First, there is no way my little iPhone camera can adequately capture the beauty and majesty of our 49th state, so I apologize in advance for that. Alaska is truly remarkable.
So as not to bore you with too much detail, let’s suffice to say that the food on the ship was high quality, and beautifully prepared in perfectly small proportioned servings. That, coupled with us walking around the ships prominade deck (three laps per mile) as often as possible, allowed us to make it home without extra tonnage. Another benefit to walking were so many beautiful sites, and it was on one of these walks that we spotted whales right near the side of the ship.
One of the high points of a cruise to Alaska that departs from Seattle is viewing the beautiful San Juan Islands on your way out. It was simply breathtaking to watch as we ate lunch, unpacked and strolled around the deck that afternoon.
We also enjoyed visiting the towns of Juneau and Ketchikan. The boat also stopped at Sitka, but it was absolutely pouring rain so most people did not venture out, us included.
Another high point was the day we cruised the glacier. We went to Hubbard and it did not disappoint with its beauty and sunny weather. Although it is hard to tell from the pictures, the front of the glacier is nine miles across! The pretty aqua color comes from compression and they estimate that the front portion we were viewing has been there for 450 years.
One of our favorite things to do during a portion of the days at sea is to sit in the Crow’s Nest library and read books, work Sudoku puzzles, and work on our laptops. This may sound boring to some, but there was such a peace that came from this 10th deck view of the ocean passing by and listening to all of the people chatting, playing cards, puzzles and getting beverages from the coffee shop. We met some wonderful people, and I was so impressed by how many grandparents there were with their grandchildren, playing chess and other games. What a memorable experience for them all.
This particular cruise was on Holland America, and they have partnered with America’s Test Kitchen to provide cooking demonstrations and recipes several days throughout the cruise. They are done by chefs trained at the test kitchen in Boston. Since we watch the series on PBS, we looked forward to attending these classes. We made it to three of the four presentations and they were fantastic. The topics covered were Salmon, Chocolate, and Meatless Monday Meals. No matter how much of a foodie you are, you can always learn something new from America’s Test Kitchen.One thing that can really make or break a cruise experience are your dinner tablemates. We hit the dining table lottery with two couples who were close friends and hailed from North Carolina. The husbands were both attorneys and the wives were the perfect blend of Southern charm and absolute hilarity…some of my favorite attributes! Even though I’m a Washingtonian through and through, I think I’m a Southerner at heart. One of the husbands had even served on the same Navy ship as Jim, and although it had been a few years earlier. Obviously they had lots to talk about and knew several of the same people. In a word, we all just “clicked” and this made for a most enjoyable ending to each day. Twice, we finally looked around the dining room around 10 pm and realized we were the only table left. We had been so busy laughing and talking, the time had slipped away. I’m sure the dining staff loved us for keeping them so late….
Our last stop was the historical city of Victoria, British Columbia, one of our favorite places. We walked through the iconic Empress Hotel, viewed the Parliament building, and did some window shopping. The weather was perfect and it made for a nice ending to the cruise.
So that was our Alaska vacation 2017. This summer had been busier than usual, with visits from kids and grandkids, time spent in Idaho, work, a reunion, and other activities with church, friends and family. We loved all of it, but it was time for a getaway. The cruise gave us time to soak up the natural beauty of Alaska, catch our breath and return refreshed and energized. Mission accomplished!