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Live cruise replay - Radiance to Alaska - August 19-26, 2016

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Well since cruising is not on our agenda for 2020 I figured I could relive one of our favorites. I was thinking if anyone wanted to jump in and add their experience (even if it was a different week/year) we could turn this into an amazing experience. Let's just pretend we were together. 


Hello everyone and welcome to our cruise to Alaska. We are Bill and Marie from the Seattle area and have been cruising since 2010. We had booked Alaska cruises several times in the past but always cancelled them. I think the primary reason we had cancelled before was not wanting to spend our precious vacation in a cold climate. Let's face it, even on it's best week, weather on an Alaskan cruise is not the tropics. But what finally convinced us was an AMAZING military discount fro a junior suite. It was like they wanted to just give us the cabin, 



How could we pass up a deal like this?  😁👍



We are on the southbound Radiance cruise and tomorrow morning we will be flying up to Anchorage where we will pick up a rental car for the drive to Seward. 



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As I usual I have picked out a couple books to read that pertain to the area. 




This was my favorite


Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.


This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.

I started reading this one already and am about half way done. A bit strange but entertaining.


I also read this one, guess you could call him a mountain man.




“I owe Alaska. It gave me everything I have.” Says Sidney Huntington, son of an Athapaskan mother and white trader/trapper father. Growing up on the Koyukuk River in Alaska’s harsh Interior, that “everything” spans 78 years of tragedies and adventures. When his mother died suddenly, 5-year-old Huntington protected and cared for his younger brother and sister during two weeks of isolation. Later, as a teenager, he plied the wilderness traplines with his father, nearly freezing to death several times. One spring, he watched an ice-filled breakup flood sweep his family’s cabin and belongings away. These and many other episodes are the compelling background for the story of a man who learned the lessons of a land and culture, lessons that enabled him to prosper as trapper, boat builder, and fisherman.

This is more than one man's incredible tale of hardship and success in Alaska. It is also a tribute to the Athapaskan traditions and spiritual beliefs that enabled him and his ancestors to survive. His story, simply told, is a testament to the durability of Alaska's wild lands and to the strength of the people who inhabit them.


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As I mentioned we are picking up a car at the Anchorage airport and driving to Seward. Hoping to catch some of the scenery along the Seward Highway. The car was $300 but still cheaper than the train and we get the chance to make multiple stops. 




Seward Highway info

This 127 mile/204 km highway has been designated a National Forest Scenic Byway. It connects the cities of Anchorage and Seward traveling past salt water bays, ice-blue glaciers, and alpine valleys. The first 50 miles of the highway twists and turns along the base of the Chugach Mountains, and the shore of Turnagain Arm.


The 37-foot tides here are exceeded only by those in Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy. The waters racing out of the inlet expose miles of mud flats and when they return, frequently create 6-foot bore tides.

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Good morning, off to the airport we go.


A few fish for our favorite Bob




Thankfully Starbucks was open bright and early so I could keep my caffeine level up



Time to take off, see you in Alaska






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Thanks for the idea, and welcome back, Bill, I have not "see" u lately on these boards 😁


We've done the northbound from Vancouver in July 2013, and we had a very HOT weather even for Israel same month. Go figure.


It put quite a damper on our trip, since, for the example, the bears decided it was too hot to wander during the day.


I'll try to post too.


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We didn't have the chance to see much today as the rain rolled in early in the afternoon. From Girdwood to Seward we had continual rain.


Our first stop was at Potter's Marsh Bird Sanctuary. The marsh is a rest area for migratory birds including trumpeter swans, rednecked grebes, golden eyes, and pintails.

Potter Marsh is just a 15 minute drive south from Anchorage. There is a fantastic long boardwalk from which you can spot all sorts of birds including terns, geese, shorebirds and songbirds. They have naturalist guides on duty to help you spot themthough we did not see one . 

There are informational signs around to explain the marsh and its inhabitants. There is also a non-flush comfort station next to the parking lot.




If you look you can see Marie is wearing flip-flops even though it is a bit chilly. Che had a pedicure yesterday and the manicurist chopped off a little too much on one toe so shoes are not comfortable at this time. 😮









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Next stop on the highway was Beluga Point. Beluga Point Site is an archaeological location along Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet, near Seward Highway Milepost 110. 


The incoming tide stretched the entire width of Turnagain Arm and can be six feet high as it rushes in. At Beluga Point watch for kayakers and surfers riding the wave for several miles We missed the tide). Look for beluga whales rolling in the surf. Be sure to check tide schedules for the best times to view this natural phenomena.












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Same itinerary I did in 2018 on Radiance.  I got a pretty GGG rate for an interior cabin and the flights were reasonable on a few weeks notice so I jumped at the opportunity.


I can post some of my pictures from 2018 if you don't mind.


I connected in Seattle on my way to Anchorage.  On the climb out of Seattle we flew over the Juan de Fuca Strait and I saw Explorer of the Seas on her way between Victoria and Seattle.






I had taken Explorer early that summer so it was nice to see a familiar ship.


Some cloud cover but getting closer to Anchorage I see dozens of glaciers through the broken clouds,




Not something you see in many airports but welcome to Anchorage...




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While you drove to Seward I did the train, Gold Star service.
















Too many pictures to choose from so I'll try to keep it down.








Moose on the loose.








As we approached Seward they slowed down so we could see the pink salmon running in a river.








I've done the train twice now but I've thought about driving.  Looking forward to your posts about the drive down.


Edited by twangster
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Welcome Twangster


We managed to make one more stop before the rain set in. We found a group of people fishing for salmon and many of them were flying fishing. I had never seen fly fishing for salmon. 

















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Thanks for the review.  We've done the southbound Radiance in the past, and had it booked again for late August this year.  So disappointed, but there's always next year!  Looking forward to every step of your trip!

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Thanks for this replay review. Was hoping to go back to Alaska this year but I will have to get my scenic views from your review. Great start so far. 

Love Marie's flip flops, how many pairs of shoes did she bring for this trip!!!



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Shortly after leaving Bird Creek the rains hit so that ended the highway exploration. We continued on to Seward and our home for the night two night, Murphy's Alaskan Inn. Sorry but what a dive, paper thin walls and an odor that is not pleasant. Oh well, as small as Seward is and as late as we booked we can't be too picky. 



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2 minutes ago, Sea Viewer said:

Thanks for this replay review. Was hoping to go back to Alaska this year but I will have to get my scenic views from your review. Great start so far. 

Love Marie's flip flops, how many pairs of shoes did she bring for this trip!!!



A light load for this one, just six

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We headed out this evening in search of dinner. Our stop was a planned location  Thorn's Showcase Lounge. Not fancy but oh so tasty. Interesting use of button vinyl upholstery but I am not the owners. 😁




I stuck with their specialty, halibut enjoy a basket of "butts"  If Marie had decided to eat the same I may have gone for the bucket but she wanted a variety of seafood






Advertising the bucket of butts



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Tomorrow morning we will be taking a harbor cruise in search of wildlife. We booked a tour of Resurrection Bay with Kenai Fjords Tours.


Stop at the exclusive Fox Island day lodge for a one-of-a-kind adventure. Start with a wild Alaska salmon and prime rib lunch. Watch a presentation by a National Park Ranger and explore the “skipping stone” beach before cruising Resurrection Bay. Learn about the rich history of Resurrection Bay while viewing the jagged cliffs, seabirds, marine wildlife and alpine glaciers, including magnificent Bear Glacier.



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I did this trip with several family members 6/23/2017.  We flew in and took the train as well.  I wish my pictures were as good as Twangster though.  This was my second trip to Alaska, the first in 2015.   I am looking forward to your review.  We had the best time, and many of us are booked for Canada and New England in 2021 which we are looking forward to.


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Excellent idea! We were on Radiance northbound in 2015 and Coral Princess southbound last year so I'll add what I can to match your itinerary. While in Seward (2 nights)  we visited the Sealife Center, saw sea otters and harbour seals from the beach, and had a fabulous time exploring Resurrection Bay with Kenai Fjords Tours (we were on the 8am 6 hour trip).


TWANGSTER - no such thing as too many photos - your images are amazing!

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Today we to a tour around Resurrection Bay with Kenai Fjords Tours. It was a grey day, kind of what you would expect in Alaska but thankfully not much rain. DSC_0051.thumb.JPG.9b2927c67c7ddc27334efe681e88947f.JPG






Even with the hat, coat, scarf and gloves Marie is still sporting the flip-flops. 😂



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We first headed to Fox Island for a lunch of salmon and prime rib. It was really beautiful here but I failed to take pictures that did it justiceDSC_0106.thumb.JPG.f8202c8938658f4ab96352d3f4d8a531.JPG






After lunch we got back on the boat to cruise the bay.









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