Friday, February 24, 2012

Come Cruise With Us

On September 9, 2012, Walter Crawford, Executive Director of the World Bird Sanctuary, will lead a group of travelers on an exploration cruise of Alaska’s inside passage aboard Holland America’s beautiful cruise ship, the MS Oosterdam  
  The beautiful Holland America MS Oosterdam
This 7-day round trip cruise departs from Seattle on 9/9 and returns 9/16.  The itinerary  includes a full day of glacier watching in beautiful Tracy Arm fjord where passengers can expect to see and hear the phenomenon of Sawyer Glacier calving icebergs into the sea right before their eyes.  Other ports on this itinerary are Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, and beautiful Victoria, British Columbia. 
Hear the thunderous crack as a new iceberg is formed  
A cruise ship is the best and most affordable way to see some of the beautiful and amazing ports on this itinerary.  The incredibly beautiful and rugged Alaskan landscape renders these ports inaccessible by road.  The main means of travel by local residents is via floatplane or ferry. 

In 2009 my husband and I accompanied a World Bird Sanctuary group on an Alaska cruise with a similar itinerary and I would like to share with you some of our experiences.  First off, let me begin by saying that I am not normally a cruise person.  We had been on a Caribbean cruise with a different cruise line a number of years ago, and had sworn “Never again”.  So I had some initial misgivings about signing up for this cruise. 

However, after comparing the costs and conveniences of the cruise versus the costs and hassles of booking flights to each location with their attendant flight changes and layovers, costs of meals and accommodations, plus time lost waiting in airport security lines each day, the cruise was the logical hands-down winner.  The only flights we had to book were from St. Louis to Seattle and return.  All meals were included once we boarded the ship, plus we didn’t have the hassle of maneuvering luggage through various airports at each port or waiting in security lines with their accompanying hassles.  Once we were settled in our stateroom aboard ship (all included in the price of the cruse) our lodgings were conveniently waiting for us at the end of each day and our time was our own to enjoy the ship and each port without hauling luggage or worrying about check-ins every day.
Shipmates Dan & Laura MacLeod with one of our fun loving waiters  
What we were not prepared for was the congeniality and helpfulness of the fun loving Holland America crew—a far cry from our first cruise with that other cruise line. 
This watermelon sculpture on the buffet seemed appropriate for our group  
Meals were beautifully presented, whether we chose to dine in the main dining room, at the onboard buffet, in the intimate upscale dining room, or at one of the many small dining areas such as the pizza bar.  Dinner could be anywhere from a formal full dress affair to a casual meal, dependent upon your choice of dining style.  (We are not the formal full dress type, so this was one of our favorite features—it also meant less luggage to deal with.)
 My husband and I with four other members of our group in the beautiful main dining room 
Each night featured a different show in the ship’s theater.  For those who are so inclined there is also on-board shopping in several gift shop areas, casinos, saunas and massage parlors, beautiful indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and many other amenities too numerous to mention.  At the end of each evening we returned to our cabin to be greeted by a clever towel sculpture created by our friendly cabin steward.
 We could hardly wait to return to our cabins each evening to see what creature would be waiting to greet us!
So, if you’re ready for a spectacular vacation without all the hassles, consider joining Walter Crawford and the World Bird Sanctuary group for “World Bird Sanctuary Alaska Cruise 2012”.

Details – Alaska  Explorer Cruise 2012
•            Escorted by Walt Crawford, Executive Director, World Bird Sanctuary
•            Aboard Holland America MS Oosterdam
•            Roundtrip itinerary – Seattle, Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Tracy Arm/Sawyer Glacier, Victoria, BC, and return to Seattle
•            Prices start at only $1,168 (inside cabin); $1488 (ocean view); $1,888 (verandah)

Price Includes:
•            7-day cruise accommodations
•            Onboard meals & entertainment
•            Special lectures by Walter Crawford
•            Visit to the Raptor Center in Sitka
•            Private cocktail party onboard
•            $25.00 per person Shipboard Credit
•            All taxes and government fees
*            Also included is a $50 donation to World Bird Sanctuary

Contact Cathy Robinson at ext. 114 (314) 439-5700 or (800) 527-1059

Check back in the next few weeks for an overview of what to expect at each port and photos from our trip.

Submitted by Gay Schroer, World Bird Sanctuary Volunteer/Photographer

1 comment:

LonnieB said...

Can't wait! We're sooo excited!