Dream come true for this Malaysian who went on a cruise in cold, cold Alaska


Sailing past Glacier Bay in Alaska. — Photos: TEE SIEW LAI

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Alaska in the United States had long been on my travel bucket list even though I had been advised that the place was too cold, boring and expensive.

So when I saw a tour package for a seven-day cruise from the city of Anchorage in Alaska to Vancouver in Canada some time back, I wasted no time and signed up for it.

Even though I was excited about my trip, I have to admit that getting a US visa was not a nice experience as there were a thousand and one questions to answer in the forms and interviews.

The trip was in August which is late summer, so the weather was perfect. We only needed to bring a light jacket or two, instead of a thick coat.

We boarded the ship at Whittier port in Anchorage, and our ports of call included Yakutat Bay, Glacier Bay, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, which are all in Alaska.

I explored the big ship right after checking in. My cabin was cosy and the bed was comfortable. You can find meals at the restaurants at any time of the day up to 11pm – you definitely will not be left hungry onboard.

There was also a fitness centre with pilates and yoga classes offered, as well as an entertainment room.

Just like any cruise, passengers could choose to join group shore excursions, or venture out on your own. Since I am not really the adventurous type, I had pre-booked a few group excursions online before even leaving Malaysia.

The highlight of the Alaska cruise for me was the Glacier Bay National Marine Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site. When the park came into view, most of the passengers on deck took pictures with their phones and cameras, while others just enjoyed the view.

Since the Alaska cruise was in August, the weather wasn’t too cold and the reader only had to bring a light jacket along for the trip. — Photos: TEE SIEW LAISince the Alaska cruise was in August, the weather wasn’t too cold and the reader only had to bring a light jacket along for the trip. — Photos: TEE SIEW LAI

Luckily, I was told where to get the best view of the icebergs and glaciers. I was so awestruck by the gigantic glaciers and could not contain my excitement when towering pieces of ice crashed into the sea.

Unfortunately, though, we did not see much wildlife except for some birds.

One of my shore excursions was the “White Pass And Yukon Scenic Railroad” tour, a popular attraction. We had to bring along our passport for this tour as we had to cross the border to Canada. Cruise passengers were picked up from the port and sent to the station, where we boarded the train.

Along the way, we were given some time to explore the small Canadian towns like Bennett in British Columbia, Carcross in Yukon and Bove Island.

At Juneau, we were taken to look for some spawning salmon and black bears. We got so excited when we saw a family of black bears walking under the boardwalk.

During another one of my pre-booked excursions in Ketchikan, it rained but I still enjoyed myself. We boarded a smaller vessel, which was comfortable with a heated cabin and open-air observation deck.

While enjoying a mug of hot chocolate, I saw some beautiful Totem poles, the Totem Bight Clan House and the historic Guard Island Lighthouse. Binoculars were provided to us and I managed to see some eagles and seals.

Back on the ship, one of the main activities was whale- watching. However, I was a bit disappointed that we only saw one whale.

Despite that, though, I was very happy that my Alaska dream had finally come true!

The views expressed are entirely the reader’s own.

Totem poles in Ketchikan.Totem poles in Ketchikan.

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