Our long anticipated adventure is finally winding to a close. We awakened Saturday morning to sunrise over Vancouver. We said goodbye to our home for the past week, and to Michael’s Club – we’ll miss them and they assure us they will miss us, waited for our turn to wait in the queue to debark the Celebrity Summit, and with papers in hand we descended the gangplank, boarded our bus for a brief trip through Vancouver to the airport and US Customs. Then we waited and waited for our flight. No lengthy layover in Denver, instead we had to literally RUN for our connecting flight. We all made it to Tampa together but several pieces of luggage arrived after us. We Moosecruisers had a wonderful time and cannot wait for our next adventure.
Today was less hectic. It was a day at sea. We relaxed a bit. Some of us took a couples massage class. One of the things we learned as we took our turn at giving our spouse a massage, is that we are not so limber as we used to be! The scenery as we cruised south through the Inside Passage was beautiful. We were fascinated with some of the traffic…one looked like a floating house. The evening was a little busier, we all had to get packed and get our bags outside our door for tomorrow’s departure. We still found time to go to the show, go dancing at Michaels, and to slip outside and see darkness for the first time in two weeks!
Yet another wonderful day. Ketchican. It’s a tiny village perched at the base on mountains right at water’s edge. It’s accessible only by water or air and is one of the obligatory ports of call for cruise ships. Since we did not have a shore excursion booked and access to the town was by tender, we opted to relax in the thallasemia pool first then visited the town after lunch. We wandered the historic town and marveled at the totem poles. We were all back on board by evening. We took a break from dancing in Michael’s Club to see the fabulous creations by the Celebrity Chefs at the Midnight Buffet.
We all dressed up for a second formal night and enjoyed a wonderful dinner. You should have seen the production of trying to get all of us to cooperate for a photo! Somehow during dinner the story spread that Steve & Karen and Ed had been booted out of Michael’s Club for being too rowdy. So lots of the of the crowd joined us to see what it was all about. Steve, the pianist, played into the wee small hours and kept the party going!
It was a wonderfully exciting day in Hoonah, Alaska. Despite the rain, we saw lots of wildlife both marine and aerial from the whale watching boat. Loved the hospitality of the local people as they shared a little of their culture with us. At the Wild Alaska Cooking School we created and enjoyed some delicious salmon and halibut dishes! One of the delightful aspects of Icy Strait is that we were the only ship in port so the area was not so totally overrun with tourists!
Another day of breathtaking scenery! We embarked on an excursion in the company of Ed and Anita and saw Glacier Gardens, some incredible gardens crafted in what had been a mudslide area. From flowers planted in the roots of upside down trees to incredible rainforest views, it was wonderful. So was Mendenhall Glacier in the Tongass National Forest where it was cold and rainy yet it felt like we had too little time. Tried to top the day off with pleasant conversation in Michael’s Club but other guests objected to our conversation while the string quartet played so we accepted their invitation to leave!
Spent the day in Skagway. It was a wonderful adventure to ride the White Pass & Yukon train with John & Amy. We saw fabulous scenery and the some of the treacherous trail that the Klondike Gold Rushers faced. In town we visited some Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park sites where our Santa Fe friend Cathy was an archaeolgist. We ended the evening with some salubrious time in Michael’s Club listening to piano and enjoying good libations.
Day at Sea but with unbelievable scenery. We started the day with a talk by the naturalist on board. Later we joined him in the icy rain up on deck to view Hubbard Glacier, the largest tidewater glacier on the North American continent. This glacier which has been advancing for more than a century, is a part of Wrangell – St Elias National Park and Preserve. Dinner was the first of our formal nights.
Enjoyed a morning hike in the woods near Alyeska Resort. Other Moosecruisers spotted the bear in the woods. Our bus ride to Seward was interrupted by a visit to Big Game Alaska Wildlife Center. In the afternoon we boarded Celebrity Summit in Seward for the beginning of a wonderful cruise!
Started the day with a stop by a stream hoping to see salmon run but we were a little too early in the season. Enjoyed a visit to the Alaska Native Heritage Center then back aboard the luxury motorcoach for the trip to Alyeeska Resort. A stop at the jade shop yielded raw material for future jewelry projects for Steve. Took the tram up to the top of the mountain. Enjoyed some playtime in the snow before enjoying an absolutely fabulous dinner with John & Amy at Seven Glaciers Restaurant at the top of the world.