Travels with Young People--Alaska


What better way can you spend your money than on a grandchild?  When my now seven year old grandson Dillon was born, I knew I wanted to be a part of his life even though we live more than three thousand miles apart.  So far, he and I have taken four sojourns together.  Traveling together, just the two of us, is  very special.  Our first trip was on Amtrak, from Seattle to Portland and back; the second was a whale watch in the San Juan Island to






see orcas; for the third we flew to San Francisco, and this year we took a week's cruise to Alaska's inside passage (the inner coastline).  Train, boat, plane, and now a big boat!!! 

Our Holland America Alaska cruise departed from and returned to Seattle.  First thing: the Coast Guard requires that before departing any US port crew and passengers must have an emergency practice.  Everyone must go to an assigned station with their life jacket!

Since the late August weather was not very nice (for some tastes, but not ours), Dillon had the entire rear deck to himself many days! This gave him plenty of space to run around playing endless pirate games, climb, and explore.   Only at the very end did he visit the "children's room" provided to give the adults a break!

Our cabin steward  was adept at making folded towel toys—this elephant was a great favorite! (Notice that Dillon is always wearing his orange ID bracelet--on ship and off). 

One of our stops was in Juneau, the location of many gold mines.  Exploring one and watching a real gold miner was just the thing for a six year old.  After the tunnel excursion Dillon panned for gold and found lots, as well as garnets!!

Taking a very small boat in Sitka was a great adventure!  “Ester” the boat took us very close to a humpback whale.  We were in a small cove, and the whale circled it blowing all the way.  As the whale departed the cove, it flipped its tale as if to say goodbye to Dillon.  He was most pleased!

Along the way there are always dress up nights on the large ships.  Putting on a tie was a big deal for Dillon!  Many kids like getting dressed up!

Seeing so many animals from above the water was great, seals, whales, eagles, deer, and otters . . . but seeing the creatures that came from under water was a very different experience.  Did you ever see a star fish like this one?  I had not.

The shore excursions were wonderful, but our best day was in Glacier Bay.  Some of the glaciers are a mile wide.  And hearing them cave in was most exciting—they were so loud!  Clearly they are receding at a very fast pace.  Glacier Bay was all glacier in 1900, and now it is a huge bay miles long with several very large glaciers in the individual fiords. 

Back inside where it was warm—

We had a cabin with portholes—and a large shelf behind the curtains that was Dillon 's "private suite".   A most memorable time was had by both grandma and grandson! We are now planning our 2010 excursion, so stay tuned!


Where would you like to take a special young person?



Harriet H. Ahouse | Independent Travel Consultant
Vista Travel, Inc.
10 Rogers Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142
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