Being on a cruise creates a cocoon of comfort. It’s a small city on the sea. I love seeing multiple cities and towns in a week while living in the lap of luxury.
My travel companion, Claire Shulman, and I had a state room on the Ruby Princess with a sitting area, a bedroom and, best of all, a large terrace to relax and even dine on. My biggest luxury was having a room service breakfast there every day.
The ship holding more than 3,000 people offers over a dozen restaurants and several entertainment venues, ranging from large to more intimate, and every evening there is an offering from dancing to musicals, to comedy and magic shows. There’s also a spa and pools. During the day, there were also excursions along the various docks on the Alaskan coast, with many different tours from which to choose.
On the ship, there are stores selling everything from souvenirs to perfumes and fine jewelry. There were also daily art auctions. There is even a photo gallery where Lawrence, one of their staff, sat with me and patiently showed me how to use my new photo equipment. I’m afraid it will take more than one lesson but I have begun thanks to his patience and a photo class the ship offered.
A bonus of cruise travel are the hundreds of kind professional staff. Since Claire had some mobility issues, she used a wheelchair to get around what seemed like a mile long walk to get from one end of the ship to the other. I was impressed how totally wheelchair accessible it was.
Having traversed the inner passage from Seattle to Juneau, to Skagway to Glacier Bay, and to Ketchikan, our last stop was my namesake city: Victoria, British Columbia.
We had signed on for excursions to go whale watching and even a seaplane ride to see glaciers, but it wound up being cancelled by the ship. These are the unpredictables of travel. I promised Claire I’d get a video of the whale watching tour we missed!
Instead we did a city tour of Victoria, located on Vancouver Island. Our ship docked at 7 p.m. and we were off by 7:30 p.m. In the dark of night, we marveled at the stunning, 3,500 light bulb lit Legislative Building designed by the brilliant architect, Francis Rattenbury, in 1893 in honor of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. It was worth the trip to see it in all its glory.
What a surprise! That’s what travel is all about – turning a corner and finding something unexpected and glorious. We may not have seen the killer whales or the icebergs up close but the trip was filled with eye popping sites and experiences.
I’m so grateful to have accompanied my dear friend Claire on the seven-day inside passage cruise through Alaska.