The Grand Princess

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Saturday: To Vancouver and the Grand Princess

We are really rushed this morning: we swallow breakfast, pack, get to the light rail station, ride to International District/Chinatown, and transit to the King Street train station. The elevator is out of service, so we haul all of our luggage down the stairs to make it with only 3 minutes to spare.

The Amtrak Cascade takes us across some spectacular scenery. Soon, we arrive in Vancouver. We heft the stroller and our bags across the street and up to the light rail platform. Another elevator outage at the rail exit, so we make multiple trips up and down stairs.

Finally, we arrive at Canada Place. We are so relieved to drop our bags at bag check, then pass through the checkpoints to finally board the Grand Princess. After getting a late lunch at the buffet, we settle in and do our first batch of laundry.

Sunday: At Sea

This is a day at sea. Daphney and Jayden soak in the hot tub on the upper deck of the Grand Princess. We lounge during afternoon tea in the Michelangelo Dining Room. The movie on the top deck, “The Call of the Wild,” gives us a glimpse of gold prospecting and dog mushing in Alaska.

Monday: Ketchikan

Our ship arrives in Ketchikan in the morning. We walk through Creek Street then up to the fish ladder. Salmon are in the pool, lingering but not jumping. Then, we stroll along the river to the Totem Heritage Center. Lunch is at the Asian Garden Sushi Bar, and we enjoy strawberries and Nutella crepes for dessert at the Alaska Crêpe Co. Afterward, we check back onto the Grand Princess and sail up the Inside Passage.

Evening entertainment is Phil Hughes, a ventriloquist. Daphney especially enjoys the show. It’s her first time seeing a ventriloquist.

Tuesday: Juneau Whale Watching

We arrive in Juneau in the morning. The cruise company has a whale-watching tour package, but since I didn’t prearrange one, I find one online while on the ship.

Dolphin Tours picks us up by the tramway station and get shuttled to Auke Bay Harbor. The small group tour turns out to be a highlight of the trip. We see groups of humpback whales diving and performing bubble net feeding. There are multiple groups throughout the region.

Upon our return, we take the Mt. Roberts Tram for a mountaintop view of Juneau.

Wednesday: Skagway and the Klondike

In Skagway, the recent landslide by the docks forces our ship to stop away from the main strip. We take the water shuttle to the dock and walk to town. In the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park’s visitor center and theater, we learn a lot about the history of how this area got established.

The kids get to eat Klondike ice cream sandwiches within the Klondike. Then, they spend the afternoon running and climbing around in the Molly Walsh playground before returning to the ship.

We set sail, trailing two other cruise ships heading toward Glacier Bay.

Thursday: Glacier Bay

Rangers hop on board in the morning and narrate while we cruise through Glacier Bay. We pass by Reid, Lamplugh, and Johns Hopkins glaciers. At Johns Hopkins Glacier, there is a lone kayaker doing some scenic paddling. The most impressive is Margerie Glacier, where we linger. A bald eagle hangs out on an iceberg. Sea otters float by as we cruise out of Glacier Bay.

Tonight is formal night, and I do our second set of laundry.

We order dinner and then steal away briefly to get our formal pictures taken, which we will end up forgetting to pick up. Dinner finishes off with a parade of the Baked Alaskas, from which we get our slices.

Friday: College Fjord

This final at-sea day starts out with our usual breakfast, plus a brunch session with Stanley the Bear. He makes another appearance at the afternoon story time session. At the end of the program, Jayden wins a slinky at the raffle, and Daphney wins the grand prize: a stuffed animal wolf.

In the evening, I take them to run around outside on the top deck and to enjoy College Fjord with Harvard Glacier and Yale Glacier. Then, we have a room service dinner.

After tucking everyone into bed, I sneak up onto the bow of the ship to take sunset pictures on this final night of our cruise journey.


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