While you were working last week, my wife and I boarded the Holland America "Westerdam" for a once-in-a-lifetime cruise to Alaska. We flew to Seattle on Friday, July 18th and spent the night. Saturday morning we took a cab to Pier 91 and boarded our ship, along with 1800 other passengers and a crew of 800. What is absolutely amazing is that this ship arrives home from a cruise around 4:30 a.m. that same morning. They disembark 1800 passengers, refuel, reload supplies, embark 1800 new travelers and set sail again by 4:00 p.m. the same day! The logistics is mind boggling. The airlines could take a few notes. We boarded around 11:30 a.m. and our luggage was delivered before 1:00 p.m. Our first stop was Juneau.
We spent our first day at sea and your first impression of Alaska is just how big it is. The mountains are impressive, to say the least. I've been in the Smokies, and we have traveled to the Grand Canyon, but there is just something unique about the Mountains of Alaska.
We left the ship and took an excursion that promised we would see whales. We were not disappointed.
The Mendenhall Glacier is located about 12 miles outside of Juneau. There is a waterfall and several hiking trails in the area as well. While we did not see any, a bear encounter is a possibility on the trails. All in all, this was one of the best excursions that we booked and our guide was just the best. After the excursion, we headed back to the ship and ready ourselves for the next stops, Glacier Bay and Sitka. See you tomorrow.