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Day of embarcation, at the upper deck rail of the cruise ship

Day of EmbarcationView All Sizes

The Gangway at Skagway

The Gangway at SkagwayView All Sizes

Lifeboat Tender Hull above Deck 6

Lifeboat Tender Hull above Deck 6View All Sizes

JOURNAL : August 19, 2010

Cruising up the Inside Passage

Alaska > United States

Series Cruising up the Inside Passage

Hey, normally I write about travel destinations and not the means of getting there. But sometimes the means of travel becomes worthy of an article on Daily Venture.

Caribbean Cruise

Back in 2004 our cruise voyage through the Caribbean connected a series of memorable island adventures. The ship departed from San Juan in Puerto Rico and the itinerary included St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Kitts, Grenada, Isla de Margarita and Aruba. On each island we usually opted for a shore excursion, some independent exploration, or lounging around on the beach, as it is custom to do in the Caribbean.

Alaska’s Inside Passage

Alaska's Inside Passage

This time around we were heading north to colder seas. The cast of characters on this trip were my dad (catalyst and primary organizer), my grandma Pat (who had suggested this trip years prior), my sister Summer and her two niños Nainoa and Kekoa (who wished to escape the humid summer weather in Sayulita). Oh and me too.

Family photo while embarking

Our Group

The Sunken Garden from the entrance

Butchart Gardens

The Alaskan itinerary charted a course from Seattle through the Inside Passage, stopped in at Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, British Columbia. On the return leg we ventured into Tracy Arm and ended up at Sawyer Glacier.

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fiord

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm FiordView All Sizes

Pool Party after Leaving Port

Pool Party after Leaving PortView All Sizes

Free Cheese

Cruise ships always seemed to have an edge of cheese, like Las Vegas. While the fare may be reasonable, the casinos, lounges, shore excursions and other amenitities are where they milk you for profits. However, if you know what you're getting into then it's a pleasant, satisfying cruise. Most of the best things are free — the endless, delicious food, majestic scenery, and the attentive service.

The buffet through the stern skylight

The buffet through the stern skylightView All Sizes

Family Dinner

Family DinnerView All Sizes

Aft Porthole, Deck 6, approaching Victoria, British Columbia

Aft Porthole, Deck 6View All Sizes

Tracy Arm Shore

Tracy Arm ShoreView All Sizes

Towel Monkey

The Towel MonkeyView All Sizes

The Service

On both cruises we've had nothing but the very best service. The room attendants, wait staff and other crew members all bust ass to take care of any petty need that might arise. Our cabin was constantly kept scrupulously clean, and on some days we returned to discover a towel cleverly folded into an animal shape, like a monkey, elephant or stingray. A minor yet endearing gesture. Tip well for good service.

Towel Elephant

The Next Day, a Towel Elephant

Shore Excursions

In each port a variety of intriguing shore excursions were available. The first stop in Juneau offered local attractions like Mount Roberts Tramway, a helicopter trip and walkabout on Mendenhall Glacier, and whale watching north of Auke Bay.

One of many trestles along the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad.

WP&YR Railroad

In Skagway most everyone who steps off the boat takes the White Pass Yukon Route railroad at least as far as White Pass Summit or over the border to Fraser, British Columbia. For the trip back I opted for a bike ride down the Klondike Highway which became a favorite adventure only after the brakes were released. Near the terminus of our return leg a sunny day at stunning Butchart Gardens was a reward for braving a week of cold, drizzly Alaskan weather.

Cruise ships docked in Juneau.

Cruise Ships. Ours is at LeftView All Sizes

members of a pod of killer whales

Part of a pod of four female orcaView All Sizes

Verdugo Mountains from the Wildwood Canyon Trail

Verdugo Mountains

The Central Mall Rooftop at Night

Central Mall

A Bridge in Geneva, Switzerland

Bridge in Geneva

A catamaran sits out in front of the restaurant and cabanas on Yelapa Beach, Jalisco, Mexico.

Yelapa Beach

Makiki Forest Recreation Area Sign

Makiki Forest

Rooftop Pool from the Stratosphere, Las Vegas, Nevada

Rooftop Pool

Jiuzhaigou Valley Panda Lake Tree Island

Jiuzhaigou Valley

Fort in Marseilles, France, near the Harbor

Fort, Marseilles

Pacific Park Ferris Wheel & Roller Coaster

Pacific Park

Random Adventures!

Manhattan, East River, Long Island from the Empire State Building


The grassy lawn and monument in front of Griffith Park Observatory.

Griffith Park Observatory

Musicians in Yangshuo Park

Yangshuo Park

Accademia di Belle Arti of Venice, Italy

Belle Arti

Forum of Rome, Italy

The Forum

Victoria Peak Garden

Victoria Peak Garden

We found this old rusted 1957 Ford Country Squire station wagon embedded into the riverbank of the Santa Margarita River Canyon.

1957 Ford Country Squire

Lincoln Memorial, National Mall, Washington D.C.

Lincoln Memorial

We rented next door to my sister Summer’s house during the wedding in November 2009. This is my other sister Robin and cousin Alyssa on the Palapa

Robin & Alyssa

Los Arcos, Rock Formations near Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Los Arcos

Kaneohe and Mokapu Peninsula from the Haiku Stairs.