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08-31-2013 Alaskan Dream Cruise is an Alaskan vacation dream come true.

We did this cruise last year and enjoyed it so much we brought our son and 10 yr. old grandson with us this year. Their presence was an enhancement to our enjoyment but so were a few changes aboard the Alaskan Dream.

On day one we spent the morning in Sitka visiting some of the cities cultural highlights. In the afternoon we took an excursion boat into Sitka Sound and the wildlife viewing began. It set the tone for the remainder of the holiday. Otters, seals, humpback whales, orcas, a swimming eagle. We were all so pumped that when we boarded the Alaskan Dream the Captain said he had a hard act to follow. He succeeded admirably.

Due to the ship’s size and the relative absence of lots of icebergs we were able to get closer to Johns Hopkins glacier than any of the crew or the National Park Ranger aboard could remember. When wildlife was spotted, either in the water or on shore, the Captain just positioned the ship to get the best viewing. During the cruise we had pods of orcas, or humpback whales around 100 feet from the ship.

In Tracy Arm we were as close to Seward Glacier as a small tour boat and then...got even closer in a 12 person DIB. We witnessed two major calving events and then a “shooter,” a calving from down below the water that “shoots” to the surface. Wow! See this and other Alaska photos in the Photo Gallery.

The ‘adult summer camp’ day at Hobart Bay was a huge hit with everybody. RTVs, Kayaks, Zegos provided enough euphoria that about a dozen or so passengers jumped into the frigid waters of the Bay for a swim. My grandson put his toe in and said “No way!”

In addition to adding the DIB, the Alaskan Dream carried seven kayaks this year and we kayaked in another bay and also amongst the seals at New Eddystone Island. The ship has added a viewing area on the bow accessible from the lounge. Great addition for the abundant wildlife viewing. I could on about the great crew, the food, the 3 PM warm cookies, the fun shore excursions, etc. Think twice about cruising to Alaska on a big ship. I have and this is so much more fun and experiential. If you want to go to Alaska on a cruise ship, call us. But don’t wait, 2014 space is selling out now!

I’m sure some passengers were apprehensive when they saw a 10 yr. old boy on board. By the end of the cruise all the passengers were thanking us for bringing him and sharing him with them. For him, it was the time of his life - he became a National Park Junior Ranger, 2nd mate on the ship, worked in dining room wait staff, saw bears, eagles, whales, orcas, otters, seals, sea lions, and most of the birds he identified in his Jr. Ranger training. He hiked beautiful forests, visited an authentic Haida clan house, saw real totems, picked wild berries and became a friend of all the crew. He described the whole experience as "magical."

A vacation dream come true!

See the Photo Gallery

on page 1.

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