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Cruising has become a very popular way to vacation. We have enjoyed cruising on the big ships through the Baltic and in Oceania as well as the smaller boats that go down the Rhine, the Duoro (Portugal) or send zodiacs to explore the Galapagos Islands.

But right in our own back yard, being residents of Greater Vancouver, we have a Cruise Ship terminal that will set you on your way to Alaska. I must admit that it was only recently that this appealed to me. I finally had an “ah-ha” moment. This would be easy – no flying to a foreign country to embark.  We had our daughter drop us off at the terminal and we were on board in less than an hour

Port Vancouver

Port of Vancouver

We chose to cruise to Alaska with Holland America.  Our cabin (Signature Suite) was spacious and well-appointed with a good sized balcony.

The MS Oosterdam was refurbished in 2003 and we were impressed with the modern, sleek décor, the friendly staff (over the top, sometimes) and the excellent food.  This ship takes fewer that 2000 guests, which is very appealing if you don’t want to be fighting crowds to get on and off the ship. Although it is a grand ship, it definitely had a more intimate feeling that the colossal vessels we have been on previously.oosterdam

Just being docked in Vancouver harbour was fun as we took in a view of our city that we never get to see. It was a beautiful August afternoon when we set sail.


Leaving Port of Vancouver

Our itinerary took us one-way from Vancouver to Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay and Seward.

Colourful Ketchikan

Ketchikan, Alaska


Skagway, Alaska


A little kayaking. . .

Dolly's House

Ketchikan, Alaska

Mendenhall Glacier Alaska

Mendenhall Glacier Alaska


Welcome to Juneau

We then bussed it to Denali National Park for a 3-day excursion to find some grizzlies.


A grizzly walking along the road, Denali.

We took a scenic train ride from Denali to Anchorage for our flight home.

Colin at Denali

Colin at Denali National Park, Alaska

If you’ve wondered what these Alaska cruises are like (as I did), I will say the scenery is breathtaking.

Alaska hike

Hiking in Alaska

We are wildlife lovers and we were delighted in seeing whales, birds, and bears. The glaciers were spectacular!


Glacier National Park, Alaska

Mendenhall glacier 2

Mendenhall Glacier and waterfall.

On board our ship, we were treated to some wonderful musicians in the BB King Lounge. Holland America is noted for its entertainment. If you love music, this alone can be a selling feature for which cruise line you choose.

We spend a night in Anchorage prior to our flight home. Not a lot happening in this town, but we found a fabulous restaurant – Ginger.

Ginger Restaurant Anchorage

Tuna Tartar at Ginger

Anchorage totems

Totems in Anchorage


Alaska? Absolutely! You have to cruise for this one. Keep in mind that you can go all the way up and back in 7 days if you choose. We preferred the pace of the one way cruise with the extra excursion and a quick flight back to Vancouver.


Other West Coast vacation ideas for you to try:

5 BC Luxury Resorts to inspire Your Next Vacation

Uniquely Ucluelet

Pluvio – You gotta eat here!

Butchart Gardens, Victoria Splendor

A Haida Gwaii Pictorial

Telegraph Cove, BC

5 Unique Luxury Resorts, BC

Quaint Victoria, BC