We always encourage our clients to travel while good health allows! Lately Karlan and I have been trying to follow our own advice and recently took an Alaskan cruise. We had heard that it was a popular destination so we didn’t want to miss out! We chose a 2 week cruise that started in Seward (about an hour and a half drive from Anchorage) and ended in Vancouver, BC. I’m glad we chose to go for 2 weeks because it allowed for more opportunities to explore the places that shorter cruises skip. We also chose to cruise with a small luxury line that can go in smaller fjords and has a fraction of the amount of people. We are talking 300 instead of 3000! (that was our personal preference). I won’t bore you with all the stops and details but I will attempt to give you a couple of tips and highlights.
We had the opportunity to visit a handful of small Alaskan towns. Whenever I get to go somewhere new, I always think “what would it be like to live here?” I had a hard time picturing actually living there. Every single village was beautiful, but it would be a fairly drastic culture change. They are very dependent on supplies being brought to them since the mountains meet the water with no space to grow anything or raise animals. Every town we visited (no matter how small of a population) had its own quilt and or yarn shop. I guess you have to pass the time somehow during the long cold dark winters!
Seward and Sitka are lovely towns that don’t seem as commercialized. Sitka was part of Russia until 1867 and still has a Russian feel with St. Michael’s Orthodox Church onion dome and the souvenirs mostly of a Russian theme. On the other hand, Juneau and Ketchikan are full of jewelry stores and clearly setup for cruise ships. Fun fact: Juneau is the only state capital (aside from Honolulu) that you can only reach by boat or airplane. There aren’t any roads to drive there!
If you love observing nature, Alaska will not disappoint! Among other things, we enjoyed many bald eagle sightings and observed dozens of whales.
Our cruise was in September which, it turns out, isn’t the best choice as far as weather goes. It was quite chilly and rainy a good part of the time. They get 44” of rain annually in Ketchikan We came to discover that there isn’t a “perfect” time to visit. Each season has its pros and cons.
In Skagway we journeyed on the White Pass and Yukon route railroad. Seeing the route that those men traveled to attempt to make their fortune in the gold rush was quite sobering. There’s an interesting museum there in Skagway that will help you re-live the notorious Yukon gold rush.
We visited an old salmon cannery in British Columbia. Be thankful you didn’t have to work there! Those that did had to keep their hands in cold water while processing the fish. In order to prevent hypothermia they stood in warm water to offset their freezing hands! No thank you.
Our cruise ended in Vancouver. What a lovely city! We took the opportunity to ride bikes in and around Stanley Park. What a great way to spend a couple of hours. The park is beautiful and you’ll enjoy the beautiful views of the Vancouver harbor. Get your tickets! 🙂