Cruising Alaska Off Peak

With an upcoming Memorial day long weekend and a one way F ticket to burn (the last and final leg of an RGN mistake fare)  I decided to take a few extra vacation days, fly in to YVR and hop on a 7 day cruise ship that would take me up the coast to Alaska.   It was the very beginning of the season so there were some great deals to be had – particularly important because as a solo traveler, I would have to pay double.  I decided on a trip with Princess, on the Diamond Princess.  It would be her first cruise of the Alaska season, and she would be re positioning from Asia to get there.

I decided to fly up a day early and transferred the necessary Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt for a stay at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver.  The hotel is centrally located, right across from an airport line train stop, and just minutes by foot to the cruise ship terminal.   It was a stunningly beautiful day in the city, and I requested and was given a room with a view of the water.   I woke up refreshed and ready to board my floating hotel.

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My Floating Hotel, The Diamond Princess

I had booked a cabin in an obstructed view, outside category,  but was pleasantly surprised to get a room with an unobstructed view.  The ship was huge, holding nearly 4000 passengers and crew.  There was also a promenade deck going all the way around the 3rd level, affording stunning scenic outdoor views while walking off a few extra calories!

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Picture Window From My Cabin

This itinerary took us through the Inside Passage, with stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway.  The final destination was Whittier, the port town closest to Anchorage.  We would also be spending time cruising in Glacier Bay, and the College Fjord.

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Calving Glacier In Glacier Bay

Given that this was the first cruise of the season, I was a little worried about the weather.  This proved to be unfounded as we had perfect conditions the entire trip.  It was even in the 70s at some of the ports we stopped in.

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Beautiful Day In Port

Almost immediately you are bombarded with stunning scenery and beautiful landscape.  And it never stops.

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Eventually you encounter all kinds of wildlife including bald eagles, whales, and dolphins.  There was also a naturalist on board to let us know when, where and what we were seeing in the wild.

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Bald Eagle Feasting On Fresh Salmon

There are plenty of activities on board including movies, bingo, live shows and music, wine tasting, etc.  There’s also plenty to eat.   The food options on this cruise were particularly unique as it had just come from Asia and had a lot of Chinese and Australian passengers already on board with unique (to US) food tastes.

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Curried Hard Cooked Eggs With Cabbage
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Vegemite

And if you are the sort that likes to do a little shopping, you will have plenty to choose from in each of the ports.  One of my fellow cruise mates picked up this “for a friend….”  😉

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