I'll try to keep everything in chronological order, but there are always opportunities for memory lapses. Hey, we're seniors and memory lapses are okay.
We actually began our cruise with a bus ride from Seattle to Vancouver, our port of embarkation. Along the way we had to go through Canadian customs, where Linda almost missed getting back on the bus. Of course, the blame for this has been put on me.
Once in Vancouver we found ourselves in a very long line through U.S. customs as two ships were departing at about the same time.
Crowds and long lines? Not to worry. Canes to the rescue! On one of her trips to Philadelphia, Linda had learned that her cane was a passport to special treatment at security gates, so we both had our canes with us for this trip. One of the customs officers saw them and moved us into a special line that was only a few people long. Fantastic!
Holland-American’s fleet are considered “small” ships as they only have a passenger capacity of 1100 to 1200. Others have capacities of 3,000 to 4,000 passengers. Well, small is a relative term. Our first glimpse of the Statendam was her stern, which was large enough that it completely filled our view. Even a "small" cruise ship is a very big boat.
But all of our luggage proved to be less of a problem than I feared. The crew of the Statendam solved the problem masterfully. We took the small bags on board, and they found this accommodation for the large one. Thanks Statendam guys!
We left Vancouver at about five in the afternoon. What an incredibly smooth operation! Neither of us even realized we were moving until we looked out the window of our stateroom. All of a sudden the ship was in the middle of the harbor and heading north, leaving Vancouver in its wake.
The town of Ketchikan was our first port of call. With a population of 8,250 year-round residents, Ketchikan is Alaska's 6th largest city - there just are not that many people in Alaska.
On first glance, it looks as though Ketchikan is nothing more than a tourist trap. That is close to the truth. But there is also a large fishing industry in Ketchikan - The Salmon Capital of the World - and many of the those 8,250 people make their living from fishing. But the average visitor will never see the real town or its people. They will be stuck in the tourist trap of the three blocks closest to the docks.
Back in the part of town where the tourists were supposed to stay, we wandered through a nice museum, a lovely little park, and finally down to Creek Street - once the "street of dreams" for the fishermen, now filled with souvenir shops. Finally we went to the Lumberjack Show. It was hokey; it was touristy; and it was totally fun. We had a great time watching the lumberjacks "compete."
This is totally out of order as I am jumping to the end of our trip. But we only have one anniversary each year, and I like to post a photo for each one.
Now everyone has to keep up with the times -- and what is more "of the times" than a selfie? This one is as good as it gets for us.
We were on a riverboat cruise on the Chena River in Fairbanks on our final day in Alaska and it was our 48th anniversary. That's 17,532 days, but hey, who's counting? The selfie was definitely in order.
Another postcard will come soon. Thanks for visiting.