Talk about a trip of a lifetime. I had never been on a cruise before and was always iffy considering them. I pictured being trapped on a large boat for a week and not being able to explore any of the cool cities we’d be close to. When Tyler’s family invited me on an Alaskan cruise (to celebrate his mom’s birthday – talk about an awesome birthday), I was excited, yet cautious. Would we be stuck on a boat the entire time? What is there to do on the boat? Well, any reluctant thoughts disappeared within the first 5 minutes of arriving onboard. My week on an Alaskan Cruise was unforgettable.
Cruise Line/Ship Name: Celebrity Infinity
Where did the cruise leave from?: Vancouver, BC
How long is this cruise?: ~8 days. We departed Sunday late afternoon and returned the following Sunday at dawn.
Are you on the ship the whole time?: Nope! There are three other ports you dock at along the way: Icy Strait Point, Juneau, and Ketchikan. I’ll get into more detail about those stops below. Another day is devoted to seeing the Hubbard Glacier.
departing the port
Getting on the cruise ship is a huge process in itself. There were several check-in and security points. I think I needed my passport checked at least three different times. Eventually we were able to board the ship. As we finally boarded the ship, we were greeted with a smile and a glass of champagne – this is when I knew the cruise-life was for me. We had a game plan to explore on our own for a few hours and then meet before dinner. Now…before you do anything. If you plan to drink during the week – order a beverage package. While it may seem hefty up front, it is well worth it. There are several tiers: soda and water; alcohol package 1, and alcohol package 2 (only difference from first alcohol package is that this includes martinis, craft beers, and top shelf liquor). Any time you want to order a drink, go to the bar and they’ll swipe your card. Your tip is included when you purchased the package. It’s as easy as that! First, we went to the top of the deck to take advantage of the beautiful Vancouver skyline and wave to the people below.
Once the cruise departed, we got an unbelievable view of Vancouver. We headed past the city, under the Lions Gate bridge, and onward to Alaska!
We then went down to the second floor and found our room! Below, you can see what it looked like as you walk in. To the right (not shown in the image) was a small bathroom that included a toilet, sink, and shower. Our window was several feet above sea level, which allowed for a mesmerizing view every time we peaked outside. The room did not feel too cramped and we were only in it to either sleep or change. Like I said, there is a LOT to do onboard! Also, I have to give a shoutout to the people who help clean these rooms. We’d be in and out of the room to change into our swimsuits and briefly sit on the bed or take a shower before dinner and use a few towels. Each time we returned it was completely spotless again with everything back in place! At one point we had even left a different change of clothes on the bed as we scurried to dinner, only to return to them neatly folded on the couch when we returned!
Each day we received an itinerary of the abundance of activities offered aboard the ship. Our nightly entertainment was scheduled at 7pm on the main stage. The acts were fun! They ranged anywhere from singing and dancing numbers to comedians to incredible aerial dancers. Then, we had our dinner slot at 8:30 each night in the grand dining room. Not much can describe the food besides wow. I was nervous a cruise ship would have horrible, bland food. Big mistake. The dining room we dined in offered a nightly menu. You had your choice of one of the various appetizers, entree, and dessert. We left feeling full and satisfied every meal.
Oh, and if you needed dessert round 2 or a mid-day sweet snack, Cafe al Bacio was my best friend. I got an affogato or a gelato sandwich (gelato between two cookies) or an espresso or several of the above every day. The ship had a great selection of food places. So if you needed a smoothie or to grab something from this coffee bar, you were set!
Icy Strait Point
We arrived in the afternoon and were not sure what to expect for our first Alaskan stop. There was a lot of hype that this was home to ZipRider, a 5,500 foot long zip line. Since the weather was pretty dreary when we arrived we said, “no thanks.” What did we do instead? Eat like the locals. We had enormous crab legs. Just massive. And of course, no crab leg meal is complete without a Bloody Mary to wash it down.
On the fourth day, we were scheduled to see the Hubbard Glacier. We woke up very antsy if we’d be able to see anything as there was thick fog surrounding the ship. My first picture shows us getting closer and my artsy attempt of Tyler amongst the fog. 🙂 Finally we arrived! The whole ship was crowded with people gathering on the deck to get a closer look, all while completely silent and mesmerized by the enormous glacier. I wish my pictured did better justice as to how blue the glacier was!
Every night after our show and dinner we usually always ended up on the Infinity’s Constellation Lounge. There was usually another band playing with dancing or a mock game show hosted by the cruise director. This seemed to be the late night spot for cruisers of all ages.
Day 5 arrived and we had the full day to explore Juneau – Alaska’s capital. If you don’t have any activity booked in advance, don’t worry. There are several stalls as soon as you get off the ship to offer various touristy options while you’re in the town. Don’t forget to take a picture as soon as you get off the ship – the backdrop is luscious and gorgeous!
We went ahead and booked a whale watching tour. I had never seen a whale in the wild before, so I was excited to see what the day would bring. The ride to the boat dock was memorable in its own right. A bald eagle was perched on almost every other street lamp. I had never seen so many in one place! Once we got to the dock and boarded the boat, off we went! Immediately we spotted a humpback whale. I only managed to grab one blurry picture of the whale. I was in a trance every other time it had its tail out of the water I could never grab my camera in time. Overall, the whale watch was fun and well worth it.
After the whale tour, everyone scattered to do their own thing. Tyler and I chose to wander around the local shops. The Native American culture here is spectacular and (since I’m a sucker for souvenirs) made sure to pick up some of their art and sculptures while in town. The Alaskan Brewing Company store is right in town as well. My family loves collecting various pint glasses, so I was sure to grab several here – the designs are very cool. By early afternoon, we were starving and decided to try the Red Dog Saloon, a Juneau staple and the busiest place in town. We headed through the swinging saloon doors and into the seating area. The entire floor was covered in straw and a piano man was playing. The walls are covered in comedic decor and you come for the atmosphere. Unfortunately, it was a very dreary day so after lunch we popped into a few more stores before boarding the ship again and heading straight for the hot tub to warm up!
Exhausted yet? I told you to not worry about boredom this trip! We arrived in Ketchikan early afternoon and had until nightfall to visit this fun village – its claim to fame is “The Salmon Capitol of the World.” Perhaps it was because of the sunny day, but all of the passengers seemed in especially good moods for this day of the trip! As soon as we arrived Tyler bought a Ketchikan T-shirt. I, on the other hand, was in desperate need for a cool backdrop for us.
After stocking up on some souvenirs, we headed to our next activity – The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show! The lumberjacks were extremely entertaining and the stunts they performed were great! The theme was Alaskan versus Canadian lumberjacks. Somewhat hilarious since I was the sole American in my travel group of Canadians. This was an entertaining show and great option of an activity in Ketchikan. Plus, this town is stunning on a sunny day.
We found a few more picturesque spots before calling it a successful day and heading back on board the Infinity.
Remainder of the Trip
The off-shore excursions have come to an end, but the party is just getting started on the Infinity. Some of these passengers have some hearty endurance when it comes to drinking and dancing. We lucked out and on our last full day the sun came out as we sailed through the Inside Passage. We grabbed a cocktail and headed on the outdoor pool deck to soak up some rays. It was so cool that we were in Alaska but on an outdoor pool deck in our swimsuits. Everyone was exhausted as our cruise week came to steady halt. Alaska should be a bucket list item for everyone. However, if you’re smart you’ll choose to visit in style – on no other than a cruise.
Have you taken an Alaskan Cruise before?