I was seriously unprepared for the beauty of Alaska. Oh yeah, I heard about the glaciers calving—dramatically splashing in the water. I saw the photos of the wilderness, and the mountains…. It just seemed so….tame. Cruising in Alaska…..Glacier Bay….. Zzzzzzzzzz….
What I was not prepared for were the colors: the blues, the greens, the changing hues of grey/blue/green set on a deep green backdrop. I was not prepared for the rugged beauty of the mountains peeking out of the mist.
In my mind, cruising through Glacier Bay was going to be interesting, but kind of like watching a National Geographic special – what I encountered going through the bay was nothing short of spectacular.
The water was so clear and blue, I felt I was in the Caribbean. Albeit Caribbean with little baby icebergs bobbing up and down – every so slowly melting. Our ship was quietly navigating the waters at a leisurely pace so we could soak up every minute of the experience.
I was a wee bit….well….hungover that morning (I am not sure why being with my family makes me think I can party like a rock star…..but the struggle is real), so began the day sitting in the hot tub watching the glacier world go by through the open windows while the crisp, Arctic air kissed my face.
Somehow in all these years of selling Alaska cruises, I had not grasped how long you get to visit Glacier Land. In my mind, it was a quick “here is an iceberg” with a “check that box” kind of experience – get in, get out and move on. Quite the contrary!!! We were in Glacier Bay for hours. Our ship was the only one inside the bay, which was glorious. Since the Celebrity Millennium isn’t a ginormous ship (only 2100 passengers as opposed to some with 3200 – 4100 passengers), we could get pretty close to the glaciers. This is so important when sailing in Alaska, where you want to belly up to the glacier bar.
While stopped in the bay, the engines were quiet and you could hear the groaning and cracking of the glaciers. At first, it felt almost like it was piped in a la Disney, but then it felt like I was in a Tolkien novel learning the secret language of ice.
Would I do it again – hell yes!!! Next time, I want to experience Alaska on an even smaller ship – perhaps one specializing in adventure to dive even deeper into the things that resonated with me.
So as we are still pretty much all about the Shelter in Place, still – pull up your armchair, grab a cup of hot tea, and listen for the language of the glaciers.
Becky Lukovic is an adventure travel enthusiast. Growing up reading C.S. Lewis, Tolkein, L’Engle, and the Rats of Nimh instilled in her a love and curiosity for all things in the natural word. Be sure to follow her adventures on The Insta (Bella Travel Planning) and her hashtag #BellaStyle. She is available by appointment on Zoom to talk travel.