Cruising Come Back – Alaska
My husband and I recently cruised from Seattle to Alaska on Silversea Cruise Lines’ Silver Muse. This was my first real travel adventure since the onset of Covid. I initially had a bit of trepidation about taking a cruise; however, the protocols initiated by SIlversea Cruise Lines were very reassuring. As with the majority of cruise lines and tour companies, Silversea Cruises requires all guests and crew to be vaccinated. Guests were tested, and results processed before boarding was permitted, and the ship’s capacity, normally 596 guests, was reduced for our cruise. The Silver Muse crew wore masks at all times and many of the passengers wore masks in public areas.
I cannot say enough wonderful things about Silversea Cruise Lines and my experience aboard the Silver Muse. Silversea describes itself as “Ultra-Luxury.” All suites have an ocean view, the majority with verandahs. Butler service, drinks and gratuities are all included in the cruise fare. Beginning next year, Silversea becomes a true all-inclusive as they will offer shore excursions as well.
The service we received from everyone on board was outstanding. All over the ship, waiters, bartenders, and staff learned our names within 24 hours and addressed us by name. Our sailing was the last Alaska sailing for the Silver Muse. The ship’s next voyage was is still to be determined. Despite that uncertainty of job security, all of the crew remained upbeat and eager to please.
The Silver Muse has an outstanding variety of restaurants and menus. The dining venues vary in size and in style of cuisine, from the casual Spaccanapoli for pizza to the intimate Silver Note with small plates to the Italian La Terazza or to Hot Rocks where dinner was cooked tableside on heated lava rocks. Everywhere we ate the food was mouthwatering and delicious.
Since we departed from Seattle rather than Vancouver, which is the usual Inside Passage departure point, our sailing was 10 days. We had two days at sea prior to reaching our first port of Wrangell. Silversea offered a wide variety of shore excursions with activity levels of all types. We selected some excursions and explored other ports on our own.
We arrived in Wrangell on a Sunday so the Wrangell Museum (which looked interesting through the windows) was closed. The town has an interesting collection of totems easily accessible from the ship. Petroglyph Beach State Historic Park was also a short walk. Here you can see primitive rock carvings believed to be 8,000 years old.
Sitka was our next stop. We opted for an excursion here to see sea otters, raptors and bears. Whales, both orca and humpback, were a bonus. The raptors and bears we saw were both at sanctuaries dedicated to caring for injured animals. Many of the raptors, primarily eagles, will be released into the wild when well enough. The bears will stay in the sanctuary as they are unable to survive on their own.
Skagway is the home of the Klondike Gold Rush and the White Pass and Yukon Railroad. After walking around town, we boarded the railway for a short ride on the White Pass Summit. Some of the track was under construction during our visit, yet the ride was still beautiful and it was amazing to think about those souls drawn to the trail seeking their fortune.
Endicott Arm or Tracy Arm Fjords was definitely a highlight of our cruise. This is not a port per se. A small tour boat came alongside the Silver Muse. We boarded the smaller vessel to get up close and personal with Dawes Glacier. The scenery was beautiful as we passed waterfalls, ice floes and a bit of wildlife leading up to the glacier.
We were in Juneau longer than any other port. The ship docked late evening just in time to have dinner away from the ship and to explore local hotspots. The next day we went to the Alaska State Museum, which we thoroughly enjoyed. The collection had a variety of exhibits on native culture, science and the history of Alaska. We were lucky enough to meet and chat with Lilly Hope, a Native American artist primarily known for her traditional weavings. She was a joy as she explained her creative process and answered our questions.
All in all, our experience in Alaska and aboard the Silver Muse was nothing short of fantastic. It made me want to see more of Alaska by land and to experience another destination offered by Silversea Cruise Lines! Travel, and especially cruising, is not back to normal yet, but interest and demand are very high for 2022. I encourage everyone to pack their patience as they venture forth and explore the world again. Happy travels!