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Alaska Cruise with C. J. 2005

This is the first vacation Craig and C.J. have ever taken by themselves. Since C.J. is an experienced sailor, he expected the sea to 'rock' him and 'roll' him. He was unprepared for so smooth a trip; he hardly knew he was on the ocean.

Ice in Tracy Arm On this trip the icebergs in Tracy Arm prevented the ship from reaching the glacier face.

Seattle, Washington

The port of Seattle is practically in downtown. The weather, as is frequently the case, was overcast, but changing quickly.

Casting off, the Diamond Princess used side jets to move sideways, away from the dock. When a ship is 115,000 tons this is an impressive sight.

Sun Princess near the Space NeedleSeattle skyline

By the time we had pulled out of our dock Seattle began to look like a postcard.

As we passed the Space Needle there was another ship docked - the Sun Princess, a sister ship to the one Patty and Craig would sail on later in the year on their transatlantic cruise.

C.J. and Craig on the top deckJuneau on the first day of cruising Alaska

This is a sample of the ship and the scenery when cruising through the Inside Passage.

As we arrived in Juneau there was a cruise ship convention. To the right is the Diamond's sister ship the Sapphire; in the center is a Holland America ship; in the rear on the left is a Royal Caribbean ship.

Juneau, Alaska

The helicopter flight onto the Mendenhall Glacier was the most exciting tour of the entire cruise. The following photos describe our trip there and the time we spend walking around and investigating the glacier. The deep blue color is ice, before it has been exposed to the air for a period of time.

There were 4 people in each helicopter, including the pilot. Therefore, each of us got a pretty good view of the scenery.

The airport is to the north of Juneau, so this is looking south, toward the city.

helicoptering over the glacierapproaching the Mendenhall Glacier

The view of the glacier has to be seen to be believed, but this is a sample.

Landing on the glacier we looked around and saw very different types of terrain across the same ice flow.

C.J. and Craig both took drinks of the cold, cold water, posed for photos, and  surveyed a landscape that looked like a moonscape in places.

C.J. and Craig cruising between Juneau and Skagway.

Seaplanes are the most common mode of transportation in Alaska and we saw a number of them throughout the cruise.

Skagway, Alaska

We arrived in Skagway in the early morning, a great time for pictures.

Alongside was the Royal Caribbean ship we saw in Juneau.

Our tour in Skagway took us up the Yukon gold miners trail to the top of White Pass. At the beginning of this trip the weather was warm and the scenery green.

Soon we could see what was ahead of us and were beginning to wish we had brought our jackets.

White Pass summit

By this time C.J. was grabbing snow from the side of the train and we were looking forward to the summit.

The White Pass summit marks the border between the U.S. and Canada.

Just to prove we were there.

C.J. and Craig at White Pass Summit

Tracy Arm, Alaska

We attempted to sail up to the Tracy Arm glacier. Everything looked great starting out, but as the miles up the narrow fiord continued the small icebergs increased in number and size until the captain halted the ship and literally rotated it around until we were facing the opposite direction.

We entered Juneau on the first day cruise ships could dock there (a new cruise season), so there was not much chance we would get to the end of the Tracy Arm fiord.

Craig & CJglacier valleys - Tracy Arm area

Of course C.J. had to hold out his camera and take our picture where the captain rotated the ship.

On the return journey we passed many hanging glacier valleys. You can tell them by the big 'U' shape of the high valley.

Ketchikan, Alaska

Here there was an old part of the town build around a river - of course it was a tourist trap, but it was fun to wander through.

The dock by the ship was nothing but a tourist place, like almost all ports.

We had fun taking pictures of each other anyway.

Victoria, Canada

map of cruise ports

Our last stop was Victoria - ships must stop in at least one foreign port if they don't have an all U.S. crew - and we were there in the evening. We walked around the city, but didn't take any pictures. It is pretty and we do recommend browsing the Empress Hotel.

Here is a map of our seven day cruise. It was a fabulous time and we recommend this for anyone, especially those who really don't want to get out into the open ocean.

We hope you have enjoyed our pictures and our narrative.