Alaska Cruise Day 4 – Skagway

Today, day 4 of our Alaska cruise on board the Celebrity Mercury, we arrived into Skagway, Alaska at about 7:00 am. When we stepped out onto our balcony, we were greeted with a very cold, stiff wind – Alaska at it’s best.

We had a shore excursion planned for Skagway. Our entire party had booked a trip on the White Pass Railway. It’s a very old train that was used to link Skagway to the Yukon Territory in Canada. The train starts at sea level in Skagway and climbs to the top of the mountain.

The train ride was about 3 hours and was very enjoyable. We saw lots of good scenery and got a whole bunch of pictures. One of the highlights of the ride was seeing a black bear standing near the tracks on the way back down the mountain. Sean had really wanted to see a bear and kept saying he would. No one was very hopeful, since the train makes a lot of noise. However, he proved everyone wrong as the bear just sat there looking at the train. He almost appeared to have a grin on his face as if to say “There goes another load of those caged humans”.

After the train ride, we did a bit of shopping in Skagway. It’s not really much of a town, with only 800 year round residents. During the cruise season, May through Sept, it gets quite a bit bigger. Yesterday, there was four cruise ships in port – Celebrity Mercury, Celebrity Summit, Holland America Volendam and the Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas. Again, the streets of the town were packed with people shopping before and after their excursions. Trying to shop in these towns with all the cruise ships in port is like being at the mall the weekend before Christmas. They are no longer the quaint little towns I remember from our previous cruise to Alaska. They are still fun, but not the same.

We enjoyed another fine dinner in the dining room as the Chef continues to turn out excellent meal after excellent meal. Suzanne keeps making special orders and they continue to bend over backwards to accomodate her wishes. Yesterday, they whipped up some Italian roasted bell peppers for an appetizer for us. They also continue to make her sugar free creme brulee for dessert.

After dinner, the girls went to the aerobatic show while Sean and spent some time in the arcade. We happened to pop into the Navigator lounge just in time to see a school of Orca whales swim by the boat. There was between 8 and 10 of them and the delighted those of us watching by jumping completely out of the water several times. Too bad I didn’t have the video camera or still camera with me. The whale show was about 10:00 pm and the sun hadn’t yet set.

After the whale show, Sean and I went to the country western night with the band. Suzanne and Savannah were supposed to join us after the aerobatic show, but they never showed up. About 11:30 Sean and I returned to the cabin and found the girls sleeping. That’s Suzanne’s favorite thing to do on a cruise.

Tomorrow, we will be cruising the Glacier Bay and have a close up look at the Hubbard Glacier. On our last cruise, this was a very memorable part of the cruise.