(Please scroll down for English translation.)
A delayed post of our Alaska trip in July. Our original flight from New York to Seattle got canceled due to weather. Thankfully United Airlines found us two seats in the next flight out to Seattle so we could catch our cruise. But the many cancellations led to our checked in luggage not making it onto our new flight. After we informed Holland America, our cruise company, the staff immediately provided us with toiletries, clothes, free laundry services, formal wear rental and much more to accommodate our daily needs. They even gave me a long sleeve shirt seeing that I didn’t have any jacket on. They also coordinated with UA to receive our luggage at our first port of call. Cruise ships are well known for their excellent customer service, but Holland America took it up a notch, we were so touched by their staff.
UN has been on an Alaskan cruise before, his experience plus the recommendation from friends led us to selected Holland America. On this trip, here are the five must-do’s:
Balcony stateroom: this is a must for a scenic cruise like this one. You can see wildlife and beautiful scenery! When the cruise ship enters glacier bay park, you can enjoy the view from your own room. The best part is having breakfast on your balcony every morning.
Glacier Bay Route: to protect the natural phenomenon of glacier, only two cruise ships are allowed into glacier bay every day. Words can’t describe how beautiful glacier bay was. It was like watching the discovery channel. We could view glacier straight from our balcony, and can even hear the thunderous roar when glacier advances.
Helicopter tour: take a helicopter ride onto the glacier and ride a dog sled, a once of a lifetime experience. It was a scene straight out of National Geographic. That transition from green mountain top to white glacier can only be seen from the helicopter.
Dogsledding: for someone like me who has a love-fear relationship with dogs, I absolutely LOVE this part of our itinerary! Alaska huskies are skinny and long, different than the American huskies that we are more familiar with. They have a huge appetite! They each consume 6000 Cal a day to fuel their running. After dogsledding you can meet and greet each member of the team. The trainer knows each dog’s personality very well and takes really good care of them. UN noticed that the dogs’ teeth are very healthy, which means they get really healthy foods and are well cared for by the trainers.
Binoculars: they let you see bears clearly from your stateroom, mountain goats from the helicopter ride, eagles on your hike, whales in the ocean, and seal lions in glacier bay!
For those with limited budget or physical limitations, I really recommend the “Otters, Raptors, and Bears: Oh My!” excursion package at Sitka (costs $180 pp). This is sea world in the wild, we saw whale mom and baby whale breached the water surface and dove back down! Wait about five minutes and they would breach again! It was a sight that would bring tears to your eyes (yes I cried!)