On 27 Apr 2004 12:09:06 -0700, (Lee) wrote:
I'm trying to repost them (just cuttin' and pastin') but it doesn't
seem to be working. I did post them both to rtc. The Glacier Bay
Cruises one would have been posted probably around August 28, 2002.
The WJ Yankee Clipper one would have been posted around March 24,
2003. I tried to déja them but for some reason, my posting archives
are gone between 2003 and 1999...go figure.
Here's your Glacier Bay cruise report. (I started with Day 9 - when your
Here's the URL in google for the whole report:
Day 9: Decided the night before, to share a cab into town with the third
couple - they had arrived in town too late last night to wander around,
and wanted the chance to shop and see the place before meeting up with
tour. So, instead, this morning, the b&b owner offered (hard to refuse,
and be polite) to take us (all 6) to a favorite spot of hers, where we
a short nature walk/hike, which was very pleasant. Then, she drove us
around an area even farther from town, for more sightseeing. By that
couple 3 were very anxious to get into town, us less so, since we had
the opportunity the day before. Finally, she brought us to town (saved
the cab fare anyway), we had a quick lunch, then met up with the rest of
our boat-mates at the Tlingit Cultural Center (not the real name of the
place, but that was what it was) where we were treated to a Tlingit
drum, song exhibition. Beautiful building, and very enjoyable show.
the show, we boarded the buses, and visited a few other Sitka sites,
including the Alaska Raptor Rehab Center, Totem Park (one more place, I
think...but canıt remember), then finally to the boat for boarding (our
bags were supposedly being picked up at the b&b and would magically
in our cabin). With such a small capacity, boarding was a breeze. We
checked in by Jessie, the purser, who informed us that we had been
upgraded to a bigger, higher level cabin on the ³300² deck. Woohoo! We
were escorted to our cabin by one of the Naturalists on board (Mark) who
took a lot of time showing us around, how things worked (PA,
³multi-purpose² room, etc.), then left us to settle in. The room was
I will never, ever, ever complain about any shipıs cabin size ever again
(donıt think I have actually have ever complained about that). Total
was 8x11. The bed was really wide - wider than it really needed to be,
took up all but about 2 feet of the width at the far end of the cabin.
was two beds, pushed together, but was very comfortable. Small
was on one side of the bed. Nice big picture window that opened, which
nice when the cabin got steamy from showers. As you enter the cabin,
thereıs a very small closet to the right with lots of hangars and two
drawers. We used that pretty much for hanging our outerwear, and some
sweats, and left the extra blanket and life preservers in there as well.
Our suitcases stowed out of the way under the bed, but we had no place
unpack, so we had to pull them out almost daily for clothing, and stuff.
Beyond the closet on the right wall was a corner sink with medicine
cabinet, which was big enough for us to unlpack all that kind of stuff.
the left wall, as you enter, was the ³multi-purpose² room - your typical
marine head with toilet/shower all in one. You draw the curtain in front
of the toilet for showering, tuck it back otherwise. Remarkably, towels,
tp stayed dry. The system worked really well, and the shower itself was
great. We were summoned to the top (4th) deck for our intro talk, where
were introduced to the crew (crew of 23). Lucky for us, only 55
on our cruise. We were also asked to pick an entree for dinner at this
time. A brief kayaking lesson was given (how to put on your spray skirt,
life vest, etc.). The main reason we chose this boat over the Cruise
offerings or some of the other small ships, was because this one
a fleet of sea kayaks on board. Couldnıt wait to paddle around and
explore. Okay...after the intro talk, we went down to the dining
room/lounge (midships to forward on deck 2) where there were yummy fresh
cookies - something we became accustomed to all week. Then, it was
(yes, even on these little boats), settling in, and back downstairs for
cocktail hour and dinner. Ship left port at probably 6:00pm or so.
Anchored in Shultz Bay that evening.
Typical day aboard Wilderness Discoverer: 6:30 am wake-up announcement
comes right into your room. Breakfast is at 7:00am - buffet with some
dish, pancakes or french toast, potatoes, meat. Check the dayıs schedule
on the dry erase board, pick your dinner entree (choice of either
or other - menu is posted in the morning).With the exception of our full
day in Skagway, we were pretty much on the water. Sea
kayaking/hiking/skiff rides in the morning/afternoon (depending on which
day - 3 times total), cruising in the morning/afternoon, lunch served at
12:30 (family style - usually a crock of soup and platter of
3:00 was cookie time - always fresh and always different. 6:00 was
cocktail hour with the hors dıoeuvre of the day (mussels marinara,
cocktail, smoked salmon, veggie eggrolls, etc.), dinner at 7:30, nature
lecture at 8:30, and usually bed by 10:00pm.
Day 10: Spent the morning anchored in a Deep Bay on the northwest end of
Baranoff island. Very protected waters - perfect for a first paddle (we
are somewhat experienced, but this was a first for most of the
passengers). This was a group paddle - we all kind of stayed together
explored the shoreline, looking for bear, mostly. We did see many
a few harbor seals, and lots of other birds. Back on board, we travelled
through Peril Strait in the afternoon, watching a humpack lunge feeding
Hoonah Sound, harbor seals eating and dog salmon breaching.
Day 11: Glacier Bay - Stopped early in the day at Bartlett Cove to
Glacier Bay Lodge and surrounds. Took a brief mile-long nature walk,
looked at the exhibit in the lodge (very nice) and headed back to the
boat. Our ranger, Jessica, boarded at this time, and the rest of the day
was spent visiting the west fork of Glacier Bay. First stop was at South
Marble Island for a great look at a sea bird rookery (saw puffins) and a
Stellar sea lion haulout. In the afternoon, we explored the west arm
Lamplugh, Johns Hopkins, Marjerie and Grand Pacific glaciers are. As we
approached Lamplugh (during dinner, actually) Barry and I ran up on deck
with a few other lucky ones, and saw a tremendous calving. Couldnıt
believe how loud it was! Went back downstairs and finished dessert, then
everyone piled up on deck for the rest of the evening. There were some
smaller calvings, but nothing like the one that so very few of us
witnessed, so we were lucky. Left Tarr Inlet almost in complete
so it was very slow going for the captain, dodging bergs. One of the
mates, or deck hands was manning the spotlight as we worked our way back
into open water. Dropped our ranger off early in the morning.
Day 12: Cruising and kayaking. After dropping off Ranger Jessica, we
headed down through Icy Strait. Morning was spent whale watching - a
pod of humpbacks (nine were counted) were spotted off of Point Adolphus.
Also saw Harbor porpoise, Stellar sea lions, gulls and bald eagles. As
headed out, two whales breached right off the bow. Headed to Idaho Inlet
fo an afternoon in the kayaks for an unsupervised paddle. Spotted sea
otters on the way. Night was spent underway.
Day 13: Skagway. Got off the boat at about 7:45 and boarded a few
streetcar tour busses for a quick nickel-tour of Skagway (included in
package). The, most of us boarded the White Pass/Yukon Route narrow
train for a pretty scenic, beautiful ride into the Yukon Territory
(purchased the excursion on the boat - same price if we had bought it
directly on our own). It was an overcast day (to say the least) so
werenıt great, but getting up into the clouds was pretty cool. It was a
great couple of hours - very enjoyable. Once we were off the train,
left for his hike to Lower Dewey Lake and I hit the stores. Actually
some really nice deals in Skagway. Wish I had bought more there, because
the only other shopping opportunity I had left was Juneau, which I
was awful. After a long day on land, we were glad to return to our boat.
Just got our pictures back, and Barry took a great one of the harbor,
the mega ships and our little one in the same shot, for perspective.
Skagway and headed south down Lynn Canal, the longet fjord in North
America, passing the town of Haines, Eldred Lighthouse and another sea
Day 14: This morning we cruised Tracy Arm Fjord/Terror Wilderness Area -
amazingly gorgeous. Spent quite a bit of time parked in front of South
Sawyer and Sawyer Glacier. As we turned away from South Sawyer, I walked
the perimeter of the boat until I was aft, again looking at the glacier
the whole time (stuff always happens when you turn away). Well, again
there were just a few of us who were still watching, and again only we
to see another big calving. Barry missed this one, unfortunately. Paddle
this afternoon in our most challenging conditions yet, in Sanford Cove.
Still pretty tame water, but it was a less protected area, and there
icebergs to paddle to (not too close), which was fun.
Day 15: Docked in Juneau at about 8:30am, off at 8:45 or so. Bags we
brought down to the lounge. They would be transferred for us to airport,
hotel, ferry...wherever we were going. So, that was nice. I was thinking
weıd have to go all the way out to our hotel by the airport, check in,
leave our bags and then come all the way back to town. Very convenient
let them deal with it all. Raining like crazy in Juneau, but that didnıt
stop us. We shopped, literally, all day. None of the sightseeing
attractions would be worth it on this day, because the weather was
Lunched at Twisted Fish, which was very good. Dinner at El Sombrero.
Unfortunately, we waited until Juneau to buy many of the things we
to get for people at home, and for us. Wish we had bought in Skagway or
Sitka instead. Found lots of rip-offs in Juneau, including one
store that had obviously peeled place-of-origin labes off of merchandise
when asked, they claimed the stuff was Alaskan made. When we asked where
the Made in Alaska label was, the story changed - now the stuff was
Canadian. We left...then decided to go back and ask for a business
card...maybe let the Chamber of Commerce know. Well, they didnıt have a
card, and...big surprise, the story changed again! The stuff was made in
the Orient. No kidding!!!!! Back to the hotel really early (Frontier
Suites - Airport. Free shuttle).
Day 16: Got up at 3:00am to be picked up at 4:15am for a 6:00am flight.
were beat. Amazingly, all three legs of our journey home were on time,
limo driver awaited us at baggage claim in Newark, and we were home
Glacier Bay Tours Summary: Did we enjoy small ship cruising? Absolutely
weıll do it again. Was it worth the premium price? Not sure. The crew
amazing, especially Beth, the lead naturalist/²cruise director², Kitta,
our bartender (knew all of our names by the second day), Mark, another
naturalist, our Captain Joel, the stewards - all great. Rooms were all
made up in the 45 minutes or so we were all eating breakfast. Turn-down
service during dinner - complete with pillow mints. No towel animals,
however. Food was disappointing with a few exceptions. One night we had
buffet dinner with chicken, ribs and Dungeness CRABS - all you can eat!
These were amazing! You on those big ships, you can keep your lobster
night (lobsters arenıt even trapped in Alaska). Iıll take the crabs.
Yummmmm. Fresh cookies daily were a treat. But, the galley needed help.
Everything else was the worst Iıve had on a ship (including
At the end of the cruise, we all signed an address exchange sheet which
all got copies of, along with a little newsletter recapping the trip.
was nice. If the boat had been full to capacity, it would have been
miserably crowded. Fortunately, with only 55 passengers, we had enough
room to be comfortable. But, whoıs to say that next time we book, it
be a full boat.There was one large group from Texas that kind of kept to
themselves, a family of four (two really young kids - I love kids, but
this cruise is completely inappropriate for them, as there is really
nothing to keep them occupied - these kids were bored beyond belief, and
understandably had some behavioural problems as a result) who pretty
kept to themselves (I donıt think anyone wanted to sit with them and
loud kids at meals), grandparents, son-in-law and two slightly older
who also kept to themselves (their choice). The rest of us got to know
each other pretty well. Sitting with different people every night did
kind of old, though. Got tired of the ³whatıs your name, where are you
from, what do you do² thing. My first taste of ³freestyle² and I didnıt
like it much. But with only 55 passengers, you kind of have to meet
everyone - more like summer camp than a cruise. Suggested tipping was
$15-20 per person per day. Could be paid in cash or added to your
No credit cards were taken for on-board expenses until it was time to
settle up, at the end of the cruise. Dress was totally beyond casual.
canıt be more casual. Jeans, flannels, sweats, fleece, sweaters were the
uniform. One day, I wore a black sweater with my jeans, put on some
and lipstick, and everyone commented on how ³dressed up² I was. Pretty
funny. I love getting dressed up on big ships, but this was fun for a
change. Smoking on board was almost non-existent. The outside aft
of deck three was the only approved smoking area on the boat, and that
used only by one fellow who enjoyed a pipe a couple of times a day.
than that, no one smoked, which was great. Glacier Bay Cruises has alos,
apparently, been hit by the Norwalk (Norfolk?) virus that had hit HAL so
hard this summer. It seems the virus was running rampant throughout the
state. We wer given an info sheet on the virus, and were asked to wash
hands often, and to use one of those hand sanitizers also (was supplied
our cabin). Two folks did become ill, and were quarantined for 24 hours,
but it was inconclusive what it was they suffered from, as their
did not match, entirely, the ones that the virus sufferers did
Alaska in General: We fell in love with this state. Everyone we met was
polite, helpful, friendly, genuine. It was really refreshing. The air
smelled so clean, so good, I couldnıt inhale enough into my lungs. They
should bottle that stuff. Weather was as I was expecting - would have
liked a few more days with at least a little sun, but I canıt complain -
we saw ³the mountain² and we are lucky for that. Weıre already thinking
about our next trip tot he 49th state. This time, I think weıll head to
the Kenai and Kodiak Island, maybe do a Prince William Sound cruise
(definitely on a small ship). We saw many big ships in the distance and
parked next to us in port. But, we didnıt see any in the narrow,
passages we navigated - I donıt think the big ship passengers can even
believe what they miss, being so far away. Having a captain literally
the boat for 45 minutes, to watch whalesı flukes as they dive, resurface
in 5 minutes, breath for a few minutes, lunge feed, sometimes breach,
dive again. Stuff that only happens on a small ship. Loved it.
That about wraps it up. Probably way more info than you needed, but Iım
detail oriented person - canıt help myself. Hope you enjoyed my review.
Thanks for reading. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.