Alaska Inside Passage Cruise May 2008

Published: May 19th 2009
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On 10 May 2008 Linda, Will and myself flew from Denver to Vancouver, where we met up with our daughter Rosanna who flew in from Roanoke, Virginia where she had just finished her semester at Virginia Tech. We all arrived late so ordered some pizza delivered to our hotel room, and then sacked out.

The following morning, we had brunch with Karen, a former classmate from Dalat School who I hadn't seen for 40 years. It's amazing how it seemed like just yesterday! Afterwards we packed up and took a taxi to the pier where we checked through and boarded the Celebrity Mercury, our home for the next week.

I'll be brief. The ship was fantastic. The cabins were immaculate and comfortable, the service was top notch, the food was gourmet, even with five courses each meal, the portion size was just right so that you didn't feel stuffed. The evening entertainment was exceptional. How the dancers could remain balanced with the ship heaving in heavy seas is beyond belief. Note: don't sit in the front rows in the theater; you might get called upon to perform. I was snatched from the audience to perform the twist during their
Linda, Rosanna and Will checking out our stateroomLinda, Rosanna and Will checking out our stateroomLinda, Rosanna and Will checking out our stateroom

Wife Linda, checks out firmness of the mattress, while daughter Rosanna and son Will check out access to the upper bunks.
Broadway production of Hairspray...I won, and was instantly recognized for the rest of the cruise by most passengers as that dancer. There were plenty of activities each day, in addition to the port visits.

We visited Ketchikan, and toured the eagle sanctuary and salmon hatchery, and the museum with many Indian artifacts and totem poles, and did some shopping. Every port had the same stores; indeed the same stores as the Caribbean ports. We then visted Hubbard Glacier, but the weather was too poor to get good pictures. Then it was on to Juneau; nothing much to see there, and Sitka. This was the best stop, but we didn't have nearly enough time. We toured all the Russian sites, church and fort, watched the Russian dancers, and visited the Indian sites with totem poles, and watched one carver work on a totempole.

The weather in May is not usually very good, which was our experience. But the ship made up for it.

Several days we were outside the Inside Passage, cruising through open seas, where we had some heaving seas. I stayed in bed and took some Dramamine, so I lived. One regret was not taking a black suit for the formal dinners...I didn't want to take two suitcases for all the clothes and shoes. The waiter for our table was nice and sent two lobster dinners to my room since I didn't come to the dining room with the others in our party. So if you contemplate a cruise, no matter how casual you prefer to be; take my advice and take a black suit.

We didn't see that much wildlife. On the last day, we spotted some whales, but it was impossible to get a pictures as they came and went quickly. We saw eagles, and othe birds; but that was about it.

We enjoyed meeting other passengers from many countries. Amazingly, there were very few Americans on the cruise...maybe they prefer to embark from Seattle.

Other than the weather, we enjoyed the cruise very much. Nevertheless, we enjoyed touring the main part of Alaska better. In July 2003 we flew to Anchorage, and then drove to Homer and Seward, took the Alaska Maritime ferry from Whittier to Valdez, and then drove to Talkeetna, Danali National Park, and Fairbanks, before flying out of Anchorage back to Virginia. At Danali we flew over Mt. McKinley to the far end of the park, and then took the park bus back to the entrance...what a beautiful experience! But details to follw on another blog.

Upon our return to Vancouver, we were met by Tom, our former neighbor from Falls Church, Virginia. He and his wife Wendy had recently moved to Bellingham, Washington. Wendy was not home as she was stationed in Wuhan, China as our first Consul General. Tom drove us to his beautiful home on the hill looking over the lakes. After unloading our suitcases, he took us on a tour of Bellingham. We had dinner at a nice mini brewery. We had a chance to Skype Wendy that evening. It was great to catch up with old friends. We just spent one night with Tom. The next morning he dropped us off at the Vancouver airport for our flight to Denver, and home.

Additional photos below
Photos: 27, Displayed: 25


Meeting friends on deckMeeting friends on deck
Meeting friends on deck

Mike and Betty joined us for the cruise. We meet on deck as the ship sails from Vancouver harbor.
Life boat drillLife boat drill
Life boat drill

Rosanna, Linda and Will try on their life vests
Betty, Mike and Linda enjoy our first dinnerBetty, Mike and Linda enjoy our first dinner
Betty, Mike and Linda enjoy our first dinner

We avoided the cafeteria style service, and ate in the main dinning room; impecable service and food
Totem pole in KetchikanTotem pole in Ketchikan
Totem pole in Ketchikan

The sun came out eventually
Departing JuneauDeparting Juneau
Departing Juneau

Rosanna, Linda, and Will on deck as we departed Juneau

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