If there’s one thing I’m not – it’s outdoorsy. But Alaska, with it’s unparalleled beauty and raw, untouched landscapes is almost enough to make me change my mind. I was so enamored with it’s powerful mountain peaks, breathtaking glacial waters, and piercingly fresh, salty air that I wanted to strap on my hiking boots (which I don’t own) and ford some gold speckled streams. While this was technically my fourth trip to the land of the midnight sun, it was the first time I had tossed my preconceived ideas about northern living and actually soaked up a tiny bit of its allure. Of course, a quick trip in the dead of January would probably dispel most of these romanticized feelings towards the “last frontier.” But from the comfort of my cruise ship stateroom, this city gal can still appreciate the stunning, natural elegance of an unbridled land.
For many, the idea of cruising around on a large, contained boat comes across as unappealing, boring, and outdated. But today’s luxury liners are vastly different from their ocean crossing ancestors (and I’m not just talking about the extra lifeboats…) With a few exceptions (like the fact that you’re on a moving ship), cruising is basically equivalent to an all inclusive resort. You’re pampered, entertained and stuffed with delicious food. Your room steward leaves cute little towel animals on your bed each night and you wake up in the morning with a new port to explore.
While Alaskan cruises have gained a reputation of catering to those above retirement age, you don’t have to be over sixty-five to feel the draw to this northernmost state. With opportunities to hike across frozen glaciers, watch breaching whales, or explore the colorful, gold rush history, Alaska holds charm for those of all ages.
The trick is to find the right cruise line for you. While cruise lines are similar in many aspects, they also tend to cater to different demographics. Some lines are known for partying, others for being extra family oriented and still others for being quieter or more formal. To get the most out of your cruise, be sure to do a little extra research before you book. While you may be tempted to snap up the cheapest room that you can find, first take a look at what on board activities that your specific ship offers. For me, cruising is mostly about spending time with family and friends, but good entertainment and a variety of food and activities definitely adds to the overall experience.
The scenic highlight of my Alaskan trip? Glacier Bay. Even the pictures on my hubby’s super fancy camera come nowhere close to doing this location justice. You just have to experience this striking slice of creation in person.
I love cruising. If not for this large, hunk of floating opulence, I would probably have never heard the resounding crack of a calving glacier or seen the sun dance itself to sleep upon the waters of Juneau. In a land teeming with summer tourists, there is adventure and appeal to this rough wilderness with its golden past. If you haven’t visited Alaska, this is definitely a place to add to your bucket list.