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Old 01-07-2013, 08:43 PM   #41
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Yes, I'm with Mark here. Taking our own boat not an option for us down here anyway, but hey, big boat cruising is also fun, and as for the Alaska trip - definitely on the wish list.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:57 PM   #42
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Yes, I'm with Mark here. Taking our own boat not an option for us down here anyway, but hey, big boat cruising is also fun, and as for the Alaska trip - definitely on the wish list.
Peter, how about the ferry system. I have been looking into that way to see Alaska. Get off where you want, and stay as long as you want. You can book fishing trips, and do some hiking. Then hop a ferry, and continue the trip.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:46 PM   #43
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Walt,
Apparently you missed my point too in that I have no misunderstanding about "up close and personal" and a cruise ship offers far far less of that but most of the potential Alaskan experience is not centered around fish and dangerous animals. In fact many are obsessed by that and see nothing else. I prefer geographical experiences and cultural experiences and historical experiences and weather experiences and flying experiences and boating experiences and hiking experiences and eating experiences or perhaps a canoe trip down part of the Yukon a hike on the north slope and many many other experiences that have nothing to do w hunting and fishing.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:07 PM   #44
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Don,
The ferries have great appeal but they are not as much fun as they used to be. People sleep everywhere .. on the floor and in the cafeteria. Kids are frequently very noisy and in the summer it's crowded. I'm sure a cruise ship would be much more enjoyable re time spent aboard but you can't stop here and there. And when you do stop traveling on the ferry there are excellent flight seeing and small boat trips like a little ride up a river on a jet boat. There's wonderful museums and some art that isn't over commercialized. Having a drink in the Red Dog Saloon isn't much different than having a drink anywhere but during the day you can take a bus out to the Mendenhall Glacier. The only tidewater glacier you can drive to. You can make connections to travel the Yukon Railroad recommended by everybody and see Whitehorse. But many of the side trips are expensive and if you take in a bunch at every stop it will cost a lot but if I had the money I'd probably do a mix of all the above but fly to Ketchikan and perhaps spending a few days in Juneau and/or Sitka.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:16 PM   #45
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Ok. Now tht that's settled: Take a Cruise ship to the Bahamas, or take your own boat??
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:26 PM   #46
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Ok. Now tht that's settled: Take a Cruise ship to the Bahamas, or take your own boat??
Fly to the Bahamas and then charter. Great fun. You can charter in Juneau too. There is a fleet of Nordic Tugs awaiting you.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:49 PM   #47
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Cruise ships, not just our rinky-dink boats, can be fun too.
That's the most depressing photo I can recall seeing in recent years. Going under the Golden Gate in a cattle car. I can only think of one worse way to travel and that's..... well, no, I can't.
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:59 AM   #48
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Peter, how about the ferry system. I have been looking into that way to see Alaska. Get off where you want, and stay as long as you want. You can book fishing trips, and do some hiking. Then hop a ferry, and continue the trip.
Back in the last century we rode our motorcycle from Spokane Wa to Anchorage. We rode back to Haines and returned the rest of the way on the Ferry. We enjoyed that very much. I'd like to take my own boat up there some day though.



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Old 01-08-2013, 01:10 AM   #49
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That's the most depressing photo I can recall seeing in recent years. Going under the Golden Gate in a cattle car. I can only think of one worse way to travel and that's..... well, no, I can't.
... the admission of an admitted anti-social type.
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:14 AM   #50
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Back in the last century we rode our motorcycle from Spokane Wa to Anchorage. We rode back to Haines and returned the rest of the way on the Ferry. We enjoyed that very much. I'd like to take my own boat up there some day though.

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The "high-point" of Haines is the hammer museum. If you have a choice, choose Skagway and take the train.

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Old 01-08-2013, 01:24 AM   #51
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... the admission of an admitted anti-social type.
No. It just looks likes an absolutely hideous way to see the world. The babble of thousands of mindless voices all the time, stupid on-board activities to keep people "interested," jammed into shoreboats, packed into tour busses, led by the nose up trails to listen to the programmed yammer of bored-out-of-their-skulls guides and "naturalists."

I've met too many people on the "supply side" of these cruise ships-- -the tour guides, the activity planners, the purveyors of naturalist tours, see-the-glacer helicopter rides, salmon-dinner floatplane operators, etc., etc., etc. to have any illusions whatsoever that the cattle are seeing anything real other than the passing geography.

I read an interesting analysis of the cruise ship world in a business magazine on some recent flight. According to this article, as the ships get bigger and bigger the emphasis is shifting away from offering tours of places--- Alaska, Carribean, wherever--- to making the ship itself the "destination."

The experience is not where you go and what you see, it's being on the ship itself. The cruise ships are, in essence, becoming theme parks and the activities on board are increasingly being designed to keep the passengers on board, even in port. So said the article anyway. I have no intention of wasting any time or money to find out if it's true.

PS The only boat tours that I think would be somewhat enjoyable are the river cruises in smaller boats that let you get off and go overland on your own for awhile and join the boat farther downstream. The one I am familiar with by virtue of our music composer doing a number of trade-off projects for them is Viking. He's done a number of their river tours in Europe and was very impressed with them and with the freedom the passengers have to do their own thing when they want to.
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:54 AM   #52
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The "high-point" of Haines is the hammer museum. If you have a choice, choose Skagway and take the train.
If you don't believe, ask Larry.

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Old 01-08-2013, 01:57 AM   #53
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We rode on one of those floating apartment buildings one time. Overall it was average. Average food, average accomodation, average entertainment. I'm glad we did it and even happier that we didn't pay for it (it was a supplier perq). It was nominally a Mexican cruise but what we saw bore little resemblance to Mexico - kind of like those all-exclusive resorts that protect the gringos from the grubby locals. I expect the Alaskan cruise experience would be equally disconnected from Alaska.

With just a modicum of luck between now and May we intend to take Gray Hawk to Alaska this spring.
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:08 AM   #54
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On cruise-ship cruises, we typically walk through the residential districts, the markets, and historical landmarks. An island in the Atlantic:

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Old 01-08-2013, 06:03 AM   #55
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Don,
The ferries have great appeal but they are not as much fun as they used to be. People sleep everywhere .. on the floor and in the cafeteria. .
Eric,

That sounds like the Greek ferries. On an over night trip you can get a decent room with a shower on some Greek ferries. On deck and in the lounge people are every where. The Athens airport hardly has room to walk for people sleeping on the floor at night. The ferries are still a great way to get around among the islands.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:40 AM   #56
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Peter, how about the ferry system.
I used to do relief work on the AMHS and one of the best trips is on the "Tusty" (Tustumena) the ferry that runs from PWS to Kodiak and once a month goes out to Dutch Harbor and Akutan and False Pass, along with a few smaller villages on the "Chain Trip."

That run is not made in the Winter so the first one in the Spring is a big thing for the villages and is what I call a "real National Geographic experience." The village kids and women spend the Winter making crafts, berry jam, and beachcombing for Japanese glass fishing floats, I bought a milk crate full once to give as gifts to friends in the "lower 48." A lot of foreign visitors made that trip just for the experience and I can promise that there is not a mass market cruise ship in existence that can come anywhere close to what the Tusty offers.

The SE runs are pretty much bus routes but still a quantum measure above the floating hotels with regard to seeing the country and meeting people who are not employed by the cruise company to sell you the same stuff they sell in the Caribbean.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:04 AM   #57
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PS The only boat tours that I think would be somewhat enjoyable are the river cruises in smaller boats that let you get off and go overland on your own for awhile and join the boat farther downstream. The one I am familiar with by virtue of our music composer doing a number of trade-off projects for them is Viking. He's done a number of their river tours in Europe and was very impressed with them and with the freedom the passengers have to do their own thing when they want to.
I would agree with that, and from reports from friends, the Budapest to Amsterdam river trip is superb, and I'd rank that above the Alaska cruise even, comparing reports from patients who have done both. Maybe one day I will be able to make my own judgement...?
Rather ironic really, in view of the commonly held view we docs are all wealthy and doing the tourist thing all the time - in my experience the opposite is more the truth...suffice to say, in my next incarnation I'm going to do something else. A really good golfer, actor or tennis ace would be good. That or the CEO of a large bank maybe - yeah...that would be even better...
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:17 AM   #58
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Hammer museum?

I bet it ranks right up there with the barbed wire museum in Oklahoma, or was that Texas?
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:44 AM   #59
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Walt,
Apparently you missed my point too in that I have no misunderstanding about "up close and personal" and a cruise ship offers far far less of that but most of the potential Alaskan experience is not centered around fish and dangerous animals. In fact many are obsessed by that and see nothing else. I prefer geographical experiences and cultural experiences and historical experiences and weather experiences and flying experiences and boating experiences and hiking experiences and eating experiences or perhaps a canoe trip down part of the Yukon a hike on the north slope and many many other experiences that have nothing to do w hunting and fishing.
I know what I'm getting you for Christmas next year....can you guess?
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:56 AM   #60
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"up close and personal"

A big kiss?
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