I never had a huge inclination to visit Alaska let alone go on a cruise holiday probably because I feel the cold more than the average person and I don’t have great sea legs! Once I realised, I might see all sorts of sea life, never mind a glacier, I was sold!
Our cruise departed from Seattle, a surprisingly amazing city, where it is well worth spending a few days exploring. From the iconic Space Needle, offering incredible views of the city and coastline below, to Chihuly Gardens, Pike Place Market and the many museums there really is something for everybody!
Once we hit the Alaskan coast I was blown away by the incredible scenery and blue skies… this was not what I had pictured but I hadn’t really known what to expect. Our first port of call was Juneau, a pretty little port with quirky shops and bars and quite a significant craft beer scene. We embarked on a bicycle trip to Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau’s grandest attraction at about 13 miles long located in the Mendenhall Valley, a real visual treat! After such an adventurous afternoon it would have been rude not to sample some of the local brew.
Most Alaska cruises will have a scenic sailing day, our sailing took us to the well-known ‘Glacier Bay’ in the southeast of the Inside passage. I can’t begin to describe the excitement buzzing through the ship as we entered the bay. The water was eerily still as the ship navigated through the huge chunks of floating ice to get close to the largest glacier, Margerie, which looks like a huge river of ice pouring down from the valley above. The captain opened the bow of the ship so that we could get closer and slowly rotated the ship. We stayed there for hours simply looking and listening, every so often you could hear the crunch of ice separate from the glacier and thunder into the water below. It was simply amazing! Although I wasn’t lucky enough to see any it is not uncommon to spot humpback whales in Glacier Bay.
Along with Glacier Bay, my highlight of the trip was an ocean raft trip to explore the rugged volcanic coastline from Sitka. This was a real eco-adventure. Within half an hour we were spotting playful sea otters, sea lions, puffins and Bald-headed eagles – I was in wildlife heaven! Having already felt like my trip was complete, to top it all off, we had the company of humpback whales as we headed back to shore. To be so close to such massive amazing mammals was just surreal and I was completely overwhelmed. Top tip – book any trip like this for the morning when wildlife is at its most active.
To experience the beautiful scenery of Alaska from the water and on land was quite a trip. The stunning surroundings along with the high level of comfort offered on a cruise, with fantastic food and entertainment, was quite an adventure. One that I would recommend to anyone.
If you fancy making a trip like this a reality please get in touch, I would be delighted to hear from you.