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Trip Report Holland America Southbound Cruise - early June

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There are few enough trip reports on Alaska Cruises, so I'll try to contribute here. We spent a little time before and after the cruise, so in total it was a 2 week trip including a 7-day cruise. We sailed on Holland America Oosterdam south out of Seward to Vancouver.

Overview:

5/28 - Evening flight Orlando to Seattle. Late arrival, stayed at airport Doubletree (older property but our go-to place).

5/29 - Ate at the vintage Pancake Chef near the SeaTac airport. This place has been around since 1964 and it is well worth a stop if you can. Very retro, excellent breakfast, big servings. It's like stepping back in time. Rest of the day spent visiting family in Everett.

5/30 - Morning flight to Anchorage on Alaska Air. This is about a 3-1/2 hour flight, which surprises many people who think it's "right next to Seattle." Anchorage was cool and overcast when we got in, cleared up in town late afternoon to beautiful, then big storms that night.

On any vacation, we look for something in the way of a historic hotel or B&B; this time it was the Historic Anchorage Hotel. It's one of the survivors of the 1964 earthquake that devastated the area, and supposedly haunted. Although we met no ghosts, all the staff we did meet were so friendly and enjoyable. It's right in the middle of the touristy area, close to the Alaskan Railroad, etc. For those wanting to get away from the same-everywhere hotels, this was a great choice.

After checking in, we headed down Turnagain Arm. That's where we ran into the oncoming storm. It was so windy, we had trouble standing upright. We finally turned into Alyeska Resort to have drinks and appetizers in the pub, to get out of the weather. (We had reservations to return the next night for dinner, so wanted to check it out.)

Back in Anchorage, the weather was gorgeous, light lingered into late in the evening, and we enjoyed walking around, buying a bunch of t-shirts and other souvenirs (of course). That night, the storm came in, leaving a lot of new snow on the mountains and taking down power in large parts of town. Thank goodness for our "vintage" hotel with big windows and stairs... those in the Captain Cook Hotel we trapped in the tower for hours until electricity was restored.

5/31 - Anchorage. The Anchorage Museum still had power, fortunately. What a great place! It's undergone an overhaul recently, and we think it might be even better than the museums in Victoria and Vancouver (don't hit me!!). Dinner at the Seven Glaciers at the Alyeska. This was well worth the drive back down Turnagain Arm for the spectacular views and the meal. The gondola ride to the top of the mountain to get to the restaurant is included when you make dinner reservations, and so the price was very reasonable.

Next - the train to Seward, cruising Resurrection Bay, and on board.

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