July 10th 2011 7:50 pm PT
After a week on an Alaskan cruise, it is now time to come to face with the reality that my vacation is now over. A few of you asked about the trip, and specifically what ship and itinerary I was on. I thought I’d share that with you now and maybe it will help you make your own decisions if you wish to see if Alaska (or cruising) is for you.
My wife and I sailed on the Celebrity Infinity out of Seattle. We choose the one-week itinerary that included Ketchikan, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau; Skagway, Alaska Inside Passage and Victoria, British Columbia. They offer quite a few different options, but this one worked for our timing. The highlight of the trip was Tracy Arm. Waking up at 6am and stepping out onto the deck into the middle of a fjord was spectacular. I can’t say enough about the raw natural beauty of the area, but check out some of my photos to get a taste of what it was like. See for yourself here. Following that we went on a whale watch in Juneau. We saw over 40 Killer Whales and dozen’s of Humpback whales in just a couple of hours In Skaway, we spend the morning heading up to the White Pass region via the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad. This was a nice side trip where we learned about the history of the Klondike Gold Rush and the engineering accomplishment that is the Railroad.
The ports of call were fine, however they were too much of a tourist trap for my taste. As we pulled into each port, we were greeted by jewelry store after jewelry store. It turns out that many of these are owned by conglomerates that simply follow the cruise ship season. That means once the cruises season wraps up in Alaska in September, the stores pack up and head to Mexico or the Caribbean for the Winter Season. Next Spring, they’ll head back to Alaska. Apparently when you are on a cruise, you have an uncontrollable urge to purchase jewelry. My wife and I, however, never suffered from this enigma.
If you do make the trek to Alaska, try to go off the beaten path and find a shop that is locally owned and operated and trades in Alaskan made products to help directly support the local economy.
A quick note about the Infinity. If you are planning on taking her on a cruise, do so after December 3rd 2011. That is when it’s headed in for a three-week refurb which is sorely needed. The staff on board was fantastic (and as it turns out they’re Xbox fans) but the ship has quite a few nautical miles under her and is now ready for a remodel. Also, if you like to stay highly connected, then you’ll need to seriously alter your habits regardless of what cruise you go on. While many of the cruise ships offer internet access while at sea, it is not cheap. I restricted myself to only signing in for about 15-minutes each day during the cruise to check mail (and post a few Tweets.) As you can imagine, using satellite technology as your primary connectivity comes at a steep cost: .75 a minute . With that type of rate, you need to have a regimented strategy for going on line and getting work done as quickly as possible and then signing off.
In summary, if you have the chance to go to Alaska . . go. You won’t regret it. If you have any questions about the ship, post them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.
We now return to our regular scheduled talk about gaming.