Cruise ship vacation on the love boat

10 06 2015
The humongous Crown Princess, our vacation base for a week

Our vacation base for a week — the Crown Princess at the dock in Seattle.

Our family traveled from Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, California, and Italy last week to reunite on a cruise of the Alaska Inside Passage. The trip marked our kids’ return to the U.S. after three years abroad and to celebrate the golden wedding anniversary of our son-in-law’s parents.

While grateful for a good reason to make the trip — the reunion, I am still trying to wrap my head around the big-ship cruise culture. So much to digest.

We spent seven days on the Crown Princess, sailing from Seattle to Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, Victoria, and back to Seattle.

The ports of call included cute towns that we opted to explore on our own and on foot. (Passengers had the option of buying commercial tour packages to flight see, ride a train, go fishing, whale watch, etc.)

DH and I chose the walking trails above Juneau, a museum docent tour of historical Skagway, and discovering the Totem Heritage Center in Ketchikan at the end of a salmon creek. These outings were our speed. They didn’t cost any extra money, except for the delicious seafood lunches in town on those days ashore, and we were able to get away from the maddening crowd.

(You see, four other similar cruise ships were on the stern of the Crown Princess and followed us into every port. 3,000+ passengers times 5 ships . . . you do the math!)

Hiking trail above Juneau

Hiking trail above Juneau

Ketchikan

Colorful houses of Ketchikan

Unpainted totem poles carved by Natives in the 19th century and now preserved by the Totem Heritage Center in Ketchikan

Unpainted totem poles carved by Natives in the 19th century and preserved by the Totem Heritage Center in Ketchikan

The scenic highlight, of course, was Glacier Bay with huge, icy flows to the sea. Imagine seeing and hearing the face of a blue-colored glacier calve (break off into the water as the moving glacier pushes toward sea level). It is exciting!

Marjerie Glacier

Marjerie Glacier

Now, now I realize, a cruise ship is a place destination in itself. It is a floating hotel with more than 3,000 guests plus crew! Nineteen decks! The array of on-board amenities and services is vast!

Beaucoup dining rooms/bars/lounges/restaurants/night clubs. Add a library, Internet café, full-service spa, exercise room, swimming pools, hot tubs, sports deck, casino, child care, room service. Am I in Las Vegas? For those passengers who like to shop, there was constant hard-sell retailing that comes with the Princess experience.

A stand-up comedian and a magician performed in the theater. I liked the almost-daily presentations by natural science journalist Michael Modzelewski who is a gifted writer and story-teller. The ship’s entertainment team pronounced his name More-or-less-ski. 😉 I bought his book. In the afternoons and evenings we enjoyed live musical shows–jazz, pop, classical, country–all great acts. Wow.

All this and more; something for everyone on the love boat.

Copyright 2015 Rebekah Luke

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