When Ben and I wrote down our travel bucket list, I thought this one would never happen. I’ve always felt cruises were for old people and families AND I never thought I would have a week in summer when BOTH of us would have time off. Welp, the stars aligned and got to go on our first solo vacation in nearly two years! I can’t tell you how much we needed this vacation. We detoxed, got couples massages, gained some perspective on our future goals as a team and ordered a hell of a lot of room service. I’m came back feeling recharged, at peace and more in love than ever. I thought I would leave Alaska feeling inspired by nature and while that may also be true, what surprised me about this trip was how much I missed hanging with my number one. Ben & I have always been super tight but between his 9-5 and my travel schedule, the truth is that I hardly see him. Below is the tell all from our week spent exploring, laughing and watching couples celebrate 50+ years together while cruising the Pacific. A HUGE thank you to Heather Christopher for convincing us to take a second honeymoon while in the height of busy season. You’re never too busy for love y’all!
Seattle is actually one of the only cities that Ben has been to but I haven’t! He came out his senior year of college for NCAAs and his dad’s side of the family lives out here! When researching Seattle, I knew we had to hit all the touristy things. We started with Pike Place in the morning. We went pretty early before the shops really opened which was nice because it wasn’t swarming with people. We of course ventured below to the Gum Wall which was disgusting but got yummy chai lattes at the place on the corner! We then went to the Amazon Go grocery store which was crazy. Even though we had the app, not checking out felt like stealing. We grabbed lunch at the Crab Pot on the docks and then headed to the Museum of Popular Culture (MoPop). We got to see a lot of cool movie exhibits and iconic horror weapons.
We of course did the Space Needle with the rotating glass floor and then ended the day with dinner at my father in law’s childhood home. All of the Tuben aunts and uncles came to share pizza with us on the lawn of their Seattle home. It was an incredible and lovely evening getting to spend time with that side of the family.
The next day we left for our cruise and spent the day at sea. What a crazy thing cruises are! The boat was 14 stories, had a spa, a gym, 2 pools, a shopping hall, a night club, a casino, 7 restaurants and a library. I was super overwhelmed having never been on a cruise but we fell right in. We got a couples massage and even worked out 3 times in the gym that looked out at the water. We jumped between the 4 hot tubs and the 24 hour all you can eat buffet. There was also free room service for breakfast and we had incredible service all week long. I think Ben and I were both surprised at how nice the dress code was for dinner and how wild older folks got on vacation!
Ketichan was out favorite Alaskan city and the first we stopped at! It was super quaint and had these awesome buildings that made you feel like you were in the frontier. We walked Creek Street and got to see salmon swimming up-stream. You hear about it in science class but it is way cool to see in person. We ate said salmon at the Alaska Fish House as well as 3 other fried fishes. You can see a lumberjack show and there are plenty of hikes and kayaking to do!
The scenic cruising was part of what made this trip so cool. Seeing Alaska by boat, in my opinion, is the coolest way to travel this state. We boated into the Tracy Arm Fjord. Essentially, we drove right up to a glacier, saw awesome overlooks and chunks of ice in the water. I will say that it was a tad bit sad to imagine these sights before global warming took such a toll. Granted, we went in August and it was STILL magnificent but I can imagine that even just 50 years ago it was something else entirely.
Our next stop was Juneau. The joke in this city is there are only 3 ways to get there: you need to be born there, fly there or boat there. This little capital city is completely landlocked and can’t be driven to (another great reason to cruise). While we didn’t love the small town, we did love our excursion here. Sadly, all flights were canceled because of mist which is actually VERY common in Alaska because it rains around 280 days of the year. We ended up going to a mushers camp where they train Alaskan snow dogs! The camp is ran by the grandson of the man who started the Iditarod, Robert Redington. We got to go on a sled ride and meet the puppies of 3 different age groups. It was an awesome experience if you’re an animal lover. We ate a crab bowl at Tracy’s King Crab Shack where they call out the names and cities of their patrons who order.
Skagway was the most old-timey town we went to. Essentially, other than water activities and taking a plane elsewhere, the only thing to do here is take the scenic railroad up the pass.
Again, weather played a huge role in our day here and our helicopter flight was canceled again due to visibility. We walked around the little town and explored the streets. I thought this town was photogenic and it’s home to their famous Red Onion Saloon. We saw the railroad which is a suggested tour by the companies but the journey wasn’t quite up our alley. While I loved this quaint town, you only need under an hour to see it all.
Victoria is the only town I wish we had more time to see. We arrived super late in the day so we had to make the choice between whale watching and seeing this Canadian city. We took a whale watching tour and saw HEAPS of humpback whales which was awesome. We also got to see the sunset over sun bathing sea otters and sip tea on our ride back.
When all is said and done I would 100000% recommend cruising Alaska. Obviously, you’ll need an extra day to include travel and be aware of the changing weather conditions and roll with the punches should changes arise! I’m sure seeing Alaska by car is incredible as well but the ocean views were definitely unbeatable. I would have LOVED to make it up to Anchorage and even maybe seen it closer to the winter time to see the landscape covered in snow (although I can’t complain about the 60 degree weather in the hot tubs outside). I hope you enjoy my film snaps developed by The Find Lab and hopefully this persuaded you to cruise Alaska!