Monday, March 10, 2014

Alluring Alaska

A Whale Sighting in Alaska!
‘Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking; a whale has been sighted on the starboard side’. Those who would like to see may look out of portholes or upper deck, the loudhailer crackled. I shook my wife and we both rushed out of the gangway to the right (starboard) side and peered out as the door closed behind us. A sharp gust of cold wind sliced through the woolens as we saw a huge whale sending out a spout as it lay still in water! What an amazing sight, as after about a minute the whale dived while the fan like tail swayed and slowly disappeared into the water. The sky was deep blue with snow clad mountains at a distance. 
The ship was maneuvering through the Inside Passage, having left the shores of Vancouver the previous evening. The high rise neon festooned skyline receded in oblivion as the ship  gathered speed as it moved out of the harbor with a few boats also slowly disappearing from the sight. The day Two had started with a bang!
Inside Passage

Traveling is one of the most thrilling experiences and having seen the seas, climbed mountains, explored the jungles , trekked some arduous routes, paragliding, even a dive in submarine, it was time to experience something new! While going through the popular site of ‘Skyscanner’ I came across Vancouver! A little more rummaging through the literature and ‘Google ‘ search made me decide for an eight day cruise to Alaska! Un- spoilt landscapes, sight of grizzly bears, fjords, crystal blue lagoons, floating icebergs and a host of fun activities on board ship lay in store! I had set my heart for the new adventure.
The Route for the Cruise

The first part involved looking for the best connections at an affordable price for the flight aligned with the date of cruise. What better way to look for different options other than ’The Skyscanner? The site can also compare from other travel deals through multiple sites including the agents, give a ticker for the best deals. After spending some time finally I homed on to a low cost deal by China Southern Airlines through Guangzhou to Vancouver, the final destination. Next, the hotels were booked for the best deals available in Vancouver for two days before commencing the cruise.
Booking with the Skyscanner

The details of the journey were as follows:

Departure from Delhi to Vancouver via Guangzhou.
Arrive in Vancouver and spend 2 nights in the city of Vancouver, Canada

Details of Cruise( Eight Days)

Starting Port: Vancouver, Canada
Ending Port: Vancouver, Canada
Ports of Call: Cruising Alaska's Inside Passage, Cruising Hubbard Glacier, Icy Strait Point Alaska, Juneau, Ketchikan, Vancouver

Return to Delhi from Vancouver the next day.

The ship continued to sail past one of the most amazing natural sights of lush green valleys, mountains and flora and fauna, unsurpassed in beauty . During the day occasional sighting of a brown bear  devouring fish on the uninhabited beaches and sea otters playing in sunshine, besides huge albatross were the nature’s companions on this trip into quiet and wilderness! 
The companions- A Brown Bear and Hawks
The term "Inside Passage" is also often used to refer to the ocean and islands around the passage itself. There were people from different parts of the world who were our companions on this luxury vessel. We also sighted icebergs akin to the ones seen in the movie ‘The Titanac’! Amid eating drinking and merry making the day was over and night set in with giant sea and the grey sky and the ship tearing through the water leaving a wake behind!
Next afternoon we reached Juneau, the capital of Alaska in the afternoon . The city is known for some amazing sights like Mendenhall glacier and Tracy Arm fjord which are a huge tourist attraction in the town besides some unique architecture like State Capitol building! One can find a large number of eating options of pizzas, burgers and even Sushi and Chinese food here! A boat from the harbor brought us back to the ship  that cast off for the next destination  Skagway by 10 PM

After a long day at Juneau we were lulled to sleep in the slow rocking of the ship as it cast off anchor !
Skagway Harbor
When we woke up the gangway was being erected by the ship side for berthing alongside Skagway harbor. The high mountains with snow clad peaks were inviting. The entire day was spent in exploring this beautiful city which is known for White Pass and Yukon Rail excursion, Lake Bennett, Gold Rush Cemetery, Reid Falls besides many other interesting places.The Red Onion Saloon and Brothel Museum is an unusual place and can be visited even in broad daylight ! By evening the ship had set sail for Tracy Arm Fjord
Tracy Arm Fjord
We slept like a log once again to be awakened by mesmerizing views of Tracy Arm Fjord, where amazing crystal clean waterfalls, mass of floating icebergs greeted us! A rubber dingy was lowered in the water from the ship where we took turns to have a closer look of these nature’s wonders in freezing cold!

We returned back to the ship later in the afternoon before sailing to Ketchikan!
Ketchikan, one of Alaska's Southeastern cities, is the first stop for many cruises on their way to more Northern climes. A stay in Ketchikan itself can be rewarding.The city is the gateway to Misty Fjords National Monument about 35 miles away. The city has a 'fishy' history and is known for the fresh catch! Totem Bight Straight Park, and Lumberjack shows are other attractions not to be missed! By the evening we returned back to the ship for the last leg of our journey to Vancouver!
A grand dinner had been organised on the last night on board in the main banquet room. As we assembled , the MC announced that a guest speaker, Dr Deepak Chopra was on board to specially address the audience! This was an unexpected surprise as a loud cheer followed! Next forty five minutes  passed away in a whisker,on hearing this greater motivational orator! A feeling of satisfaction of having been so close to the wonders of nature, occupied the thoughts, as I rolled on my bed and fell asleep.

Suddenly, I heard a screeching sound and opened my eyes! The driver of my office cab was asking me to get down as I had been day dreaming not realizing that my stop had come! I had a dream which I now long to be fulfilled this year!

PS:1. Images Kind Courtesy Google

2. This post is submitted for Skyscanner and Indiblogger Contest 'Travel Smart with Skyscanner' (


  1. Oh, what an adventure this would be!

  2. Wow, Alaska is fabulous. My mil visited last year. Good luck for the contest, Rahul!

    1. I am sure she must have narrated interesting stories of the place, Rachna! Thanks a lot for your kind wishes:)

  3. Such a nice place and must be a perfect tourist destination.Good there are many options for pizza. I love them.
    All the best :)

  4. Pity,havent there yet.
    may be in 2015

  5. I have this in my bucket list. Alaska yeah! someday. The whale looks majestic and the bright red cabins are gorgeous.

  6. Great photos and narrative, what an adventure it will be especially on that luxurious ship, good luck!
    xoxoxo ♡

  7. Fabulous pictures Rahul, good luck with the contest!

  8. Never been there. WOW!!
    All the best!

  9. Such an in-depth and interesting travelogue on Alaska, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your adventures. Wish you all the best. :)

  10. oh wow...I thought you really went on a trip that's why you didn't post anything lately...ehhh you were just dreaming? hmmm...I also wanted to go on the cruise for such a long time now :)
    Good luck for the contest :)

    1. Yeah a dream for sure and await to be fulfilled sometime! Hope you can go for this cruise as it is nearer your present home Latha:) Thanks for your best wishes!

  11. Haha how long have you been dreaming about this. It's in my wish list too :)

    1. Have been now dreaming for long! Hope your wish comes true soon, Pria:)

  12. Incredible. What an adventure! All the best.

  13. Thats a great trip! Good luck Rahul Ji :)

  14. OMG Topic is travel and nothing can stop you Rahul sir, what an amazing post :) you make sure not to let me win anytime is it :D? lol

    All the best Rahul sir this is surely a winner post!

    1. Ramya! I cannot match your sense of humor but can thank you for all those lofty words:)

  15. No doubt Alaska is alluring... adventurous and lovely, inviting pics..

    1. Yeah hope to see it some day, Manjulika:)Thanks a lot!