Sailng to ALASKA . . . Vancouver & The Inside Passage

     In June of 2017 we spent a week on the Volendam, a Holland America ship, exploring the Inside Passage of southeast Alaska. image

This was part of a 5 week long driving trip that took us to Minneapolis to visit our daughter & son in law, to Portland to visit Rick’s sister & her husband, to Seattle to visit Mary’s aunt & to Ft Worth to visit Mary’s mother before heading back to our home in Arlington, Virginia.  Whew! 

     Actually, we enjoy driving cross-country because there is so much to see & so many different kinds of beautiful country, all of which you miss if you fly to the West Coast.  One of Mary’s knees was replaced in January so we scheduled somewhat shorter driving days, but it was still a very long haul.  We highly recommend it to anyone with enough time & in good enough physical shape.

     Anyway, these blog entries are primarily about the cruise portion of the trip.  We drove from Portland, Oregon to Vancouver, BC on June 6 for a June 7 departure.  We were travelling with Rick’s sister & brother in law, Barbara & Brian.  This was the first time we have travelled by cruise ship with them since 2001, when Rick & Barb’s mother took the whole family on a Caribbean cruise, our first experience at sea.  (Note that picture captions can be viewed in a popup if you hover your mouse over the picture . . . this probably only works if you are using a computer.)

2001 cruise

     On the afternoon of June 7 we boarded the ship and sailed away from Vancouver’s beautiful terminal, which looks from a distance like a row of sails.  It was a very nice day & we had a fine view of Vancouver as we left.  There was a sail away party on the aft deck, but without music as had sometimes been the practice in the past.

Vancouver skyline as we sailed away; the cruise terminal is right behind the white ship15. Vancouver & At Sea 7. Vancouver & At Sea 8. Vancouver & At Sea 17. Vancouver & At Sea 12. Vancouver & At Sea _stitch

     The layout of the Volendam is almost identical to that of the Amsterdam, although the decorations, artwork & furniture are different.  We were in a balcony room this time, which is a little bigger than the oceanview cabin we have had on longer Holland America voyages. It is nice to have quick outside access to view passing glaciers & sea life in Alaska, but we find a balcony less useful on cold weather cruises when it doesn’t feel too great to sit outside. Since we have previously profiled the Amsterdam in some depth  (, we will keep pictures of the similar Volendam to a minimum.

23. Vancouver & At Sea _stitch_ShiftN104. June 11 Glacier Bay38. Vancouver & At Sea _ShiftN41. Vancouver & At Sea _ShiftN

     We spent June 8 sailing up the Inside Passage along the Canadian coast.  It is called this because there is a chain of large islands between the passage & the ocean that protects it from the worst weather.  But it is a very dramatic vista along this seaway.  Unfortunately there was a heavy fog cover the day we were there, which greatly hindered the view but added to the drama.

44. Vancouver & At Sea _stitch26. Vancouver & At Sea 27. Vancouver & At Sea 36. Vancouver & At Sea 34. Vancouver & At Sea 28. Vancouver & At Sea 20. Vancouver & At Sea

     We went to bed this night hoping for better weather when we reached Juneau.

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