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National Geographic Sea Lion Cruise Review

Itinerary: Exploring Alaska's Coastal Wilderness - June 2010

National Geographic Sea Lion

This was our port day, the only day where we actually came into a real town/city. This was exciting because it gave us a chance to do whatever we wanted to do. We could shop, hike, take a tour, and take a shore excursion like kayaking. It was incredible. I decided to go shopping in the morning and then I grouped up with a couple of people from the ship and we went on a 12-mile hike. There are more hikes that are shorter than this one, but it was absolutely magnificent. We were told that there might be bears somewhere along the trail, but each person we came across said that they had seen no wildlife, with the exception of birds, and a very friendly dog that got my pants dirty. It was a great time to stretch my legs after being on the ship for 2 days.

We decided we wanted the direction that started in the capital of Juneau. At LInda's suggestion we are staying at the Goldbelt Hotel. Also at her suggestion we paid a little more for a window water view room. Well worth it, when we woke up this morning we were able to see the Sea Lion pull in alongside the massive floating hotels, such as the Princess Cruise Line.. It is absolutely beautiful, though a little cloudy which makes me nervous about what it will be like when we get on the open ocean. I hope that it is nice and at least a little bit sunny.

  • Tracy Arm - Glaciers calving along with a bunch of wildlife. The whales would not stop putting on a show for us, starting with a tail fluke and gradually it turned into pectoral slaps (slapping of the flippers) and eventually breaching, where the whale comes completely out of the water by using its fluke. We actually got a chance to stop the ship and just sit there watching the whales play around for a long long time. It was nice not have a definite schedule as to where we have to be at a certain time.
  • Petersburg - Little under the weather so I stayed on the ship.
  • Fredrick Sound and Chatham Strait - Great opportunity to inspect the marine wildlife. We focused most of the day on this activity. We also focused on trying to find bears along the coastline. For what sounds like a very boring day, it was full of interest and wildlife. We came inches away from one of the cliffs, so close that I could almost touch it while leaning over the side of the ship. It was absolutely incredible. We continued adventuring around, stopping to watch the wildlife, and just taking breathtaking pictures.
  • Glacier Bay National Park - Woke up right in front of the glaciers. It was incredible. I think we were 1/4 of a mile away from the face of the glacier. It was so magnificent and gigantic. It was incredible to see the seals sitting on the ice. We nicknamed them orca sausages, because they look likes links of sausage lying on pieces of ice.
  • Sea Day - We basically wondered the seas waiting to see wildlife, and if we came across it we stopped. A magnificent day of incredible scenery and education. It was during dinner that I witnessed a whale breaching outside of the dining room window. About 15 to 20 passengers actually left dinner, went up to the bow and stood there watching this whale breach. It must have been playing around for about 25 minutes before the mother came along and took the child away. The pair came towards the ship, and right before it got to the bow, it did a magnificent dive with the fluke and everything, only feet away from the ship. It was incredible. So incredible in fact that the captain was on the bow with us taking pictures with his high-tech camera. It was one of the most breath-taking experiences of my life.
  • Sitka - the end of our trip and back to a real Alaska town. I don't know where the week went. We booked our trip with Linda nine months in advance. We read and dreamed of our trip for so long and then in what seems like a heart beat it is over. Of course I have 10,000 pictures to show as a memory. We had our last delicious breakfast said a heartfelt thank you to the crew and tearful goodbye to our new found friends and off we were to tour Sitka and then onto the airport for the long flights home.

All in all, nothing could have offered such perfection. The weather, the ship, the crew, most of all, all that Alaska has to offer. I WILL BE BACK.....you can be sure of that.

Linda, thank you for your help. Your advice was right on in all cases. We used your printouts and passed them around the lounge. We did ask to be woken up for the Northern Lights but we weren't lucky. Last of all, thank you for your gift of the bottle of wine, what a nice touch. Thank you thank you.

— Mary Ellen Sacks - San Francisco

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