We took our son on a week-long Alaskan cruise for his graduation recently, having just gotten back the 23rd. None of us have ever done anything like it, nor had my wife and I ever thought we would ever be able to, so it was as much an adventure for us as it was for our son. We went to the inside passage which is the southernmost part of Alaska. The ocean and two day trip was beautiful and we saw whales, dolphin, and Orcas from time to time along with seals, bears, Bald eagles, glaciers, tree infested islands, and deep blue icebergs. There were incredible cascading waterfalls everywhere, cutting their way down to the sea and at night, the sounds of the water passing by made it easy to fall asleep.
We had the fortune of sharing our evening meals with a couple from Illinois who are both teachers, and had a great time with them and the wife’s mother who was the reason they were taking the cruise. Morning and noon meals were in the common cafeteria section of the ship. There were people from all over the globe, both enjoying the cruise, and working. Every day we saw people we recognized, had gotten to know, and people we had never even seen. Our Steward, a Chinese gentleman, named Jia, took great care of us, and we even had time to get to know each other a bit too to such a degree that his daughter sent me some Tai Chi video’s which I’m still trying to figure out how to open
Because it was cooler than many other cruises, many people preferred to wear light coats or huddle up in slate-blue wicker chairs along the sides of the upper outside decks. The chairs were quite interesting in that each was half a sphere and could hold up to four people, provided you squeezed everyone in. Sometimes it rained, and was often quite cloudy on the open ocean, but that changed when we docked in Skagway.
We were told by the locals and our tour guides, really nice down to earth people, that the warm sunny weather was quite unusual as we began our first mini adventure; a train ride followed by a hike that got us near a glacier, after which we returned to town on a similar train and had a few hours left to explore the small town littered with tourist shops. We were amazed by the number of jewelry stores for a town that size, a ratio of almost 9 to every one regular shop. It seemed rather twilight-zoneish really, given that no one local actually wore any of it! After purchasing dinner, we headed back to the ship and prepared to move on south to Juneau. I’ll write about that tomorrow.