Thursday, June 8, 2017

Alaska and The "Wonder"

The time has come to sit down and write about our recent cruise vacation to Alaska with our friends, Dan and Susan Bonk.  The problem with this is no words that I can write will capture the majesty and beauty of Alaska, nor will they possibly capture the excitement, joy, and pure fun of the trip. Similarly, no photograph that we took can possibly do justice to the mountains, the glaciers, and the sheer scenic beauty that we experienced.  I am not that good a writer or photographer, but what the heck, I'll give it a shot.

This trip will always be special because even though it had been booked and in the planning stages for well over six months, it almost didn't happen at all.  Many of you know the reasonS for that, and I will not restate them here, but we were able to make the trip, and it was the experience of a life time.

For me, this was my very first cruise experience, and I wasn't sure what to expect.  I was pretty sure that I was going to like it, but you can never be sure, and the opinions of some that you might feel "trapped" or "confined" aboard a cruise ship proved completely unfounded.  The experience aboard our ship, the Disney Wonder, was 100% positive.  

If you've ever enjoyed a vacation provided by the people at Disney, you know what I am talking about.  First class service all the way in terms of room accommodations, service, food, and entertainment.  We honestly could not find a thing about which to complain.

Rather than give a lengthy narrative, I am going to take up much of the space here with some photos for he trip.  That's what you all really want to see anyway with some commentary.

This photo was taken in Ketchikan, our third port of call, and the sixth day of the cruise.  I put it early in the narrative, because I think it was the best picture taken of all four of us together during our entire trip.

Part of any Disney Experience is the entertainment:

A "Welcome Aboard" show as we pulled out of Vancouver.

"Frozen".  Yes, they actually made it snow on board.

Singer Kelly Jarrard.  
We heard her on several different occasions on the cruise, and actually met and talked with her as well.

Leslie, the Bingo Lady. Yes, we played played Bingo on four separate occasions, and Leslie and her team made it super entertaining.

Dan, Susan, and Marilyn with Darren McBurney, our Cruise Director.  Darren and his assistant, Anthony, did a morning TV show that ran on a continuous loop every morning, and they were terrific.  Darren was also a really neat guy to talk to.  Because of him, I will never say "Good morning" or pronounce the word "azure" ever again without putting his particular stamp on it.

Lito and Vicky, our dining service team throughout the cruise.  You rotated dining rooms each night and your team followed with you.  They were great.

Ariel, The Little Mermaid, gets a kiss from the handsome Prince.

Okay, enough of the cruise ship, you're saying, how about some scenes of Alaska?  Here you go....

An evening sunset.  It was 10:09 PM when this was taken.

Taking a morning stroll on the top deck.

Sailing on Endicott Arm to view the Dawes Glacier:

No picture can capture seeing this.  We also saw the glacier calve several time while were were there.  The noise that this makes is indescribable.  And the ice is so blue when it is first exposed to the air.  Beautiful.

I decided to get out of the cold and view Dawes Glacier in a more relaxed mode.

Downtown Skagway.  
The population quadruples whenever a cruise ship comes to port.

Dan and I attempt to negotiate a deal with a local small business person.

Anna, our tour bus driver in Skagway.  She had quite a back story.

Scenes from aboard  the White Pass-Yukon Railroad.

Two photos from the ship of Juneau Harbor.  See what I mean about the scenery.

The Mendenhall Glacier.  Again, no photo can possibly capture this.  Photos in the visitor's center document how rapidly this glacier has receded over the years.  Very sad.

Our hands on a piece of ice from the Mendenhall Glacier.  Hard to comprehend that this ice is tens of thousands of years old.

Sea lions and a bald eagle in Juneau.  We also saw whales, but those babies are hard to photograph.

Downtown Ketchican.

Every tourist town has a Christmas shop.

Again, Dan and I checking out local small businesses.

Creek Street in Ketchikan.  Once a notorious red light district.  

Strolling in Ketchikan.

That's me selecting a new yard decoration for Village Drive.  Should be delivered by the 4th of July.

Our final dinner on board the Wonder.

 From the cast and crew of the Wonder.... 
"Now it's time to say good-bye...We'll see you real soon."

I will stop here, but I could go on and on and on about this trip.  There are of course MANY more pictures that we will be happy to share with you at the drop of a hat.  Really.  Just ask us. And I will no doubt be making many more references to this wonderful adventure for weeks and months into the future.  I will just conclude by saying that Alaska is a one of a kind place, nobody treats you better than the folks at Disney, and in Susan and Dan, we had just about the best travel companions imaginable.

As the Disney people will always tell you, it was MAGICAL.


  1. Splendid travelogue. Loved the pictures. Inspires me to make that trip.

  2. This is great! I have always wanted to go to Alaska, too. Lucky you!! (and Marilyn)

  3. Delightful!

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