We have never "cruised." We are self-support river trippers, boaters, back country skiers, etc. So our idea of a vacation is getting away from people. We wanted to see Alaska's Inside Passage but we didn't want to do a self-support kayak trip because we wanted to see as much as we could in a short period of time. So we chose to get our first "cruise" experience (and I hesitate to even use that word because this was an adventure not a cruise), by boarding with Inner Sea Discoveries. We left from Ketchikan and ended in Juneau, Alaska. In between we tied up to one dock at Klowack Village - hardly a town - but full of culture and generational stories.
I mentioned we liked to get away from people on vacation. So you can imagine my own surprise when, upon reflection, one of the best parts of this trip were THE PEOPLE! Most people were fantastic (and it's likely there are always some complainers and folks who will not be happy - for example, the lawyer interview on this site.) The Capt. (a whale naturalist and marine biologist) was fantastic. The crew (which included marine biologists) were "in the know" and kind and engaging. When we left, I felt like I was leaving summer camp and my new set of good friends. I am sure I will see some of them and some of the great passengers we befriended again.
The food was TOO good! I wanted to lose weight on this trip...NOT.
The excursions were fantastic and provided options for different desires of activities and different levels of fitness. The wildlife was abundant - eagles everywhere, whales (which Capt. Jeff just knew how to find), sea lions (so playful), seals, bears, sea otters (I want one), all sorts of delight for birders....the list goes on. And then there is Alaska in all its glory that words won't do justice to...unless you are Muir.
In the end, for me, life is about connection. This experience was full of connection - to the open space that is Alaska, to the wonder that is nature, to the untamed wild under and over the sea, and to the people on board that boat. This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as all experiences typically are...there will never be a recreation of that week...but I'm hoping to create new experiences on other Inner Sea adventures in the future.