Alaska Cruise Tour Report & Pictures

Wednesday, August 21, 2004.
We took a Holland-America cruise-tour to Alaska, August 11-21, 2004. We flew from
Minneapolis to Vancouver, with automatic upgrade to first class. Tour bus took us from airport to the Volendam. Our cabin was upgraded to the Navigation deck.

Our time on the ship was only 3 days. We only ate in the formal dining room once. We had room service one night, and had dinner from the Lido buffet line on formal night, so we wouldn't have to get dressed up. Watched the sun set from the Crow's Nest Lounge afterward.

The food on the ship was all good and plentiful, but none of it was ever hot by the time it got to us. The cabin was very nice, with our own private veranda. It was plush, compared to our earlier experience in steerage on a Caribbean cruise, where we had to grease our bodies to be able to turn around in the bathroom.

Friday
Ann took a Whale-watch and Mendenhall Glacier tour in Juneau. I took a hiking tour in Juneau.

Saturday
The last day on the ship, we went up the narrow fjord to the Tracy Arm glacier. Got right up close to the glacier. I took a hike-float excursion in Skagway. Eagle picture below.

Sunday
Rode the White Pass & Yukon railway from Skagway to Frasier, BC, then to Whitehorse, Yukon by bus. Whitehorse has a population of 20,000, out of a total of 32,000 for the whole Yukon.

Monday
Rode bus to Beaver Creek, Yukon. Unexpectedly played the role of Swifty Bill at the Beaver Creek Rendezvous Dinner. They also faked a bush-plane crash on the roof.

Tuesday
Rode bus to Fairbanks, Alaska, via Delta Junction and Rika's Roadhouse. Stayed 2 nights. Toured Gold Dredge #8, ate a 'miner's lunch', and rode the sternwheeler riverboat Discovery III on 3 hour tour of the Chena and Tanana rivers. See picture below from the wheelhouse on the 4th level.

Thursday
Rode Denali Explorer train to Denali Park. Went on the 7 hour tundra wilderness bus tour.

Friday
Rode Denali Explorer train to Anchorage, Alaska. Got to practice my Japanese with some tourists.

Saturday
Flew home from Anchorage. Saw Denali from the Air. Note the Denali link below.

The Cruise ship Volendam. Our room was 3 decks above the lifeboats, under the overhand. The private veranda was nice. ms Volendam
Mandatory lifeboat drill! Mandatory lifeboat drill
Fresh fruit in the room. We didn't get this in the Navy. Fresh fruit in the room
Watermelon art on the Lido buffet line. Watermelon art on the Lido buffet line
Ice art in the dining room. Ice art in the dining room
Ice in the water from Tracy-Arm Glacier. Tracy-Arm Glacier
Juneau Hike Excursion. Juneau Hike Excursion
Skagway Hike-float Excursion. Notice the eagle in mid-picture. It lifted off as we floated by, then swooped back over us. Skagway Hike-Float
Dog sled parking only. Dog sled parking only
Alaska license plate, showing Chilcoot Trail. This was a trail used by many miners in the gold-rush stampede of the last century. Alaska license plate, showing Chilcoot Trail.
Dall sheep in Denali Wilderness. We saw moose, reindeer, caribou, eagles, tarmigan and other birds. The guide pointed out a moving dot about a mile away that was supposed to be a grizzly. Take 14x50 binoculars. If you want a close look at a Grizzly, go to the Ueno Zoo near Tokyo. Also saw a black bear from the train. Dall Sheep in Denali Wilderness