This post may get lengthy, and will contain a bunch of pictures. That is the way it goes, when you are giving a photo tour. Click continue reading to see the tour. I also wanted to get this out earlier, but it is better late than never.
So all non-US-flagged ships have to stop in Canada when transporting passengers from the US to the US. Therefore, we made a port call in Victoria, B.C., Canada. This was actually the third time we have visited Victoria (in the last year for that matter). We went once with my parents and once when I attended a conference there. Originally, we were planning on staying on the ship and enjoying it while other people were ashore. Well, it turns out that this was totally unnecessary. The ship NEVER felt crowded, Celebrity does a really good job on this front. And it was a beautiful day in Victoria, so we had to walk around a bit. (All pictures from Day 7)
We started the day with a galley tour (we were very lucky to get this tour, it is not often given). I’ll have pictures of this in my next post. After lunch we both had massages (that we scheduled the first night). I had the 4 hands massage (2 massage therapists). Since they are working at the same time, for the same length as a regular massage, you get double the massage! Totally awesome. Since it was a port day, our massage treatments were discounted. It makes a lot of sense to save your spa treatments for the port days.
Ok, so Day six was a lot of fun, but it doesn’t have a lot of pictures to go with it. We left Juneau around 6pm the day before, and day 6 was spent cruising in the open water. It was a long way from from Juneau to Victoria, we didn’t really hit the Canadian inside passage until day 7. (All day 6 pictures – http://picasaweb.google.com/mike.helmick/AlaskaCruise2009InsidePassageDay6)
There was some beautiful scenery along the coast, but mostly we just enjoyed the ship. Day 6 was the day that we made reservations for our 2010 trip to the Galapagos, and also the day that we took our photo tour of the ship (a future blog post).
In the afternoon, I participated in the ship’s version of The Weakest Link. I did pretty good, making it to the finals, but I lost (got second, whatever).
This day was also our second formal night. It was fun to get all dressed up, since it is something we don’t do very often. So not much to say, but we had fun.
One more day left to write about, and then I’ll have to find something else to say.
Short delay between posts, but here we go. After our at sea visit to Hubbard Glacier, we docked the next morning in Juneau, Alaska. Alaska’s capital city is a pretty small town, only 30,000 residents. Our highlight here was visiting the Sled Dog Musher’s Camp. As usual, if you just want to jump to the pictures, they are all just below this sentence, or viewable on picasaweb.
The skyline of Juneau is quite similar to the skyline of Ketchikan. Old west looking storefronts that cater to tourists. Lots of jewelry stores again, so we just bypassed those again.
Our sled dog excursion was about 2 hours after we docked, so we did our walking around the town first. Shortly after debarking in Juneau, we saw a sign for the state capital and the governor’s house, so we decided to head up there. To prove it, here is Cortny in front of the Alaska governor’s mansion. Of course, nobody was home.
On the way back to the pier (to catch our excursion) we went by a Subway. You know Subway, the home of the 5, 5 dollar, 5 dollar footlong. Well in Alaska, that would be a 7 dollar footlong. Now, I’m not surprised that subs cost 40% more in Alaska (everything has to arrive in Juneau on a weekly barge), but the advertising is funny. They still have the same picture, a guy holding out is hand with 5 fingers extended… and a 7 in the middle. Well, being form the lower 48, thought it was funny.
After arriving back at the pier, we met up with our excursion group (2 other people). We took a short ride to the musher’s camp. It was a nice little bus ride, very scenic.
Immediately on arrival, we boarded the wheeled cart and were pulled through the woods for about 10 minutes by a team of 16 dogs. The cart weighted 500 pounds and was holding 6 people. These dogs are strong and use these summer tours as their training for winder sled dog races.
Rather than blabbing on about it – I will say that it was awesome! The dogs are amazing, and it was cool to see a real training camp, and not some commercial tourist trap (they didn’t even have a gift shop). I put together this view to show how cool it was!
I scanned the daily newsletter, “Celebrity Today”, from our cruise. Each night, they publish a newsletter for the next day that contains all kinds of fun information. Anyways – here they are. I will try and get back to describing the trip and sharing pictures tomorrow.
Download the PDF (15mb-ish)
After leaving Ketchikan, we headed further north to view Hubbard Glacier. So, technically, this was a “sea day” since we didn’t dock, but the glacier is a major attraction of the cruise. It is impossible to describe in words, so I will just lead in with a picture.
This is just one of the many pictures we took on glacier day. All of the pictures are available on picasaweb.
The glacier as well as the approach to the glacier are simply amazing. The bay is surrounded by snow covered mountains, and at least one other glacier stuck in there. As we got closer to the glacier, we entered a huge ice field (ice that dropped off the glacier). The captain brought the ship within 3/4 of a mile of the face of Hubbard Glacier. This allowed for spectacular viewing from right in the middle of the ice field! It was totally awesome. I’ve put together the below video, made up of clips that we took over a period of about 4 hours while near the glacier. Enjoy!
The third day of our cruise, Sunday (May 24th), we had a port stop in Ketchikan, Alaska. We were scheduled to arrive in Ketchikan at around 9am, so we got to see some awesome scenery as we pulled into town. (All pictures from this day are available on picasaweb.)
The first picture is what was outside of our window when I woke up. Again, I was an early riser, so I headed up to the gym (I didn’t even bother with the track, although it was probably better as we were in protected waters). After my workout, I went back to the room to wake up Cortny. We did the buffet for breakfast (or maybe this was one of our AquaSpa breakfast days). Either way, we ate and then went outside on deck 4 (the promenade deck) to watch the ship pull into town.
The town of Ketchikan is actually rather small. It probably isn’t hard for the population to double when there are a lot of ships in port.
It was a beautiful day in Ketchikan. It was bright and sunny, and in the low 60s all day. Luck for us, Cortny is always prepared with sunscreen.
The shops near the pier look like the set from a western, and most of the close shops are all jewelry stores. I am amazed at how many people go on vacation to show for jewelry, oh well, that is not what we were there.
This is the first in a series of blog posts about our Alaskan cruse. We traveled with Celebrity Cruises on the Celebrity Infinity, round trip from Seattle. The cruise took us to to port stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Victoria BC. We also had 3 days of cruising, in the Pacific Ocean, up to Hubbard Glacier, and through the Canadian inside passage (east of Vancouver Island).
We departed on May 22nd, from Seattle. This is the first Seattle round trip cruise of the year for the Infinity. Since we followed the repositioning cruise, we actually were not scheduled to depart Seattle until 11:59pm. Our cruise documents said not to arrive at the port until 7pm. Because of bus schedules and us being ready way ahead of time, we arrived at the pier around 7pm. The ship actually wasn’t there yet! (Not that I was surprised). So we dropped off our luggage and filled out our health forms and got the boarding information. Since the ship wasn’t going to board until 8:30 or 9:00 and we had a high boarding number (#29), we decided to get dinner elsewhere. (All of the pictures from day 1 are available at http://picasaweb.google.com/mike.helmick/AlaskaCruise2009SeatteDays12.)
We are back from our wonderful week in Alaska. Everything was amazing. I have already sorted through about 900 pictures, and am in the process of uploading them now. I am going to try and do 1 blog post per day of our trip, and include a select few pictures and stories from our travels.
To give you something to look at… We booked our next trip (while on board). We will be going to the Galapagos Islands in fall 2010. Here is the fun advertising video for the Celebrity Xpedition.
Sometime this evening, we will be boarding the Celebrity Infinity for our cruise to Alaska!
Our cruise will take us to Ketchikan, Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, through the Inside Passage, and to Victoria BC. In Ketchikan we will be going on a 3 1/2 hour rainforest canopy adventure, with 8 ziplines!
The Hubbard Glacier day should be fun. How close we get to the glacier really depends on conditions. Also on this day, we have reservations for the SS United States Restaurant. The SS United States is one of Celebrity’s “specialty restaurants” that advertise a higher level of service and a special menu (samples on the above link). Our experience with the specialty restaurant on the Disney Wonder was positive, so we are looking forward to this one as well.
In Juneau, we are going to visit a training camp for sled dogs, where we get to ride on a dog sled! and meet the puppies (awww…. puppies).
For the day in Victoria, we are planning on just enjoying the ship while a good portion of the passengers are ashore. We have been to Victoria twice already, and will likely get there again in the future since it is so close to Seattle.