Voyage to Alaska

Never in all my life has traveling come easy. I pack, add, pack, reorganize, and so on. RULE #1: Pack then take out half. Remember, you don’t want to look like the caravan for the three wise men. We did and not only do you appear as a rookie, you are one. Traveling light is a skill set I hope to acquire even if it is late in the game.

We left two cities with a load on our backs and arrived in Alaska after two flights and even a train ride on Amtrak. RULE #2: Travel the shortest and easiest route even if it costs more. In the long run, it will cost a little more but the trip becomes much easier. When we thought of having to ride the train back from Vancouver to Seattle we rerouted and flew home via another route. Rookies all. It was easier to get to China.  

The captain of our ship said he had never seen such consistently fabulous weather as we had the entire cruise, sunny skies, no rain, cold, compared to Texas, but just pleasantly so and smooth seas. I was prepared with a coat, raincoat, boots, scarves, and sweaters. I used them all. RULE #3: Our feet are the most important part of our body. Be prepared. I did buy a new pair of stylish tennis shoes in Juneau.

We departed Vancouver after one night having arrived the day before. We talked to some people in the lobby who had missed their cruise as the Amtrak train they took broke down for three hours and they missed the sailing. RULE #4: The ship will leave without you. Get to your departure port one day ahead of your sailing.

Alaska Cruise Celebrity Solstice

Our ship was the Celebrity Solstice. It was very nice. Many cities in Alaska can only be reached by air or sea so our sales reps also travel to the cities we sell to by cruise ship. Juneau, Alaska’s capital has no roads connecting it to the outside world.

We loved the big glass wall and glass balconies allowing for gazing and resting all at the same time. When we arrived at the Glacier at 8:00 am. The dawn had arrived at 3:30 a.m. and the night came only at around midnight. We were so close to the mountains and their snowcaps. That day was the coldest as we watched the approach to the glacier where the water is a beautiful almost aqua green/blue. There were whales, eagles, and harbor seals on that day that could be seen from our ship. I tried to experience the moment of seeing the small blue icebergs that had fallen off the Glacier. I heard a loud crash as some ice fell off. The Glacier is dark, clear, and blue at the bottom. We were able to get relatively close. I was grateful at that moment for the experiences I have had and can have and looking forward to more. Seeing this magnificent sight in the steely cold, quiet moment of the early morning was unforgettable.

Molly of Kitty Keller standing behind a tree

We had fun with Molly, our granddaughter who was able to become well known by the staff on the ship. To the staff, who work so hard, to make the experience perfect. Thank you.

We sell to twenty-eight stores and counting in Alaska including, The Princess Cruise Line. We did not visit them all. Excited to see how our ornaments were displayed and, of course, how well they were selling, we were warmly welcomed. At one store I was even asked to autograph the ornament boxes. What fun. My husband Bill, who is ever proud of me, had the most pleasure seeing all the stores with our ornaments. I loved it, too!!! Thank you, store owners and customers who continue to buy and collect our Alaska creations. They are beautiful. Every year we add new ornament designs and new stores that feature the beauty, locations, animals, and landscapes of Alaska. Seeing the beauty in person can not be minimized in helping us create these designs.

Kitty Keller Alaska Ornament

To the stores who buy, sell, and support us we say with the greatest sincerity, Thank you! The amount of our ornaments that each store orders grows with each year as our sales reps introduce our product to more and more of Alaska. Besides many of the port cities, we sell to the Iditarod Dog Sled race as well as the North Pole. We did not go there!

Our first port after Vancouver was Icy-Straight Point which is not a town, but rather a place where there was once a large salmon canning facility. Now it is a collection of stores and two fabulous tram rides. Our ornaments sell at The Icy-Straight Point Stores and we saw them all. We stopped at a little restaurant on the edge of the rocky shoreline where a big fire was burning. We could not help but think of the very hot Texas summer we had left behind.

We visited four ports; Icy-Straight Point, Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan, which is considered Alaska’s first city. Called the inside passage, most of our journey had mountains on both sides of the ship covered in snow. As we departed Juneau we were seated for a special Italian dinner with a big glass wall behind us. We saw a pair of Eagles fly and roost in their nest, two white heads, so easy to spot, and noticed the silhouette of our ship as it cast its shadow onto the forest and the city of Juneau.

As we departed our last port city heading back to Vancouver on our last sea day, we had time to reflect on our trip what we loved, and what might have changed had we known. Trips are about the experience, but we managed to collect a zoo of Alaska stuffed creatures for Molly. I bought a wooden bowl with some Inuit carvings and another Inuit carved whale plus a pile of T-shirts for our grandchildren. There are some beautiful native crafts and the last time I was in Alaska I bought a necklace made from petrified walrus tusk that could only be carved by Native Alaskans. I have given instructions that when I blast off to Heaven please do not think those are plastic and give them to Goodwill!

Getting off the ship was easy and as we collected our eight giant bags plus all the carry-on luggage we were happy to be heading home. Always happy to go and always happy to come home is generally my feeling. I think the only place that I have a hard time leaving is Grand Cayman where most decisions revolve around, where to sit on the beach, and where to go for dinner. RULE #5: Maybe just a suggestion, love the moment even if it is challenging knowing that it will probably never come again.

💙 Kitty Keller

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