Reflecting on My First Cruise
This trip was quite a few years ago from my home port of Seattle, but since COVID-19 is affecting the world, there may be no cruises to Alaska this summer…so I thought I should write a blog article about my experience. Who knows when we will be able to travel again or take a cruise? I am trying to keep a living blog updated to provide people the latest information and good links for various countries.
Yes, I know it was on the Norwegian cruise line and that is for older people, but it was in the early days of cruises that left Seattle, so I had to give it a try.
Going to Alaska was actually my first cruise after being out of the US Navy for a few years. After two extended war cruises on an aircraft carrier, I thought I would never go on a ship again, but my travel bug hit!
Cruises to Alaska are a staple of the Seattle waterfront. There are 5 major lines and at the moment, all have been cancelled until at least July. Will they run into the fall this year…or not. Still a major unknown. Check out my planning analysis posting if interested in learning more about the current state of vacation planning.
Regardless, the departure from Seattle is popular with many as there are many things to see and do around Seattle and hence why many people like these cruises.
OK – what is there to see on a Alaska cruise?
It basically an easy way to visit parts of the massive state by going from port to port that could take a month (possibly?) to actually to to drive between the small cities. Is city the right word or are they just summer ports? They are very isolated and similar to visiting the Cascade Mountains in the Pacific Northwest.
For some people, their favorite port (stop) is Skagway. That is where many people like to take train excursions. Other people take helicopter and dog sledding adventures.
The Glaciers and Ice
The best part of an Alaskan cruise is going up in the Inside Passage where you can see the glaciers and frozen ice. This is quite a few years ago and you could still see a lot of ice even in the summer months.
I am worried that there will not be many cruises or years left where you might be able to actually see the ice on an Alaskan cruise.
The ports are great places to go hiking and not really great places to buy souvenirs. They are pretty much small tourist trap stores that are sponsored by the cruises and they get kickbacks from the sales.
I think one of the major highlights in visiting these small port towns is the food. Yes, of course, the seafood! It is amazing walking into a town and having GIANT king crab for $10. It has been a while, but you could buy a gigantic king crab leg of 3 lbs for only $10. That was amazing. One leg. I am not sure I would want to encounter that guy scuba diving!
Now, this was the early days of digital cameras and there were no smartphones back then…but one of the fun elements of the cruise is actually seeing pods of whales following or near the ship in their habitat. They are not too common or frequent compared to Antarctica, but you will get to see them as you cruise north.
Overall, it is a relaxing and fun trip for many families to get away from the cities and have almost a camping feeling. Let’s hope that we get past COVID-19 and be able to start cruising again!