Cruising Alaska

After a short stay in Denver we were on a plane bound for Vancouver Canada. We didn’t know it until just before we left, but the women’s World Cup final was to take place in Vancouver the next day, and the USA was playing! Needless to say, with that going on and it being 4th of July weekend, Vancouver was transformed into a sea of red, white, and blue.

Although short, our one night stay in Vancouver was fun (photos). We did a walking tour on our own to explore the main downtown area we were staying there. We went and checked our where we boarded the boat the following day, which just happened to be where the main festivities around the World Cup were taking place. It was super fun to watch the live TV broadcasts and soak in the festive atmosphere.

The following day we did a morning run around the soccer stadium, got cleaned up and boarded the ship. It was super smokey as raging wildfires a little inland from us were choking the coast. Nevertheless we got settled into our room, which was a free upgrade for a reason we still don’t know why, and headed out onto the deck to take in the views as we headed out of port.

This was a first cruise for both of us. We are not ones to be pinned down or first to choose a buffet style of eating….it took some adjustment for sure. We took some time to figure out all the options that the ship offered. Whether it be timing of restaurants, shows, classes, gyms, spas and so many other options, we still battled to find our comfort zone.

We found out our happy place included workouts in the gym, playing trivia in the bar that overlooked the front of the ship which offered great views, and meeting new people. By virtue of the seating style of dinners onboard we met a good number of interesting people who had a lot more cruising experience than us. We shared our story and they shared theirs…it was great fun.

The scenery of the inland passage is no doubt the highlight of this cruise. Wonderful view of mountains, sea life and countless other things you could only see from a boat in this part of the world. Once off the open ocean and into the inland passage sea sickness wasn’t a problem for either of us, which was nice.

The port stops included Ketchikan, Juneau and Haines. All three were quite similar, small, rustic and geared toward tourists. Once you get a bit outside of town that changes, but as there are few roads in and around these towns, getting out isn’t so easy.

In Ketchikan (photos), we went sea kayaking for 3 hours. In Juneau (photos), we got on a smaller go-fast boat and got up close with a pod of Orca and a couple of humpback whales, the highlight of our time off the boat. In Haines, we just went for a run to see the town and kept it simple.

The highlight of the whole trip is Glacier Bay National Park (Photos). As we pulled into the park a speed boat came alongside and Park Rangers came on board. They spent the day on the intercom system narrating the scenery, background and other details about the park. Seeing the glaciers tumble off the mountains into the water was very impressive. The Captain did a wonderful job of getting our boat close and allowing for maximum viewing.

One more day at sea and we pulled into Seward, which is where we got off the boat at 8am. We boarded a tour bus for the 3 hour ride to Anchorage. The views were so so because of a low cloud deck. We had arranged an Air bnb that turned into somewhat of a nightmare, but that story is for when we have more time and vodka.
The next afternoon we were at the airport and boarding the first of three flights to make our way to Destin Florida. Overall it was great to see that part of the world, especially as we had never really planned on being there. The wildlife and Glacier Bay made the highlight reel for sure. Will we cruise again? It will have to be the right situation, and I kind of doubt it. The seven days proved a valuable experience and luckily for us an inexpensive change from our original plan.

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