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Baked Alaska

Written by Jeff Drake
8 · 20 · 19

We just returned from a cruise to Alaska, a trip I undertook with some trepidation, given the rather not-so-good experience we had with a cruise to Mexico in 2013. For Alaska, we went with Celebrity, Mexico was the Princess cruise line.

Our itinerary for Alaska:

  • 08-02 Seattle (departure).
  • 08-03 Sail the Inside Passage all day.
  • 08-04 Ketchikan.
  • 08-05 Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier and Juneau.
  • 08-06 Skagway and Inside Passage.
  • 08-07 At sea all day.
  • 08-08 Victoria, BC.
  • 08-09 Seattle (disembark).

On this trip, weather-wise, we felt compelled to pack for:

  • Cold weather – because we were going to visit a couple of glaciers;
  • Rain – because well, it’s Alaska and we were going to Ketchikan, a town that gets 160 inches of rain per year;
  • Warm weather – just in case we got lucky.

Wow, we got lucky! The weather while we were in Alaska was amazing! Highs in the 70’s, not much humidity, sunshine (thus the title, “Baked Alaska”). I think it sprinkled once or twice. We were really surprised by this. So were the locals, who were expressing worry about the lack of rain. The Tongass Rain Forest, the 2nd largest rain forest in the world, was all around us onshore, and that place needs a lot of rain.

Weather was a debilitating factor in our 2013 cruise to Mexico. We packed for warm weather because, hell, it’s Mexico! What we got instead was unseasonable rain, really cold temps, and winds that kept everyone on the ship inside, except when venturing out into the towns where we froze our asses off.

All in all, the Celebrity cruise was a markedly better experience than the Princess cruise, and not just because of the good weather, although that made everything seem better, probably. Because of the weather issues in Mexico, we were forced to stay inside and there were a few days when we were simply going through open ocean. Boring! For distractions, princess offered – ta da – Broadway show tunes and not too funny comedians. Oh, and you could always go shopping! In fact, after Mexico, I defined cruising as being aboard a floating shopping mall for a week, listening to musicals (a nightmare of mine).

Celebrity was a step up from our Princess Mexico cruise. No doubt helping improve the experience, was getting the premium drink package on Celebrity. This meant upgrades on both wine and spirits and, of course, all you want for no extra cost. It’s easy to say, “Hey, the drinks are free!”, but in reality, they are all paid for, just up front. Still, I remember getting charged between $8-$15 a drink on the Princess cruise, which we could afford, but still it hits you every time you drink. The premium package is the way to go, if you like alcohol.

Did Celebrity have shows and shopping? Of course! But we were both surprised that none of the staff ever pushed you into buying anything. That was very nice. We would occasionally get offered a few things, but when we said no, that was the end of it. The shows on celebrity included a few comedians. Our son and daughter-in-law went to see one and said that he sucked. We only saw the last show, which was a musical show focused on rock music. At least that was something I could relate to. I thought the onboard band and talent were more comparable to a Vegas act, which was a step up from our Princess experience. Different strokes, I guess.

The bottom line:

There are certain travel situations that fit a cruise, I think. For example, when you want to visit several different cities on the coastline of another country, or as in the case of Alaska, our own country. Taking a cruise allows you to do this and you only have to unpack your bags once! So while there may be certain situations that will cause us to take another cruise, it won’t be for quite a while, I suspect. We are both pretty sure that we won’t take a cruise longer than 7 days. As it was, we felt the Alaska cruise was two days too long. Yeah, the food and drink were surprisingly good the first 3 days, but after that not so much. You get tired of it, and we did.

Below are some select photos of our Alaska journey.

Inside Passage:








Ketchikan (fish ladder):








Ketchikan salmon:









Juneau Scenery:

















Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier:





















It was a fun trip, all in all, but it’s great to be back home!















Let us know what you think…


1 Comment

  1. Tom Steinberg

    Baked Alaska, that’s too bad. They are getting badly hammered by global warming, very bad news, but I’m gad you enjoyed your trip. I was happy to encounter some moisture in Haida Gwaii a couple of years ago. The criminal lunacy of climate science denying Republican/Russian/Indian/Chinese/Arab plutocrats will result in enormous degradation and misery.


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Jeff Drake

Retired IT consultant, world-traveler, hobby photographer, and philosopher.