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Alaska - 2000

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- - Alaska, June 2000 - -


   Date:                                   June 22nd, 2000
   Length of Cruise:               4 + 7 Days
   Ship:                                    Dawn Princess
   Cruise Line (Princess #):  Princess Cruise Lines    (#1)
   Embarkation:                     Seward, AK
   Ports of Call:                       Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, AK
   Final Destination:               Vancouver, B.C.
   Cruise Mates:                      Kent & Linda, Ed & Andi,
                                                  Roberta & Fran
   Total Days At Sea: 11 days

This cruise is a big adventure for us. We have only done one cruise, and this one is a lot more expensive and a lot longer... seven days on land and five days on the sea. And it will be up in cold, cold Alaska no less, a place that we have never visited before.

We planned a rather large group, and it grew to number a total of ten people. Late in the planning close friends of Andi & Ed's (Linda and her fiancÚ Ken) were planning on joining the party but Linda's father was having problems and they felt compelled to fly back East to care for him. That was certainly understood. We felt badly that they would have to bow out. Sadly we learned that Linda passed away when the vehicle she was driving left the road. We felt so sorry for Ken. Linda was a beautiful soul and had a beautiful singing voice.

This trip was taken in June of 2000. We flew into Fairbanks, Alaska and did a "Land/Sea Cruise" where the land portion started in Fairbanks and worked our way down through Denali Park, through Anchorage and then to Seward where we met our ship. The ship cruised the Inside Passage along the Western coast of Alaska and Canada visiting Glacier Bay, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, ending in Vancouver, British Columbia. We were bused over the border to Seattle where we flew to San Francisco.

Rosalee kept a personal diary of this trip. Anything you see in this colored box and in this font will be from her diary.

Any text in the white boxes like this are added by Ken.


I had a primitive digital camera on this trip, and managed to leave home without a gadget that is required to move images from the camera to the computer, so I literally had an extremely limited amount of storage for images. Therefore, in this account, with the gracious permission of Ed Myers and Kent Smith I am using a few of my images and a lot of theirs. Each image will be credited as follows:
          Kent's photos will be: Photo by KDS        Ed's photos will be: Photo by EM        Ken's photos will be: Photo by Ken

Many of the photos have been modified and/or cropped to emphasize a particular subject. No intent is made to devalue the artists' original photos. We are all grateful for their sharing of their images.   


Thursday, June 22, 2000

Flight Oakland/Seattle

Arrived Oakland airport 6:15 am (Alarm went off 4:00 am - too early! Andi and Ed spent the night.) Kent, Linda and our 'airport drivers' Manual and Penny (friends of Linda's) arrived at 5:15 am. Roberta (Rosalee's sister) and Fran (Roberta's friend) arrived a few minutes later. We loaded up - 14 pieces of luggage, numerous carry-ons and 10 people in Kent and Linda's Expedition and Manual's Yukon GMC.

Flight from Oakland to Seattle was on time and uneventful. Departed 7:20 am and arrived 9:00 am.

Three hour layover in Seattle. We are all sitting around writing in our travel diaries! Roberta had given each family a travel diary. I usually did not like the responsibility of writing every day, but have since frequently been glad I did!

Flight Seattle/Fairbanks

Left Seattle on time; 12:07 pm, arrived Fairbanks 2:45 pm for a 3 - 3/4 hour flight - we lost an hour - different time zone.

Immediately after pulling up to the gate at the airport we had a little rain shower. It was almost over by the time our Princess Guide met us and took us to the bus for transfer to our lodge - The Bear Lodge in the Wedgewood Resort. Rooms on the third floor - very nice and roomy. Two queen beds and a little balcony.

We later used the school bus shuttle provided in the evening to go to Alaskaland, an inside Mall (very small by our California standards) and also to a Mongolian barbeque for dinner. After dinner we returned to Alaskaland - small-scale amusement park with train and lots of shops and places to eat. There was a salmon-bake dinner advertised for $21.95 but we didn't hear anyone that thought it was very good.

The weather was in the 70's and of course, the sun forgot to set. The day before was the longest day of the year. At 11:30 pm we saw a lady across the street from the hotel hanging her wash on a clothes line and it was as bright as we would see at home at 6:00 pm. Some of the manly men in our party got up in the middle of the "night" to take pictures of the daylight. I think it is possible that they never did go to bed until they got their pictures of the few minutes the sun was 'set'.


The view from the plane as we were approaching Fairbanks. It shows a wandering river, with the sun's reflection highlighting the water surface.                                                                                                                                          Photo by Ken

Our Mongolian meal being cooked on the large plate after we selected the things we wanted on our plate.      Photo by EM

I was expecting to see 'wintery' weather in Alaska. Having never been there before, I assumed there was going to be snow if we went clear up into the heart of the state (Fairbanks), but as we were landing at the airstrip it was in the low 80's with a very light rain falling. It was beautiful.

This view is looking out our hotel window. It was taken at 2400 hours... Midnight. This is as dark as it could get on June 22nd, the day following the longest day of the year.                                                                                                       Photo by Ken

The windows in the hotel had a double set of curtains, with one so heavy that it shut out this bright light to allow people to sleep better.


Friday, June 23, 2000


Alarm went off at 5:30 am to be downstairs for breakfast at 7:00 am. Nice buffet either Continental $6.95 or full buffet $8.95.

Tour bus left at 8:30 for the 'City of Gold' tour - 3 1/2 hours that consisted of a 20 minute bus ride and an open excursion train ride to see displays of an old working gold mine and then a display of current workings, including everyone getting a chance to pan for gold. It seems that everyone panned approximately 4 grams of gold - just enough to nicely fit into various jewelry available for sale in the gift shop. Andi had so much experience (from her Dad's gold mine) she just whipped out her little flakes and then helped Ed and I with our flakes.  Each of us received a 'poke' and even though it no doubt was planted with an amount of gold it was fun to see the flakes shine in the sunlight as the larger grains of gravel and sand were washed away! Back to the hotel with a brief tour of the Alaska Pipeline (on the way) and an excursion through downtown Fairbanks.

Lunch back at our lodge.

The afternoon was spent being shuttled to the Discovery III riverboat excursion. We were in the front on the third deck up, sitting in the sunshine and slathering with sun block so we wouldn't get an Alaskan sunburn in 80 + degree weather! I found my way to the gift shop on board and bought a visor - the sun was VERY bright!

They had an announcer on the PA system during the whole trip with a narrative of some of the history along the river. We saw a small plane take off and land in a very short distance; saw where Susan Butcher, the famous woman Iditarod race winner for several years trains (trained?) her dogs. We had a narrative from one of her trainers on shore. We saw a fascinating sight where two rivers met - one clear and beautiful, the other murky and brown, coming down from the glaciers, carrying sediment and gravel from the glacier flows. We had narrative from the bank showing us a 'fish camp' set up with tents, cache, smoke house and a demonstration of filleting a salmon and readying it for the smoker. We made a stop at a village and I couldn't believe they unloaded all 350+ of us. They separated us into four groups for narrative and displays of their Native American culture.

Our nice bus driver, Alex, returned us to our lodge in good order.

We rested for a while then caught the shuttle into town and had dinner at a fine Italian restaurant. Most of us had the 10-layer lasagna that had been highly recommended.

Back in our room in the middle of the day - it was 10:15 p.m.!!



Andi, Rosalee and Ken panning our poke to see if we can find any of that 'yellow mettle' like John Sutter and James Marshall  found in 1848 near what is now Coloma, California.                                                                                  Photo by KDS

Kent checks his pan for the gold.                                                                                                                                   Photo by KDS

Ed and Andi are checking theirs. We all were able to find about 4 grams of gold flakes.                                      Photo by KDS

Linda found her gold and was offering advice to Rosalee and Kent.                                                                          Photo by EM

If you have never actually seen it before, this is the infamous Alaskan Pipeline. It is only about four feet in diameter and has some insulation around it. Notice a device on the top of each of the poles... they are air conditioners. They keep the bottom of that pole cooled so the permafrost will not thaw. That would allow the post to sink further and mess up the pipeline. The pipe is elevated at this location and many other locations to allow free-flowing of wild animals in their wanderings.                                                                                                                                                                      Photo by KDS

Our riverboat Discovery III, tied up at our stop at a restored primitive settlement along the river.               Photo by Ken

Taken from the riverboat, this is not necessarily a 'typical' home along the river, but it does show a home with a 'sod' roof. Soil is placed on the roof that has a waterproof membrane, and then it is planted, sometimes with edible crops and sometimes a grass lawn. Notice the red lawnmower right on the ridge of the main roof.                                    Photo by KDS

A little nicer looking home, this is also along the river. The boat and the plane tell the story of the average Alaskan family. Something like one third of the Alaskan homes have a licensed pilot. This is not really a 'rich' family... more like an 'average' income family most likely. Well, maybe a little better than average?!                                                   Photo by KDS



Saturday, June 24, 2000

Fairbanks to Denali

Up early to board the bus for the short trip to the train depot. Our cute little bus driver reminded us of Kitty (Ken's niece) only she was pregnant and her name was Kathy. The train hadn't arrived so we had to drive around town for a while. There was a special bus for each train car that we would be boarding and the buses had to be in order. They pulled the bus VERY close to the door of the train and we stepped out of the bus into the train.

We were each assigned to a table for four - the eight in our party were at two tables, directly across from each other. The Princess dome cars were wonderful - there was only a strip in the 'dome' 3 1/2 feet wide that wasn't 'viewable' (transparent glass). The scenery was beautiful all the way to Denali. We had a big breakfast on the train and arrived in Denali about 12:00 pm.

Buses picked us up at the train station in Denali and took us to the Princess Lodge. The units looked more rustic than they actually were. Many of them had a 'log cabin look' design. There were two restaurants, a snack bar, a gift shop and a nice lodge.

At 3:10 pm we left on a school bus for the 7+ hour ride of our lives!! We stopped approximately every 1 - 1/2 hours for a potty break and to stretch our legs. We were given a 'box lunch' and were told we could eat it any time but that was the only food available for the duration!

As we rode we really had to stretch our vision to see wildlife and determine rocks from animals. We saw lots of caribou, one bear sunning on the distant hill, a beautiful red fox with a long bushy tail, arctic ground squirrels, two different momma bears with twin cubs and a highlight of the trip - we stopped the bus along the road to watch a brown bear walking down the road right beside our bus! We had been warned by our driver to be silent when we were near any wild animals - you could have heard a pin drop as we sat watching the bear. Even the three year old on board was completely silent! What a beautiful sight.

Other tours mentioned seeing a wolf and moose but we gave those up for the close encounter with OUR bear!!

The scenery was incredible - there was a larger snow fall this year so there was a lot more snow on the peaks than usual. Everywhere you look there is beauty. We were so fortunate that the weather cooperated and because of the very unusual unobstructed view of Mt. McKinley (American name for the native's Denali) with no cloud cover. Our driver took us an additional eight miles into a great viewpoint of Mt. McKinley.

Our driver, Neal, had a great knowledge of Denali and all things about nature. His communication skills were special. We couldn't have asked for a better guide. Did I mention that of the 60 miles of road we traveled (each way) only the first thirteen miles were paved - the rest was dusty, gravel, winding and narrow. It wasn't as bad as it sounds and even though we all had square bottoms from sitting so long, the whole day was an incredible experience.

We returned to the lodge at 10:20 pm; had a little bite to eat before retiring to our room. Did I mention at 11:30 pm it had the appearance of 6:00 pm at home?


Kent and Linda in one of the buildings that were part of the Alaskaland complex in Fairbanks. That fuzzy guy behind them is typical of the neighbors around the state.                                                                                                      Photo by Ken

 On board the Alaskan Railway cars, headed to Denali Park. Travel mates Fran and Roberta.                           Photo by EM

 Ken and Rosalee... seated at tables, four to the table, a great way to visit, travel, and see the sights.               Photo by EM

Andi and Ed... they ALWAYS take a good photo.                                                                                                         Photo by EM

Way up there in front you see two engines in Alaskan Railway colors, followed by five Alaskan coaches. Following them are five dome-topped, double-decked coaches by Holland America Cruise Lines. There are five more dome cars by Princess Cruise Lines. An interesting train. The cruise lines coaches all have their own dining areas and kitchens and stores on the lower level and tables with seats on the upper level with almost all glass overhead so that you do not miss a single thing when going through the beautiful mountains.  The train ride starts in Fairbanks in the early morning for a four-hour run from Fairbanks to Denali Park. It drops those going to Denali (us) and continues on to Anchorage, another 8 hours. Then it turns around and heads back up through Denali to Fairbanks during the night. The next morning it heads out again, stopping in Denali around mid-day to drop off some and pick up some (us) and we are in Anchorage by eight pm.                                                                                                                                                                           Photo by KDS

Kent did a beautiful job of putting these four images together to make this one panorama shot of the beauty that we saw constantly for nearly 8 hours. It is such a beautiful sight. There are no private cars on this nicely graded gravel road (except for just a couple of residents that are at the far end of the park), and there are other busses but only one every half hour or more.                                                                                                                                                            Photo by KDS

This is what the park is all about. This is Denali. Named by the Athabaskan people many years ago. Denali means "the high one", which is well named because at 20,320 feet (6,194 meters) elevation it is the highest mountain peak in the United States, as well as the highest in North America. From the base to the peak it measures 18,000 feet and is the greatest rise of any mountain located entirely above sea level. A gold prospector in 1896 named it McKinley as political support of the presidential candidate, and while the politicians in Ohio (McKinley's hometown) insist on keeping McKinley for a name, the Alaska Board of Geographic Names insists it is still Denali.                                           Photo by EM

Kent, Linda, Ken, Rosalee, Andi and Ed at one of our rest stops on the excursion out into Denali Park.            Photo by EM

We had stopped to observe another animal when we spotted an old mother bear walking toward us on the main road. We were told that bears almost never approach the buses or other vehicles, giving them a wide berth.





Kent took a series of photos as she walked closer to us. Everyone on the bus was totally silent, but our windows were open, and she walked right by us.

As far as our being there... she just did not give a hoot. Her legs are in the shadow of our bus.                        Photos by KDS

We saw quite a few different species of animals and birds on our ride through the park. These are Caribou. They also go by another name... Dasher, Dancer, Prancer... They also go by the name Reindeer. This is a large wash that is under water during the spring run-off. We saw other animals out on this type of land, and we have no idea what they were finding out there that would draw them back.                                                                                                              Photo by EM

We were 2/3 of the way back to the Denali Princess Lodge (about 9:00 pm) when Neal shut the bus off, as he did every time he pulled over to observe nature. When we were ready to move on it did not re-start. The turn of the key resulted in... nothing. Not even a 'click - click - click'. We were 'dead in the water'. Neal had no radio or phone (no reception that far out) so what we were looking forward to was flagging down another homebound tour bus, waiting 1 - 1/2 hours for them to reach home, someone sending a new bus out (another 1 - 1/2 hours) and then the hour and a half back home in the new bus. That would put us getting home at 1:30 am... IF another bus comes by soon... IF they could get another bus for us. I decided to try an alternative. I introduced myself to Neal as "an automotive instructor" and asked if he would mind if I checked out the starting system. He jumped at the offer.

The 'hood' or 'engine cover' was inside the bus, next to the driver, so we lifted it off and with him in the driver's seat, and me armed with a heavy metal wrench that Neal found for me, I basically bypassed the Starter Solenoid to power the starter motor and crank the engine. Unfortunately the starter was one that required the starting solenoid to physically engage the starter gear, but the link was external so I could manually engage the starter gear and then energize the cranking motor and the engine came alive! We replaced the engine cover and I cautioned Neal "Don't Shut It Off!" He only forgot once and caught it just before the engine came to a stop. His eyes went to the large mirror to look at me and we shared a large grin. We made it 'home' on time. 


Sunday, June 25, 2000


We had a leisurely morning and boarded the bus about 11:30 am. This here 'momma bear' felt much better when she saw Kent and Linda get off their river rafting bus just a few minutes before the bus was to leave for the train! You just never stop being Mommy!!

We boarded the train about 12:15 for an 8+ hour trip to Anchorage; arrived in Anchorage about 8:40 pm.

If you can imagine an 8 hour trip with completely unobstructed views of the most gorgeous landscape - the dome cars were great! Much of the time we were surrounded by snowcapped mountains, there were lots of streams, rivers, beaver colonies, green meadows, ferns and everything you could imagine.

Several of us had a later breakfast and passed on lunch on the train. Or, I should say our lunch consisted of sodas, peanuts and chocolate candy!!

We had a beautiful prime rib dinner on the train. We had the early dinner seating at 4:00 pm - that is why we passed on lunch!

The biggest excitement (other than the oohs and aahs from the beautiful landscape) was the sighting of the 20+ 'mooners' as we passed through Talkeetna. Ken and I were on the observation deck at the time but we were on the opposite side of the train from the 'mooners'; probably the better side! We did have our turn a little later, compliments of a couple of fishermen!!

The train ride did seem a little long. It probably had something to do with sitting for two days in a row for 8+ hours each day. We also wouldn't want to forget our train car 'person' - Leonard, of the 100 non-funny jokes!!

We settled down for the night at the Hilton in Anchorage. With buses loaded with a total of 300 people converging on the hotel at the same time, it took a while for us to get an elevator to our room!



Beautiful country to enjoy, seemingly forever.                                                                                                            Photo by Ken

A view from the train trestle as we wind our way to Anchorage.                                                                             Photo by Ken

Linda was taking in the vast openness of the State of Alaska. This eight-hour ride was very long. Very comfortable, and time to do a lot of visiting or eating or reading... but then you chance missing seeing something.                      Photo by KDS


Monday, June 26, 2000

Anchorage/Seward - 50-60 degrees - sprinkles

Back on the bus at 9:00 am for a three-hour ride to Seward. Once again, our ride through some beautiful scenery. Most of the trip was near the coast and we saw lots of lakes, meadows, glaciers, mountains, etc. At least that is what you saw if you were not nodding off!

Arrived at the docks shortly after noon and our boarding process took very little time. Ken and I got separated from the rest of our group on the morning buses so we didn't meet up again until lunch on board the ship.

We did a self-guided tour of the ship, rested a little and then dinner at 7:00 pm.

The ship departed the dock at 10:00 pm and Ken joined Kent, Linda, Ed and Andi on deck 15 to watch all the technical stuff associated with departure. I spent it in our nice warm cabin and watched from the window! I joined the 'outside group' a little later for hot chocolate in the Horizon Court.


On the bus to Seward to board our ship.                                                                                                                      Photo by Ken

Our Ship! The Dawn Princess. This is our second sailing, but our first with Princess Cruises. We are looking forward to this experience. She carries about 1,900 passengers and nearly a thousand crew members. Everything to make us comfortable and happy.                                                                                                                                                   Photo by EM

Man, these babies are big. They just don't look that big until you are standing up next to them.                        Photo by EM

We are on board, on the Lido deck (deck 14) forward, looking over the rail down onto the Bridge extension or 'wing' that protrudes from each side of the ship. This is the widest place on the ship, and it allows the officers of the Bridge to step out and look straight down through those glass blocks under the officer's feet to see the side of the hull. That allows them to place the ship gently alongside the dock. Those controls in the blue pod allow the officer to control the whole ship as it docks and when it pulls away. The man on the glass floor is likely the First Officer and the fellow watching over his actions happens to be the Captain. We are preparing to pull away from the dock.                                               Photo by KDS

Embarkation process has been handled and we are underway. Looking aft, we can see the beautiful State of Alaska that we have so much enjoyed this last week. We shall come again, if we possibly can.                                                Photo by Ken

It is SailAway... Party time. Smile Ed.                                                                Photo by EM


Andi and Kent enjoying the deck experience while dealing with the elements. It may be the day before July starts, but we are, after all, in Alaska, you know. And it IS a little overcast today. Just saying "being on deck" is a bit misleading... most deck levels... and we are 'allowed' on decks 4 through 15... have some deck space. Deck 7, the Promenade Deck allows you to walk completely around the ship. The distance is very close to 1/3rd mile so you can track your exercise. Well, you can if you don't sit in the lounges and read.                                                                                                Photo by KDS

Tuesday, June 27, 2000

At sea - 50+ degrees and rainy

Ken was up at 6:00 am to watch our journey through the College of Fjords. I managed to open my eyes early enough to see some of the beautiful glaciers that exposed themselves to us.

We find if we are not eating we are sitting and falling asleep! It is a little cool and rainy to be outside.

We had breakfast alone and lunch with Fran and Roberta in the Horizon Court.

Spent the afternoon in the cabin catching up on my diary, reading and 'bobbing'!

Ready for Formal night a little early to take advantage of the portrait offer. Had a nice dinner and more pictures. Went to the Vista Lounge for the entertainment - a comic juggler and a stand-up comic. Went to the Casino for a while - $20 worth of time. I had more than doubled my money but just couldn't stop until it was all gone. Kent was smarter than his mother - his $300 only cost him $23! - He stopped!



Ken, Ed, Andi, Linda and Kent... "late" in the evening up on deck absorbing what sights are available as we begin our journey.                                                                        Photo by EM


Wednesday, June 28, 2000

At sea - Glacier Bay - 52 degrees - windy on deck

Breakfast in the Venetian Dining Room - spotted Kent and Linda and had breakfast with them and several other table mates. After introductions around, one lady noticed us talking to Kent and Linda and asked if we knew each other before. Of course we had to explain to her that we had known Kent all of his life!

We did some Glacier watching from our cabin but spent most of the time on deck - a little chilly but the glaciers were awesome. We did spend the early morning in our cabin with a splendid view of several whales; swimming, diving, blowing, slapping their tail and we even got to see one breach. The naturist on board indicated that was the first whale breach sighting of the season. There were also some dolphin, turtle-looking shapes in the water, sea otters and lots of birds.

The glaciers were a beautiful sight. I couldn't get over the beautiful blue colors. One of the glaciers was so dirty looking it looked like a mountain instead of a glacier. We did get to see several 'calvings'. When it breaks off it sounds like thunder and then there is a big splash when it hits the water.

We dressed early for dinner and all eight of us had our picture taken on the stairs in the beautiful atrium.

During dinner we celebrated Kent and Linda's 15th anniversary, Ken and Rosalee's 40th anniversary and Andi's 50th birthday. After dinner we went to the Princess Theatre for a singing and dancing revue - they were all very good.


As these glaciers slide and grind down through the canyon, they pick up a large amount of dirt and even large rocks. You can see the dirt buildup in the striations of the ice and the large quantity on the left of the glacier.                   Photo by EM

'Calving' is the term used to indicate a large section of an ice glacier is breaking off due to the ocean water warming the ice enough for it to break away from the main glacier. The ice we are looking at here is actually 200 feet tall from the water to the top. That splash just to the right of the center of the image is from a chunk of ice falling into the water that was larger than a house.                                                                                                                                                  Photo by Ken

The water splashing up from this calving is quite dirty as you can see. That is from the water that continually drains out from under the sliding glacier.                                                                                                                                         Photo by EM

Dead center of the image you see a very large, darker chunk falling toward us. We had been watching it the full time we were in the fjord, but it did not seem to be moving. For all we knew, it had been hanging there tempting thousands of shipboard watchers for weeks... and the Captain could see it also, so he lingered far longer than he was 'scheduled' to be there. The Dawn Princess simply sat and spun slightly to keep moving. At the very last minute, as we were pulling out of the fjord, we heard the thunderous clap and could see it slowly descending toward the water. You can see it already kicking up a lot of water. It went under with an almost slipping action and was not at all spectacular, but it sent a very heavy swell across the bay. It was large enough that we could feel it move our huge ship.                                  Photo by EM

Formal Night... Fran and Roberta being attended to by our two waiters. They were quite a team.                    Photo by EM

Rosalee and Ken. Time to stuff in some more food... it would be terrible to skip a meal.                                     Photo by EM

Andi and Ed.                                                                                                                                                                       Photo by EM

Linda and Kent. Formal Night is always nice. It is not as finicky and sticky as many fear it to be. People that you have gotten to know over a few days act totally different on Formal Nights. We enjoy it.                                             Photo by EM

Thursday, June 29, 2000

Skagway - 52 degrees, slight wind

Ken and I walked into town for a little shopping. We figured with the 1/2 mile walk into town and walking all around and the 1/2 mile walk back we had enough of a workout to 'pay' for another creampuff!!

I am in the library catching up on my diary while the guys are getting a tour of the bridge and all the navigational 'stuff'.

We sat with Ed, Andi and Kent in the pizzeria - Linda went on a three mile hike up the mountain.

Time to get ready for dinner again - it seems we are either eating or getting ready to eat.

Went to a classical concert by Dave Moore, a pianist Ken had listened to in one of the lounges the night before. He was very good and added a little humor. Later that evening they had a crew involvement show - little did we know it would also be an audience involvement show. You will have to ask Kent about that!


Coming into Skagway, Alaska. Ed is an early riser.                                                                                                      Photo by EM

Early morning in Skagway.                                                                                                                                              Photo by EM

Downtown Skagway. The ship at the end of the street is not ours. She is a Holland America ship. Our ship is berthed to her starboard. It is a simple and quick walk into town from the cruise ships, which are a large part of the local income, as one might suspect. We found the locals to be very friendly and pleasant. And everything was clean.                Photo by EM


During the late morning sometime we caught an officer running loose on the deck and engaged him in conversation. Eventually we got around to asking what it would take to talk someone into allowing a few of us to tour the Bridge, since we were in port and things were pretty quiet. After some humming and hawing, he told us to meet him in that area (deck 12 - Riviera Deck, Forward) around 1300 hours and he would take us through. Well, we told no one but when we showed up there were about sixteen people. Someone leaked. LOL.

While we were waiting, I spotted a gentleman standing alone along the corridor, and he was wearing a 'baseball' cap that was engraved: "Bataan  '42-'43". I stepped over and stood by him and started a conversation with him. I looked at him and asked "Did you earn that hat?" He hesitated a moment to remember which hat he had put on and he meekly said "Well, yes, I guess I did." I reached out to shake his hand and said "Thank You". He shook my hand and asked "For what?" "For what you did for me. And for everyone else in here." He showed a little pink in his cheeks and meekly said "No Problem."

Others were observing what was going on and each and every one that was there came over to shake his hand and give him hugs. We made sure that he was the Hero On Deck as we entered the Bridge. Such a sweet man and a great sacrifice.

The view from the Bridge of the ship. There is a lot of  'stuff' in there. They did a nice job of explaining a lot of the devices and how they helped run the ship. They had a whole panel with red lights indicating every fire detection device on board. Instant feedback to the bridge. There is never only one officer on deck watch at any single time.                     Photo by EM

"You've Got The Con!" This is where the Captain runs the ship. The seat on either side has full control of the ship at any time. Hopefully they agree in what they are doing. Pertinent information is fed to this station constantly from others on the Bridge... it is not a one-officer process, for sure. Check out the number of windshield wipers.                    Photo by KDS


Friday, June 30, 2000

Juneau - 48 to 50 degrees, rainy afternoon

We had a 10:30 am bus ride to the other side of the wharf for an exciting float plane flight to the Taku Lodge which included flying over several glaciers - what a beautiful sight. The airplane was a 1957 De Havilland single engine Otter. The flight was so smooth you hardly knew when the plane took off or landed.

The Taku Lodge was located on 80 acres across the river from a glacier (Taku Glacier?). We had a nice salmon bake with baked beans, coleslaw, baked apples, herb biscuits, sourdough bread and ginger cookies. Everything was delicious. They sold a cookbook in the gift shop with all the recipes including the marinate for the fish.

For our trip in, there were two airplanes of ten passengers each. Some of us went on a short hike on the property with one of the employees. There was a larger group that came in on the planes that came to pick us up. The flight in was about 35 minutes and we flew over several glaciers. The trip back was only about 20 minutes - a more direct route.

While at the lodge we understood why they call the mosquito the state bird - they were large and plentiful. On our walk in the woods we did see some recent bear tracks but didn't see any bear, although they are quite plentiful in the area.

The ship was docked on the port side of the ship so our cabin allowed us to sit in our window and people watch. Ed and Andi spotted us and Ed took a picture of Ken at the window!

When we returned from our Taku Lodge excursion it was raining but that didn't stop us from spending the couple of hours we had left before we had to board, shopping and walking in the rain. After our return to the ship Ken and I were able to sit in our window and watch all our family return to the ship, walking in the rain. We did get our window washed while we were in Juneau so we could see out much better. We did go out on deck and watched all the latecomers scurrying on board and watched them pull in the lines to cast off.

We went to the 'Paris Revue' show after dinner - lots of singing and dancing. The costumes were quite amazing compared to what we expected to see on a ship. We spent an hour or so in the lounge to hear David Moore at the piano bar. He is quite a good pianist and includes a lot of humor with his songs.


On our way to Taku Lodge. Kent is wearing the blue shirt with Ken in the white hat. Roberta is in front of Ken and Linda and Rosalee are talking to a fellow traveler. Smile Andi, it will not be that bad. :-)                                                Photo by EM

Docked at the lodge, we can see the glacier across the water. You can guess what the temperature is here.    Photo by EM

Inside the Taku Lodge they served tons of freshly cooked food on large tables. They were outside barbecuing fresh-caught salmon from the river in front of the lodge. They tell how they have plenty of fish ready because sometimes large, four-legged hairy critters come to dinner and they help themselves to all of the salmon on the grills. When that happens the guests wait a little while (inside) and then when the critters ramble off they cook another batch of salmon. The food was excellent. The cool air was refreshing and stimulated the appetites.                                                                Photo by EM

Ed caught Ken sitting in his cabin window when they returned from town.                                                            Photo by EM


Saturday, July 1, 2000

Ketchikan - 48 degrees  in morning  -  50 degrees in afternoon and some rain

Had a beautiful sunny early morning as we slowly approached Ketchikan. I even had to put on my sun glasses to sit and watch out the window.

We had been warned that Ketchikan has more rainy days than sunny days. It was a little cool. when we left the ship to do some shopping but no rain until later in the day and that was just for a little while.

Had lunch in the Horizon Court and listened to Billy Andrusco while we had lunch. We then went to the lounge near the Atrium to hear him again. Fran joined us and after Billy played he joined us for a little bit of conversation. Kent and Linda came in from shopping and met Billy and chatted for a while.

We sat in our cabin in the late afternoon and watched the fish jumping in the estuary - at one time we counted up to 23 in one minute.

Another formal night but it was worth it - they served lobster as one of the entrees. Of course we all took advantage of that!

Went to a one-hour comedy show and then I went back to the cabin but several of our group went to a second show - singing and dancing - they all said it was great.


An older part of Ketchikan, Alaska called Creek Street. Wonder how it got that name.                                        Photo by EM

A view from the other end of the street, taken by Kent.                                                                                           Photo by KDS



Linda provides some scale to the size of the Totem Pole, which tells a story... if you know how to 'read' it.     Photo by KDS


Sunday, July 2, 2000

At Sea

We lost an hour today - now we are on the same time zone as the lower 48 (west coast) and Vancouver BC too.

Went to a comedy cooking demonstration this morning. The executive chef, maitre D' and a couple of the head waiters prepared some dishes with a lot of comedy thrown in. We then had a quick walking tour of the galley. A lot of stainless steel!! It is amazing to think of the number of meals prepared in one week!


Acres Of Spotless Stainless Steel

Obviously we are between meals... there were people working in this area but the employees mostly stayed out of sight for the few minutes we were walking through.                                                                                                           Photo by KDS

Our tour was arranged by the ship's staff, and only happens once during a cruise on most ships. It was NOT an 'open house' by any means, but very well planned out.                                                                                                         Photo by EM

It is amazing how this staff can produce the number of beautiful and tasty meals it does in a period of an hour and then repeat the feat for the second seating time.                                                                                                                  Photo by EM

We do not know for sure, but this Kitchen may be the only one that services the two large main Dining Rooms. Service facilities do not show up on the deck plans that are provided. Only "passenger accessible" areas are listed.    Photo by EM


Monday, July 3, 2000

At Sea - Headed into Vancouver BC for disembarkation.

I do remember the disembarkation was really long - I think there was a customs clearance issue in Vancouver. If I remember right, Ken and my disembarkation time was different than the other six in our party and we were on different buses from Vancouver to the Seattle airport. I don't think we were all together again until we were in the Seattle airport.


Sunrise over Vancouver.                                                                                                                                                  Photo by EM

We will pass under Vancouver's Lions Gate Bridge, which is as old as our own Golden Gate Bridge.                  Photo by EM

We will be docking at the Canada Place Pier, Vancouver's relatively new Cruise Lines Terminal.                      Photo by EM

Our officer is out on the Bridge Wing, making sure he brings the Dawn into port as smoothly as possible. Of course, a lot is at stake as he controls the ship... safety of thousands of people and millions of dollars. No Pressure. LOL. Photo by KDS

Transfer onto a bus, a drive through Vancouver, a stop at the border for a customs check, then on to the airport in Seattle, where we await our flight to San Francisco, where we call our service for the ride home.

It has been a wonderful, joyful, adventure which we hope to do again soon. This is one trip that we will always recommend to others. It could be done in reverse, with the cruise starting in Vancouver and ending in Seward, then bus and train up through Denali to Fairbanks and then a flight home from Fairbanks. Either way would be just as good.

Our first cruise was a short four-day jaunt from Los Angeles to Ensenada and back, to see if we like cruising. It was with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines on their Viking Serenade, a much smaller ship than the Dawn Princess. We enjoyed Princess much more, and I am confident that we will sail with Princess again.