Alaska adventure, part 2: Juneau

Our first major stop on the cruise was Juneau. As I mentioned (see part 1: Seattle), Dan and I have taken a similar cruise in the past, and wanted to make this one feel different by choosing different excursions at the ports. In Juneau, we opted for sea kayaking.

Sea kayaking was a big leap for us, but I’m glad we went for it. We had a stunning view of Mendenhall Glacier, and lucked out with sunny, dry weather so unseasonal that the guides were hurrying us along in case the skies changed.

There was certainly some bickering about steering, and my inner ear trouble doubled the nausea of being on open water, but we survived it all and these smiles are genuine.

Of course, we didn’t teleport to Juneau: we arrived on the obscenely large and majestic Norwegian Bliss. The ship we cruised on 8 years ago was about half the size of the Bliss, another reason this voyage ended up feeling nothing like what I remembered.

Dan’s parents’ cabin was located on the opposite side of the ship from ours, and we found ourselves meeting up regularly in the Bliss’ breathtaking Observation Lounge halfway between our cabins. I had originally imagined this would be a small room with a large window, when in fact the glass wraps around the front third of the entire ship. The Observation Lounge has its own bar, snacks and usually a band playing music, so we spent a good deal of time sitting, listening and ogling.

…That is, when we weren’t ogling directly from our cabins. Below is an image of the view from our private balcony. Dan and I sat outside in all weathers, at all speeds, in all locations, taking turns with the binoculars (which we purchased midway through our first Alaskan cruise) and bringing each other hot chocolate. From this deck we spotted orcas, Dall’s porpoises, otters, glaciers, and no shortage of I-think-I-saw-somethings.

Worth the splurge.

Still to come: Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan.

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