June 2014 - Celebrity Solstice to Alaska - Inside Passage
This was our 15th cruise and we both agreed, the best yet! We've cruised Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, Holland American, Renaissance and Celebrity and have, overall, like Celebrity best. We had even been on this very same Solstice ship, on a 2010 Caribbean cruise, and they hadn't updated it much, maybe changed the art work and artifacts. We liked the ship the first time and still do. But the itinerary - Alaska - this time was so great! Majestic, constantly amazingly awe-inspiring scenery. We saw ice floes and glaciers, and a mama bear with her two cubs, dozens of bald eagles, five or six whales, dolphins, a seal swimming across a pond, a seal stretched out on its back sunning on an ice floe, five or six sea lions sunning on a buoy. The evening sky was indescribably beautiful -- one night a huge moon seemed to be at arm's reach, with its sunbeams across the water, then set behind mountains and icy sea, so bright that it cast rays as a sunset does! We watched this for 10-20 minutes in awe! And at the same time -- this 3 a.m. -- the sun was coming up, and the sky around it turning peach and rose and cream! Our three tours, with a Tlinkit guide who was terrific in Ketchikan to the Saxman Village and environs and Ketchikan city; on a boat whale watching out of Juneau; and a bus tour to White Summit Pass with lots of info on the Klondike Gold Rush and back to the frontier town of Skagway, were all terrific. (These we booked through Cruise.Com rather than through the ship).
But the very best thing about this cruise, for us, were the wonderful presentations by Brent Nixon on wildlife and his narration through the Inside Passage and those of his wife, Mary Amanda, who was just terrific, on the history of Ketchikan, Skagway, the Gold Rush, and especially the shady ladies of the times plus a memorable presentation on the Last Song played on the Titanic as it was sinking. These two were terrific -- witty, animated, enthused, informed, intelligent, folks giving talks that we will always remember and that really enhanced the value of the cruise to us. It was so good to hear a ship's presentation on something other than shopping! Huzzah for the Alaska Solstice, and for the Nixons -- may their tribes increase!