Summer Wanderlust: Cruising Alaska
August 20th 2015
By Prerana Swami
Alaska is often called ‘The Last Frontier,’ and, on an Alaskan cruise, you can certainly see why. From the awe-inspiring, untouched landscape, the abundance of wild animals and towns with populations less than New York City apartment buildings, Alaska is truly the place to escape and explore.
During my family and my seven-day cruise from Seattle through the Inside Passage, we managed to see (and walk on!) glaciers, watch whales, visit old-time Wild West towns, and learn the art of totem pole creation. Our adventures through Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay and Ketchikan were hardly describable – and made checking ‘Exploring Alaska’ of my bucket list one of the best experiences!
Here are some photos, fresh from the last frontier!
The capital of Alaska, Juneau is just a short drive away from the Mendenhall Glacier. Though it was cloudy, the greyer the clouds, the bluer the ice. This floating piece of the glacier was practically glowing!
We even saw a few whales, bald eagles and seals on our whale-watching adventure!
We also got to see the town, and where the Alaskan state government works. And no, Sarah Palin can not see Russia from the Governor’s mansion.
Skagway is a quaint, Wild West town with an off-season population of approximately 700 (this rises to over 3,000 in the summer months). The Red Onion Saloon is the most popular joint in town!
We took an old-time train through the mountains.
The best part of Skagway, and the whole trip, by far was the Meade Glacier. Since it was a bright, sunny day (and 70 degrees!), we were able to get up-close and personal and walk on the 900-foot-thick ice! Our fleet of helicopters took off, and with a 20 minute ride filled with mountain and valley views, we were standing on the glacier, seeing fresh water streams caused by the ice melting, and the deep crevasses they carved out.
As if we didn’t have enough glaciers on our trip (they’re melting after all, and it won’t be long until they become history), our cruise ship sailed through Glacier Bay, a national park where you can see more than 5 glaciers from the water.
We even saw part of a glacier break off and fall into the water!
Our last stop in Alaska was the town of Ketchikan, where we learned about Native culture, and saw quite a few totem poles.
While seven days didn’t seem like enough time, I can’t wait to go back, get my hands dirty and dig deeper into the Alaskan wilderness!