11 Observations from an Alaskan Cruise
Final in a series
1. A fantastic day in Ketchikan is defined as one when it doesn’t rain. Annual rainfall there is about 160 inches, and the record is more than 200. I had a fantastic day with real sunshine, not the liquid sunshine the locals euphemistically talk about.
2. Having four cruise ships in port at Skagway at the same time floods the tiny town of only 9,000 residents.
3.It’s easy to escape Skagway’s human tidal wave. Go to the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park’s visitor center and ask for a Dewey Lake Trail System map. You can be on a trail in less than 10 minutes – and you’ll encounter very few cruise ship buffet patrons on your hike.
4.The definition of “Smart Casual Apparel” apparently is subject to a huge array of interpretations when it comes to cruise ship dining rooms.
5. Some people do not understand what “No Baseball Caps” means.
6.It really is fun to read the nametags and nationalities of the crew. There are more than 60 nationalities on the ship I chose, the Norwegian Jewel, and I identified almost 20 – despite my nearsightedness.
7. Paddling a sea kayak beside a docked cruise ship provides a special perspective on the ship’s size. I think the official nautical term is “ginormous.” The slang description is “PDB” (similar to “PDQ.”)
8.The Ketchikan shore excursion that requires the least exertion and perhaps the most laughs is the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show. Its front door is barely 300 yards from the dock, and it lets you see someone throw an ax who’s not mad at anybody. (The show has a cousin in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., called the Great Smoky Mountain Lumberjack Feud if you can’t get to Ketchikan.)
9.Because no one wants to meet Mr. Norovirus, a cruise ship is perhaps the only place where people are absolutely delighted to wash their hands before eating. Crewmembers on my ship greeted each diner with a squirt from a spray bottle of hand sanitizer and the proclamation, “Happy, happy. Washy, washy.”
10.Parents who bring tiny children on cruises should remember that the children are cute up until the moment they scream bloody murder in a dining room.
11.Adolescents – and some adults – should understand that they don’t have to build Mt. Everest on a breakfast plate. They always can mount a second expedition.