Date and Time: September 17th 2014, 10:40pm Alaska Daylight Time
Location: Aboard the Golden Princess somewhere south of Glacier Bay National Park en route to Ketchikan Alaska, Not really sure about specifics since the voyage info channel on the TV seems to be broken
Weather: Foggy and somewhat cold, a bit of a running theme on this trip
Visibility: Pretty much nonexistent
To be perfectly honest, even though I’ve done a fair bit of cruising over the years, a cruise to Alaska has never been particularly high on my list of priorities. Part of this is because I have plenty of other places to go on vacation, and part of it is because I’ve always been under the impression that an Alaska cruise has the kind of weather I go on vacation to get away from. After having spent the last several days in Alaska at the end of the Summer cruising season, I don’t think that assessment is entirely false, but at the same time the weather has actually been pretty reasonable considering the circumstances.
Granted, we’re not necessarily talking Summer weather here, but at the same time it hasn’t been unreasonably cold here either. During an afternoon spent wandering around Skagway (an 1890s Gold Rush boomtown gone bust, then eventually turned into a tourist trap) I just left my jacket behind and was perfectly fine. The weather in Juneau was fairly nice as well. Today’s visit to Glacier Bay (you stay on the ship and the rangers from the National Park come aboard the ship and narrate as you go through the bay and stop at several of the major glaciers) was markedly colder, but just my usual Winter jacket was sufficient. Given the scenery that we got to see, I think it was a reasonable tradeoff.
This is actually the last Alaska cruise of the season for the Golden Princess, which will be heading South to warmer climates once we return to Seattle on Saturday. One of the interesting things about my current workplace is that the windows on the North side of the building face Seattle’s cruise terminals, and in one or two of the conference rooms I can see the big cruise ships in port. On various days of the week during the Summer there are Princess, Carnival, Norwegian, Oceania and Celebrity ships that make Seattle their homeport during the Alaska season (quite a few ships homeport in Vancouver as well, mostly for one-way iineraries that are legally prohibited from departing from a US port.) Being able to see the ships on a regular basis has made thr prospect of being able to hop aboard and take a cruise sound more attractive than it was previously, but ultimately it was my friends and frequent travel companions who put this one together. Originally our plans called for an Alaska cruise at the beginning of the season in May, but various cirumstances resulted in cancellation of that booking in favor of one later in the season, which is where we are now.
On most of the cruises I’ve taken I have traveled with various members of my family, both immediate asnd extended. These cruises have been enjoyable and memorable experiences, although as anyone who has spent enough time around the Vanderhoeven Machine knows, we can definitely take a little bit of getting used to. This time around I’m basically traveling with someone else’s family though, which would probably be more of a culture shock than it already is if not for the fact that I’ve spent so much time with my friends. Not that it doesn’t take some getting used to, but in many ways it’s a similar experience. Fortunately we all have very similar (and in many cases rather unusual) senses of humor, and seem to have independently picked up a lot of the same quirks long before we ever met each other. I’m sure some of the other people on the ship are wondering about us.
Anyway, we have two more days remaining before we return to Seattle on Saturday (a short morning visit to Ketchikan tomorrow and a short evening visit to Victoria on Friday) and since the Internet packets around here seems to be carried back to the mainland by sled dogs, I’ll have more to post when I get home. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s kind of cold out here right now..