We're back home from our Alaskan Cruise.
We had a lovely time - somewhat bittersweet at times but it was so good to spend this time together. This cruise was Dad's 8th(!), our 2nd and Janet and Ernie's 1st. Ernie's mom, Susan and his Aunt Hilda came with us as well so we were a party of 7. We sure missed Mom though. She would have loved every minute of it, I know and we missed her enthusiasm and energy.
We cruised with Holland America on the "Volendam" - I think it takes only 1400 people - definately smaller than some of those monster ships. Dad really liked the ship - said it was much nicer than any of the others he'd been on. The service was superb, the food absolutely wonderful and our staterooms very roomy and comfortable -it was very nice having a window in our room which we'd not had the last time we cruised.
We spent a day cruising Glacier Bay where we saw the Marjorie Glacier. We were able to get quite close to it and had the amazing experience of watching it "calve" - that is when a piece breaks off and falls into the water. The ship stayed in front of the glacier for about an hour and it was fascinating to see the glacier change in front of our eyes. It was a bit overcast so we didn't have the blue skies as our backdrop but it was gorgeous scenery. They had Glacier Bay Park rangers on board for this part of the trip and they gave us so much information as we cruised the inlets and fjiords.
Our first shore opportunity was Haines, Alaska. We did a shore excursion there which took us on a ferry up the inlet to Skagway. There we boarded a bus which took us to Fraser, BC where we climbed on board the White Pass Railway. This travels along a narrow gauge track all through the White Pass - through some incredible terrain. The miners going to the Klondike Gold Rush had to travel through this pass or through the Chillkoot Trail both of which were through treacherous and challenging mountain passes. There is so much history here. One can hardly imagine the hardships that they would have gone through.
We also stopped in Juneau where we did some souvenier shopping, rode the aerial tram and had a crab feast and in Ketchican where it poured buckets the whole time we were there - not surprising as they get 13 feet of rain - over 260 days of rain a year.
There weather warmed up as we headed south and by the time we cruised between Vancouver Island and the Mainland of BC, we were spending the whole day out on deck - the scenery is breathtaking and it was fun to identify all the towns and islands we were sailing past.
We sailed under the Lion's Gate bridge at 4:30 am on Sunday morning - I got up and went out on deck to watch as we sailed into Vancouver and docked at the Cruised ship terminal.
Rick was there to pick us up and we were home by noon. All in all a great trip.