Along the Natchez Trace

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Alaska Cruise Recap

We just got back into Seattle today.  Although internet was available on the ship, we chose not to have it.  Bill was at the genealogy conference and I really enjoyed the view from our balcony while we were at sea.  There were several stops along the way and we had a great time exploring those towns.  We hardly had time to spend on computers.

In April, 2001, Bill & I put our motorhome on a ferry and made our first trip to Alaska as RVers.  That trip up the Inside Passage was memorable...  with views we'd never seen before.  This trip...  along the same waterway, was quite different.  A cruise ship with planned stops along the way....

We boarded the Star Princess in Seattle
That's Bill in the upper left...  heading to the gangway....  On the upper right we are properly identified with our name tags.  The lower left is the skyline of Seattle.  The lower middle is Bill at the mandatory life jacket instruction session.  And the lower right is Bob Velke...  the person who is behind Wholly Genes, a genealogy company that produces the Master Genealogist program that Bill uses.  Bob has a genealogy conference once a year on a cruise ship.  This year there were around 250 participants.  So I'd guess that our group made up about 1/10th of the total passengers.

During the days at sea Bill goes to workshops, hears speakers and meets other genealogists.  He's been working on his family history for over 25 years now and it's one of those things that is never finished.  

I'm a real slacker about this...  would rather spend my days at sea reading a good book and watching the world float by...

Our first day on shore was at Ketchikan...
We wandered around town looking at totem poles, the old historic buildings and the seaplane traffic coming in and out of the town.  I think most folks take tours that have a guide with all kinds of information, but we really enjoy our walking tours on our own.

Of course, I'm busy with my GPS, and we do try to find at least one geocache hidden in each place.

The day after Ketchikan we sailed through Tracy Arm...
We saw quite a few glaciers, ice floes, snow-capped mountains, and many, many waterfalls.  We got up early that morning so we wouldn't miss a minute of it.  It was worth it!  When I'd get too cold outside, I could go to our room and watch it all from there.  That lower right picture is the view out our window.

Later that day we docked in Juneau...
Again, we wandered through town, checked out the shops, then stopped for a beer at the Red Dog Saloon.
This was a good choice.
By chance, we happened to get there when the man in the lower left picture was the entertainment.  And he did, indeed, entertain!  The saloon itself is worth going into, and we sat there for well over an hour enjoying it all!
Beer was $6.00 a glass...  sound pricey?
Not at all!  You're paying for the fun!

The next day we stopped at Skagway..
Three days in a row walking...  miles!
But looking at these old buildings, reading about the history of the gold rush, and wandering in and out of the shops was very entertaining.  
That picture at the middle right is of Bill.... climbing up a fairly steep trail...  to find a geocache, of course!
The bottom right is of a shop that sells Russian items...  including hundreds of those wooden dolls that you open up to find another one, only smaller...  and another...  and another...  and another.

One fun place in Skagway is...
The Red Onion Saloon
Yep!  That's Bill with one of the "ladies of the night".  We were there too early in the morning to take the tour, but enjoyed the rowdy atmosphere of the place anyway.

Of course I was always on the lookout for wildlife...
We saw several species of birds (no puffins)...  but saw bald eagles in a couple of towns we were in.
A school of porpoises (or dolphins?) swam alongside our ship for a while.
And for a long while, a pod of whales were along both sides of the ship.  I tried to get a good shot of their "fluke", but never got "the perfect shot".  Loved seeing them blow....  
And we had a harbor seal hang out just below us while we were docked in Skagway.
Just in case you're wondering...  the upper left picture is of a slug.  Yes...  you read that right.
In Ketchikan we saw dozens of slugs as we were out walking.  

The weather was fantastic....  no rain the entire week.  It was cold going through Tracy Fjord, but we were dressed for it.  Most days were jeans, sweater and jacket weather.  We had some foggy mornings but never anything that ruined our views.

Now we're back in Seattle.  We still have tomorrow to do any sightseeing we may have missed before the cruise.
Then on Tuesday, we fly back to Ohio.

From there, we'll begin another great adventure.

That's All For Today!


  1. Sounds like a great time. I've read a lot about Alaska and am hoping to go their in 2013 or 2014.
    I may even do a seasonal job with Princess Tours so that I can get the employee discount.

  2. Love your collages and descriptions!

  3. You guys have so much fun! Keep it up!

  4. After viewing this post, I'm thinking a cruise may be a way for me to make a return trip to Alaska. Not sure I'm up to driving there again...

  5. Sounds like y'all had a lot of fun...

  6. What a wonderful trip! The collages of photos were great....loved them. We are in Vermont for a couple of weeks then homeward bound...our idyllic spring and summer in the northeast are drawing to a close. :( Looking forward to reading about your future adventures.

  7. It looks cold!
    How many geocaches did you find?

  8. Oh wow, Sharon! would I like to do that or what?!

    I want to see the pictures on my laptop .., this iPhone screen is too small ... rats

  9. Looks like a wonderful trip!
    Hope there will be more photos.

  10. Great trip to take us on. The collages are inspired. Thanks.

  11. Great post and photos. Is that Lady of the Night (I always thought they were Ladies of the Evening... don't you have to pay more for the entire night?)... anyway, is she standing on a step or is she really 6'6" tall?!?

  12. A cruise to Alaska is one thing my husband and I definitely want to do!

  13. Thanks for posting so many great photos of your trip - it was like going on a tour. I'm pretty sure a cruise is the only way I'll ever go to Alaska - looked like fun.

  14. I LOVED our cruises to Alaska. The first one had the same stops you had, so it was fun seeing your pictures and reading your narrative. I think a cruise is the most relaxing vacation ever.