Monday, October 22, 2012

Back on the road. . .oops, the sea!

Even though we didn’t need one, our “excuse” for taking an Alaskan cruise was to celebrate our 50th anniversary.

Our first trip to Alaska was several years ago when we drove the Alaska Highway with our fifth wheel home in tow.  Since Juneau is accessible only by water and ferries charge by the foot (our combined length was 53’) it would have been VERY expensive to take in Alaska’s state capitol city.  So, another trip to Alaska by water has been on our bucket list.

Grandson Jorden was six years old. He has done 49 states with us.


It was the Inside Passage, glaciers and Juneau and not the cruise that was our reason for cruising. Having said that, a cruise is a very nice way to travel!

We chose a Princess Cruise Line itinerary that included departing from and returning to San Francisco which is about an 1-1/2 drive from Monterey.  No airport hassle, no parking, shuttles, no lines, no taking off shoes, no crowded seats, no paying for baggage!  We simply drove to San Francisco, parked the truck in the Anchorage parking garage and caught a taxi to Pier 37 where the Sea Princess was waiting for us (and 848 other people!)

Our friends Debbie and Danny happened to be in San Francisco with their grandchildren and took this photo of our ship.  Can you see us on our balcony?

sea princess taken by Danny on the day we sailed

Maybe my favorite thing on the ship was our balcony, even when it was cold which was much of the trip!


Tea every morning on my balcony while I studied the Alaska guide and wrote in my journal. (I’d already eaten my croissants.)  We ate breakfast in the Horizon Court the first couple of days but found we were eating too much – I always end up eating more than intended at buffets!


We tracked our daily progress on the closed circuit TV in our stateroom.DSCN8013

Another of my favorite things was sailing UNDER the Golden Gate Bridge.  We’ve driven ACRoSS it many many times but looking up from underneath was pretty neat.  I got up at 5:00am on the return into San Francisco Bay so I could see it again (foggy so not as great a view as this.)


The daily Princess Patter was our guide to the events of the day.  This little card was used instead of cash for everything.  Easy to lose track of spending!  I like diet cokes so purchased the Coca Cola sticker which allowed unlimited sodas anywhere on the ship.

scan0009Daily Princess Patter

A Tlinglet totem pole carving in progress at the Saxman Village near Ketchikan.


Float planes are a common sight in Alaska.


We took a walking tour of Juneau.  In our travels we’ve tried to visit as many state capitol buildings as possible.  Alaska’s in Juneau looks like an ordinary office building – no domes here!


I wonder how many governor’s mansions have a totem pole at the entrance?


Since Juneau is built on hills, many of the sidewalks are stairs.  When I was taking this picture I became aware of a little lady, obviously a local, standing beside me.  She finally asked me just what was I taking a picture of?  (I imagine she was looking at the dumpster, the electric power box, maybe the power pole?)  I explained that I found the “sidewalks of Juneau” unique and she smiled indulgently and walked on.  Maybe she has lived her entire life in Juneau and does not find this unusual at all!


The glaciers was another of the main reasons for taking the cruise.

Us at Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau.


Sawyer Glacier in the Tracy Arm Fjord.  Absolutely beautiful and serene.  The captain shut ship’s engines off, giving us total silence in which to enjoy the scenery.


Pictures and movies cannot do justice to the pristine beauty of the glacier.  I took this close-up to try and capture the beauty of the glacial ice.  This is why we took the cruise!


As full-time RVers our style of traveling is wondering off the beaten path.  We stayed in Skagway for a week or so when we traveled there in our RV so this time we wandered off the main street (and the crowds from the four cruise ships in Skagway harbor.) Found a food truck where we had Alaska halibut and chips for lunch.DSCN8253

Wildlife viewing was the another reason we wanted to cruise Alaska.  Not so much success there.  We saw a few whale spouts (but no breaching), one lone Bald Eagle (from a great distance), a few dolphins, a white mountain goat and of course, Sea Gulls!  Serves us right for going on a cruise to see wildlife. . .here in Monterey we routinely see whales breaching, eagles, dolphins, sea lions and California sea otters!

These two sea lions playing with a salmon in Skagway harbor kept us entertained.  I don’t think they were hungry!


View from my balcony.


We avoided the tourist areas of Victoria, BC and jumped on a Metro bus to see the “real” city.  We hopped on the #4 bus for the ride out to the University of Victoria but the friendly bus driver told us to take the #11 bus back, saying that it goes through a more scenic area, which it did.  

I collect university sweatshirts (my “rule” for collecting is that I have to actually visit the campus in order to add to the my collection) and bought one at the University bookstore. Note:  I have 46 sweatshirts in my collection!


And it was back under the Golden Gate Bridge, an hour and a half drive and we were back home!

Gary is now planning our next cruise. . .Panama Canal.

We both really enjoyed our second cruising experience but fulltime RVing “on the road” is still our preferred mode of travel. . .and life.


  1. Sensational photos and narrative - I enjoyed this very much (not half as much as you would have though!!) What a wonderful experience all round!

  2. So nice to see that you had dropped by today. I'm following you but don't get updates when you post so will have to stick you in my sidebar so I don't lose track of you again. :) Your Alaska trip looks fantastic. My husband has talked about taking a cruise on this side of the world. Very cool that you've taken your grandson along to 49 of the States. Not many kids can tell that to their friends. Happy belated anniversary! Best wishes, Tammy

  3. Like Tammy, I need to put you on my sidebar. Thanks for visiting me today. Happy Belated 50th Anniversary. What a fun trip to celebrate so many wonderful years together, and best wishes for many, many more.

    I just read a book last week and if you haven't read it before, I really think you would enjoy it. It is a mystery "Lady Justice and The Cruise Ship Murders" by Robert Thornhill. You can read my review on my "Book Lust Journal" blog, if you would like to. I just read it last week, and the reason I think you would enjoy the book, the cruise in the book was to Alaska. I love all your pictures they are lovely.