I already told you that I would be traveling a lot, so here goes the second GU summer blog for 2019! Buckle in and get ready because this one will have you making not-so-typical vacation plans.
My journey with Alaska begins with my parent's marriage, believe it or not. Strange? No, awesome! My parents married in 1998 and on their 10th anniversary they dreamed of going on an Alaskan cruise for their 20th wedding anniversary. Do the math and this year was the year! I am not sure why, but they also chose to bring my sister and me along. Man, I am grateful for that. So my dad, being the professional vacation planner that he sometimes thinks he is, books us a cruise to Alaska through Royal Caribbean from June 4th through the 14th. We flew out of Chicago and into Fairbanks, AK. Because taking a cruise apparently wasn't enough, we spent the first three days on a bus tour in Fairbanks, Denali, Anchorage, and then finally got on the ship in Seward. I am 20 years old, and my sister is 18, and for those first three days, we were the babies. It was a weird feeling, but it also made me feel so fortunate for my parents giving me an experience that most people do not get to enjoy at such a young age. A lot of sight-seeing took place throughout the entirety of the trip, but those first three days especially. We saw tons of moose, a fox, and were part of the 30% of people that come to Alaska to see Mt. Denali and actually do get to see Mt. Denali. It was gorgeous. During the first three days, we also panned for gold, saw the Tans-Alaskan Pipeline, watched race dogs run, learned about the Athabaskan culture, and rode on a train that served us a meal. It was three days packed full of fun.
Then we arrived at Seward to hop on the boat. When I first saw the ship (Radiance of the Seas), I was in awe. It was huge! I couldn’t believe that I would be living on the water for 7 whole days. The thought scared me a bit but also excited my bones. While on the boat, we listened to tons of great musicians. My family and are big music people, so it was so refreshing to sit and listen. We also watched the singing and dancing shows, which were incredible. Unheard of talent is everywhere, and I was so amazed at the talent of the performers.
Hubbard glacier was the first attraction, and it was nothing short of spectacular. The captain said that we got closer to the glacier than he ever has. For hours we sat and watched parts of the ice fall into the ocean. It sounded like thunder and reminded me of how powerful nature is.Oh, I can’t forget to mention the food. There were two meal options included in our package. One was a buffet, and the other was the fanciest meal that I have ever eaten in my life. Except, we ate there just about every night, so fancy became normal, and yes, I admit that I became a bit spoiled. The fruit in Alaska reminded me of Costa Rica (not as good, but still way better than at home) and it has completely ruined pineapple for me.
Our other stops were Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, and Ketchikan. Each destination was just as special as the others, but Juneau was probably my favorite. The location really interested me. It is perfectly placed between the bays water and the mountains which allowed for a fantastic tramway experience. Aside from spending quality time with my family, this was the highlight of the trip for me. The view from the top was unbelievable. I also enjoyed seeing my dad freaking out about the cable tram. He is only a little scared of heights...okay, he’s a lot scared of heights. It's not torture people, only tough love. Seeing dolphins on the way to Vancouver comes in second place. We were not looking, but we sure found!
So, if you are wanting a getaway that is something other than the beach, go explore Alaska! It is unique, yet so beautiful you will not believe what your eyes are seeing at times. I would recommend any of the places we visited, but especially Mt. Denali and Juneau. If you do go, I hope you are part of the 30%. Thank you for reading about my family’s Alaskan adventure. For more photos on my trip check out my Facebook by clicking here. Stay tuned for more on my summer 2019.