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Enjoy all the tips, news, insight, and advice on luxury family travel that highlights fun, active, and healthy vacations. Explore how to make the most out of your family vacation without sacrificing luxury.

FreshCruiser.com opens readers’ eyes to new adventures and calms any fears of traveling with children. With a special focus on family cruising, the website includes tips to staying active, eating well, and taking advantage of all the opportunities while on a family vacation.

Entries in Alaska (4)


Alaska Cruise Excursion with Kids: Review of Gold Panning and Salmon Bake in Juneau

Review of Gold Panning & Salmon Bake Excursion in Juneau with kids

Our cruise ship arrived in Juneau on a perfect Alaskan summer day. We were excited to embark on a Gold Panning and Salmon Bake excursion through Alaska Travel Adventures. Our first stop was to learn about the Gold Rush and pan for gold. My son is obsessed with looking for treasure. He loves finding unique rocks, shells, and pieces of wood especially when we travel. I was excited about this tour since we booked our Alaskan cruise as I knew he would love it.

Gold Panning

We hopped on our tour bus and our guide welcomed everyone and then told us stories about the Gold Rush. As he spoke, he drove up a secluded road until we reached “Last Chance Basin” on the Gold Creek. It wasn’t what I expected. It was quiet and secluded. With four cruise ships in town, I expected to see a bunch of buses. Our guide told us that Alaskan Travel Adventures are the only ones with permission to come to this spot. Our surroundings were beautiful.  

My son was captivated by the Guide showing us how to pan for gold. As he demonstrated the process for us, I wasn’t sure if he was going to find any as I only saw dirt. I was wrong! Since gold is heavier than gravel, it appeared in the rim of the pan. 

Now it was our turn to try. We were each given a pan with dirt from upstream and had about an hour to work on panning. It was relaxing and a fun activity for all of us. My son could have spent all day there.

When we were finished panning, we each got our own bottle to store our gold and received a cute “Gold Claim Deed” certificate. The Salmon Bake was next and we were hungry after working so hard to find gold.

Gold Creek Salmon Bake

It had been 16 years since my first time falling in love with salmon at the Gold Creek Salmon Bake in Juneau, Alaska.

My husband and I couldn’t wait to go back and take our two kids. The freshly grilled salmon with a sweet brown sugar glaze that was as delicious as I remembered. While eating, we found ourselves singing along with the live music playing some of our favorite songs.  

There are a lot of other activities to do at the site in addition to the buffet. It is so much more than the excursion title suggests. We took a nice stroll to a waterfall. At the base of the waterfall there was another opportunity to pan for gold. My kids loved panning for gold and getting wet in the cold mist of the waterfall. We ended our day by the campfire. My kids roasted marshmallows and talked about all the gold they had found earlier in the day.

Often times I shy away from cruise ship excursions since it can be difficult to be on a specific schedule when traveling with kids. The Salmon Bake worked out perfectly as shuttles left every ten minutes to go back to the cruise ships so we could stay as long as we wanted.

What to Know

Other important notes for taking kids to the Gold Creek Salmon Bake:

  • Beverage options are included: hot chocolate, hot apple cider, lemonade, etc.
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Many spots to explore throughout the location, it felt like two excursions in one
  • There is chicken, rice, beans, chowder, rolls, & salads in addition to the grilled salmon if your children aren’t salmon-lovers like mine
  • It’s good activity for all ages, grandparents, parents, and children
  • Live music while you eat, which always keeps my children at the table longer

FreshCruiser Tip: The Gold Panning & Salmon Bake excursion is a great option if you are looking for an activity to do with multiple generations.


What to Pack for your kids on an Alaskan Cruise

Items to bring to Alaska to enhance your kids’ overall experience

Getting ready for upcoming Alaskan cruise with your kids this summer?  We will be sailing to Alaska for the second time in two weeks. There’s so much to look forward to and so much to pack! After you’ve finished packing the basics for your kids, check out my list below of items that will enhance your upcoming Alaskan Cruise.  


I love these binoculars for kids as you don’t have to worry about focusing, easy for them to carry, and durable. There is so much to see on an Alaskan cruise and having binoculars really gets the kids involved and interested in what is out there.


Depending on your child’s age and interests, they can write about their day or draw what they saw in a journal. It’s a great way to look back at the trip through their eyes. I take pictures of some of their drawings to add to our photo album. I plan on having my son write down the wildlife he sees in order to practice his writing skills. My three-year-old daughter will also have a journal. It will mostly be her beautiful scribbles but a fun dinner activity. When she’s done, we’ll make a note at the bottom of what she drew.

Books about Alaska

Grab some books on Alaska to read to the kids before you leave. It gives them an understanding and builds excitement. Pack their favorite ones to bring with you. It’s fun to reread after seeing many of the places in the book. Below are a few of our favorites. 

Activities for the Table

Dinners can be long on a cruise so make sure to bring different activities for them to play with between courses. Grab some new items from the toy section of a Dollar Store. Their tin puzzles, small figurines, and cars keep my kids distracted and happy.

This is our current favorite is Water Wow!

What else?

Other favorite must-haves for cruises includes: cold and warm weather clothes, sunscreen, hats, playing cards, crayons, and bathing suits.

Packing can be frustrating as you are worried about forgetting something important. Make a list and keep adding to it as you remember things that you want to bring. We use packing cubes to help keep things organized and fit everything.

FreshCruiser Tip: Don’t be afraid to get your kids involved in the packing process. Allow a little space for a few clothes or small toys they want to bring.

Note:  All the products were selected by FreshCruiser. The links contain affiliate links.


Take a Hike! Guide to hiking while at port on a cruise to Alaska

FreshCruiser Juneau Alaska Cruise Port Hiking Hike from top of Mt. Roberts tramway in Juneau, Alaska

Warmer weather and longer days must mean the Alaska cruise ship season is in full swing.  The popularity of cruising to Alaska lies in the beautiful scenery, seeing animals in their natural habitat and awaiting adventures. Many of the excursions offered by cruise ships are on my bucket list; however, in one of the ports you may want to do a little exploring on your own.  If so, I’d definitely recommend going on a hike. Hiking is a great way to explore while being active and not stuck in the fitness room while in port. Don’t forget, hiking is a free activity!

Burn calories & enjoy the fresh Alaskan air
You can’t beat the feeling of accomplishment when you’re on a hike and reach your destination whether it is a waterfall or top of a mountain, you’ll feel great. 

Skagway Alaska hiking trails Lower Dewey Hike Lower Dewey Hike in Skagway, Alaska

The amount of calories you burn while hiking depends on a few factors: your body weight, terrain, and pack weight (if you are carrying a pack).  The more weight, the more you’ll burn and obviously, you’ll burn more calories when hiking more difficult terrain. In addition, a fast pace will increase calorie burn, however in this situation, I won’t focus as much on this aspect as you’re in Alaska, take your time and enjoy your surroundings.  

All levels welcome
If you haven’t hiked before or it’s been years, look for a more mild to moderate hike.  Hikes are supposed to be fun and a great way to see a place, so no sense going on a strenuous one if you’re not ready for it.

Mt. Roberts tramway Juneau Alaska cruise hikeHike from top of Mt. Roberts tramway in Juneau, Alaska

In Juneau, Alaska, we took the tram to the top of Mt. Roberts and went on a hike from there. As we climbed and climbed, I kept saying that I wanted to get to the top of the mountain, not realizing that around the corner, was a higher peak and then a higher peak!  The hike turned out to be strenuous but I was caught up in the moment as the views were amazing!

Trail Guide

Below are websites that will guide you in finding a hike for your activity level and are close to where you’ll be dropped off by the cruise ship.  

Juneau Alaska Cruise Trails to Hike while in portHiker in Juneau, Alaska

Hop on the Mount Roberts Tramway which will take you to 1,800 feet in elevation.  Trails are well-marked and begin outside the Mountain House. Click here for information about hiking on the top of the Mount Roberts Tramway. Visit the Juneau Alaska Adventure & Lodging Guide for additional trail information. 

There are a lot of trailheads close to town. I did the Lower Dewey Hike, an easy to moderate hike that circles a beautiful alpine lake.  Check out the National Parks Service website for more information.

Deer Mountain Trail is one of the most popular hikes. The USA Today article by Nancy Wagner, gives a great overview of hikes in Ketchikan as does REI, an outdoor gear retailer.


There are three trails that are accessible from downtown and vary from one to five miles. The website, Sitka through 4 Seasons, gives information on where to get started.  Or take a walk through the Sitka National Historical Park see totem poles as you progress along the coastal trail. The Visitor Center is located about one-fourth mile from downtown Sitka.  Click here for a map.

As many cruises start or finish in Anchorage, if you’re spending an extra day or two, take advantage of the extra daylight hours and go on a hike such the Flattop Mountain trail.  You can go on your own or go to the Visit Anchorage Information Centers to book a guide.  Check out Anchorage's hiking trails.

Hike Safely

Safety first when hiking in port while on a cruise to Alaska

When you’re hiking, it’s important to take safety seriously.  Always follow trail signs, wear comfortable shoes, bring water and bug repellent. Read some more Do’s and Don’ts from FitSugar here.

Do you have a favorite hike that you completed while on an Alaskan cruise?

FreshCruiser Tip:  Start with a healthy breakfast before you leave the cruise ship in the morning as you’ll need the energy for the hike.  I recommend an egg white veggie omelet with whole wheat toast and fruit. 


Cruise Excursion: Salmon Bake in Juneau, Alaska

Salmon Bake in Alaska
I’ve said it before, but one of my favorite parts of going on a cruise is trying new foods.  I used to be a picky eater! There are many foods that I’ve just started eating in the last few years and can’t imagine life without them. 
My mantra is that I’ll always try something 5 times.  That’s correct, 5 times.  Many foods that I’ve tried have taken me a few tries before I’ve gotten a taste for it. This happened most recently with beets and yogurt. 

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