Cross Another One Off the Bucket List – Alaskan Cruise

If you don’t have Alaska on your Bucket List, you definitely need to add it to the list. In August, we boarded Celebrity Solstice in Seattle, Washington with four of our best couple’s friends for the first couple’s vacation and we had a wonderful time.

The adventure began touring the sites in Seattle. We went up the Space Needle, walked around Pike Place Market, saw the first Starbucks, and went to the Chihuly Garden and Glass, which was amazing. We walked around downtown and had a great time hanging out.

We boarded our cruise ship on Friday and set out for Alaska. Our first stop was in Ketchikan, where we spent the day walking around the town shopping, eating, and taking in the sites. It was raining off and on, so we took a bus tour to learn about the area and got to stop at a few places to look for bears and whales. We saw a couple of black bears, bald eagles, salmon in the small streams, and a few whales just offshore.

On our way to Juneau, we arrived at Tracy Arm Fjord early in the morning of the third day. The glacier coming down into the water was simply breathtaking. The height of the tide changes, the blue ice, and icebergs were a sight to see. The captain kept the ship in front of the glacier for a couple hours, so we had time to take in the moment. There are no words to describe the beauty of these glaciers.

Monday was a busy day, Tracy Arm Fjord at 5:30 AM, then our next stop was Juneau about 1 PM. We spent about two hours touring the town until it was time to go on our whale watching tour. We boarded an enclosed tour boat that kept us out of the rain on our way out of the docks to where the whales were feeding. As we approached, the captain opened up the bow and the stern so we could get out and get some close up pictures of the whales. The law requires tours to stay 150 yards away from the whales. There was a pod of five humpbacks feeding and five other tour boats watching. It was raining and the water a little rough, so it was hard to get any good shots. We did see three humpbacks create a bubble net and come up through the middle of it to eat their fish. Mark had an opportunity to get a picture of a lifetime. but as they came out of the water another boat crossed our path and the camera focused on the guy at the back of that boat instead of the whales. He managed to get a shot of one of the humpbacks with its head out of the water and what appears to be a guy standing right next to it. Our advice is to buy a picture of a whale from a local artist and just take in the beauty of the scenery.

As we headed back to the dock, there were several pods of Orcas. We saw about 30 of them swimming around the area. One orca came toward the stern of the boat and then went under the water near the side of the boat. It came up near the front to the amazement of a few of our friends.

The third stop was an excursion everyone needs to take when they go to Alaska. We took the helicopter tour up to a glacier from Skagway. The helicopter ride was spectacular. Landing on the glacier and being able to walk around on the glacier for about 45 minutes was the best part of the trip. Our guides gave us a tour and showed us many features associated with the glacier. We took lots of pictures. We are still having trouble describing the experience. It look as if God wanted to create a super highway the way the glaciers flowed into each other leaving lines of rock and silt as the lane lines. The colors of the blue ice were spectacular.

Our last stop was in Victoria, British Columbia. We were only there for a few hours so we got to see a little of the town and have dinner before heading back to the ship and back to Seattle.

The first annual couple’s vacation was a huge success and we are hoping to be planning another one in the near future. We started planning this trip about 1 ½ years ago and I think we all decided we wanted to go somewhere with a beach for the next trip.

Yes, I over packed, but not for rainy weather. It rained at Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway, but the temperature was in the 60’s most of the time. The only time we were cold was when we were walking on the glacier.

Everyone wants to know how 10 people decide what are they going to do and where are we going to eat! It came down to follow Linda and Julie, go well out of the way, turn around and go the other way. How many steps was that? We are not sure how, but we made it through 10 days of togetherness. I think it had something to do with the martini bar on the ship with the ice counter top!

Many thanks to the Ables, Dunn’s, Paulette’s, and the Schreiber’s! We have been girlfriends since our high school days in Oakton, Virginia, you guys are truly the best.