Alaska Holiday 1

“Alaska, here I come!” says Dave as he embarks on a week’s cruise with his family.

This, ones in a lifetime cruise, is one way Dave and Susan can escape from the stress of modern day life.

We need holidays to take a break from the daily rituals, have quality time with our family, recharge our batteries, reorganize our thoughts and priorities, and bring new vigor to our outlook.

On his return, Dave is overjoyed with what he saw and the way he felt. He sat down to tell me all about it.

In 1725, a Russian explorer, Vitus Bering, is the first European to set foot on Alaskan soil. In 1867, the Government of United States purchases Alaska from Russia for $7.2million (two cents per acre!).

Initially thought to be a foolish deal, Alaska surprises the world with its wealth of natural resources – gold and oil. While oil continues to dominate Alaskan economy, tourism leads fishing and lumbering as the state’s second major industry.

Dave and family board the 50,000-ton ship on a Monday evening in Vancouver. There is nothing very spectacular about the departure. As the ship cruises at an average speed of 20-knots/23 mph, Dave takes pictures of the breathtaking view of Vancouver sun set.

Well, I am getting impatient to know more about the cruise! About food and entertainment. About the beauty of Alaska – glaciers, whales, and the wilderness.

Is there anything healthy to do on board the ship?

There is lots of food! Food services start at 6 am and end with midnight buffet. There is everything, including pizza and ice cream. There are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Enough for 2000 passengers and 625 crewmembers to last for more than a week.

The best thing about the cruise is that you don’t have to work. The phone does not ring. There are no deadlines. No meetings to attend. No complaints to listen to.

The cabins are cleaned twice a day. The towels are changed twice a day! You can order room service if you like. It’s a big, mobile, floating hotel and a small city put together.

All food served is not “unhealthy”. Besides fresh fruits and vegetables, there are sugarless deserts and low calorie items on the menu. One thing they do not provide is will power to resist “unhealthy” food!

For the fitness buffs, there is fully equipped gym with massage therapists. Variety of fitness classes offered that range from beginners to advanced levels. There is sauna, spa, aerobics, yoga – you name it and they have it.

There is basketball area, small driving range (lousy clubs – not like your own), table tennis, two small swimming pools, two hot tubs, and walking and jogging areas.

Each evening there is lot of laughter and fun. There are outstanding Broadway shows, stand up comedians, and singers. Audience participation programs are very funny.

They have baby-sitting arrangements, children’s programs and teen activities.

For gamblers, there is daily lotto, bingo, and casino.

There are two formal evenings when you can dress up in your best clothes. There is beauty saloon to get you ready if you need their services. You can even rent a tuxedo!

There are gift shops with Alaska souvenirs that are made in Canada for which you pay American dollars!

There are several ship photographers who take innumerable pictures for you to buy. Who is not tempted to buy his own picture – although it may never make it to the cover of Rolling Stones magazine!

There is plenty of open seas, fresh air, sunshine (if it does not rain), and blue skies. You can watch sunrise and sun set. You can sit on the deck and watch the stars and the moon. You can watch beautifully lighted cruise ships sail by. Evenings are beautiful, calm and relaxing.

In the next column, I will tell you what Dave and his family saw in Alaska.

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