Snow is not a common sight for a Queenslander, especially one living on the Sunshine Coast. If you like warm climates, heading for the snow is often akin to the experience of standing under a cold water shower ripping up hundred dollar bills! But snow is also often part of an experience on many a bucket list – the chance to cruise Alaska, the subject of this week’s trip report. For many, it’s a trip you have to do at least once.
The journey starts with the obligatory long flight to the USA, with our member and their family enduring that less than pleasant experience known as US customs and immigration. As it turned out they were ahead of most of the aircraft queue, and had the pleasure of watching an A380 land, rather than being behind its passengers in the queue. As a result, thirty minutes later, the family had completed formalities and were on their way to their connecting flight to Seattle.
It’s in Seattle, that our member shares their first tip when it comes to not taking a travel agent’s offer and doing some research in the area of transfers from the airport.
We were quoted $140 transfers from flight centre. After a most enjoying light rail trip to the centre of Seattle for $2.75 each we were a short 2 block walk to the Grand Hyatt. A quick scout around Seattle and we rode the monorail to the space needle for a meal.
After a good meal in the space needle avoiding the Millionaire Cocktail at $250 a glass, our party soon retires for the night.
Next morning Vancouver is the destination after a short and efficient Amtrak train ride. On offer is a visit to one of Vancouver’s most popular attractions, Grouse Mountain, home to the world’s only observation post in a wind turbine. It’s also home to a flora/fauna sanctuary with two orphan Grizzlies that surprise many being so close to the city.
We caught the shuttle to the suspension bridge attraction between Stanley Park and Grouse Mountain and then the public bus to Grouse Mountain. We did not expect the amount of snow, and the brown bears at the top of Grouse Mountain. A short gondola ride. My wife is petrified of heights, but said it was not too bad and well worth the trip.
As Vancouver is the departure point for the Alaskan cruise to Skagway, the gateway of the Klondike, we are soon bidding farewell to land as the scenery on gets better and better. With a small population of 800 serving over half a million tourists a year, we know our travellers are in for some interesting experiences.
How many MacDonald’s does Alaska have, what’s unique about a particular Walmart, and how close can you get to the worlds deadliest catch? Time to join the journey HERE.