Crusin' to Alaska and more

If you’ve been perusing my latest meanderings, you know I spent last week in Alaska. If you haven’t been paying attention, well…I spent last week in Alaska.

I know I’ve been beating you over the heading about doing that fifty-state thing, but what about the rest of the trip? What did you think about Alaska? What did you think about the cruise itself?

Let’s start with the boat. The cruise started in Seattle, home of the first Starbucks store…you know that one where people stand in a block-long line just so they can say they had a five-buck cup of coffee from the original. But, I digress….

You actually begin the embarking process by walking up a long ramp where you show them some personal identification. Then, there’s another ramp with more ID. Then another ramp, more ID, your tickets, your negative Covid test and some other essentials…..AND YOU’RE DONE!! Welcome to the cruise.

You finally get aboard the ship and you’re wondering what’s the first stop? FOOD!! Buffet!!!! You’ll be spending quite a bit of time here over the next seven days so immediately check it out. Salad, chicken, fish, pasta, fruit, burgers, hot dogs, pizza. and ice cream! Yes, it’s all there. Is it too much? Yes, but you knew that going in and decided to go on this cruise anyway.

What about the rest of the trip? Is there anything to do besides eat? OMFG, yes! This boat has eighteen decks filled with activities. EIGHTEEN!!

Get this…there are two Broadway shows, a Beatles cover band, a couple of comedians, a magician and trivia-types games going on at times of the day. There are also numerous swimming pools and hot tubs, a spa and a go-cart track on the top deck. If you want to mellow out, you can hit the observation deck and contemplate the ocean…..there’s lots of ocean on this cruise. Between all of this and the numerous restaurants and bars that are too many to count, there’s plenty to keep you active and occupied.

So, if this is what you’re looking for, the Norwegian Encore and its eighteen decks is the cruise ship for you. Hmmm….you think they’ll send me a nice thank you incentive for this rockin’ review {hint hint)?

Okay. we get it. The ship was great. But what about Alaska? That’s a little more difficult. I have mixed feelings about what we saw.

The first stop was in Juneau. The state capital, right? It seemed fairly drab. Plus, the wireless service was spotty. We went on a whale-watching excursion. We spotted a few, but the whales were more than a few hundred yards in the distance. I guess it’s safer that way.

The next stop was in Skagway. It’s an old rustic town with a population of less than one thousand. It does have a cute shopping main street that’s highlighted by a restaurant that was once a brothel.

Stop three wasn’t actually a stop. It was a cruise through the Glacier National Park. While the glaciers are cool, they’ve been eroding because of global warming. You can now see pieces of glaciers that have broken off floating in the water. Very sad.

The final Alaskan stop was Ketchikan. Another small town, but with much better wireless service. I seem to have a bit of an obsession with this.

We took a canoeing excursion with twenty other tourists. It was on a lake named after a local woman who became famous for driving a brothel out of town. Hmmm…there seemed to be an obsession with brothels in old-school Alaska. The canoe trip was a lot of fun. I want to thank the others who helped out with all the paddling. Ketchikan gets a thumbs-up. It’s my favorite Alaskan city.

So overall, I was somewhat disappointed in the state. I had a big buildup in my mind and Alaska underwhelmed me. Still, I’m glad I came to see what I saw.

However, we weren’t done. There was one final stop. The Encore went international. CANADA!!

We went on a night walking tour in the city of Victoria. It’s a beautiful city with colors that jump out at you. The visuals are spectacular. I jokingly told the tour guide that if the political situation in the U.S. gets any worse, I would be joining him in Victoria. He laughed and then welcomed me to his country. I did spend a couple of days trying to get The Kinks’ song “Victoria” out of my head, but that’s not a bad thing.

So let’s recap:

I loved the ship. Can’t ask for a better place to spend a week. All the staff was so friendly and attentive to your needs. They want you to have a great time so you’ll come back. Good business.

As for Alaska, maybe go to some of the other cities in the state. Try Fairbanks and Nome.

Go to Western Canada, Spend more than the one evening we did. You won’t be sorry.

There is one thing I miss. Every morning at the breakfast buffet there’s an omelet station. The cook will make you any kind of omelet you’d like. Mine was ham, tomato and cheddar cheese. Fresh and delicious. Hmmm….I could go for one now. Does anybody know of a place where they’ll make me one of those?


This space is usually used to try to get you to subscribe to this blog. Not anymore. Because of issues with Tribune/Alden, it looks like we’ll be closing shop sooner than later.

I’ll be here until we close, whenever that is. but you’ll also be able to find me at

I also will be starting to write at

I thank all of the readers who have been here for almost ten years. I hope you follow along to the new spaces. I’ll keep you informed. As Rachel Maddow says, “Watch This Space.”

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    Howard Moore

    Every five years or so I decide to update this section. I can't believe I've been doing this for close to ten years. The last time I did this I was close to sixty years old. Now I'm just a few months away from the big 7-ZERO. Scary AF!!! I'm pretty sure I won't be doing an update when I hit 80, but you never know. But until then, lets just be grateful.

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