Friday, August 22, 2014

Disney's Alaskan Cruise

When everyone else was running all over the ship on the first day, we unpacked our bathing suits from our carry-on luggage and went to the pool.  We had boarded the ship as early as possible to take advantage of the sunshine.  Disney has an adult's only pool and they bring you drinks right to your chair.  

The second day was sunny, but very windy.  We used the afternoon to go to a 3-D movie on board, and a welcome to the cruise play, and drinks in one of the bars, followed by our first dinner.  When we told the waiter the cruise was our 40th anniversary present to ourselves, he brought a special dessert that lit up and the waiters all sang to us.

Above is a photo out of the coffee shop on board that overlooks the pool and is forward on the ship.  We claimed an area for ourselves for the third day that took us into Tracy Arms Fiord and ended at the South Sawyer glacier.  Even though it rained all day, it was very exciting.  Disney had free hot drinks and split pea bread bowls they were passing out.

Here is my middle daughter with her ipad taking pictures.  You can see how close to the mountains the ship came.

Maryanne nice and dry in coffee bar before reaching glacier.

Here is my husband and I still waiting for the glacier.

                                       The rain let up just as we got to the glacier.

South Sawyer Glacier

In the evenings, we went to Disney stage productions, followed by drinks in one of their bars, then off to dinner in one of their three dining rooms.  Each one has a different theme.  Your wait staff stays with you the whole week and follows you to the different dining rooms.  We were table 46 wherever we went.  This night, the crew had put on a Toy Story musical.  Three-D glasses awaited us at the table to see the menu covers.
We had room service breakfasts several days in our room (free) and had coffee on our balcony, as the Alaskan waters sped by.  Because we were in the Southern passage below
Juneau, there were usually mountains on both sides of the ship.  There was a buffet restaurant on the back (aft) of the ship that had outdoor seating.  Of course we had to breakfast here several times.  The dining rooms also hosted breakfast buffets.



After breakfast, we reached Skagway. It was the gateway to the Yukon Gold Rush.  The miners had to climb this huge long tortuous treck with a year's worth of groceries and supplies.  We just rode the train that was built after the rush was over.  The views were spectacular. 
This was called the Ghost Bridge.  It is no longer used (thank goodness).  But the tracks were carved into the side of the mountain with very little room to spare.  You could look out the window and see the ground miles below.  There was a long dark tunnel just as you reached the summit by the Canadian Border.  We didn't cross over.  The train reversed, we flipped our seat backs over, and down we went.

Turnaround at Summit

Family selfie on the Skagway train
River View from Skagway train

Beautiful Sunset at Sea


 The next morning we pulled into Juneau.  We had an 8:30 am cruise excursion to go on a photographic hike to a glacier followed by a whale watching boat trip.  It was pouring, as they will tell you it does most days in Juneau.  The photographer was also a biologist and he gave us so much information about wildlife in Alaska that day.  We had a wonderful time with the other people on the excursion and were AMAZED at seeing salmon jumping up rivers, the glacier, the whales, the sea lions, and much more.
 Here is my family in front of the Mendenhall glacierWe all had rain pants and jackets and ponchos on.  We were not cold or wet because of our layering.  I will update this part of the trip later.  We spotted owls in the trees behind us, down by the lake.  This is a fresh water glacier.  The South Sawyer glacier the day before was a salt water glacier.  Most of the area around Juneau is an ICE FIELD that feeds many glaciers.  We would have had to take a helicopter to land on top of one.  We enjoyed the view from where we were.
Sea Lion Fight Over Bouie


Our third stop was Ketchikan.  It is an island.  It is known for its rainforest, salmon, totem poles, and crab fests.  We saw our first live bear here.  Our son Robbie noticed the den on the first part of the excursion, which was another short hike.  The bear was close by on the other side of the path.

Live bear less than 10' away

This park was a sanctuary and salmon hatchery.  The group right in front of us saw a bear munching in what the park rangers refer to as the "salad bowl."  A group the day before had a mother bear and her two cubs come out of the woods and sniff everyone's shoes and then run away.

Next we went through an area with reindeer, a sawmill, a native totem pole carver, and we got to meet a live bald eagle.

Ketchikan Saw Mill

American Bald Eagle

 We ate a LOT of Dungenous Crab Legs.  We were given the correct Alaskan way to get to the crab meat.  As you can see from our pile, we did a pretty good job.  The lodge was on a beautiful lake.  I especially liked the carved bears on the dock.

The weather had grown warmer.  We went back to the boat and unloaded everything, then walked off the ship right into downtown Ketchikan.  I had read in the guide books about the famous Creek Street where the ladies of the evening in the olden days had houses.

 Each of the houses is now a unique gift shop.  There were seals/otters in the creek below.  The red house in the background was called "Annie's House."  My daughter, Annie, of course, found this amusing.

Most of the bears we saw were stuffed and in stores.  I took a special liking to the one below.

The last day was a day at sea.  We enjoyed lots of sunshine while relaxing on deck chairs.

We enjoyed the view as we left Alaska and headed back into Canadian waters.  Many of the islands had red roofed houses on them.  They looked a lot alike.

  I told Buzz that we were lost and kept going in circles seeing the same little island.  He "almost" believed me.

             Not a bad way to celebrate a 40th wedding anniversary.  Not bad at all.  

Oh...and I saved all of the towel animals they made for our room each night.  The last night I lined them all up in the hall outside our room for a "parade."  I heard lots of laughter as people went by and saw this.
I hope you enjoyed reading about the cruise.  There was lots more, but these were the highlights.  Once we've exchanged photos from our five cameras, I will have another post.

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