Cruising the Inside Passage of Alaska 16May-23May 2009 (Chrisna)

Tinus keeps on mentioning the Alaska cruise, but I don't see anything being written. As this cruise was for me a lifelong dream not only coming true, but exceeding all expectations, I also feel to write a few lines about it. I must admit, I'm glad that I write before Tinus can, because after his good English and nicely composed and describing sentences, I would have felt totally inadequate to write anything! Yes, comparing my writing to his, makes me feel completely inferior, but out of this comes 2 important lessons: 1.Never compare yourself to anyone. Be the best that you can be. 2.No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

So, this is my summary of Alaska, not comparing, not feeling inferior, but comforting myself with the fact that as a parent I am suppose to have my children standing on my shoulders, exceeding myself(not that I have anything to do with his English!!)

Boarding the ship in Seattle, was so exciting, a dream come true. I was the one to suggest cruising to Alaska. I've never seen pictures or read any thing, but I've heard about this cruise some 2 years before, and it somehow stuck in my mind. After much prayer, budgeting and discussions, we booked this cruise in September 2008, choosing the cheapest option of an inside cabin on the lowest deck.

Everything on the boat was wonderful, (including the cabin) - the 24hr availability of food (especially for my men who've been on rations for the past 4,5 months), the different restaurants to choose from (never planning a meal or washing the dishes), the shows in the evenings (eg.Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical), the many different lounges to sit and read or just sit or play games, the games on deck and even winning in table tennis! Yes all of that was beyond expectation. BUT that was not the ultimate...

The ultimate was going on outside - the ever changing spectacular views of the shoreline that was less than 500m away on both sides the whole time.

This cruise goes up the inside passage of Alaska, meaning the ship is surrounded by the mainland of Canada or Alaska and the islands. This obviously makes the cruising stable on the calm waters. We were always surrounded by snow capped mountains and pine tree forests, sometimes not surrounded, but hugged by them.

We stopped at 4 ports, 3 in Alaska and 1 in Canada. It's like stepping back in history.

The towns were founded in the days of the gold rushes and developed into salmon fishing towns. No development has taken place for many decades, but they were kept in their former quaint state. When going ashore we did not take any excursion(they were all VERY expensive). No, we did that which was free, and I'm sure also the most enjoyable: we walked for kilometres, or in good American: we hiked for miles!

Up mountains and down valleys. Past waterfalls and through rainforests. Just before boarding, we strolled through the small shops for a short while and looked what they had on offer to the 1000's of tourists coming to them with the big ships.

Then on the Tuesday, I had another experience like at the Grand Canyon. An awesome, breathtaking, overwhelming experience where my thoughts the whole time was:"How Great is God, God the Creator of all things". We went down the Tracy arm of a fjord to the Sawyer Glacier. That massive boat went slowly, almost as if honouring and respecting the "hugeness" of the surroundings, through the very thin canal. We sailed for 4 hours, massive mountains hugging us on both sides, 1000feet granite walls going perpendicular from the water, snow on the mountain tops and waterfalls everywhere, as the snow is melting in the higher spring temperatures. In the water we passed several small icebergs, as the ice of 10 000's of years old break off the glacier. Then we stopped, dead - with the front of the ship in the ice water and a glacier right in front of us, nestled in the mountain.

Ice formed over thousands and thousands of years, (now melting because of global warming). Then the boat turned around and went back the way we entered...

Oh,God ,how majestic is the work of your hands! I praise you. You are God almighty! One day every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that you are God. Creation is glorifying your name. Please help me to do the same.

What a awesome, spectacular, beautiful, holy experience. We were blessed.

That is how the cruise was - full of surprises, breathtaking views, spoils, family fun times (and many miles of hiking). It was oh so wonderful!

It surely is a "grand" memory...

But , praise God, we are now in yet another special place. Your mercy and blessings are so abundantly exceeding our expectations. Thank you , my Lord!

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