*All names have been changed to protect privacy*. Recently, my relatives, Cinnamon and Eggnog, recently came back from an Alaska cruise via the inland passage and I wanted to hear about their experience there so I asked if it's okay to interview them for chickenstarrocket.com.
Let's start off with the basics. How long were you on the Alaska cruise? What areas did you visit?
Cinnamon: Seven days. We went to Icy Strait, Juneau, and Ketchikan.
Eggnog: We were on the Alaska cruise for seven days. We got on at two o’clock departure was at 4:30 and it took us about two hours to get on. First, we went from Vancouver to Icy Strait Point to the Hubbard glacier that we couldn’t see due to heavy fog. Next, we went to Juneau and the last stop was Ketchikan. Then, there was a day and a half of straight sailing back to Vancouver.
What was your room like on your Alaska Cruise?
Cinnamon: I thought it was really nice and spacious. It had a nice-sized bathroom with a large shower. I think it was a king-sized bed since it was bigger than mine. The mattress was lovely. We had a chesterfield (couch) and a desk that you could use as a desk or makeup table. Huge closet. It came with two housecoats that you could wear wherever. The room was carpeted. Every time you left your room, the maid came and redid everything. They left little chocolates on the pillows every evening. There were a couple of hooks on the walls for coats. We had a balcony with a sliding door, two chairs, and a table. The bathroom had lots of shelving for your stuff and good lighting. We had our own temperature-controlled thermostat.
Eggnog: The room was very good. We had a queen-sized bed, a couch, a makeup table, a TV, and the bathroom was big enough for two people to go in at the same time. (not the shower though that was a one-man job). We had a balcony where we often spent our time drinking vino spumante (wine). They made up the room three times a day.
Which area was your favorite?
Cinnamon: If you go to the very front of the ship and you’re standing above the captain and you can see yourself go. They have all kinds of chairs where you can sit, have a glass, and watch yourself motor along. Ketchikan was my favorite off the boat. We were in Ketchikan on July 4th and they had a big parade to celebrate. It was about two hours. I thought it would be really small.
Eggnog: I’m gonna have to say Juneau or Ketchikan. The scenery was just beautiful. The water was tranquil. We never saw a wave of more than 6 inches the whole time.
What was your first impression walking onto the boat?
Cinnamon: That is huge. How can something be that big and float? All the stuff, the food, the 3000 people and it amazes me that the weight of all that can float. They had watermelon all the time in the buffet so I thought about how much watermelon or how much pop to be on the ship and it boggles my mind.
Eggnog: We saw a different ship the day before and they are big. I felt like cattle trying to get on because there was such a line for two hours. They did it in a maze shape so you had to go back and forth.
What did you do on your Alaska cruise?
Cinnamon: We did a lot of eating. A lot of walking around. Some shows were at the theater. One was a comedy one was dancing musical type of thing. Browsed all the shops. (there were quite a few of them). We met some really nice people that we continued to be friends with throughout the Alaska cruise. Sat on the balcony with a glass of wine. Went to the Italian restaurant on my birthday. Went to workshops on hair. Like what kind of hairstyle is best for your face. She sold me $200 worth of hair products that were supposed to make my hair thicker.
Eggnog: Drank wine. Ate. a lot. Walked. Visited with quite a few people we didn’t know. I thought for sure going onto this boat, we would know a bunch of people but I guess not.
What did you do in each of the areas you visited?
Cinnamon: At Icy, we just walked along the walkway and there are souvenir shops and a cannery and we walked through all that. On the way back there was a guy playing guitar and we listened to him for about an hour. Then we went back as there wasn’t much to do.
In Juneau, we walked around. Browsed some of the souvenir shops, I had a Nutella crepe at a crepe shop and it was good. Eggnog had Mexican crepe. I bought a Christmas ornament for you and your family. In Ketchikan, we saw the parade for the 4th. Eggnog found an internet site where he could go on his computer. We went shopping, and I bought knick-knacks for my grandkids. Browsed the numerous jewelry shops (there were so many shops). We went to a coffee place where Eggnog got coffee and sat on his computer again. It was actually quite hot there. I wore shorts.
Eggnog: We got off the boat at all opportunities (all three of them). We used Wi-Fi. There was an AT&T shop that was awfully grumpy about us asking if they had Wi-Fi. I bought terrible American pop with high fructose corn syrup. I could hardly drink it, it was so sweet. At Icy Point Strait, we had a glass of wine. At Juneau, we had a bite to eat offshore. Cinnamon had a Nutella crepe, can you say blood sugar 20? I had a wrap but I can’t remember what kind.
Why did you go on your Alaska cruise?
Cinnamon: Eggnog wanted to go and I have already gone but it was the first time for Eggnog. I think it was my birthday present but he wanted to do it.
Eggnog: It was something I had never done before that I wanted to do.
Did you experience any culture shocks while on your trip?
Cinnamon: One thing that was really funny was Asian people had big boots and winter coats and it was 80 degrees. They were dressed for cold and snow and we were dressed in warm weather. Other than that it wasn’t so different. They make their money off logging, tourism, and fishing. There was one part of the mountain where it was stripped due to the logging. They all speak English and dress the same as we do. So no real culture shock.
Eggnog: The only thing I noticed was that the Asian people never cut up their food. They would just pick it up to take a bite out of it and put it back on their plate. Every country in the world was represented by the employees and they all speak reasonable English.
What is food like on the boat? What was the best meal you had?
Cinnamon: It was a big buffet that was always good and they changed the menus every day. One day they’d have Mexican and the next they had turkey. Always an abundance of food. There was a sit-down restaurant that was included in the fee and we did it twice it was on two floors with a huge wine rack. It was interesting to see people dressed up like they were ready to see the Queen and others were not. Eggnog had steak the two times we went there. I had shrimp fettuccine the first time and steak the second time. I had a Grand Marnier dessert for the first time and it was awesome. The best meal I had was the Italian and Tuscan grill for my birthday.
Eggnog: We went to the Oceanview and it was a buffet and it had lots of different food like Italian, roasts, omelets. No gluten-free options as far as I could see but there were loads of signs that if you had an allergy you could talk to them. The best meal we had was Cinnamon’s birthday supper where we had filet mignon and it was at the Tuscan grill on the boat. The wine was not included. The salad section was phenomenal. I didn’t like their scrambled eggs because they were runny.
What was the best meal you had off the boat?
Cinnamon: My Nutella crepe. We didn’t really eat off the boat until we were coming back. It was a small box and there weren’t any places to sit so you just walked around and ate.
Eggnog: In the ‘Top of Vancouver’, it’s a spinning restaurant. I had steak and shrimp.
Would you go back on the Alaska cruise or to any of the places you visited?
Cinnamon: No, I’ve been there twice now, and twice is enough.
Eggnog: I got to say no. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.
Advice for those who want to go:
It’s an awesome trip, the scenery is beautiful. We didn’t see it this time but to see the glaciers calving is pretty unique (it’s the high point of the trip). It’s worth going to see it at least once.
I think the best part of the whole trip was talking to people. I met a lady from Germany and I had amazing conversations with her. It was interesting to hear about other country’s politics and ways of living and I didn’t know a lot about Germany so it was quite eye-opening. We met quite a few Canadians on board and two memorable Americans. One was born in Canada but became a US citizen in California. The other was a trucker where he and his wife transported military ammunition from coast to coast, including Canada. He was from st. Louis up in the Ozarks. We also met a couple from Ireland. A couple from Central Alberta that we hope to keep in contact with.