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She Cruises to Alaska With Celebrity

 

Land excursions...


With each port of call in Alaska comes the opportunity to explore on your own or to pre-book excursions that you feel will enhance your sightseeing experience. Celebrity devotes a full section of their website to descriptions (including costs) of these mini trips that last anywhere from a couple of hours to half a day. We longed for close-up and personal visits with Ma Nature so this was where our big splurges came in. We chose three splendid adventures.

Misty Fjords Cruise and float plane sightseeing
In Ketchican we boarded a high-speed catamaran eager to experience the Misty Fjords National Monument. It was a perfect day as our motorized vessel made its way into the heart of unspoiled wilderness. Feasting our eyes on the passing scene we listened to the crews' intermittent historical and geographical commentary. Passengers who wanted more specific information made use of the helpful maps and books stored onboard.

Warm Alaskan hospitality prevailed as we were treated non-stop to lovely goodies -- fish chowder, pasta salad, fresh fruit slices and chocolate chip cookies. Two hours into our journey the truly spectacular scenery began and we all went out on deck to enjoy the natural wonders that surrounded us. Making our way up the Behm Canal we were enthralled with cascading waterfalls running off towering granite cliffs. Bald eagles swooped while low lying clouds played 'round the mountain tops. In the distance was New Eddystone Rock, a volcanic spire that rises an incredible 237 feet above the water. Our cameras couldn't record all of these visual treasures fast enough but the best was yet to come.

The catamaran docked in a secluded cove to wait for tiny float planes that would fly us back to Ketchican. One by one the four and six passenger aircraft landed on the water and we were boarded. Within minutes our tiny craft taxied on the water and then up, up into the air. For twenty minutes we flew between cliffs, above small lakes, summer waterfalls and bright green forests. Too soon, the plane banked to the right and began it's smooth descent into the harbour where our Celebrity cruise ship awaited our return.
P.S. Something to consider. Journeywoman believes that this excursion would be best taken in late June to September when the salmon are spawning. We were several weeks too early to see any of the wildlife that normally make their way to the shoreline to catch the fish that fill the waterways.

Sea Life Discovery, Semi Submersible
Due to Alaska's long hours of summer daylight and nutrient-rich currents, plant and marine life thrive beneath the North Pacific. In Sitka, my girlfriends were keen to board a 65 foot semi-submersible tour vessel to explore the wonders of these cold Northern waters. I went along for the ride but was pleasantly surprised by what we were able to see. Each of us was seated in front of our own viewing window as the Alaskan underwater world floated by. A naturalist walked amongst the guests introducing species that we were not yet trained to recognize -- a red rock crab here, a sea urchin there. To your left a leather starfish, on your right a green anemone, and sunflower star. Soon, we were excitedly pointing and calling out, "I see a jellyfish; there's a gray rockfish!" We floated through giant eel grass and huge kelp that can miraculously grow two feet each day. A staff scuba diver using underwater video equipment explored the sea floor for more examples of aquatic life and relayed his images to the ship's viewing monitors. For a more up close and personal experience, he scooped up a giant vermillion starfish and swam past each of our windows. Incredible! We finished this excursion with an above deck visit to the boat's 'touch pool' -- kind of a marine petting zoo. Before biding us farewell, the genial staff served marine-inspired refreshments -- cookies topped with Alaskan kelp marmalade.
P.S. Something to consider. Travelling with toddlers and young children? They will be bored on this excursion. Older kiddies could, however, be mesmerized by what they'll see.

Mendenhall Glacier, Ice Age by Helicopter
I saved the best for last. How could we three Journeywomen resist a Juneau-based excursion that promised to travel 'back to the Ice Age with Alaska’s glacier helicopter company'? Mendenhall Glacier is over two hundred feet high, three miles long and one of the largest glaciers in Alaska. True it's only 13 miles from Juneau and you could get there by foot, car or by bike but on this helicopter trip participants land right on the glacier. Warm clothes (fleece sweatshirt plus rain-proof jacket, hat and gloves) were in order as well as sunglasses that cut the glare of the ice. Prior to take-off glacier boots designed to prevent slipping were fitted over our shoes. Then it's absolutely thrilling to be part of a group of helicopters that takes off one after the other flying in formation to the famous ice field. Getting there was more than half the fun as we soared over Alaska's dramatic scenery and then descended ever so gently on to the ice itself. Trained guides helped us to experience the blue-hued glacier first hand. After plenty of time for a mini lecture and fabulous photo opportunities, we were once more in the air, swooping between mountain tops and making our way back to the helicopter airfield. This was truly a fabulous adventure!
P.S. From what I was told, this excursion fills up quickly so if you plan on taking it, book as early as possible.

 

Celebrity Cruises...


I
f you are beginning to dream about taking a cruise with Celebrity, check out their website that's filled with all kinds of interesting information. Don't forget to browse through their shore and land excursions. They're guaranteed to make your mouth water. Download up to two of their exciting brochures and the magic begins! Smooth sailing everybody... Website: http://www.celebritycruises.com



JourneyWomen are everywhere...


J
ourneywoman did a lot of internet research before her Alaskan cruise. One day our search engine turned up a female guide in Ketchican. Her name -- Lois Munch. I emailed her immediately requesting advice on packing. What I didn't know was that Lois is already a member of the Journeywoman Network. Imagine my delight to receive this email in response:

Hi Evelyn!
I am such a Journeywoman groupie! I love your website! I've travelled a fair bit and have had lotsa adventures and am so happy that Journeywoman is there to encourage and help women taste adventure. All your newsletters are still on my computer! What ship are you on? ... I'll definitely help you! Thanks so much for contacting me, and I look forward to meeting you and sharing Ketchikan. I live in the greatest place! You'll see!
Take care,
Lois

Unfortunately my schedule did not allow me to meet Lois personally but further research shows that her tours are mentioned in an an awful lot of guidebooks. So, if other women get to Ketchican and want to hire an enthusiastic guide, you can find Lois Munch at her funky Classic Tours website: http://www.classictours.com/
P.S. Tell her JW sent you!



Today's weather in Alaska...

Rome Weather

Ketchikan

Rome Weather

Sitka

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