Category Archives: Alaska

Alaska and B.C. Canada on the Sojourn

Our first port after crossing the Bering Sea was Kodiak, Alaska; our first time there.  The only Kodiak brown bear that we saw was in the National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.  We did see many bald eagles, but didn’t see close enough to photograph.  We walked around the town and enjoyed being on terra ferma.

After a day at Sea, we docked in Juneau; our 3rd time to visit this city.  Again, it was cloudy and cold with some rain.  We were 1 of 3 cruise ships in port with Carnival Legend, HOL Vaandam.  We decided to visit the famous Red Dog Saloon; and were pleasantly surprised.  The interior is a throwback to the gold rush days with lots of memorabilia, saw dust on the floor, a piano player doing old songs and ladies in saloon girl costumes.  We tried their clam chowder which has smoked salmon in it and it was some of the best we have had.

Our last land day in Alaska was Skagway.  It was beautiful, sunny, but cold and windy.  Our plan was to take the tram to the top for views, but it was too foggy up there and didn’t like the wind; so just walked around.  I think the wind is what set off my cold, which started that night.  We also heard some sad news from home, one of our best and longest known friends was dying.  We thought about her, family and friends, all day and made many phone calls.  Wish we could have been in 2 places.

One of our favorite parts of our cruise in Alaska, in 2016 was Glacier Bay National park and it did not disappoint us this time.  The weather stayed clear and the Margerie Glacier calved for us.  We love the scenery, but were sad because we heard that JoAnn Brown had died.  Just as we learned that, we arrived at Margerie and champagne was handed out.  We toasted to her and dedicated that beautiful scene to her.

The next day was warm and sunny for our cruise through the Canadian Inside Passage.  In the afternoon, we were able to be on deck without coats and there was a fun Deck Party.  Good timing!  The next day, in Victoria, B.C., the cold and rain came back, but we had a nice visit with our snowbird friends, Don and Wanda.

The next day, the cruise ended in Seattle, Washington.  A fun 21 days!

Eight Days in Japan

We are home after 33 days (including 2 Friday 19ths due to International Dateline), including Japan and Seabourn Cruise.  It was a very full trip with sights, experiences and tons of photos.  As you saw in my last post, of our Itinerary, we were on the move.  In Japan, we learned to use their railway and subway systems.  At first it was confusing because they have several different companies.  But after figuring it out, we saw that their system was very well organized and efficient, but expensive.

Our hotels in Japan were nice, although smaller than in USA, but they both had the Toto toilets, really deluxe (bidet and back shower with heated seat and music!).  We were visiting during their Golden Week, initially, so the tourist areas were more crowded than usual.  Our visits were to Osaka Castle,

Nara Park, Dotonbori District (Carnival atmosphere in shopping/restaurant area), Kobe, and Kyoto.  Even with all of the trains and subways, we still walked about 3 miles a day.  Jim was able to do that, with stops and utilizing his cane, especially on steep roads, such as in Kyoto.  The biggest problem was adjusting to the time change; 16 hours between CA and Japan.  At first we were waking up at odd hours and having to take naps, but we adjusted.  I had ordered a “pocket wifi” prior to our trip and it was delivered to our hotel.  That was a big bonus and able to use with unlimited, secure access.  Google maps has a setting for trains, so we utilized that to get to the correct track, along with asking assistance from agents and fellow travelers.  English was not as common as we expected, but the ticket machines had an English setting.  We did not meet any locals, but spoke with several English speaking tourists during our outings.

After these 8 days, we boarded the Seabourn Sojourn for 21 day cruise.

Japan and Seabourn Cruise

We leave tomorrow for our first big trip since Jim’s medical issues.  We fly from LAX via San Francisco to Osaka, Japan.  After 8 days on our own (we have hotel reservations only), we board the Seabourn Sojourn for a 21 day cruise which includes Alaska and ends in Seattle, WA.  Cheryl’s first time in Japan; Jim was there briefly in the Navy; and first for both of us in Kodiak, Alaska.  The following is our itinerary.  Love to all

Here’s our Itinerary for Japan trip
May 1, LAX Hotel, Quality Inn, Century Blvd
     310-671-7213
May 2, United flight to San Fran
     Flight UA 1294, 7:18 am
May 2, United flight from SF to Osaka, Japan
     Flight UA 35, 11:05 am
May 3, arrival in Osaka, KIX, 3 pm
May 3 to 6, Hotel Brighton, Osaka
May 6 to 11, Comfort Hotel Sakai, 1-5-1 Ryujimbashi-cho, Sakai-ku, Sakai
     +81 (72) 2337111
May 11, Kobe, Japan, board Seabourn Sojourn ship
May 11-13, at Sea
May 14, Aomori, Japan
May 15, Hakodate, Japan
May 16, Kushiro, Japan
May 17 – 18, at Sea
May 19, Cross International Dateline
May 20 – 22, At sea
May 23, Kodiak, Alaska
May 24, At sea
May 25, Junea, AK
May 26, Skagway, AK
May 27, Glacier Bay National Park, AK (cruising)
May 28, Inside Passage, AK (cruising)
May 29, At sea
May 30, Victoria, BC, Canada
May 31, Seattle, WA
May 31 to June 3, Anacortes, WA, with Joe and Sheri
June 3, Southwest flight from Seattle to San Diego
     Flight 5559, 1:35 pm to 4:15 pm

Wonderful trip to Alaska

On September 6, we flew to Anchorage, Alaska and spent 3 days going to Denali NP by train and then tour of park and back to Anchorage by bus.  We were lucky to see the trees turning colors, mostly golden Aspens with red and orange shrubbery.  Very beautiful.  We didn’t see many animals, as expected, but really enjoyed the visit.

Train to Denali

Train to Denali

Denali Bluffs hotel with fall colors

Denali Bluffs hotel with fall colors

Hotel room had beautiful wood beams

Hotel room had beautiful wood beams

More colors i Denali

More colors in Denali

Black Spruce trees with fall colors in Denali NP

Black Spruce trees with fall colors in Denali NP

Many glaciers in Glacier Bay

Many glaciers in Glacier Bay

Up close to 250 foot Margaree Glacier

Up close to 250 foot Margaree Glacier

After Glacier Bay, we stopped in 3 ports in the inside passage:  Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan.  Some rain and cold, and then sunny in Ketchikan.  Beautiful towns.  Enjoyed the 7 days onboard the Coral Princess, with JoAnn (sister) and John, and Peggy and Craig.

View of Juneau from ship

View of Juneau from ship

Peggy and Cheryl at Red Dog Saloon

Peggy and Cheryl at Red Dog Saloon

Ketchikan, Creek Steet

Ketchikan, Creek Steet

Creek Street, Kethikan

Creek Street, Kethikan

We arrived in Vancouver on September 16.  It was a very good trip and Jim was glad that we (Cheryl and JoAnn) convinced the men to do this cruise and land package.  Most of the weather was good, but we did have some rain and cold. More on BC and trip from BC south.  Cheryl