Sailing Through the Alaskan COLD: Not Your Typical Cruise

Whenever someone hears the word “cruise”, it’s typically the thought of a bright sun-filled sky, lovely beaches, clear blue water, and boarding a lovely cruise ship, akin to a modern day Titanic, yet this time, there’s no danger of that pesky iceberg and the ship is appropriately kept in accordance with modern day safety regulations.  Perhaps a cruise throughout somewhere around the Caribbean is preferable.  However, my first cruise was none of the sort(besides the lovely cruise ship itself).  Our destination was Alaska, a place that stays pretty cold year around.  The real adventure began when we arrived in Seattle, Washington-home to grunge rock, the Seattle Seahawks, and depression caused by too many cloudy days.

I had never been on a cruise ship before.  What’s lovely about it is that once you’ve payed, you get all the food that the cruise line wants to shove down your throat.  The only precaution is that if you give in you’ll have plenty of calories to burn off once you’ve arrived back at home.  However, there are plenty of workout facilities available aboard cruise ships.  There was even a running track that went around an upper level deck on our ship.  The cabins are tiny, and the bathrooms are even smaller.  Also, make sure to take the right pills to avoid sea sickness.  I managed to avoid it about 40% of my time on the ship.

Things to do aboard cruise ships include plenty of entertainment such as dancing shows, singing shows, bands, comedy, games, movies, eating, eating, eating, etc.  These events are are divided by stops in certain secluded parts off the Alaskan coast such as Juneau and Ketchikan.  These towns are simple, nice, albeit not spectacular, but lovely enough and reminded me of small average American towns set to the backdrop of beautiful Alaskan wilderness.  Our stops were rather fairly wet.  I’d say about 90% of the time it rained while we were off the ship, or so it seemed.  The skies also remained fairly cloudy.  We had the lucky chance to see a wild bear running around by a creek, a short distance off the trail we were on during one of our stops.

The most amazing thing is standing on the side deck of the ship, staring into the water, especially as the sky begins to darken.  You realize how large the ocean is, how small you are, and what a journey life is.  You also wonder how deep the ocean below you is, what life lives under it and if you have the lucky chance you’ll get to witness a humpback whale jump free from the water that ordinarily confines it and plop back into the ocean that is its home.

It’s also pretty fascinating to wake up in the morning from your tiny ship cabin, rush to the deck to get a glimpse of your ships surroundings for the current time, and figure out what can be seen in the distance.  Some days we awoke to nothing but fog surrounding the ship, other days we awoke to the site of beautiful glaciers, and mountainous shores.  Other days we could see nothing clear in the distance at all.  On other days we could make out other vessels or towns in the distance.  Whether it’s sailing through the Alaskan cold or through the Caribbean paradise, sailing through the ocean is a worthwhile adventure.


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