July 10th 2011 7:50 pm PT

Back from Alaska

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.

Random By Larry Hryb, Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alice-Lockhart/100000438939703 Alice Lockhart

    I thought you was dead ='(… Has spent more than a week =S.

    • http://twitter.com/Amolain 夢を見られた・・・ :)

      OH NO! That’s like a year in ‘internet time’. :P

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alice-Lockhart/100000438939703 Alice Lockhart

    I thought you was dead ='(… Has spent more than a week =S.

  • Joe W

    Could you see Russia from the ship!?!?!? :P

  • Joe W

    Could you see Russia from the ship!?!?!? :P

  • The Gh0sts

    cool story about your cruise Maj!

  • The Gh0sts

    cool story about your cruise Maj!

  • Anonymous

    Loved reading about your trip. The pictures are amazing. I keep telling myself I’ll get to Alaska one of these years….. 

  • http://www.majornelson.com Major Nelson

    I’ll talk more about the cruise and ports of call on the next show.

  • http://twitter.com/SmalHans Hans L. Andreassen

    wtb a new “coming soon to xbox marketplace” list.
    Oh, and welcome back ^^

    • http://www.majornelson.com Major Nelson

      I’ll work on that this week when I return to the office. 

  • http://twitter.com/Jeto12 Robert Viger

    I hope you had to time to enjoy Victoria, my home town.

  • Anonymous

    Major did you make it to the skagway brewery to try out their fine beers?

  • Anonymous

    Glad to have you back =)

    Couldn’t stand Kevin Butler’s pointless tweets any longer.

    • http://www.majornelson.com Major Nelson


  • Anonymous

    Welcome back Major though i was kinda hoping for some sort of story about your wife throwing your texting deivces overboard :P , it seemed as though eventhough you were away you weren’t “away”

    Any images of the living quaters?

  • http://twitter.com/Danerisms Dan

    I know you were disappointed to miss this:  She’ll get the hip Celebrity iLoungeSM where you can participate in the iLearn enrichment series or pick up the latest high-tech wonder from the first Apple Reseller at Sea. Available after the December refurbish! HAHAHA!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephan-Tenspel/578534292 Stephan Tenspel

    Welcome back :)

  • http://twitter.com/mrpink883 Brien Johnson

    Welcome back!  I did a similar cruise of the Alaskan inner passage last summer on the Golden Princess….I agree if anyone ever gets the chance they need to go.  Alaska is absolutely beautiful! 

  • Anonymous

    Ah, so jealous!  Love the c-c-cold pictures!  I’d love to be anywhere else but the East Coast with this nasty hot weather.

  • ElektroDragon

    I’ll do this eventually once my kid is not 1 month old. :-P

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=681385496 Herm Lindsey

    Agreed re: ports of call being tourists traps. My famiuly lives in Juneau and we went to visit in Feb. SDowntown was a ghost town and I could count the open stores on 1 hand. I’ve been there in the summer and it was a different city.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TheMr.E.Meat Liam Cronan

    WB Major we missed you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rabbitc-Finklestein/100002063064487 Rabbitc Finklestein

    You should have taken a month.  Now off you go and write your blog for the 3D Wardrobe!!!  (Yack)

  • http://twitter.com/Zak_Pack William Marczak

    Great post  and sounds like a great vacation.  Did you have to have a passport for this cruise since you stopped in Victoria or were birth certificates sufficient?  How long were the stops at each port call?  Was it enough time to actually go off the beaten path?

    • http://www.majornelson.com Major Nelson

      No passport in Victoria…only our ship pass. 

      Each stop was at LEAST 6 hours…some were more. 

  • http://twitter.com/jamesklapper James Klapper

    Nice! I’m going on that same exact itinerary with my family in August! Except we’re taking the Norwegian Star =)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Xi-Cui/100002099711542 Xi Cui

    never been there before

  • http://www.facebook.com/LeeKitchen Lee Kitchen

    What we really need to do is get you on a Disney Cruise next time! :-D The Fantasy is coming in March, 2012!! :-D