I get this question. ALL of the time.“So tell me, where is your favorite place you’ve ever been?” I’ve been to 58 Countries. I mean… That is from what I can remember anyway. I had to go into that app “Places I’ve been” and type them in to count. Ha! But there I was looking at some of the countries going, “wait.. did I go there?” So those ones I wasn’t sure on, I just left. I’m sure I’ll visit them at some point. One can only hope.
So my answer, you ask? My answer is always the same.
I love so many different places for so many different reasons!
First up though is Alaska. My answer always finishes with… “BUT, you HAVE to go to Alaska!”
My first contract in Alaska was actually a replacement contract. This means that someone was leaving so they needed someone to replace that person. I was onboard the ship for only 9 weeks. Which is very different from a 10 month contract. Let me tell you how happy I am that I did that contract. It has some of the most incredible timeless memories attached to it.
Alaska is breathtaking. You walk outside and the air is fresh. You breathe in as if it is the first time you have ever taken a breath of air.
Your lungs fill up. You want to always remember this moment of breathing so easily and with so much air. The smirk brightens up your face as you look around. You watch as the eagles are swooping overhead, the black bears roaming through the woods, and the salmon swimming upstream. It is incredible.
I have been lucky enough to have gone three times! Three! #Blessed
My first contract I believe we were only there for 5 weeks. This was a long time ago. I’m talking 2007… So I apologize if the timing is a little blurry. I signed on the ship in San Juan and we did a crossing over to Alaska. Boy, did we have a BLAST! We went all the way from San Juan Puerto Rico, through the Panama Canal, to Cabo… Up the West Coast to San Fransisco and ended in Seattle. My second time in Alaska was in 2010. I did a full season. But as amazing as Alaska is, it does get very cold and well it’s just weird not seeing the sun for 5 months. We were missing that Vitamin D! The last time I went to Alaska I was cruising for two weeks with one of my absolute best friends. That was the summer of 2016. It is now 2019 and I would say it is about time to get my Alaska fill!
Sailing though Alaska is sooo sooo beautiful as well. Imagine being on this humongous ship going through this tiny what seems like a 2 by 2 area to get through these fjords. You are seeing seals play in the water and on the icebergs to the left and bears walking through the trees to the right. It is 4 o’clock in the morning and you are still speaking to your production manager in the crew bar about life. It is bright as day out. Let’s not forget… The beautiful Hubbard Glacier. I mean, there is not much to say about it. You have to see it to believe it. Isn’t it absolutely incredible what our world can create? How beautiful are these photos. I had to only pick a couple or the entire page would be all of my Hubbard Glacier photos. But, WOW!
My first time I was in Alaska we had a group of about 10 of us who were really great friends. This day was one of my “Best Days Ever” working on Ships. If you are in Skagway, Alaska I highly recommend doing the Hike & Float. I have even provided a link! (I legit think I see a photo of Bob on their website, he was our incredible tour guide. See photo below of Bob.)
This is Bob. He is the best. Be like Bob.
After Bob told us what to do and not to do. “If you see a bear don’t scream.” (More about this later.) We hiked through these trails in the mountains of Alaska. Laughing and smiling and being present with each other. We ended up at the river that we then had to get our life jackets and big ol’ Galoshes on and put ourselves into smaller groups. Then there we were floating down a river, seeing incredible wildlife and mountains and breathing in the fresh Alaskan air. What a time to be alive. Literally.
At the end of the tour Bob picked us up in his van. He once again said “Okay everyone, this doesn’t usually happen, but I spotted a bear! So, I am going to drive you up to where it was to see if you can see it still. But let me remind you, Do Not Scream!” ——– Drives up the hill. Sees Bear. Anna begins screaming! The laughter took over.
It was the best ending to a very fulfilling day.
I have had some other very memorable days in Alaska as well. Something that normally makes a contract memorable is when a big group of you and your friends/ cast members/ family/ coworkers.. whatever you want to call them.. all grab a bunch of food and drinks and have a picnic or BBQ of some sort somewhere. Honestly, now that I think of it.. A lot of my best memories have something to do with this. We will get to all of them at some point. But my second contract in Alaska my cast did just this.
Also, for what it’s worth, it was one of the most beautiful days we had in Alaska. We could be in tank tops in the sun! Whaaaat! The cast (and a few other friends of the cast) all went to the little tiny grocery store. We gathered food for the BBQ, Drinks, Coals, Plates, Napkins, Ice, Snacks… And we were on our way.
Being someone on land you are probably wondering how a BBQ is one of my best days ever. Imagine working on a Cruise Ship… You are pretty much primarily inside of steel walls for anywhere from six to ten months at a time. So, yes, walking through grass, smelling the outdoors, getting food from a grocery store, being in a wide open space are definitely not taken for granted. We ate, we laughed, we danced, we drank, we were present with each other. Some of my best memories also come from times before mobile phones took over. The times when we stayed present in each other’s company. Can we go back to this.
So much Beauty in Alaska!!!
You can take a Train up the mountain… and then yes one of the best things ever.. See little husky pups!!! I’m pretty sure this is where my love of Husky Puppies came from. It is a beautiful trip up the mountain as well. (Of course, I was more concerned with the animals at the end of the trip though.) We actually had a very beautiful day when we went so no there wasn’t any snow. We were given a tour of the husky camp, were pulled by the huskies on the sleigh, were given a ton of information about dog sledding, and the best part… Played with all the puppies.
Plus who wouldn’t want to be around a bunch of puppies. Which is another thing working on a Cruise Ship you don’t take for granted. Time you have with animals…. I still think we should have a couple of Service Dogs onboard for the crew. Who’s with me!!
I have many days that stick out. The Red Dog Saloon in Juneau. This Saloon has a great story behind it. It originated during the Mining Era in Juneau. My suggestion is to go in there. Take a few “Duck Farts” (just ask the bar for a Duck Fart Shot) and take the tour around the Saloon. You may even see a ghost! I have so many incredible memories at this place with so many fun people.
You can go watch the Sea Planes come in at The Hangar on the Wharf in Juneau. Or take the seaplane yourself, which unfortunately I never did a Seaplane or Helicopter ride. Next time I go this will be at the top of my list! There are so many restaurants with amazing food. Get an Alaskan King Crab Leg at Tracy’s Crab Shack. With an Alaskan Amber of course. You will find this in Juneau as well. I know, I know I have only mentioned Skagway and Juneau.
Okay so you want the best coffee ever? You will find that at the Sea Bean Cafe in Seward Alaska. I have a status from about 9 years ago that says something like so.. “Literally just had the best Vanilla Chai Latte I’ve ever had in my life.” Guys, it was. They had delicious food there as well. Plus, I just went on their website and they have a vegan and gluten free menu now too!! Score! I recall some of my cast hiking a Glacier in Seward as well. You can check out this link. Exit Glacier.
When you go to Icy Straight Point, go on the Zipline. They say it is the World’s Largest ZipRider. I mean nothing like zip lining in Alaska. Breathing in that chilly fresh air while you are overlooking trees and mountains. Okay it may be cold. But well, live a little! Then you can Whale watch while you are eating your crab legs at “The Crab Station” they have there. Delicious. Stunning. What else could you ask for?
Now these are only some of what I have experienced in Alaska. I am telling you, go do it yourself. You won’t regret it.
Go live a little!!