Alaska is open for cruising. Should you go?
We cruised Alaska’s Inside Passage this past August through Natural Habitat Adventures/Lindblad Expeditions. It was a much needed respite from the pandemic and rejuvenating to the spirit.
What makes the Inside Passage so special is spending an entire vacation without the hustle and bustle of busy cities and crowds of people. Sometimes, it felt we were the only people left on earth. If you yearn to get back to nature and commune with wildlife rather than other vacationers, then consider this trip next season.
While we had a bit of pandemic hassle pre-trip (itinerary changes and two COVID tests prior to boarding), the rest of the trip ran like we had returned to “normal” times.
What’s special about Lindblad’s cruises is that they are small ship (we had 80 people on our boat – The National Geographic Quest) and it was quick and easy to get off ships for excursions such as hiking, kayaking or a zodiac ride. I even rode a bike through Petersburg on one outing.
Love beautiful scenery? We saw it on stunningly sunny days in Glacier National Park and Tracy Arm Fjord.
Glaciers? We visited Johns Hopkins Glacier, Mendenhall Glacier, and South Sawyer Glacier, complete with a bit of calving as we rafted nearby.
Wildlife? Abundant! I spent one whole afternoon with binoculars in one hand and my camera in the other as we followed separate pods of Humpback and Orca whales down the Chatham Strait. The Ocras even surfaced right next to the boat! And while we were on a zodiac, a Humpback surfaced about 25 yards from our boat. My arms were so sore at the end of the day.
Eagles grouped in the treetops, seals sunned on ice floes, sea lions barked at each other on the rocks, otters floated right by our stateroom balcony, clutching babies to their chests, bears fished for salmon, a family of mountain goats relaxed on the side of a cliff, and one loan grey wolf sunned itself on some rocks.
While the scenery was beautiful, it was the constant wildlife sightings that kept everyone glued to the bow of the boat.
Additional bonuses included a Dungeness crab feast, being hijacked by Viking pirates bearing hot chocolate at South Sawyer Glacier, the good company of other frequent travelers, the exemplary service of the ship’s staff and the naturalists, and nightly lectures on topics such as whales, bears and barnacles (trust me, that was a hilarious lecture I will never forget).
I returned from the trip so relaxed and refreshed for the first time in 18 months, with wonderful memories, lots of photos, and a desire to plan my next trip.
If you want to go:
Natural Habitat Adventures – Exploring Alaska’s Costal Wilderness.
Lindblad Expeditions – Exploring Alaska’s Costal Wilderness