This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Alaska Cruise:
- Alaska Cruise part 1: Vancouver and Ketchikan
For Sara’s parents’ 40th anniversary, we are taking a one-way cruise from Vancouver to Anchorage, and stopping in Denali National Park before returning back to the US. It should be a great adventure!
We are currently in our first port (of four), Ketchikan, Alaska, which is in very southern tip of Alaska. The nice thing about cruising in the US is that we have cell service pretty much the whole way, and can tether for Internet access instead of buying the expensive the wifi package. Plus it’ll allow me to keep the blog updated over the course of the trip.
We flew from St. Louis to Vancouver via Dallas, where we took advantage of an extended layover to visit with some friends. Unfortunately we didn’t get to spend any time in Vancouver this trip, except to take the sky train to the cruise port the next morning. We boarded early so we could maximize our time on the boat. This is our first time cruising, so we’ve been adapting to cruise life: mainly, learning to move a lot slower, and struggling not to put on a bunch of extra food between all the food available and our unlimited (alcoholic) beverage package.
We spent the first day relaxing and exploring, and after a nice dinner, went to the night club to dance the night away. We managed to close the place down, along with a few other random people that aren’t on Social Security. Our second day was a sea day, so we struggled to work out on the swaying ship, and Sara and Judy partook in an international wine tasting. The highlight was in the evening, when Sara won a raffle at the casino to for a free spot in a slots tournament (grand prize: $250). After frantically button-pressing for a minute, she nearly won, but came up a few points short for 2nd place. It was a lot of fun and quite a rush, plus she won $75 in slot play, which we hope to turn in to a few thousand dollars later in the week.
Today (day 3) we arrived in Ketchikan, the “Salmon Capital of the World”. There are four cruise ships docked here, so it’s very touristy, and also very rainy. We expected rain for most of our stops, but Ketchikan in particular is in a rain forest, and they get around 12 feet of rain a year. Today it rained pretty steadily, but according to the locals, it was pretty light compared to their “rainy” days.
Sara and I walked around with Judy for a while, but eventually got sick of the jewelry shopping and took off for a rain forest hike outside of town. In terms of off-the-beaten-path, this was definitely it, as we were the only people there. Because of all the rain, a lot of the trail was flooded, so before long we were wet from head to toe. We also had to cross over 8 mini-waterfalls that were blocking the trail, some of which were a bit dicey, but we made it through eventually. We found out about this hike from the map they passed out in town, which describes it as an “easy hike with a few difficult steps” – I think they should revise the text a bit. It was an amazing refuge of peace and quiet from the crowds on the cruise ship (which holds 2100+ people), and the rain forest itself was beautiful and relaxing.
When we came out from the hike, it put us out on a bypass road that was a few miles from town. We didn’t have any options to get directly into town, so we decided to hitch-hike. This was actually the first time we hitch-hiked on our entire trip (we know other people that did it a lot, but we never had to). Bill, originally from Seattle, gave us a lift back in town, which is good because it probably saved us an hour and a half of soaked hiking.
Tomorrow we sail off through the Inside Passage, and have another 5 days with 3 stops before getting off in Anchorage. The cell service isn’t overly fast, so more pictures will have to come later, but so far we are enjoying our trip!