Met out tour director and driver, Malia and Darcie. Two wonderful women with great personalities. Took the Resurrection Bay Wilderness Cruise that was included. Saw a bunch of sea lions, sea otters and different birds. We spent a few hours on the boat and it was a wonderful day. We then headed towards the Alaska Sea Life Center which was also included. Spent some time there. Also very nice. We then boarded a train on the Alaska Railroad. Celebrity owns its own high dome ceiling cars. Had dinner on the train. HUGE, HIGE portions, but very good. Saw some beautiful scenery on our way to Vancouver. Saw a bore-tide coming in! The train even stopped to let us take pictures of the Dall Sheep that was on a nearby cliff!
Vancouver was a very nice city. A lot to see and do. We went to the Alaska Native American Heritage Center. It was very interesting and informative. (DH and I are big Native American collectors) We purchased a hand made basket from one of the artists. Spent the evening relaxing and had a nice dinner.
The next morning we headed to Denali via motor coach. Stopped about ¾ of the way there for a boxed lunch. (small sub sandwich and a cookie) The mountain was “out” and we were able to eat lunch and look at her beauty. Stayed at the McKinley Village. It was a cute place but could have been a bit cleaner. There were stains on the carpet in our room. We booked a Whitewater Rafting trip for that evening. Had fun but was a bit disappointed in the rapids. They were very small and few and far between. But overall still a nice time. Met some “neighbors” from NJ.
Second day in Denali was the 6 to 8 hour Tundra Wilderness Tour. We had a “Grand Slam” and saw Grizzly, Moose, Caribou and Dall Sheep. Very nice day and a lot of fun. We thought we would be tired of sitting on the bus all day, but it wasn’t bad at all. The mountain was “out” again and so beautiful. This was the closest we’d been to her. (so far) We were told that we were very lucky. We got the “Grand Slam” and saw the mountain twice. Only 30% of the visitors to Denali get to see McKinley. She is usually clouded over. She’s so large that she creates her own weather. We were so inspired by her that when we go to the hotel we wanted to see if we could book a last minute flight trip. We lucked out and got to book a Summit Flight. This was the coolest thing we did besides the Dog Sledding. What a wonderful trip and you get SO close to the mountain! It’s beautiful. DH and I were a couple of tourists in that plane. We snapped picture after picture. You have to wear oxygen masks because you are so high up. I highly recommend this trip.
The next day we headed toward Fairbanks via motor coach. Stopped at the Pipeline for some pictures and we also stopped at the El Dorado Gold Mine. The gold mine is a bit cheesy but still fun if you don’t take it too seriously. DH and I panned about $15.00 worth of gold and put it into a $50.00 necklace. This gold mine is making out quite well since almost everyone left there with a necklace or earrings or something. They were making a nice profit. I like my cheesy little necklace with my gold that we panned. Who cares!!! HA! Fairbanks was very smoky from all the forest fires in the area. We arrived at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge which was our hotel for the night. DH and I were assigned one of the log cabins next to the main hotel. It was so cute and comfortable. This was also the only King size bed we had while we were on land. All the other places we had two double beds. We would have liked to stay here another night. We had the Artic Circle Adventure booked for this night but we were grounded due to too much smoke in the air. They said it wasn’t safe to fly. So yet another refund.
The next morning we had an early flight out and were upgraded to first class tickets. Very nice!
Overall the cruise and cruise tour were excellent. Alaska is beautiful!
If anyone has any other questions for me, feel free to ask. I’ll be more than happy to answer them.