Tracy Arm Fjord
Then there were cruise ships
We came into “cruising” with cranky preconceptions on what it was going to be like. On past vacations we had found ourselves in a ‘port’ town that would be nice and peaceful until the cruise ships arrived and brought with them thousands of bumbling tourists. Then there were friends or family or co-workers that adored going on cruises and would bring back their cheesy souvenirs and touristy excursion stories.
Basically, we went into this cruise thing thinking we were going to hate it.

Some may think that what comes next is a transformation where we discovered the joys and charms of cruise ships.
“We were so wrong”, we’d exclaim.

Would I go a cruise again?
This ‘cruising’ thing is nice for extended families I suppose. It’s also nice if you have older relatives or people with limited mobility (Mrs. Robot’s father had a stroke a few years ago and generally gets around in a wheelchair).
It’s all very idiot proof.

Would I pay to go a cruise? No.
Would I ever go on a cruise instead of a ‘normal’ vacation? No.
Am I weary of cruise ship fans? Yes.
Did I realize that if you pushing someone in a wheelchair, people get out of your way? Yes.

You Little Prick
The Floating MallWe had a conversation with a couple who was a bit older than us about ‘cruising’ and I think they were a little shocked that we weren’t totally stoked to be on the cruise in the first place.

“Well, I think one big issue is the amount of people”, I said. The woman recommended another cruise ship line that only takes 1000 people (um, only 1000?). She then basically implied that she has found that people who don’t like ‘cruising’ aren’t fun or happy people to begin with.
Ah, yes. That argument.

I’ve replayed that particular conversation many times in my head and haven’t figured out a good response that doesn’t make me sound like the prick that I fear I am.
“See, I don’t like tourists”
“I don’t like spending a week in a mall and food court”
“My idea of a good time isn’t spending time in small port towns that have all the same souvenir shops”
“I’ve never been a fan of musical revues and/or the Princess Saphire Dancers”

Something Nice
OK. The staff on the boats were all super nice. Except for some minor issues in our room, the boat was very well kept. We enjoyed swimming in the pool. We drank martinis and played scrabble almost every day. The food was plentiful and from time to time was tasty.
And, you are on a boat. As corny as a cruise ship is, it’s still a boat and boats are pretty cool. It was nice to be in bed and just watch the scenery go by.

Tracy Arm FjordAlaska is big and beautiful and we saw seals and whales and eagles. Wait. I need to make really make the point that it is big. Huge. The scale is just so different. Big.

Oh, Excursions!
When you are doing the ‘cruising’, you stop into these little port towns and go on excursions! We did a little bike ride at some little town that had a lot of souvenir shops. In another town with a lot of souvenir shops, we took a lovely train ride with the entire family up into the mountains. But, my favorite had to be in a little town with a lot of souvenir shops where we took a helicopter ride up to a glacier and then stomped around and pretended to be Hoth snow monsters. Flying through the mountains in a helicopter was crazy awesome - it was like we were in Airwolf! Only slower.

Taku Glacier
Yes, I think the glacier trip was my favorite. Just the helicopter ride itself would have been worth it.

Camera Roll CallI packed my Rolleiflex camera with me for this trip and bought a pack of Fuji Velvia (50ASA - color slide) film with me. Unfortunately, that is all I brought. I forgot my light meter. Not the end of the world but it made vacation time a bit more challenging as I had to figure out the exposures on my own. I love that camera.
I also had my Panasonic LX3 and my always trusty iFone.

Favorite Things Alaska Revue
-Glacier helicopter trip
-Gin martinis
-King crab legs eaten near fishing boats (probably one of my favorite meals so far this year)
-Fish tacos eaten in a bar
-Eagles everywhere (Freedom!)
-The funny prank our friend Laura played on us (she has a friend who works at the HQ of the cruise ship and sent us free passes to a lovely excursion to see these gardens (delivered in an official note from the cruise ship that made it sound like we were in trouble for something)). She got us good.

We have photos! Click them!
And enjoy FLICKR's slightly larger new size.

Of course, for another viewpoint, you can view Mrs. Robot's slightly different photo gallery.

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