A few months ago my mom suggested that we take a family vacay. Perhaps a cruise to Alaska? I nodded in silent agreement, thinking hells to the yes, I need a break. After the year I've had, planting my arse in a deck chair for a week and whittling away the hours with needles/hook and/or book in hands sounded nothing short of heavenly. As a result, my mother, younger sister and glorious offspring boarded the Star Princess in Seattle a few weeks ago bound for the wild north.
Now, let me tell you all right now that this was my first cruise and I would be lying if said that I was anything but skeptical about the whole notion of cruising upon accepting my mother's suggestion. It's not the sitting on the boat for seven or more days with which I had an issue (after all I do have a penchant for all things seafaring...Argh!). Nope, it was the fact that cruising just seemed so typically tourist to me...you know, organized shore excursions, 24 hour a day buffet, gold sold by the foot on the Lido Deck...because of this I just didn't consider myself to be the "cruise type". I mean my idea of a vacay is flying to some exotic destination, getting the lay of the land and traipsing about the alleyways and interstices of a city or some other random environ, soaking up the local culture like a sponge. Conversely, a cruise just seemed like it would sanitize my travel experience and, well, I like to get dirty. *wink*
Despite my reservations, I relented and told my mom that the offspring and I were in. I'm glad I did because it turns out that I rather liked the whole cruise experience as did my child. Most of all, I loved seeing the daily smile of delight on my daughter's face as she indulged her senses and discovered a part of the world she had only previously heard about...
My daughter's smiling face!
Speaking of discovery, onto Linoleum's look at Alaska!
As I said, we began our journey in Seattle...
We boarded the ship around noon, dropped our stuff off in our cabins and of course headed to the buffet for the first of many shipboard meals. The fact that I did not gain any weight on this vacay was nothing short of a gift from the gods because I can assure you, I never missed an opportunity to tie on the feedbag during our trip. Hey, when in Rome...
Anyway, we left port at around 4:00 pm that day and sailed northward on calm seas to our first stop Ketchikan, Alaska...
Located on Revillagigedo Island, in the southeastern part of the state, Ketchikan is a town with a year round population of about 7,300 residents. Their economy is based primarily on fishing and tourism. Yep, every couple days during the summer months three or four cruise ships pull into port and dump 2,500 people per boat onto the docks for some serious shopping and sightseeing. Actually this is true for all of the Alaskan cities/towns on the cruise ship route...It's nutty.
Not in town to purchase a Rolex (oh yes, jewelry stores abound in these little hamlets along the cruise routes), my little landing party opted for a more cultural experience...Totem Bight State Historical Park. My child is a totem pole aficionado...
The tour about the park was awesome as our tour guide was a lifelong Ketchikan resident of Tlingit ancestry. He led us about this rain sodden environ through spectacular scenery while simultaneously giving us his insights into his culture's mythos.
Oh fungi, how I love thee oh so orange-y.
A rad clan house.
More spooky branch action. It's pics like these that inspire my designs.
Okay, so that shore excursion was well worth it. Next destination? Tracy Arm for some glacier action!
So, Tracy Arm is essentially a fjord. We didn't actually disembark from the ship. We just sailed up the fjord and the pilot maneuvered the vessel as close to Sawyer Glacier as possible, weather permitting, so that we cruisers could catch a glimpse of nature's retreating glory.
I found the color of the blue ice captivating.
My sister (left) and daughter bundled up against the cold.
Oh, the cruise ship traffic abounds...
Later that day our ship arrived in Juneau and we readied ourselves for another shore excursion, the Mendenhall Glacier.
More Alaskan photo opts...
My sister (left) and daughter hamming it up.
I love this pic of my mom and offspring.
Needless to say, we had a great time despite the cold and cloudy skies. Oh, but wait! There's more...after hanging out at the Mendenhall Glacier we were bused back to the boat in order to sail to our next destination.
Stay tuned for more Alaska peeps...
Missed you guys!