In celebration of our tenth anniversary, Melissa and I went on a fourteen-day Alaska cruise. On Monday, May 18, we flew from Washington Dulles International Airport to SeaTac Airport near Seattle, Washington, where we embarked upon Holland America Line’s m.s. Statendam. My long time readers may recognize the ship name; we sailed on the Statendam for our honeymoon just about ten years ago. We have always loved the Statendam and other smaller cruise ships, and of course there was great sentimental value in coming back to the same ship.
Statendam has seen some upgrades in the last decade, but most of it remains very familiar. Sadly though, its days are numbered. Statendam will be going into dry-dock later this year to be refitted and transferred to P&O Australia, where it will be called the Pacific Eden.
Our cruise left Seattle on the afternoon of May 18, and returned there on the morning June 1. The ports of call along the way were Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Anchorage, Homer, Kodiak, and Sitka, Alaska, and then Victoria, British Columbia. In addition there were several days at sea or cruising scenic fjords and inlets, which took us to Tracy Arm and the Sawyer Glacier, as well as the Hubbard Glacier. We stayed for a couple extra days in Seattle at the end, and returned home the evening of June 3.
We had a wonderful time—it was incredibly relaxing, and the service (and food) on Holland America Line is just as wonderful as we remembered. We have cruised on a number of different lines, and Holland America remains our distant favorite. Anyway, I could write a novel about our trip, but instead of that I’ll just post over seven-hundred photos. Enjoy!
Just a few photos from embarkation day and from around the ship.
Our first port of call after embarking was in Ketchikan, Alaska. We rented a car—an aging maroon Ford Taurus—and basically drove down every road that the town had available to us, including a long drive down a gravel road that ended at Harriet Hunt Lake.
Tracy Arm and Sawyer Glacier
After Ketchikan, we spent a day at sea, including a scenic cruise up the Tracy Arm to the Sawyer Glacier. Really beautiful place.
In Juneau, the capital city of Alaska, we went on an excursion to a dog mushing camp where sled dogs are bred and trained. We got to ride around in a wheeled sled thing and meet a bunch of cool dogs and hold some cute puppies. Afterwards we visited a Salmon Bake where there was a cool waterfall and some old machinery . . . and some delicious salmon . . . and a red squirrel.
Icy Strait Point, Alaska
Icy Strait Point is a native-Alaskan owned cruise port built at the site of a former cannery, surrounded by beautiful scenery and wildlife . . . and one of the world’s longest zip-lines.
Anchorage and Whittier, Alaska
The Statendam docked in Anchorage, Alaska, which is fairly unusual . . . most cruise ships go to Seward and require bus or train rides to Anchorage. We rented a car—a Chevrolet Impala—and visited the Alaska Aviation Museum and the Alaska Botanical Gardens. Then we drove south on the Seward Highway and, on a whim, went to Whittier—where much of the town is all in one building. Good times.
In Homer, we went on a wildlife excursion where we saw lots and lots of birds, including a few puffins, some sea lions, and some typically gorgeous Alaska scenery . . . and the Time Bandit from Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch . . . and an Air Force C-130.
When I was between fourth and fifth grade, my father—an officer in the United States Coast Guard—was ordered to Kodiak. I have loved Alaska all of my life, and was very excited about the move, but then the orders changed and we ended up going back to the D.C. metro area instead. Until this cruise, I had never been to Kodiak. It was good to finally make a visit.
From Kodiak, the Statendam made its way across the Gulf of Alaska. After a day at sea, we arrived at the beautiful Hubbard Glacier.
From the Hubbard Glacier we proceeded to the town of Sitka, Alaska, which is the location of Saint Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral, and the location where the signing of the Alaska purchase took place (when Alaska was transferred from Russia to the United States).
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
We had another day at sea, and then arrived in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. We walked to the center of town, then took a bus out to the Butterfly Gardens, made an obligatory trip through Chinatown, and got a cute picture of a little girl trying to pet two cats at once.
We stayed in Seattle for a couple of days after the end of the cruise. During the trip we visited Chinatown, the Columbia Center’s ‘Sky View’ observation deck (tallest building in the state of Washington), the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum, and the Space Needle. And we saw Melissa’s digital artwork at the Wing Luke Museum.