It was my husband’s birthday — a special milestone — and we decided to do something that’s always been on his bucket list: to stand on a glacier in Alaska. Now that was an ask! But with great planning and loads of advice we embarked on the journey, which involved a flight to Los Angeles, a road trip to Las Vegas (with an unforgettable stopover to see the Grand Canyon), and a flight to Seattle to board the cruise liner.
Descriptions of the magnificence of LA, Vegas, and the Grand Canyon could easily fill the page, but the real story is in Alaska. We boarded the beautiful Celebrity Cruise liner in Seattle. It’s a spectacular ship with luxurious staterooms and speciality restaurants, an amazing spa and fitness centre, and — the absolute highlight — the Martini Bar, which serves the best sunset martinis in the world (trust me, I drank enough to be considered an expert).
Our first stop in Alaska was Ketchikan, which is known as the salmon capital of the world. A walk through this beautiful little town revealed that it has the world’s largest collection of totem poles. Watching the salmon swim upstream is a sight I will remember forever. The town is filled with quaint little restaurants serving Alaskan crab, and the walk was only complete with a stopover to buy tinned salmon from one of the many shops.
The cruise continued to the Tracy Arm Fjords, which were a spectacular sight, even viewed from our cosy spot in bed during the very early hours of the morning. We were looking forward to hearing the thunderous crack as the glaciers calve; however, sadly this didn’t happen on our trip. After taking pictures of a sight that defies description, it was on to the next stop: Juneau.
Juneau is home to the Mendenhall Glacier, which is about 22km long, and sits at an elevation of 1 580m. It’s located in Mendenhall Valley, close to downtown Juneau in Alaska. The best view of the glacier is from a helicopter, and it’s an experience that’s worth every cent. The view was incredible, and, when you land on the glacier, the guides are ready to welcome you with information, special boots for walking around the glacier, and even the opportunity to drink the glacier water. This was truly the highlight of an incredible trip.
Although we were sad to leave Juneau, it paved the way for our last stop — the magnificent Skagway. This charming little town has many restored 19th-century buildings and a historic railway. Travelling on the vintage train allowed us to admire the mountains and see the 1898 trail that fortune-seekers travelled on foot. The White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad runs vintage locomotives past the famously steep Chilkoot Trail and offers extensive mountain views during its climb toward Canada.
After we’d soaked in all that beauty, it was back to our beautiful cruise liner to head straight for the Martini Bar (truth be told, that happened after every stop). This trip gave us memories that will last a lifetime. My husband got to celebrate his milestone birthday on the top of a glacier — and tick an item off his bucket list.