Many Alaska cruises now offer a stop in Icy Strait Point, one of the most popular Alaska cruise ports and the 2020 Seatrade Port of The Year Award-winner. This cruise stop is owned entirely by the Alaska Huna Totem Corporation, which in turn is owned by the Huna, a native tribe. Profits from Icy Strait Point go directly to support the Huna tribe in Hoonah, Alaska. It’s for this reason that Icy Strait Point is both a historical museum and cultural learning center.

The town of Ketchikan is often the first or last port for most Alaska cruises. Situated as the southernmost city on the Inside Passage, this town of about 13,000 people started life as a fishing and logging community that morphed into a tourist destination. It occupies a 10-mile stretch of waterfront along the Tongass Narrows. This port offers numerous activities that are perfect for families, including the Alaska Lumberjack Show to walking tours and even fishing as well as whale watching expeditions.

There's an inclination when selecting your cruise hotel to get as close to downtown or the cruise port as possible but at the same time going where the tourists go since that's all you know and the guide books drive us in that direction too. I'm guilty of that too but in reality if you are going to be taking a ride from the hotel to the cruise port then there are a lot of options beside being just a few minutes closer. That's why we're sharing a gem of a hotel that offers everything great about San Diego - food, sunshine, craft beer, and history - located in the hip harbor-front neighborhood of Point Loma.

While many people think of Napa and Sonoma as the top wine regions along the Pacific Coast, Baja California's Valle de Guadalupe or Calafia Valley is ready to challenge that preconception. Located just north of Ensenada offers a fun and unique perspective on the rapidly maturing Mexican wine industry. While Baja wine doesn't quite have the same ring to it as other regions of the world such as Bordeaux or Napa the truth is that this area is rapidly maturing and now produces some excellent vintages. This makes doing a wine tour as part of your Ensenada cruise a fantastic opportunity to escape from the downtown area and explore a bit of baja's rolling hills and sun-drenched vineyards.

We have loads of content coming soon from our Pacific Coastal voyage on Viking Orion - one of the Viking Ocean Cruises small ship vessels but this topic is at the top of my mind because it was a missed opportunity that could have resulted in cruise guests getting a bucket-list opportunity instead of the inevitable disapointment caused by a missed port due to rough seas and the complications due to tendering. To be clear, I'm writing this from our perspective on this trip but this is the second time in the past few months that we've been forced to miss Santa Barbara, though just one of many over the years in various parts of the world that has been dropped due to issues related with tendering in general.