Alaska had always been on my bucket list, but not of interest to my husband as he'd worked in the Arctic and prefers a warmer climate for vacationing. I felt my chances of experiencing and exploring such a beautiful corner of the world with him was slowly slipping out of reach..... until my sister-in-law chose Alaska as her wedding destination. Hurray!!!! As I had previously anticipated a hard sell to him before, how could he possibly turn down his sister's invitation to be their witnesses at such a joyful event?!
8 months of planning and anticipation we were headed 'North to Alaska!' Would he enjoy his first cruising experience? What would he think of the destination he was sure I somehow had a hand in choosing? Would he be seasick? These weren't things that were usually on my mind before our previous vacations but weighed heavily on me now.
We landed in Vancouver the day before and were welcomed with pouring rain. Please don't let this be a sign of things to come! That night I could hardly sleep with anticipation for the coming days. When we awoke the next morning the sun was shining and the skies were clear.
Getting on Holland America's MS Volendam was a breeze and as part of the wedding, our cabin was ready. A huge smile spread across my husband's face when he entered our stateroom and gazed around. I had upgraded from an ocean view stateroom with only a window, to a suite with a balcony. Brownie points for me!!
The outdoor wedding on the bow of the ship was beautiful, followed by cocktails in the Ocean Bar and a beautiful dinner in the Pinnacle Grill - a must do!
Our ship stopped in 3 interesting ports to explore - Juneau, Ketchikan (my personal favorite) and Skagway. The White Pass Rail in Skagway is not to be missed. Legends and Lies was a fun excursion as well with a trip to the graveyard and then on to an old saloon/brothel to learn to mix our own cocktails and hear interesting stories about the scoundrels and gold seekers who were once through this little town.
Cruising through Glacier Bay was beautiful with great views of both Lamplugh and Margerie Glaciers. Steaming hot bowls of pea soup were handed out to everyone on deck to enjoy and warm our bellies as we all marveled at the breathtaking views.
I have to add that I've never really considered myself a room service kinda gal, but at the urging of Diane to try at least one in-room breakfast, we figured we'd give it a shot. I am now totally hooked on starting my day in my housecoat and slippers and can't imagine any other way (except now I have to make it myself). If I sound like a princess, I definitely felt like one.
Now came the last night of our cruise. The moment of truth. We treated ourselves once again to dinner at the Pinnacle Grill. As we were finishing our scrumptious Creme Brule I was about to ask my husband his thoughts when he raised his glass and thanked me for such a wonderful vacation - he loved both cruising and Alaska! Spending time with family and fellow wedding guests on an occasional evening left us with sore cheeks from laughter. He admitted it exceeded his expectations and was very happy to have given it a chance. Whew!
Not to push my luck but I'm pretty sure I have him onboard to cruise Canada/New England and the Mediterranean! I best start planning!
Yours in Travel