It’s not the cities I was looking forward to in Alaska, it was the spaces between the cities, the expanses of sky and sea and mountains. And ice.
Norwegian guides its cruise ships right through Glacier Bay, a National Park the size of Connecticut. The boat visits three different glaciers (Margerie, John Hopkins and Grand Pacific) and at each, somehow rotates the enormous ship around so that both sides of the Bliss score spectacular views.
During the Glacier Bay cruising day, National Park rangers board the ship and give an audio tour of the voyage over the ship intercom. The rangers also livestream a presentation to the cabins, showing the scope of Glacier Bay and images of the ways the glaciers have changed in recent history.
Next stop: Ketchikan, the final port on our cruise. Our gang spent a few hours together stretching our legs and visiting galleries of local art.
(Technically there was one more port, in Victoria, British Columbia, but the stop was only a few hours long and we all hung back to begin packing.)
Below: a rare shot of the Reids in the wild. My jacket and rain boots were overkill: in keeping with the rest of our trip, it was mostly sunny in Ketchikan.
After leaving the boat, we all spent another day in Seattle before our flights home. Dan and I decided to explore the aquarium.
We have been to larger aquariums before, but Seattle’s just might have become my favorite. Their focus is on the ecology native to the Pacific Northwest, and they boast outdoor exhibits (including sea otters and fur seals!) overlooking the bay.
I also had a chance to watch an incredibly active octopus roam around her tank. Later that day, she climbed right out.
We’re all home and settled now. It’s hard to imagine how we will top this trip in the future — but I always look forward to trying.