If you have never visited Alaska before and you would like a taste of this unique part of the world, a cruise should be your first choice. Even though you can reach most places by plane, traveling by ship allows you to experience Alaska to the fullest and immerse in every aspect of its landscapes and nature. Imagine yourself waking up to a vista of massive blocks of blue, almost phosphorescent ice that are part of one of Alaska’s glaciers. Believe me, after all my travels, there’s nothing that compares to this!
The Alaska cruise season starts in May and I was fortunate enough to be a passenger aboard one of Norwegian’s Cruise Line’s ships, the “Pearl” this past June. NCL is known for its freestyle dining which gives you a chance to eat your dinner anytime you want. It also gives you more flexibility to arrange your own schedule and choose more activities onboard. Even though the breadth of food options may be overwhelming; you can still burn off any calories at the ship’s fitness centre and basketball court. Afterwards, you can soothe any sore muscles in one of the 4 outdoor hot tubs. And for those who are brave enough, there is a rock wall on deck 14 with a spectacular view waiting at the top.
Considering that the ship was filled with multi-generational families, the entertainment program could satisfy everyone. To keep kids busy, the ship has a Splash Academy for the youngest and also a wide variety of activities for teenagers. In addition, there were dance classes, ping-pong tournaments, chess and trivia games. The adult passengers could increase their love of the arts by attending seminars on world-famous artists or Art auctions. Music fans were invited to listen to classic piano concerts or acoustic guitar sessions by musicians from all over the world. And to help bring out passenger’s inner musician, every night features Karaoke Kraziness giving anyone the chance to belt-out their favorite show-tune or rock anthem.
Every evening starting at 7pm or 9.15pm different live-shows were held at the main Stardust Theatre that ranged from hilarious comedies to songs from famous musicals. Some of my favorites included acts straight from Las Vegas as the tribute to Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons and Norwegians’ own Pearl Production with hit songs from “Mama Mia” and “Wicked”. The shows were great and definitely entertaining and could please the most demanding passengers. After each performance all the guests, still energized and in a great mood, were just one step away from a dance floor and one of the many bars on-board. The most popular bar, the Bliss Lounge, had a fabulous décor and hosted theme parties throughout the cruise with all kinds of music.
All the landscapes and views were breath-taking but definitely the highlight was Glacier Bay National Park. The ship motored very close to the famous Margerie Glacier, so we could observe the explosive glacier calving into the pristine aquamarine water. To teach everyone about the glaciers and the bay, a group of National Park rangers arrived by small boat and climbed on board in the Indiana Jones style! We were asked not to carry paper on deck in case it was blown away by the wind. The rangers’ stories and facts were crucial to better understand how “Mother Nature” could create such a spectacular place. Unfortunately they also revealed that 95% of the glaciers are retreating and just 5% are advancing.. , making everyone really appreciate this vast wonder that might not be here for future generations to see.
Another important item not to leave out that made the trip unforgettable was the room I stayed in, the verandah cabin. There are no words to describe how amazing it felt to have a morning coffee on the balcony, wrapped in a warm blanket while inhaling the crisp, ice cool air. It was fascinating to see beautiful vistas of snow-capped mountains, lush evergreen forests, and whales frolicking in the waves right from the comfort of the cabin. In addition, the weather conditions provided us with extra viewing time since the sun does not set until around 10pm during the summer so you can enjoy your veranda even more.
In light of the fact that Alaska is the largest of the 50 U.S. states and is teeming with wildlife and natural wonders, a cruise is a great way to start your explorations of this Great Frontier. This type of vacation provides a unique combination of relaxation, discovery, entertainment and connecting with Alaska’s legendary wilderness and awe-inspiring sites. Ones you experience Alaska, you will be counting the days of when you can return!
Aggie Grzegorczyk, Vacation Specialist for Carefree Vacations | firstname.lastname@example.org | Toll Free (800) 795-0720 | Direct Line: (858) 592-7540
“My name is Aggie and I am originally from Poland. I have lived in a several foreign countries such as England (London), South of France and Italy (Rome), all where I have had a chance to share in the local lifestyle, understand different cultures and traditions and gain international tourism work experience. Following my motto “carpe diem,” I seize the moments through traveling, meeting people from all over the world and enjoying my work. I also share a great passion for learning new languages, playing guitar and sports. I look forward to helping you find your ideal/dream destination.”
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