For us, this was the case when we traveled to Alaska. If you've been planning to visit Alaska, you probably know that there are few or no roads. The most common forms of transportation are either by boat or sea plane, especially near the coast. While this made me super fascinated, it also makes getting around very difficult. And to visit sites such as Hubbard glacier, either you have to hire someone to take you or paddle by yourself in freezing conditions for a couple of days. And paddling for three days straight did not excite me nearly as much as the sea planes did.
The company we went with was called Norwegian Cruise Lines, It was still a little bit more commercial than I would've liked, and they did not know how to make scrambled eggs, but overall the experience was good. They had the usual commercial cruise experiences, such as an all you can eat buffet and bingo game nights, but they also had a really nice observation deck to watch the sea. That was where I spent most of my time, looking for whales or watching the sea pass by. But as soon as the ship docked, we were racing off the port to squeeze in as much of Alaska as we could, and to soak in as much of the lush mountains and blue ice as we could in the eight or nine hours we were provided off the boat.
The destinations our ship took us to included Hubbard glacier, Skagway, Seward, Icy Strait Point, and many others. The farthest north we went was Seward, and then the ship turned around and went back to Vancouver, where we had originally started off the trip. The cruise was really meant to be a one way trip to Seward, but the plane ride back to Vancouver would've been more expensive than taking the ship back, ironically enough. The destinations on the way back from Seward were slightly different too, which was nice.
On a side note, before I wrap up this post, I just want to give a quick warning. Make sure to watch out for what we lovingly referred to as 'cruise traps'. These are shops that the cruises set up to lure in tourists and travelers, most commonly in the form of jewelry shops or clothing stores by the ports. These stores aren't actually local and Alaskan owned. Instead, they are paid and provided for by the cruise lines. When the cruising season is over they close, and the shops turn into a ghost town. The stores themselves are expensive, they're not part of the true Alaskan experience, and so we avoided them like the plague. And of course, always make sure to watch out for cruising scams and phony deals.
And so, if you're looking to travel to a destination such as Alaska where transportation is often expensive and difficult, cruises can be your best option. Depending on the line you choose they can get pricey, but often they allow you to travel more conveniently then you could on your own. While I think the next time I visit Alaska I will do it independently, this experience proved better to be than what I thought it would be, and I would definitely do it again if offered the opportunity.
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