Alaska or Bust

Elsa's 50th State

and Long-Awaited Cruise

Part Two - A Week at Sea


The answer to Elsa's Dream


Princess Cruises has 17 ships. The largest holds just over 3000 passengers
The Golden Princess carries 2500 passengers and a crew of 1100
It is 950 feet long and 17 stories tall, requiring some time to figure out what was where


Boarding after Check-In


Our cabin on the 11th deck, second from the highest, was small, but quite comfortable


A chocolate-heart treat every night


Plenty of channels on the TV


Peeking from closet and bathroom entry



Generous Closet


Happy Hour on our Balcony


Our view, still docked in Whittier, near Anchorage


Leaving the dock at Whittier


Selfie, the hard way
The robes are on loan from the ship


Next morning, Buffet Breakfast at Sea


Testing the Spa


Presentation after breakfast the first day...
Where we learn this cruise is not about Alaska
It's about separating tourists from their money


Upping the energy level, the Sales Host throws a prize into the audience


The Atrium, where levels 5, 6 and 7 open up in the middle of the ship



Glacier Bay Schedule


Glacier Ahead


All Hands On Deck for Glacier Viewing


Taking the more adventuresome up to the face of the glacier


Or, if you prefer, relax in your deck chair and watch TV


The Accidental Tourists visit a Glacier


When huge chunks fall into the water...


the sound reaches you a few seconds later


The small pieces of ice between the boat and the glacier broke off
just a few minutes ago and have started to float away from the glacier


The ship was rotated so both sides got a good view




The gulls have learned to catch Cheez-It crackers in mid-air


Elsa gives it a try...


Docking in Skagway


This time, our side faces the dock



This must be Skagway, winter population less than 1500


Our Skagway City Tour Bus


The most-photographed building in Skagway


The harbor, the city and the airport runway, in front


The other end of the city and the other end of the airport


The Cruise Industry looms over the city
Each ship drops off 2000 to 3000 tourists



White Pass and Yukon Railroad runs on 3-foot wide narrow-gauge tracks


They deal with some serious snow in the winter
It took two locomotives to push the steam-powered plow through 12-foot drifts


Tides in Skagway vary by up to 24 feet
Anchorage is even higher, with up to 40 foot variation


Driving up the valley, away from Skagway


The WP&YR train passes above Pitchfork Falls


Passing into Canada momentarily to look back into Alaska


The border is at the top of the pass. The check point is 8 miles down the road


You can walk into the USA from Mexico, but you need a passport here


Boarding the White Pass & Yukon Route Train


Leaving Skagway


The river is colored white by the finely-ground sediment it carries


The trestle on the left has been long abandoned
Another train is descending to the right...


and here it passes us




A portion of the trail the gold-rush miners used to get to the Yukon
long before the railroad was built



Another Bear, for Good Luck


In the distance, cruise ships in the Skagway harbor


After a Big Day in Skagway


Arriving in Juneau at 8:00 AM


Papa Bear and Mama Bear


The tram makes a six-minute ascent of 3,819-foot
Mount Roberts from the cruise ship docks to a height of about 1,800 feet


Off to visit the Mendenhall Glacier


You Are Here! How do they know that?


It's still there, but a lot smaller than when I last visited 35 years ago


Year 1986 on the Left, Year 2012 on the Right


Bald Eagles are Everywhere


Two Salmon swimming upstream to Spawn


To spawn or not to spawn, that is the question


Two Ducks, trying out Salmon Sushi


Salmon which was once swimming upstream to Spawn


In Juneau, our side of the ship faced the water


Juneau, the capitol of Alaska, is not directly accessible by road.
Access to the city is by Air and Sea. Cars and trucks are transported
to and from Juneau by the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system
Only 30,000 people live in Juneau, but it's the second largest city
in the United States by area, 2,700 square miles


The Hot Spot for Salmon





The city has made "land" by building on pilings out over the water


More Real Estate under construction


Juneau Arrival, 6:30 AM - Juneau Departure, 5:00 PM
More than 1 million people visit every year


Plenty of Pine Trees to see, but not much else



Trial run for new Jade (the Alaskan Gem) Bear Pendant and Ear-rings


Bored with the Buffet, we tried the DIning Room. Excellent Service !


Elsa found out how fast $20.00 can disappear at the Blackjack table


After a Big Day in Juneau, TV Remote Control in her hand


We arrived in Ketchikan at 10:00 AM
The ship approaching will take a half-hour to dock behind us


We got the prime parking place, disembarking at the city center


Ketchikan, population, 8000, is "The Salmon Capital of the World"


Elsa, greeting her long-lost friend, Joan



Creek Street


The birds are waiting for fish that are tired of spawning



The city as seen from the top deck of the ship




Totem Bight Park


Community Meeting Room and Storage Area


Main entrance to the Community Room


An unwelcome visitor arrives at a physical disadvantage
due to the forced crouching posture


You can have a pole carved for you for $500 per foot


Leaving Ketchikan


Back on Board at 5:30 PM, we had only 7 1/2 hours to see it all


Ketchikan - On a Sunny Day


The High Rent End of the Ship




The Group Picture...
Forty people from as far as Australia and New Zealand traveled on the bus with us
Twenty showed up for the Farewell Picture


Arrival in Vancouver, Canada, at 7:00 AM


The population of Vancouver is 3 million, three times larger than all of Alaska


Fuel Barge being pushed into place. Fuel is purchased by the ton, not by the gallon


Passengers leave the ship in groups by destination, with all
2,500 people and 5000 suitcases whisked off in 2 hours


Our bus will tour the city for 3 hours on the way to the airport


Looking back on Vancouver from Stanley Park


Canadian Geese, in Canada, Naturally


Totem Poles are cheaper if you take the un-painted option


I'll talk after you sign the Non-Disclosure Agreement
A picture will be $3.00, cash in advance


The Lions Gate Bridge


Vancouver House - there must have been a reason...
A 1700 square foot, 2-bedroom, 3 bath penthouse will cost you $9 million Canadian Dollars


Entering China Town


The Gastown Steam Clock
The clock is electric. The hourly and quarter-hourly whistles run on steam
from the pipes under the street used to heat local buildings


On the way to the Vancouver Airport


Please Feed Me - Starving in Seattle after the 45 minute flight from Vancouver


The Last Leg - Seattle to Orange County, 2 1/2 hours
Then only 3 miles more to get home


The End...