When I awoke this morning, I could still feel the gentle sway of the ship I disembarked from yesterday.
This most recent trip to Alaska was particularly fortunate. Bears, moose, hundreds of eagles and generally spectacular weather. This was all a bit lucky given the short trip, but I am so happy for my merry band of travellers from across the USA.
I had travelled with some of the group previously, so was especially excited to meet them again in Anchorage on May 31. I flew up from Vancouver the day before and enjoyed magnificent views of the coastal mountains before being treated to a clear view of mighty Denali (McKinley) from the air.
Although we only had three nights in inland Alaska, luck was on our side! Clear views of the great mountain and loads of animals.
From Sarah Palin’s Wasilla (and more impressively home to the Iditarod race Headquarters), most people tried their hand at dogsledding – albeit in the safest possible way. Heading back south through Anchorage, we again enjoyed perfect views down the Kenai peninsula before boarding the Celebrity Millennium cruise ship.
I had not previously sailed that particular route, but would certainly recommend it. It is a logical one-way trip south to Vancouver with important stops for both communities and sites.
The journey included visits to Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan (three communities I know well) and Icy Straight Point. Here I expected a tourist trap, but after a short one-mile walk, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the ‘real’ community of Hoonah. Absolutely worth the effort!
The cruise itself was typical of that industry. The negatives included the non-stop selling of everything, greatly-inflated prices for excursions and a lack of sight-seeing information (even when visiting glaciers they were trying to sell DVD’s).
HOWEVER, the positives were many. Really excellent food (except in the extra-cost Italian restaurant), outstanding service and a very comfortable ship.
All the cabins were well appointed, on-board staff exceptionally service-oriented and both the buffet and main dinning rooms offered excellent selections. I also enjoyed the gym and the views from the gym.
While there were too many ‘highlights’ to name through South East Alaska, the final bonus proved to be the last night sailing alongside Vancouver Island, down the Inside Passage.
In Discovery Passage we saw both Orcas and humpback whales and the sunset was perfect.
Once in my beloved Vancouver, I took the group for a tour of the city and we enjoyed a final dinner and many memories.
I believe it is vital to my being to return to Alaska every year! For a fuller history of the Gold Rush and northern history, click here.
And for more Alaska stories (including from Finn) please click here.