We finally made it to Alaska after years of talking about it. I could write pages about this vacation, second only to our Hawaii cruise, but I think you should experience it yourself. Here are a few brief notes and highlights I collected from our 7 day inside passage Alaska cruise for those of you who are considering this as a future vacation destination.
We arrived in Seattle a day early so that we could take in a few of the local sites. For some reason unknown to the both of us, we spent the day driving around looking for the Microsoft museum. We never found it, and I’m thankful. We have more than enough computer artifacts in our house to start our own museum. We did manage to see a few of the local attractions.
We met Fred’s family the next morning at the cruise terminal, and we all boarded the Rhapsody of the Seas. As all devoted cruisers do, we made a beeline to the buffet and gorged before settling on deck for the drink(s) of the day.
On our way to Juneau, our first stop, we picked up a few friends.
In Juneau, we stopped in at the Red Dog Saloon before making our way to the Mendenhall glacier and the salmon bake. The glacier and the surrounding scenery were awesome. It was so spectacular that we couldn’t pull ourselves away, and we almost missed our ride to the salmon bake. An old abandoned gold mine was in the camp where the salmon bake was held. It too was mesmerizing.
Later that evening we headed toward Skagway. We walked around town while waiting for our trip on the White Pass Rail, the original gold rush train that transported miners from Alaska to the Klondike. The train ride alone made the whole trip worthwhile. The scenery on the way to Canada was surreal. After we returned, we stopped in a mining camp and tried our luck at panning for gold. We each picked up a flake or two of gold. It was terribly frustrating to separate rock from gold flakes. Yeah, panning for gold is not something in my future no matter what it’s worth on the market.
The next morning, we found ourselves entering a fjord near Sawyer glacier. We drank hot chocolate on deck while we absorbed the breath-taking scenery and made plans to return with our grand kids in the near future. Later that evening, we were invited to join the Captain for dinner. We started our meal with Escargot Bourguignon, Fred’s favorite, followed by lobster and dessert, and, of course, good dinner conversation with the Captain.
Our last stop was in Vancouver, BC. We decided to go on a whale-watching excursion. On the way to the best whale “spot”, we encountered new friends. We did see a few whales in the distance but none of them came close enough to take photos.
We stayed an extra day in Seattle, hoping to visit Ft. Lewis, Washington, where both my husband and his father were born. The line to get on base was long and tiresome, so we abandoned the trip for another day. We took the redeye to Orlando later that evening.
You can see all of our Alaska photos on Flickr.