September 19, 2014

Singles Go Wild in Alaska

Where else would you be able to whale watch in your bathrobe from the comfort of your own cozy cabin??? Sixty members on our singles cruise in Alaska joined us on an adventure aboard the Celebrity Solstice from which we were able to spot Orca and Humpback whales breaching and fur seals sunbathing . It was quite an adventure at sea to be in the backyard of our 49th state, yet feel like we were in Fjordland, New Zealand halfway across the world.

Cruising is ideal in Alaska because the weather is typically rainy and foggy. Whether it be from the spa/gym, the Grand Epernay restaurant, the Lawn Club, the hot tub in the Solarium or the Sky Observation Lounge, we had views of the water and wildlife.

Our first port, Ketchikan, was the southernmost in southeast, Alaska, ‘the salmon capital of the world’ and home to the ‘Aleutian Ballad’ crabbing vessel from ‘The Deadliest Catch.’ In this authentic fishing village, even the historic buildings are built on pilings over a stream in which salmon swim upstream during spawning season. Tliget, Tsimshian & Haida are the native cultures in Ketchikan that work hard to preserve the traditions and totem poles notorious to this area. Some of our group rode aboard the Aleutian Ballad to learn the process, catching a variety of crab species indigenous to the waters of the region. They also caught an octopus and learned a lot about the life of a crab fisherman while being entertained onboard by the humorous crew.

CRAB LEGS!! What does one do when the Alaskan weather does not cooperate…EAT KING CRAB!! Our singles hit the historic Annabelle’s and feasted on King Crab legs, lobster mac n cheese and seafood bisque before we waddled back aboard the ship to dress up for our theme night, ‘Gettin’ Wild in Alaska’ where the bears and moose beat out the crabs, for sure!

Why wake up at 5am on vacation?? …to get the best (warm) seats in the house to view Tracy Arm Fjord. The naturalist onboard had been giving very interesting sessions on wildlife native to Alaska as well as the areas we would be seeing, so we were all very excited to get up and see this magnificent wonder. We cruised slowly through the fog while he narrated, letting us know what we were looking at and giving us a heads up of any wildlife sightings. We were sipping our coffee and relaxing in the warmth of the ship while passing by waterfalls, pristine forests and expansive mountains. We all had our eyes peeled for humpback whales and bears!

Our arrival in the capital of Alaska, Juneau, was much anticipated. It is nestled in the inside passage and only accessible by sea or plane. We had all heard that this site was founded in the famous GOLD RUSH and were interested in seeing the sites. Many of us visited the Mendenhall Glacier, an immense, 12-mile-long river of ice, in all of is magnificence. The shades of blues are so dark they almost look contrived and the crevices run deep. Many had plans to ride a helicopter onto a glacier, some were kayaking in the surrounding waters, others hiking on nearby hills looking for the best vantage point and photo op. Zip-lining, whale-watching, dog-mushing…something for everyone was available. We rounded up at the end of the day at the famous Red Dog Saloon for happy hour. Its kitschy wild-western nostalgia was complete with sawdust floors, mounted wildlife and swinging doors. And, let’s not forget the their infamous ‘duck fart’ shots and fun live music. For dinner, we headed over to Tracy’s King Crab Shack and FEASTED on King Crab legs & seafood bisque from seaside picnic tables, it was an authentic Alaskan night to be remembered!

Skagway was the last stop on our Alaskan cruise and we had the most GORGEOUS weather for it. This town was where gold stampeders from all over the world arrived by steamship in 1897, bound for gold in the Yukon Territory. The most popular attraction is the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, created as a result of the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898. It is a narrow-gauge train that follows the path the pioneers did in search of Klondike Gold CLIMBED in order to get to Canada. The tracks wind around granite mountains, trundle across steep gorges and pass through two tunnels. There was also dogsledding, an eagle, bear and wildlife expedition, Chilkoot Lake wildlife kayak tour, ziplining and a speed boat fjord discovery available and it was the ideal day to be outdoors in the sunshine! We met up after our adventures at the former brothel and Gold Rush-era watering hole, The Red Onion Saloon, for happy hour before strolling back down main street and the boardwalk ‘home’ to our ship. Tonight’s theme was appropriately, GOLD RUSH and we had to get our bling on!

Our last day, we met up for a brisk 1-mile walk on the track, had a delicious lunch in the Grand Epernay dining room overlooking the water and our BIG GAME, MOOSE vs BEARS BOCCI TOURNAMENT on the lawn club. This was no event to miss, we had a cheering section, photographer and onlookers even asked to join in! We started off with a bracket in teams of two and the champs won prizes. Then we split into two teams and played by the concierge’s rules, the unconventional way…rolling the ball backwards and between our legs, getting spun around before rolling the ball. It was a great day to have our shoes off and toes in the grass playing together and the perfect ending to a wonderful singles Alaskan adventure together!

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