Although Alaska has been on my radar for a while, it was not a top five must-visit destination for me. But when the opportunity came up to join family on an Alaskan Dream Cruise this summer, I jumped aboard! And boy did Alaska get me. I was blown away by the scenery, wildlife, culture, and everything Alaska has to offer.
I cannot say enough good things about my experience with Alaskan Dream Cruises. While large cruise ships have lots to offer, I prefer the more intimate experience I had. I was aboard a small expedition boat with 45 other passengers and the most amazing captain, crew, and “naturalists”. Our two naturalists were there to provide information, give educational talks, answer questions, and tell great stories. The food was outstanding. I will always remember my Alaskan King Crab feast and my favorite time of day quickly became “cookie time”.
But the real star was Southeast Alaska. The scenery was dramatic. Due to our ship’s small size, we were able to sail right next to the beautiful shoreline, park in front of glaciers, navigate fjords, and anchor in bluffs so we could explore by kayak and a small motor raft called a “dib”. My favorite moment of the trip was waking up in Tracy Arm Fjord and peering out the window to see my first icebergs. It was so quiet and peaceful and the air was crisp from the glaciers. The captain slowly navigated the fjord, gracefully dodging icebergs. He dropped anchor directly in front of Sawyer Glacier. There wasn’t another boat in sight all day.
The other highlight for me was floating around Frederick Sound after dinner one evening with hundreds of humpback whales swimming around the boat. They were like popcorn, popping up in every direction, you didn’t know where to look! I had to put my camera down and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime moment. Whales breached ten feet from the boat, dove underneath us, and gave us lots of great tail shots. It was difficult to go to bed that night after so many hours of wonder and joy.
If you are looking for an exotic vacation that is close to home, do not think twice about booking a trip to Alaska. Next time I will include Denali. –Ellen, July 2016