In 2004, I took a 7-day Glacier Bay Alaskan cruise with my sister-in-law and one of her girlfriends. By Carrie Crain (housewife extraordinaire)
These ladies were professional cruisers who kept their passports-to-the-world heavily stamped. I, on the other hand, was a mere amateur. This was my first cruise, so I didn't know what to expect.
We went on the Norwegian Cruise Line. Advantages on sailing with this particular cruise line over others were:
- The ship was headed to Alaska.
- It was "Freestyle Cruising," which meant we could dress like beer belly couch potatoes and inhale the endless smorgasbord of high-caloric food. Immediately after we boarded, we fulfilled a mandatory drill. We rushed onto our assigned deck where some guy holding a clipboard and a whistle handed us unflattering orange vests. I struggled with mine.
My journey took me to Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Vancouver Island (Victoria, Canada). It was June, so the sun shined about 22 hours each day. The opportunity gave me more time to not sleep and karaoke like a clown.
In Juneau, I trekked a rainforest, which offered spectacular views of moss-covered Douglas Fir trees. The rainforest trees were the tallest trees I had ever seen. They towered all the way to heaven like a beanstalk. There was a secret world living in the rainforest, and I was there exploring and unraveling its mystery. And, then I heard the cruise ship blast its horn. I quickly snapped a photo of a random tree and scribbled in my journal about having just photographed it.
In Skagway, we explored the White Pass and Yukon Route via a train. The panoramic views of the mountains and glaciers reminded me of that predictable old Western movie where the train gets robbed by a masked train robber. Later that day, I rock climbed and rappelled off of a cliff near the Klondike Highway. Shocking, there was another view. I'm not sure what possessed me to climb up a rock cliff and rappel. I think I just wanted to wear one of those hard hats and pose for a lame picture.
The next day, we visited Ketchikan. I sent a postcard back to my husband telling him, "You will love this place! So many things to do!" I don't recall what I did in Ketchikan except buy a miniature wooden totem pole.
The last stop was Victoria, British Columbia. This is Canada's westernmost city and sits on Vancouver Island. I manically toured the world-famous Butchart Estate, bouncing from one themed garden to the next. There were Japanese, English Rose, Sunken, and Italian gardens. Afterwards, I shimmied into the gift store and browsed the goods. I purchased a postcard, caught a bus, and hauled butt back to the ship. Even though I never spotted a whale during the vacation, my Alaskan adventure was unforgettable. Your Alaskan Cruise can be just as memorable. Be sure to book your excursions ahead of time to ensure your spot. And, bring an extra bag for those wooden totem pole souvenirs.
CARRIE CRAIN is a housewife extraordinaire who has bipolar. She is a soon-to-be-published author of a zany, adventurous children’s novella. www.carriecrain.com