A personal note from Ales!
I am very excited about this month’s newsletter as I will be sharing about a journey my son Isaac and I just got back from. We have taken a Northbound cruise from Vancouver, Canada to Seward, Alaska from where we continued by train to Anchorage.
It’s been a truly unforgettable vacation which we’ll remember for a very long time to come.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the journey.
Let me begin by saying that I very often get asked if a trip to Alaska is for children. Many people associate cruising with sunshine, beaches, a lot of water activities and things to do for their little ones. Alaska really isn’t all that different except that you might not have a lot of sunshine on some days and that most likely you won’t be able to go swimming in the ocean like you would while in Mexico or the Caribbean but there are other experiences which are just as exciting and fulfilling for children.
On our cruise we went kayaking, rafting, ziplining, we saw whales, dolphins, bald eagles and the list goes on and I can say with confidence that Alaska is definitely a great destination for children, in fact it’s an amazing destination for all ages.
It is very important to begin by looking at the different cruise lines that are sailing to this part of the world and decide which one would be the best fit for you. If you are traveling with adults only in your party you might want to choose a different line than if you are traveling with children. A good travel consultant will be able to help you make the right choice.
I have cruised in the Pacific Northwest by myself and have chosen a smaller ship, Holland America’s Statendam, as my purpose was to read, relax and rejuvenate. For this particular cruise with my son I have chosen Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas which turned out to be the perfect choice.
From my viewpoint it has one of the best passenger to space ratios of the bigger sized ships. We had about 2,100 passengers on board our cruise, yet the ship never felt crowded.
Even though we live in Vancouver, we decided to spend one night at the Fairmont Waterfront right across where our ship was berthing on the day of our departure. It was nice to wake up in the morning and stroll down to admire the big vessel docked at the pier. After a leisurely breakfast we made our way to check in for our journey and it took us a mere 10 minutes from the moment we dropped of our luggage, went through security, immigration and were on board enjoying our first stroll around this beautiful ship.
We had an oceanview stateroom with balcony which I would highly recommend for any cruise to Alaska as there is so much to see, almost every time of day.
Our first stop was in Ketchikan where we opted for a 2 hour floatplane tour to the Misty Fjord Monument which was a breathtaking experience and I would highly recommend. I cannot say enough good things about the company we used, Island Wings, for this excursion. It was a rainy day but somehow it felt perfect as it added to the atmosphere as we flew by cloud covered mountain peaks.
After about 45 minutes we landed on one of the inlets where we had time to take in the quietude and hear some exciting stories from our pilot. Isaac was lucky and got to seat on the co-pilots seat for the entire 2 hours.
After returning to Ketchikan we still had a lot of time to visit Creek Street and buy some yummy, homemade chocolate in of the many little shops in town.
Our next stop was Icy Strait Point, a very small community, which was a nice change from docking in one of the busier towns along the way. We opted for a kayak tour which was wonderful. Even with rain falling most of the time, we were prepared for the weather and it didn’t bother us at all. Seeing whales, bald eagles and fish jumping made more than up for the drizzle.
Every sail-away from each port was filled with breathtaking views as we made our way through the Inside Passage. The next day we arrived early in the morning in Alaska’s capital, Juneau where we had an exciting day planned visiting the Mendenhall Glacier and river rafting down the Mendenhall River. It was great choice for our first rafting experience as we went through some class 2 rapids, which were just right for a first timer.
Our last port of call was Skagway where we decided to do some zip-lining, which was perfect for Isaac’s age. The sail-away from Skagway was especially beautiful with the sun hiding behind the mountains as we made our way out into the Gulf of Alaska to reach our destination for the next day which was the Hubbard Glacier.
Sailing next to the glacier was definitely one of the highlights, though each day seemed to be special on this cruise. Because the conditions were just about perfect, we were able to get very close to the glacier and experience its mighty power for almost 2 hours. When the ice is moving it sounds like a thunder and it’s just amazing to watch ice breaking off and falling into the ocean.
As we made our way up the Gulf of Alaska to reach Seward the next day we had decided to do a ‘behind the scenes’ tour on the ship that afternoon, which was a real eye-opening experience and I would highly recommend. It included a visit to the galley, where all the food for over 2,000 passengers was prepared, the laundry room, engine control room, theatre and ended with being on the bridge with our captain and getting to understand more about what it takes to maneuver such a big ship. A truly unforgettable Experience!
Whether you are planning to go with just your loved one, your family or a whole group, Alaska really has something for everyone and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
My final thoughts on this experience; if at all possible try to add a few days to your cruise and spend time in Anchorage or even do the land tour to Denali National Park. The Inside Passage is just a very small part of Alaska, yet most people only fly in for the 7 day cruise and fly back home on the day they return. Sometimes due to work schedules that might be all that is possible but if you can, take the time and see more of the “Last Frontier”.
If you have any questions about cruising in Alaska or would like start planning a journey for yourself, please don’t hesitate to call me. I’d be more than happy to share more of my experiences and make your vacation as unforgettable as ours has been.
I’ve been passionate about travel ever since I can remember. Having had the opportunity to travel all around the world for many years it’s my greatest desire to enrich peoples lives in a profound way by creating unforgettable journeys, and give each of my clients the amazing experiences I’ve had throughout my travels.
By allowing me to design your journeys, you can be assured that you will be taken care of from the moment we start planning your vacation until the moment you return. Contact me and let me know where you would like to go or let me help you find the destination that will give you the experience you are looking for.
May all your travels stir your soul and change your life forever – Ales.