It occurs to me, that with all of the stuff happening lately that I have neglected to share anything about my Alaskan Cruise I went on last month. Shame on me! My fantastic voyage, as it were.
About last October or so, my bestie Amy asked me if I would be interested in going with her and her sister on a cruise to Alaska. Would I? Heck yeah! Seems like a no brainer, get offered a vacation, take it! So I said yes, paid a deposit somewhere along the line and a little planning, and I am going cruising! I had previously been on one cruise, to Bermuda and Grand Turk. I like the cruising, it’s fun. But to me, planning a vacation as far ahead as we did is weird. That was October, and our cruise was in June. It seems like forever to wait. It makes it seem like it isn’t real, until all of a sudden it is.
June finally came along and away we went! Amy and I flew out of Green Bay to Seattle, and Ellen, Amy’s sister, met us out there, as she lives in South Dakota. Traveling during this pandemic time adds a few extra challenges, which I appreciate, but it’s dumb too. Hoops to jump through present themselves, and I just am not a fan of jumping. And there was this whole app that we needed to go into Canada, which presented some challenges as well. For a 4-5 hour stop in Canada, it wasn’t worth it. But we got through it and got on our ship, the Norwegian Bliss. Set sail, and off on our adventure we went!
Ellen and I had both cruised before, but this was Amy’s first time. I think she had a really good time. You never know, cruises are fun but they aren’t for everyone. When you are new to it, it can be a little overwhelming too, those ships are huge and there is a lot of food, drink and things going on pretty much all the time. It is hard to know where to start sometimes. We started with mojitos. Good call. The staff on these ships are primarily from other countries, and a lot of our bartenders and service people were from the Philippines and Indonesia. They were so fantastic, and funny and alcohol-wise a little mean. (wink) We spent a lot of time in the brew house bar, and those guys really had our number down there. We had a great time with them, and my Miller Lite drinking friend Amy even expanded her horizons and drank many different weird beers. I was so proud of her! That is a huge deal for her, and she even got her name on a display board for a drinking challenge to try as many different beers as possible during the 7 day cruise.
Alright, back to the destination. I think that a lot people think about trying to visit all 50 of the United States, if they can. The two tough ones are Hawaii and Alaska. They just aren’t easy to get to, especially if you aren’t a good flight person. I can say Alaska was a hoped for destination, but I am not overly outdoorsy and it is a big destination for hikers, campers, fisherman and the like. That’s not me. And on a cruise, you aren’t going up to the big main area of Alaska, you are going on the inside passage. Still, it’s Alaska and it still counts. Our ports of call were Sitka, Juneau, Icy Straight Point, Ketchikan and then Victoria, British Columbia. You spend a few hours in each place, and back on the boat to the next place.
I would say my favorite ports were Juneau and Ketchican. I had king crab legs in Juneau that nearly brought a tear to my eye, they were soooo good. I like Ketchican because it seemed like it would be a good spot to visit again. We weren’t in port there long enough to see the things I wanted to, and a few more hours there would have been awesome. But that is the way it goes on a cruise, and if I get a chance to go again to Alaska, that is a spot I would like to visit.
We went on a whale and marine life excursion in Icy Strait Point, and that was cool. We did see quite a few whales, but just their tails, none really breached. Still, they were amazing to see! We saw some otters, sea lions and so very many eagles everywhere we went. Sitka had a lot of eagles, they were amazing. It’s a big deal to see one around here, up there they are in big groups, hanging out in trees, circling above in big groups, and just hanging out by the docks, looking for some big old salmon or something to catch and chomp on. We met a group of 3 people who has gone on an excursion in Ketchikan, and they had some amazing photos of some killer whales breaching. It was fantastic!
We also went through a glacier area, where there were icebergs fields. We couldn’t go all the way in, as ships vs icebergs don’t always end well for the ship. But it was cool, we got to go out on the front deck of the ship, which was actually just below our stateroom, and see the icebergs up close and personal. They were not huge like you think of on Titanic or something, but they were beautiful, they have this kind of bluish-turquoise color to them, and we were moving through slowly, so it was very peaceful and just a very moving experience. I won’t soon forget it.
We ate too much, drank too much, walked around a lot and had a fantastic voyage, truly. Canada was a bit underwhelming as a result of all of the beauty we had seen in Alaska. It was Friday evening when we came into port, and it was disappointing how many places were closed. There were 3 ships in at the same time, and not a lot going on, which was really weird. We walked around, but didn’t really do anything while we were there. Nobody even looked at our passports, so it didn’t get stamped so it is like we weren’t even there! For all the nonsense with downloading the Canada app and stuff, it really was the biggest waste of time on our trip. We did see a big rainbow and a lovely sunset, but as far as it goes, I could have stayed onboard and caught those on the ship.
Overall, it was a great trip. We had so much fun and saw some pretty fantastic sights. If you have a chance to travel to Alaska, take the opportunity, and a cruise is a nice way to go if that is your thing. There aren’t many states left on my list now that I have been there. Just a few. The big one I really want to go to is of course Hawaii. I think I will have to make that one more of a priority now. I feel very fortunate to have been able to go on the trips I have been on this year, Mexico and Alaska within 6 months of each other. There are many places to see in this world, and many places I would love to see. Take the time to see the places you long to go to, if you are healthy enough to travel, take the time to go. There is a lot to see, and we don’t always have a ton of time to see all of it. And if you get to Alaska, try the crab legs!