right on the water for great views with your delicious crab. We had perfect weather around 70 degrees. It was a beautiful day with bright sunshine and a light breeze, but as you know, fantastic weather in Juneau is rare. Close to the original shack where you order, they have a building with a gift shop which is perfect for cold and or rainy days.
Tracy’s cooks the King Crab out on the porch in huge pots.
The King Crab legs are enormous. We were able to get huge chunks out of each leg.
Tracy’s King Crab Shack was voted best Alaska Restaurant in 2013
Juneau Alaska Facts
You probably know that Juneau is the capital and has a population of around 30,000 people. It is located in the Gastineau Channel and only accessible by air or sea. While we were in Juneau, we regularly saw airplanes taking off and landing on the water. Besides the float planes, Juneau has a regular airport.
Juneau has been the capital of Alaska since 1906.
Other Alaska Post You May Enjoy
- BEST PLACES TO SEE NORTHERN LIGHTS
- AK Cruise Packing List
- What AK Cruise Excursions Should I Book?
- AK IN THE SUMMER: PACKING GUIDE
- Tips & Tricks for an Alaskan Cruise
- 5 Things To Do In Juneau (In Just 6 Hours)
- Best THINGS I WISH I’D KNOWN BEFORE MY ALASKAN CRUISE
- 5 Free Things to do in Ketchikan with Kids
- What To Expect on an Alaskan Cruise: Weather and Wildlife
- AK CRUISE PLANNING: WHERE TO FIND THE HIGHLIGHTS
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