SCENIC – One of the many sites along the way as travelers enjoy an Alaskan cruise.

SCENIC – One of the many sites along the way as travelers enjoy an Alaskan cruise.

Exploring the many wonders of Alaska

Why after the winter we had would anyone want to journey to a destination where wearing layers is recommended?

SUSAN LOBLAW

Why after the winter we had would anyone want to journey to a destination where wearing layers is recommended? Journey to a destination where you’re more likely to experience rain and chilly temperatures then to be treated to sunshine. I myself wasn’t overly enthusiastic about this destination, until I had the chance to experience it firsthand after longing for a trip that was different from the average sunny destination.

Due to my cruising experience, I would recommend if there is only one cruise you are going to take, do an Alaskan cruise. There are many reasons for this but most of all it’s the isolated villages, the natural surroundings and just the general area on earth that this beautiful state exists in.

Villages like Juneau and Ketchikan are in such an isolated area that unless you were to float plane it in, cruising takes you to them as well.

There you can see how people live and once lived decades ago without any luxuries of today’s technology. Tours in the area can educate the history of these locations by the locals who have been there their whole lives.

The food that comes out of the restaurants and local kitchens is authentic and unique. It’s mind-blowing how people live so happily, not realizing that many of us could never survive without vehicles and cell phones. It is humbling to learn different ways of living. It is truly eye opening.

As I woke up to enjoy my cup of coffee on my balcony, I couldn’t help but realize one major thing – you don’t have to be a nature enthusiast to enjoy a pod of humpback whales swimming in their natural environment. I can’t explain to you the feeling of excitement after seeing a tail, after witnessing a litter of waterspouts across the ocean. Of course there is no guarantee, you would experience what I did. But wow! I could just reminisce on my porch at home with the same cup of coffee and in hopes I could bring back the sounds and smell of Alaska’s natural surroundings. It seemed that all I heard during my cruise was how lucky and fortunate we were.

The temperature was unseasonably high, the sun was warm and delightful, and not a drop of rain fell and the wildlife sightings were in abundance. However I doubt, no matter the environmental forecast and without any marine activity, while sailing in Alaska will you need a reminder how blessed you are to be on such a grand adventure.

Never in my life has my vocabulary seemed as inadequate as now, when I would love to pour out a description worthy of this exquisite journey. Sailing into Tracy Arms was overwhelmingly breathtaking.

I have never been surrounded by so many people, on the top forward deck and experienced such peaceful silence. There wasn’t one person that could not be caught gazing at the Sawyer glacier in awe. Jeweled green water littered with ice surrounding our ship as trickling waterfalls cascade over towering mountains. Your eyes are overwhelmed with the exquisite beauty of Mother Nature’s artistry in this State of Alaska. You wander from starboard to port side, forgetting to capture the magical images through a lens. Almost always choosing to drink in the miraculous sight firsthand. It seems senseless to try to describe the panoramic vision, for it evokes such a strong reaction of emotion.

It was so quiet, and yet I felt neither small nor alone, but instead it was like being submerged in tranquil serenity. Time seemed to be suspended or perhaps frozen, just so you could create this peaceful memory.

At some point, I caught an image of a face scuffed into the rugged terrain which gently reminded me I should snap a picture or two because no one was going to believe me when I had to recount the bountiful wonder I had just absorbed into my being. I doubt no picture taken could adequately capture the totality of this experience, just like no words could describe it. To someone that hasn’t been there, the picture would appear to be just another picture of a mountain. In my eyes it is a miraculous picture that creates a fl ood of memories that return and bring a smile to my face. A full-embodied memory of what will always be the best cruise I have every sailed on.

Susan Loblaw is an Expedia Cruise-ShipCenter consultant.