Summer Cruise Dispatch: Star Princess Alaskan Cruise
When Travelocity’s Vice President for cruises, Matt Lee, returned from his recent Alaskan Cruise, the first thing he did was open the laptop and write down his experience. It takes a cruise of epic proportions to impress an industry expert like Matt, and it sounds like the Star Princess Alaskan Cruise is just that. Read Matt’s first-person account of his four days at sea after the jump.
All I can say is WOW! I truly had no idea Alaska was so spectacular, and now I’m convinced that there is no better way to see Alaska than on a cruise ship.
Day at Sea:
Our first day was at sea and as expected it was a little choppy. That said, the newer ships are so stable that it wasn’t much of an issue. The day at sea is a wonderful way to start the trip because it gives you a chance to explore the ship, sign up for dinner reservations at the specialty restaurants, and get a feel for what’s planned for the rest of the journey including any shore excursions. On just about every cruise I’m always reminded about how well you eat every day, and this was certainly no exception. On the first night we had dinner at the steak and seafood restaurant, which was a great choice. I’m a meat and potatoes guy, so I appreciate that they bring various cuts of beef to give you a little visual sample before you choose your steak, which included a 22oz Godzilla steak. Over the course of 5 days I had steak twice, lobster, pork tenderloin, and salmon. Try to do that at a beach resort without having to take out a small loan! That day we also watched a movie in the theater (“The Vow” for you romantics out there), a comedian, and a juggling act that finished with standing on top of a six-foot ladder on a moving ship. The entertainment is endless and all included in the price of the cruise.
We stopped in Juneau for about seven hours. It was a truly amazing day. We are now in the inside passage and the waters are as smooth as a swimming pool. One thing that struck me was how close you are to land once you hit the inside passage. The weather was excellent. The temperature was in the low 50’s with some sunshine. Juneau is a great town for shore excursions, which made it impossible to choose only one. There are things you can do in Alaska that you just can’t do anywhere else like flying to a glacier, dog-sledding, kayaking around icebergs, taking a float plane, and more. We ultimately chose to go on a whale watching tour with a small group of six people, which made the experience that much better. As we came into port after whale watching, we saw no less than ten Bald Eagles fly directly over our little boat. You just can’t see that anywhere else. Although, we didn’t have time to make it over to the glacier it was a spectacular sight even from a distance.
Our third day was is Ketchikan. We walked around the downtown area to do some shopping for the family. Hiking and zip lining are probably the two most popular shore excursions here. Ketchikan has a ton of character and dates back to the Gold Rush days. I can only imagine what it must have been like back then. Creek Street has a small shopping district with the stores built on stilts above the river. In front of one of the local stores was a small basket of Roaming Gnome garden stakes!
Last Day at Sea:
We are now on our way home wishing that we were on one of the seven or nine night sailings. Four days was just enough to leave us wanting more. I’ve heard from countless people about how beautiful Alaska is but I can honestly say that you have to see if for yourself to understand.
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My most beloved place in the whole world is: The Motherland, Italy. I never could have predicted how intense my love for Italy would become or how much I would revel in speaking the language. I've probably visited close to 100 Italian cities by now and I never tire of it. Need Italy tips? I'm your gal. Greatest travel lesson learned: You are your best company. I wish more people realized that. Traveling with large groups is fun, but the thrill of landing in a foreign city alone with no rules or schedules to abide by is pure adrenaline. Fondest travel memory: One of my fondest, sweetest memories was meeting my new in-laws for the first time after a 16-hour road trip from Montenegro to Belgrade. It was three in the morning and they were wide awake with anticipation, sitting at the kitchen table with traditional Serbian meats and a glass of red wine for me. A warm welcome, indeed. First thing I do in a new place: Follow the scent of a fresh-roasted bean and head to the nearest, most local-yocal coffee shop. A quick shot of caffeine, a chat with a few locals and then it's off to the races. First thing I do when I get home: Kiss my dachshund, Vucko, then pour over all the photos I've taken. Then wish I could do it all over again. Travel ambition: To inspire more people to get out of their cubicles and into the world.