Skagway is an interesting little town. As you pull into port you will see painting on the rocks, messages from ships and captains that have sailed into port. The train stops right at the port if you are looking to take the White Pass and Yukon Route, it is a beautiful old train.
The town is easy to walk too, unless you have bad knees or trouble walking, then you would need to take the shuttle that comes to the port. Again, the town has jewelry stores, but there are some shops that exhibit local artisans, so it is worth a walk. Stop into the Skagway Brewery for a cold drink, or a warm cup of cider and an appetizer or a meal, the food is quite good.
Again, I recommend getting off of the beaten path. You can take a trip to the Eagle Preserve near Haines, the Eagles are majestic and it is awesome watching them fly in their natural habitat. Head over to take a zodiac boat ride, gear up in a survival suit that will keep you quite warm and cruise along the shoreline to get up close and personal with waterfalls, eagles flying amidst the trees, seals and if you are lucky whales.
If you are on a 7 day roundtrip Vancouver or Seattle cruise, Ketchikan will be your last port of call after cruising either the Hubbard Glacier, Glacier Bay or the Tracy Arm. The glaciers again will surprise you, they are awesome. Stand on deck or your balcony and watch the ice calving off, floating out to sea when you hear what sounds like thunder as the ice falls into the water.
Ketchikan ~ what an interesting town with so much history, it deserves a walk around town. There are a couple of options for getting out there. Take a seaplane to Misty Fjords and land on a backcountry lake, step out onto a float and listen to absolutely nothing except pure silence.
If you love adventure, head out to zipline. This is such a fun experience and what makes it extra special, as you fly over the trees, look down, you will see bears beneath you. It is so cool.
If you are cruising north or south after spending some time in Anchorage, Fairbanks and into Denali, I encourage you to look at the cruise extensions. Many will take you into Denali National park, which is beautiful. But there are many other options and some cruise lines are offering really unique experiences. You can take a seaplane to a wilderness lodge for some incredible fishing and a hike along the Iditarod Trail.
Cross the Arctic Circle and visit the Gates of the Arctic National Park and head to the Anaktuvuk Pass and visit a native Eskimo village and experience their culture.
If you find yourself with some time in Anchorage, check out Cafe 817. A 25 year old treasure. Well known for their muffins, but come with an appetite and try the best thing on the menu, reindeer sausage sandwiches. Truly authentic Alaskan fare.
Embrace your curiosity and get off the beaten path.