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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?

Royal Caribbean’s Radiance Of The Seas, Vancouver to Alaska – Part 2

On this video, I have more video footage than photographs. I captured a sighting of a porcupine – I’ve never seen one before, therefore, I was so happy to get that on video! I also show the specialty restaurants, and a little of the entertainment. Also, you get to see the Solarium, and my favorite breakfast place on the ship – the Park Cafe.

Royal Caribbean’s Radiance Of The Seas, Vancouver to Alaska – Part 1

This video will show my photos and video footage of the cruise, and the port visits, including pictures of Mendenhall Glacier and Hubbard Glacier. Part 2 will have more cruise coverage.

Some people go on a cruise ship for the destination, and some go for the experience on the ship.  I liked both aspects, because I just love cruises, and love traveling.  My other favorite parts of the actual cruise were the entertainment (got a little bit of Bollywood), the Park Cafe food, and the Indian food in the Windjammer Cafe, where I also got Indian tea.  It’s important to have some of those home comforts!

Last look at the Radiance Of The Seas

It is now day 8, and it is check-out day, goodbye day, and time to leave the Radiance Of The Seas. It is Friday, May 18, 2012. The ship had arrived at Seward, our arrival dock at 4am.  We had got our numbers to put on our luggage the night before, the numbers are really important.  The following picture of the ever helpful Cruise Compass will give you an idea of what I mean.   You could get a number such as 5, 6, 20 and 21 that had a departure time of 6am, or be slightly more lucky if you are booked on a cruise tour like us – our number was 82, and our departure time was 9am.  This of course, gave us more time in the morning.  The last numbers were scheduled to be called at approximately 9:30 am.

Cruise Compass on Radiance Of The Seas

The last few pictures I took of the ship were these:

Excuse this picture as it is not the best, I used my camcorder again, and it was major clean-up day for the Radiance Of The Seas staff, so I had to take the picture while they were in the midst of their cleaning.

Seward, Alaska

The games room – Seven Hearts – I never even got the chance to sit in this room.

Seven Hearts, Radiance Of The Seas

Seven Hearts, Radiance Of The Seas

This is the centre of the mid-area that overlooks the Centrum and can be seen from all the floors just about.  Quite a design!

Centrum, Radiance Of The Seas

Centrum, Radiance Of The Seas

Centrum, Radiance Of The Seas

Colorful Royal Caribbean Logo, Radiance Of The Seas

Seward viewed from inside Radiance Of The Seas

Radiance Of The Seas

I snuck a look at an ocean-view cabin on my way out.

Ocean-view cabin, Radiance Of The Seas

It is bitter-sweet leaving a ship when it’s the end of the cruise.  However, the nice part of this journey is that even though one adventure is over, the other one is just about to begin, as now it is time for the cruise tour.  Our bus will take us from Seward today to the Sea Life Centre, and then drop us off so that we can take a boat tour on Kenai Fjords Explorer, and have a chance to view whales, otters and sea lions, etc.  Later, we will take the Wilderness Express train to Girdwood, where we will stop the night at Hotel Alyeska.  I will write up on that part of the journey soon.  Thank you for reading.