Archive | Alaska RSS for this section

Want a Free Calendar? It Makes For A Nice Holiday Present!

CruiseOne Calendar for 2013  from your Cruise Agent Davinder Kaur

CruiseOne Calendar for 2013 from your Cruise Agent Davinder Kaur

Davinder Kaur - San Diego Travel Agent

Davinder Kaur – San Diego Travel Agent

I have a new calendar to keep you on track in 2013.  If you are like me, you’ll want to be organized and always know what today’s date is.  You can be the owner of one of these calendar’s by doing just a few simple things.

What You Have To Do:

1) Like my page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/luchaniktravelandcruises (if you haven’t already done so).

Why am I encouraging you to like my page?  Simple answer…..I need more likes!

2) Get another four more people to like the page too.

When there is a total of five (you and another four) – you’ve hit the jackpot!  That is the jackpot for my calendar.

3) Send me a Facebook message or an email to dkaur@cruiseone.com and let me know that you are the referrer of a total of five likes on my page, and mention who you referred, and include your address.

What I Will Do:

I will send you my calendar for 2013 (one calendar only per five likes on my page once you’ve met the criteria described under What You Have To Do).

What Can You Do With My Calendar?

1) Use it for yourself

2) Give it away as a holiday present!

What Pictures Does It Contain for Each Month?

This is the exciting part!  I can’t show you all the pictures here, but some of these places are included: Australia & New Zealand; Cozumel & Yucatan, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil; Venice, Italy; The Greek Isles; Alaska; The Hawaiian Islands; Curacao; Rhine River of Europe; Islands of French Polynesia; and Hong Kong.  Where Do You Wanna Go?

Deadline for Giveaway:

You and the four you refer must like my page (http://www.facebook.com/luchaniktravelandcruises) by December 24th, 2012, it only takes a second or so to do this.

Why Would You Not Want To Do This?

Beats me – it’s free, it won’t hurt you, and remember – no one will come knocking on your door asking you why you liked my page (at least they shouldn’t)!

So go ahead, and do it right now, don’t stress it out….press that like button, you’ve done it so many times before…..it’s easy.  A calendar might be heading your way, and then you can decide “Where Do You Wanna Go?”

I wish you Happy Holidays, and also…..an early Happy 2013!

Saddened That A San Diego Man Died In Bear Attack – Denali National Park

I am so saddened upon hearing about a San Diego man who was mauled to death by a bear  in Denali Park, Alaska on August 24, 2012.  Richard White loved being around nature, and was intent on taking pictures, and subsequently paid for it with his own life.  The story grieves me because the man is from my area (San Diego); he was relatively young – only 49, and he was married and a father to a 21 month old baby girl – who will now grow up without her father.  Nobody deserves to be mauled to death, it is simply horrifying to think what Richard must have gone through.

I think the story hits close to my heart because I understand what it’s like to be fascinated with bears and what it’s like to want to take pictures of them, and get close up to them.   I somehow can understand Richard White’s need to be close to the bears and to continue taking pictures, even though it was not the right choice.

This is the picture that I got by putting my camera through the bar (I certainly would not recommend doing this to anyone else) and taking the photo:

Black Bear – Alaska

These are the pictures that you are supposed to get when you don’t put your camera through the bars – you get the fence in the picture.

Black Bear – Alaska

When I was in the bus at Denali National Park, and saw the Grizzly Bear, I hoped and prayed that they would let us out of the bus, just so that I could get better pictures, but there’s a reason they don’t do that.

This is the picture that I got while I was in the bus:

Grizzly Bear

When the bear started coming towards the bus, that must have been why the bus driver decided to take off

Grizzly Bear – front view – Denali

Denali Park

I realize the dangers of bears more acutely now, and somehow can’t help thinking….that could have been me.   Just remember when you go to Denali, pay heed to the training, and to what the park wardens tell you.  Pay attention to the signs, and better still – don’t go on your own or be thoroughly engrossed in picture taking that you forget the dangers lurking around you.

I am very sorry for what happened to Richard, and my condolences go out to all those who knew him, especially to his family, wife, baby, and his friends.  May you rest in peace, Richard.

These are some articles that you can read about Richard White, the San Diego man who lost his life in Denali:

http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/26/us/alaska-bear-attack/index.html

http://www.adn.com/2012/08/25/2599545/hiker-killed-by-grizzly-bear-in.html

My previous post of Wildlife Pictures Taken In Alaska can be viewed here: https://luchanik.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/wild-life-pictures-taken-in-alaska/

At 6 minutes and 22 seconds into this movie that I made and until 7 minutes and 19 seconds or so, you will see the Grizzly Bear in action in Denali Park, moving around stealthily while rummaging around, probably searching for food.

Cruisetour – Alaska (Part 2)

This is a continuation of Part 1 of the Cruisetour in Alaska, which was posted yesterday. In this video, you will see more of Hotel Alyeska, as well as the other three hotels that I stayed in: Talkeetna Lodge, McKinley Village Lodge, and Pikes Waterfront Lodge. Here you will see Mount McKinley in all it’s glory – did you know that I am part of the 30% club? That means only 30% of the people who visit Mount McKinley get to see it, as often it is shrouded in clouds or fog – yet on this occasion, Mount McKinley was clearly visible. Also, you will see Denali Park, and footage of the Grizzly Bear sighting.

Now, I will add further comments about Day 2 through Day 4 of the cruisetour right here, instead of listing all the days out one by one.  As you know, I stayed at the Alyeska Resort & Hotel on Day 1, and when I awoke the next morning, I went on the tram to take a look at where the skiing takes place in this wonderful resort.  I already showed you the pictures in a previous post, and many more are included on the videos than what I can enclose here in this post.  Therefore, I will start with what happened when we left Alyeska.  We went to the Conservation Center, which is where I saw the Black Bear, and other animals.  From there, we went to Anchorage, and the most notable thing about Anchorage from what I remembered was that it is a city with a lot more choices of shopping and restaurants than you will find in other places such as Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, Talkeetna, etc.  There was a market that had really good salmon quesadillas, and I would highly recommend trying one of these if you ever get chance to visit.  Here are some of my pictures of Anchorage:

Market in Anchorage, Alaska

Dogs of Alaska – Anchorage

Anchorage, Alaska

We then left Anchorage after about three hours or so, and headed for Talkeetna Lodge which overlooks Mount McKinley.

Talkeetna Lodge, Alaska

Talkeetna Lodge

Restaurant at Talkeetna Lodge

Talkeetna Lodge

Weddings at Talkeetna

I am pretty sure that the tour guides or someone told us that Mount McKinley is the tallest mountain from base to the top (the peak) – so it is pretty spectacular.  However, it was sad to hear that just before the day  we were there, someone had a fatal fall from it.  Something so spectacular can also be so dangerous, unfortunately.

Mount McKinley

Mount McKinley

Mount McKinley

I took the photo below with my I-Phone, and at times it is really hard to distinguish which is Mount McKinley, but it looks as though it’s where the third bump is (more towards the right of the picture).  With my regular camera, I took the other pictures below of sunset in the vicinity, but they weren’t directly over Mount McKinley, but sunset is sunset I guess, and it doesn’t really matter where it is as long as it’s enjoyed.  What is notable to mention is that sunset started at about 11:30 pm, and lasted until 2 am or so.  It stays light until very late in certain parts of Alaska, and this seemed to vary as we traveled from place to place.  Also, it was light very early in the morning too, so there were very few hours of darkness, especially at Talkeetna Lodge.  It was so unusual to see sunset so late at night, and who can go to sleep when you can stay up until 2 am just appreciating the sunset over Mount McKinley?

Sunset over Mount McKinley

   

You can take a flightseeing excursion over Mount McKinley, and you can actually even land on it.  We saw so many flightseeing tours, and here are some pictures of planes flying close by:

      

Leaving Talkeetna, I took this picture:

near Denali

We arrived at our next stop, where we would spend the night prior to visiting Denali National Park

McKinley Village Lodge

McKinley Village Lodge

McKinley Village Lodge

McKinley Village Lodge

That’s me (Davinder) at McKinley Village Lodge

McKinley Village Lodge

Then we set off in the morning really early at 5:30 am or so for Denali National Park.  This meant that I had to wake up at approximately 4am – another early morning!  I barely had time to grab something from the coffee shop in the lobby.  They gave us lunch boxes on the bus as there are no cafes or restaurants in Denali, and you have to be very careful with food.  You even have to make sure that you don’t put anything in the trash cans that has any trace of food, this is for the benefit of the animals – so that they don’t associate food with humans.  All food has to be consumed on the bus, and disposed of in special trash containers within the bus, and then the bus personnel see to the proper disposal of it.  I think our sandwiches were reindeer meat, and there was some type of crackers and raisins, and a bottle of water.

Our tour of Denali, which was a 7 hour tour because it was the upgraded Denali Park Tour, cost an additional $58.25.  The included Denali Park Tour does not go deep into Denali, and I believe it only lasts about two and a half hours.  However, it was highly recommended to get the upgraded tour, and I’m glad that I did.

Here are some pictures, I’m not going to show too many as again, you can see them in my video or a previous post.  The first picture shows you the bus that takes you into Denali National Park.  My most personal prized picture of Denali is that of the Grizzly Bear, and I also got it on video.

The bus – Denali Park

Grizzly Bear

Dall Sheep of Alaska

This is some of the landscape within Denali:

Denali National Park landscape

Denali National Park

near Denali National Park

Now, I should give you a little background on Denali.  This park was put into place after much lobbying to Congress from the efforts of early conservationists such as Charles Sheldon, who fought to preserve Denali.  Did you know that some people refer to Mount McKinley as Denali, while others just wish to call it Mount McKinley?  The native name for it is Denali.  In fact, the park was first named Mount McKinley National Park, but it was renamed Denali National Park and Preserve.    Did you know that cars cannot go deep into the park?  I believe only a certain number are given a permit to enter the park, but they are only allowed to go up to a certain point.  By riding the tour bus, we are all helping to protect Denali’s wilderness ecosystem.  Denali is an important park, because the animals within it are respected, and have a safe area to roam around.   I like bears and appreciate the idea that there is a place for them where they are protected, and won’t be hunted or slaughtered, but I guess the same goes for all the other animals there who are all important to one another’s existence.  Anyway, I didn’t mean to go off into talking about something that I don’t know a lot about, but I do appreciate what they are doing in Denali.

After we finished our tour of Denali, we headed to Fairbanks, and the Pikes Waterfront Lodge.  This was to be our last stop and our last night in Alaska.

Pikes Waterfront Lodge

Pikes Waterfront Lodge

Pikes Waterfront Lodge

Sunset at Pikes Waterfront Lodge

I have finally finished the posts and videos on Alaska.  Well, until next time……I wish you a very pleasant week ahead, and a happy summer!

Cruisetour – Alaska

Join Davinder on her 4 day cruisetour of Alaska, which started in Seward at the end of the 7 day cruise from Vancouver to Alaska.

Day 1 of the Cruisetour was busy and very memorable with visits to the SeaLife Center, a Resurrection Bay Wildlife Cruise (where Davinder saw a whale, at least a glimpse of a whale), and a wonderful trip on the Wilderness Express train where she saw a Bald Eagle. The day finished with a stay overnight at the beautiful Alyeska Resort and Hotel, which is one of the best ski resorts in Alaska.

How is a cruisetour different to a shore excursion?

A cruisetour is different to a shore excursion, because the latter is available as an optional trip during a cruise ship’s port visit, while a cruisetour, is a trip you can make either prior to your cruise or after.  You can take cruisetours virtually everywhere you embark on your cruise, or disembark, so next time you think of a cruise whether it’s from Venice, Rome, London, Miami, Vancouver, or any other port at all – think about a cruisetour, and you will get to see more of that particular place.  A cruisetour allows you to visit different places, and to see them in greater depth.  Transportation is included, as well as accommodation, and some meals.  Most cruisetours are run by cruise lines, so it makes sense to book them along with your cruise.  You should always book your cruisetours prior to taking your cruise.

I took a post-cruise tour, which started from Seward, which was where the Vancouver to Alaska cruise finished.  Also, just something to note…..I would never have seen bears during my cruise – even on the shore excursions that I took (however, there are some excursions where there is a chance to see bears), and since I love bears, this cruisetour made it worthwhile to me, especially when I saw the Grizzly Bear in Denali Park.  The Black Bear that I saw even though it was in a Conservation Center, was also another highlight of my cruisetour, as was the Wilderness Express train, and my stay at the Hotel Alyeska.  I also enjoyed seeing Mount McKinley.  Therefore, as you can see – you would not be able to experience Denali Park, Mount McKinley, the Wilderness Express train, Mount McKinley, or Hotel Alyeska without going on a cruisetour, unless you fly to Alaska just specifically to experience these places.  I hope this explanation has made it a little clearer to you as to what a cruisetour is, and sometimes it is more difficult to write about it than to show it in a video, so I’ve attempted to explain it in a video that I made – please see the next post, and I will also put a link here:  Cruisetour – Alaska

Anyway, to continue my recount of the cruisetour, I have included some pictures below.  The bus was right outside the cruise ship, waiting to take us on the next adventure.

Cruisetour – Alaska

We then went to the SeaLife Center (I showed you some pictures of the sea lions and seals in a previous post), here are some pictures of the actual Center

SeaLife Center, Seward, Alaska

SeaLife Center, Seward, Alaska

vicinity of SeaLife Center, Seward, Alaska

We then went back by bus to near where the cruise ship was docked to catch a Resurrection Bay Wildlife Cruise.  This is where I caught a glimpse of a whale, you can see that in my video that I will post at the bottom of this page. Here are pictures of the port of Seward:

The port of Seward, Alaska

Radiance Of The Seas, Seward

Port of Seward, Alaska

Port of Seward, Alaska

Port of Seward, Alaska

Port of Seward, Alaska

Now, for the highlight of the cruisetour, or at least my favorite part – the Wilderness Express train – you just have to experience this train.  It has two levels, and has a glass dome, which makes for excellent viewing.  You can see the wildlife of Alaska as you zoom on by, we saw caribou, and bald eagles (you will see the bald eagle on my video, didn’t get a picture of it, just video footage).

The Wilderness Express

That’s me – Davinder – both outside the train, and on level two of the train in the glass dome portion of it. Everybody else had gone downstairs to eat.

The Wilderness Express

Here I am with a fellow CruiseOne franchise owner and his wife, and another travel agent.

The dining car on the Wilderness Express

Have you ever delved into your food, and then realized you should have taken a picture first?  Well, this halibut was so good, that I could not resist, and I took the picture too late.  I probably should not even include this picture here, but I promise this was just about the best dish of food I had during the whole trip to Alaska – it was delicious!

Food on the Wilderness Express (half-eaten!)

I’m not sure if I showed you this picture of the caribou, but we saw these from the train.

Caribou, Alaska

Well, if they could make a song and sing it to the tune of “Welcome to the Hotel California”, they should do it for the Hotel Alyeska.  Welcome to the Hotel Alyseska, it’s a lovely place.  We arrived at this beautiful hotel way too late, it must have been at about 9pm.  The next day we had to leave at around 11 am, and that certainly was not fair.  I just loved this hotel.  It is simply beautiful, and I could easily stay here for three or four days at least, a visit of one night is not worth it.  It has so much atmosphere, and words cannot describe it – both inside and outside of the hotel, it is exquisite.

It was snowing when we arrived there, and this was on Friday, May 18th.  The Hotel Alyeska is one of the best ski resorts in Alaska.  It is a very popular place, and rightly so.

Hotel Alyeska, Alaska

Hotel Alyeska, Alaska

Hotel Alyeska, Alaska

Hotel Alyeska, Alaska

Hotel Alyeska, Alaska

Hotel Alyeska, Alaska

The next morning, we took a tram up to where all the skiing takes place, and there was so much snow.

Tram at Alyeska Resort and Hotel

Tram, Alyeska Resort and Hotel, Alaska

Hotel Alyeska, Alaska

Out of the four hotels that I stayed in during the four day cruisetour of Alaska, the Alyeska Resort was undoubtedly the best.  It is just magical.

Hotel Alyeska

Goodbye, Hotel Alyeska and the Wilderness Express train.  I wish I’d had more time with both of you – you were both part of my most incredible experiences of the cruisetour, and both occurred on Day One of the four days.  I’m glad that I captured you in photographs and video, as now I will always remember you.

Have You Ever Wondered About The Entertainment On A Cruise?

The entertainment on a cruise ship just has to be experienced, and is one of the reasons that cruises have so much intrinsic value……not just for the journey, or the destination, but for the experience onboard the ship. On the Radiance Of The Seas, the entertainment was absolutely terrific. The Aurora Theatre was the venue each night of some highly entertaining acts, and in this video that I made, I tried to capture a few seconds of most acts. There is so much that I could not include as I like to keep my videos down to 10 minutes or less. I also felt it was important to show you the Cascades staff, who were also highly entertaining, as were the Cruise Director’s Staff who entertained us from the Centrum (the lobby) to the swimming pool. If you go on a cruise, you won’t be bored!

Hope you all have an even more entertaining evening with watching this video. Thanks for viewing it.

Do You Ever Wonder About Food On A Cruise Ship?

Don’t wonder anymore! Take a look at all the incredible options that were available on the Radiance Of The Seas, during the cruise from Vancouver to Alaska. You will see Cascades Restaurant, the Windjammer Cafe, the Park Cafe, Rita’s Cantina, Izumi, Samba Grill, and Chops Grille. You will see Indian food including the delicious Andhra Pakora Curry that I just had to have two servings of, and there was also Indian food available each night on the dinner menu in Cascades.

After I had uploaded the video on to You Tube, I realized I had duplicate coverage of some scones in the Windjammer Cafe, but then thought who’s going to pay attention……I’ll just leave it in! It was easier for me to not upload the video a second time – it takes hours to upload everything to You Tube. Anyhow, I hope you’ll take a look, and you might even get hungry! Hope you are all having a terrific weekend.

PS: Just wanted to add that thumbnail images (such as the image you see in the video) drive me mad.  You only get three choices or so and in this video I did not get lucky!  You’d think if you are showing a video about food, then the thumbnail image should show something really good or mouthwatering.   My thumbnail pictures actually came from what I recorded on my camcorder (not photographs).   Three thumbnails get selected automatically, perhaps based upon the positioning of that particular image during a crucial moment when the thumbnail gets chosen.  If the three that get chosen automatically are not the most appealing thumbnails, you are left with an option, and that is to edit the video again to get another chance at a better thumbnail.  From what I can see, you don’t get to pick one, so it’s all about luck.  I got the least appealing thumbnails to choose from.  The other video that I just posted recently that shows the Radiance Of The Seas – Part 1, has a much better thumbnail – which just goes to show – that sometimes you can get lucky.  But with this video, it wasn’t so.  Sometimes, I get to a certain point where I just decide that I cannot be bothered to go back and edit again.  Who has the time?