Published on September 5th, 2016 | by Ann Rickard


Alaska – Jaw-Dropping Beauty

A stunning wonderland awaits to be seen from a luxurious ship.

I want bears, moose, mountains, glaciers, eagles, whales, salmon…and a gold nugget if possible, please.

” These were my words as I approached the shore-excursion desk on board the graceful mid-sized ship Nieuw Amsterdam on my first trip to Alaska.IMG_3449

Unless you are a rugged type who considers hiking tall mountains and untamed tracks a pleasure (and if you like your bears and moose at a safe viewing-o adventures on shore.

Alaska is wonderful, glorious, enthralling – a scenic wonderland – and I wanted to experience all its harsh beauty (mixed with unashamed luxury.)

It was all so vivid, so enlightening, so memorable.

Departing from and returning to Vancouver over seven days, Nieuw Amsterdam’s Alaskan cruise sails the Inside Passage, calling into the ports of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, which are so frontier-real you feel like a gold-rusher and want to sing: “North to Alaska, They’re goin’ North, the rush is on.”IMG_3506

As well as these vivid ports, there was the unforgettable day cruising in Glacier Bay, a visually stunning place of mountains, fjords, glaciers, rainforest, wildlife and coastline, and, the highlight, the massive ice-blue, 34 kilometre-long Margerie Glacier.

“I’m going to stop talking now,” the cruise director said over the microphone system as we stood on the deck in Glacier Bay before the splendid vision of ice, snow, mountains, sky. “You need silence in this place,” he said and then turned off the sound.IMG_3215

Glacier Bay’s untainted and remote majesty silenced every one of the 2000 passengers on the decks, even when several kayakers came into view, tiny and gliding silently and reverently along the base of the mighty Margerie Glacier, portraying the true picture of the enormous size of the giant block of moving ice.

Then, an almighty crack pierced the solitude as the glacier calved an iceberg and it crashed dramatically into the sea. What a spectacle.

Glacier Bay, with its 3.3 million World Heritage protected acres, is referred to as a living laboratory, a place to study the ecosystem through the ages.


Cruise ship visits are limited in the summer to just two a day. You understand that. It is a hallowed place.

The jaw-dropping, raw beauty out on the cold decks with chunks of ice floating in the freezing water and the poetic call of seabirds in the sky was marvellous, as was the warmth back inside, up in the Crow’s Nest lounge where the spectacular views from wall-to-ceiling windows could be enjoyed over a warming martini.


Nieuw Amsterdam is a moving luxury hotel with so much to do in between ports and scenic cruising you need to consult your daily newsletter and plan with military precision. What could you get through in a day? A premium wine tasting? A cooking demonstration, art auctions, technology lessons? A massage?

So, that’s the Alaskan glaciers…next week, bears, moose, mountains, frontier saloons…and plenty more.


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About the Author

is a Noosa (Australia) local and author of six successful books, all humorous travel narratives. In 2005 Ann won the prestigious ASTW’s Australian Travel Writer of the Year and in 2007 she won the ASTW Travel Book of the Year. Ann takes a culinary tour to the South of France in June every year . Ann writes travel, dining and columns for the Sunshine Coast Daily and is the Life editor of the Noosa News. Ann also maintains a well read and popular blog site. Ann’s travels have seen her explore cuisines all over the world.

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