Alaska Cruising

image28Crystal Harmony is a study in modern ship design. From the moment you set foot aboard the ship you’ll notice your world slips pleasantly into place. There’s a quiet, understated elegance in the design and décor that feels in balance. As the standard of excellence – the leader of luxury – Crystal Cruises would have it no other way.  This version of the Crystal Harmony was retired in 2006 but it’s memory will live on as I had 3 wonderful Alaskan cruises aboard her.

image36Sitka Alaska, nestled on the west side of Baranof Island, it is flanked on the east by majestic snow-capped mountains, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean

image31Juneau is glacier territory. The famed Mendenhall Glacier is a mere 13 miles from the center of the city. Seeing is believing when it comes to the sheer vastness of Alaska’s forests and the majesty of its mountains and glaciers.

image35Ketchikan is situated along the shores of Alaska’s Inside Passage within the heart of the sixteen million acre Tongass National Forest. Evergreen mountains rise out of the water, the lush green landscape nurtured by the abundant rainfall of the temperate rainforest environment.image37Hubbard Glacier, Alaska.  Seventy-five miles long and covering over 1,350 square miles in area, the Hubbard Glacier is the largest tidewater glacier in North America. It is also one of the most impressive, a 300-foot wall of ice rising sheer and jagged from the ocean. It has been thickening and advancing toward the Gulf of Alaska since it was first mapped by the International Boundary Commission in 1895. This is in stark contrast with most glaciers, which have thinned and retreated during the last century.This atypical behavior is an important example of the calving glacier cycle in which glacier advance and retreat is controlled more by the mechanics of terminus calving than by climate fluctuations. If Hubbard Glacier continues to advance, it will close the seaward entrance of Russell Fiord and create the largest glacier-dammed lake on the North American continent in historic times.

image32The Bald Eagle, an American Symbol.

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