Monthly Archives: January 2018

Alaska Routing

Our Alaska itinerary, seven days, round trip Seattle:

Day Port Arrive Depart Distance Nautical Miles Notes
Day 1 Seattle 5 pm 0 Embarkation
Day 2 Day at Sea All Day
Day 3 Ketchikan 7 am 3 pm 579
Day 4 Juneau 7 am 1:30 pm 201 AM
Day 4 Cruise Sawyer Glacier (Tracy Arm) 4 pm 8 pm 46 PM
Day 5 Skagway 7 am 5:30 pm 113
Day 6 Day at Sea All Day
Day 7 Victoria 4 pm 10 pm 783 “Distant” Foreign Port
Day 8 Seattle 8 am 64 Disembarkation

I’m still obsessed with navigation, so I’m trying to determine why the port times are so strange, compared to the Caribbean “standard” 8am – 5pm. Juneau is short because we will attempt to get to Sawyer Glacier that afternoon, so it’s really a two-stop day. Victoria is our “distant foreign port” to allow a foreign-flagged ship to call on a bunch of US ports without being US-flagged.
Also, Tracy Arm seems to be a bit of a challenge due to ice for much of the season, so it is questionable whether we will get there or go to an alternative glacier. Who knew there would be ice in Alaska?
[googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/3/embed?mid=1Qv5LK8vMJn_8mlcvMA8djIUMn47NkloT&w=640&h=480]

Alaska Planning

The Erie Canal adventures has been bumped by another bucket list cruise: Alaska. My wife was helping some of her family book a cruise to Alaska and by the time I had heard all the details, I finally asked, “Why don’t we go along?” So, now, we’re going to Alaska on the Norwegian Bliss, during her inaugural season.
We never planned an Alaska voyage before, since we generally cruise at Christmas, and the season in Alaska is May – September. Also, my wife is allergic to cold, and apparently, any place you go to look at ice may be a bit chilly.
It will be an interesting trip, since the Bliss was specifically designed for Alaska cruises, but is much larger than the other ships Norwegian generally deploys to Alaska. (It’s a Breakaway+ class ship, like the Escape and the Joy. The Escape is moving from Miami to New York. You never hear about the Joy because it is in China.)  I think it is interesting they are deploying a ship built to be a destination in a place you go specifically to look at the countryside and not just play on the ship (although I may have to drive the race cars.) How many people will miss whales breaching the surface or glaciers calving because they’re in the casino?
As usual, we did everything backwards, since you should choose the ports that are important to you and then find a ship, not vice-versa. This would have required more research than “let’s go to Alaska.” However, I’m pretty sure my wife chose the Bliss for her family because she was still annoyed we weren’t doing the inaugural Atlantic crossing, so the Bliss it is.
As it turns out, we’re doing pretty much the exact cruise my sister-in-law did about ten years ago, so she may have deja-vu the entire trip. For the rest of us, it’s all new.
Side note: don’t choose a cruise based on the ship and then get a generic Alaska cruise guidebook since every chapter will contain lots of information about things you can’t do, because you’re not going there.
Alaska is not the Caribbean. It’s cruise season is very short (May to September), the ports are limited, times in port can be weird, and everything is really expensive. Our port of embarkation, Seattle, seems vastly overpriced compared to other major cities I’ve visited. Still, it should be a fun cruise on a new ship, assuming we don’t have to sell the house to finance it.
We will also need new wardrobes, since apparently the only way to survive in Alaska is to dress in layers. (I hate dressing in layers.)
I’m putting this post here as a placeholder for my notes as research continues.
Some sites of interest (so far):