Technically we’re still there. I’m writing this from a hotel room (With actual balconies that you could jump off of if you wanted) in Anchorage before he head into Denali National Park.
We did a cruise. I like cruises, mostly. I know what you’re thinking, ”June 2022, a cruise ship? Gross, COVID City!”
You’d be wrong.
Let’s get the safety stuff out of the way.
You had to get a PCR or Antigen test done, 2 days before your departure day. You had to have proof of vaccination (at least 2 doses), and for kids too young to vaccinate, they had to be tested on board at the halfway point. Since we never got any notices from the boat after that point about infection, I assume the kids were fine, which as a sample, likely means most of us are. So yeah. They took this shit seriously.
Once on the boat, the moment you stood up from a chair or table, a crew member would swoop in with disinfectant and wipe everything down. You couldn’t use the same cup or plate twice. Once it was at your table, that was it, get a new one.
They had a strict no licking policy… Just kidding, making sure you’re still here.
Ok, so the fun parts.
We sailed out of Vancouver (oh yeah, currently at least, Canada also still requires masks on flights, and random pull aside COVID tests on arrival). We sailed through up to Alaska stopping first at Ketchikan.
We did the Misty Fjord excursion, which was fun. It was made more fun/worth the price, when we saw orcas, which we were told was pretty rare that far into the fjords.
So that was kinda cool. I learned that photographing whales is hard as shit when the water is murky (Maybe all the time). You have no idea where they’ll surface next other than roughly (Hopefully) in a straight line from where they were last.
That said. It was fun. We got back to the ship thrilled to have seen the whales and the rest of the fjords. The weather was perfect (for pics).
Then we went into Juneau, which despite being the state capitol was a tiny sleepy little town. Well, a tiny sleepy little town that entertained several cruise ships a day. We got our first view of a glacier (The Mendenhall), and wow are they noisy. Like semi-constant thunder. It was weird to think that somewhere behind the face we could see, tons and tons of ice was gnashing its way forward.
After that we had a whale watching tour. It was fun enough, didn’t see much that we hadn’t seen. Hard to imagine becoming jaded so quickly about freaking humpback whales. It was a great time.
From there it was on to Skagway. We didn’t book any excursions. Well, we did. I did. Mom and I were gonna do a train ride. Except Dad’s COVID test came back positive, and the NCL policy is that the entire party are canceled, so mom and dad weren’t able to join us.
It was fun, we just walked around, enjoyed some beer and fish and chips. Skagway is one of those places that lives on tourism (and probably fishing, but mostly tourism). COVID really did a number on the town. 2 in 4 storefronts was shuttered. Artists that sold in the various shops were forced to do other things and didn’t (as yet) come back to art. It was honestly sad. It really showed how poorly our country handled everything about the pandemic as it relates to businesses, especially the small ones.
And then we saw more glaciers. We had two days at sea, hitting first Glacier Bay National Park, then Hubbard Glacier. We got to see one of the Glacier Bay glaciers calve three times, which was awesome. Much like whale photography, you literally have no idea where a calving will take place, and then it’s half over.
Then it was onward to Seward, where we disembarked. After that an uneventful 2.5 hour bus ride from Seward to Anchorage. Tomorrow (at the time of this writing) we board a bus for 6 hours into Denali. I’m making sure my airpods are charged and my Kobo is ready, LOL.
Part 1 Final Thoughts
I’ll post about Denali seperately but will end with, cruises are great if you’re the type of person that likes to mix your vacation days with ”go go go, do the things” and ”Chill out and relax”. The at sea days are enforced relaxation. No leaving the boat, not awesome internet (but better than it used to be to be sure. More on that next time too). It’s a time to read, for me to write, to just generally not be going. I love that.