Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cruise to Alaska

When we left the Caribbean Cruise, I was offered an Alaskan Cruise. Since we had never taken that cruise, and since we had not been to Alaska since 1979, we thought it would be a lot of fun. We were right. The cruise was a lot of fun. If you want to take a short cruise that has easy water, the Alaska Cruise through the Inside Passage is the cruise to take.

We started and ended in Seattle. The first stop was Juneau where we took a shore excursion to the Mendenhall Glacier. This was important to me as I remember reading about the Mendenhall Glacier when I was in the third grade. I was so excited to see it, which we just about could do. It was cold, gray, rainy, (did I mention cold) day. The visibility was horrible. We saw the glacier, then, all bundled up in slickers, boots, PFD (you cannot call them Life Jackets anymore), we boarded river rafts and floated down the Mendenhall River. On a nice clear warm sunny day, it would have been a wonderful excursion. On the day we had, it was an endurance test.

We passed the test and went back to the NCL Pearl and got warm. The next day we were in Skagway. It was still gray, but not longer rainy or as cold. We took the White Pass and Yukon Railway to the border of Canada. A 3 hour round trip through the high mountains. We oohed and aahed over the old wooden trestle and we looked for wild animals. One person in our train carriage saw a bear cub up a tree, but by the time we could run back to see it, the train had passed.

The next day we enjoyed a day on the ship looking at the spectacular scenery of Glacier National Park. There were a couple of National Park Rangers onboard, giving excellent commentary. The ship slowly circled the bay as we all took pictures. This was the highlight of the cruise.

Our next stop was Ketchikan, an island town, south of Skagway. We had the picture perfect day to be there. We took a Jet Boat Excursion with hopes of seeing lots of wild animals. We did one Sitka Deer, (which is about the size of a German Shepherd) and lots of Bald Eagles. In fact, I just sat at the lodge and looked at the eagles, which are huge, magnificent birds, as they argued over which bird was going to get the best piece of fish.

As we were cruising to our last stop, I enjoyed a game of bowling at sea. What a kick. This is not your typical game of bowling. You might aim for the pins at the end of the lane, but the ship has another agenda. What you do and what you get are not related. Bowling on a cruise ship is not for the proud. It was great fun...and I did beat Obama with a score of 85. The highest score I saw was 96! (and that fellow said he had a 250 average...he was not happy).

Our last stop was Victoria on Vancouver Island. We decided not to get off the ship as we landed after 6 PM. So, we stayed onboard and we shared a huge cruise ship with about 100 passengers. That's kind of fun. That evening I saw "Enchanted" at the theater.

On Sunday, we disembarked back in Seattle. We used valet parking, courtesy of Republic Parking. They took care of parking the car, getting our luggage to the ship and getting our car back to us with a smile. When I purchased the parking permit online I thought I was just getting a parking space for a week. I had no idea there would be service too. A real treat to get more than what you expect.

If you want to see a lot more pictures of the trip, go to http://picasaweb.google.com/ihsnowphd/AlaskaOnThePearl

1 comment:

Michelle said...

AGain I really enjoyed your lectures. Too bad you did not get off the ship in Victoria. It was lovely. By far the best town we visited. It smelled like steaks, and a very friendly family atomosphere. We want to move there, it was so friendly. And the flowers were breathtaking!!! I got great shots at the flower gardens.