One Minute Cruise Log – Day 4

by kelly

The sun rose at 5:07 a.m. on the fourth day of our vacation, and by then, our ship had already arrived in Skagway, Alaska, and would soon be tied fast to its berth. 

When I woke up, I saw that we had arrived.  We had an early breakfast, as we were due on land at 7:30 that morning. 

At 7:30, we met our group, led by a likeable mid-20s¬†man named¬†Jonathan.¬† Before long, Jonathan had delivered us to the train station, where we boarded the¬†White Pass & Yukon Route railroad, renowned as the “scenic railway of the world.”¬†


The Princess literature had told¬†us that “against all odds this iron trail was forged through some of North America’s most rugged terrain.”¬† We relaxed “in old fashioned parlor cars and marvel[ed] at the spectacular waterfalls, cliff-hanging turns, tunnels and historic sties” we passed on the journey to the summit of the White Pass and¬†beyond to Fraser, British Columbia.¬† The view really was something to see.¬† And¬†the¬†trip was¬†narrated by a¬†live guide over the PA, which helped us to understand the history and¬†the details of the area.¬†


We got off the train in Canada, where our trusty bus driver, Jonathan picked us up and took us, on the Klondike Highway, to the Yukon Suspension Bridge Рa bridge completed only this year and suspended over the churning rapids of the Tutshi River.  The view was lovely, and there were outdoor museum-like interpretive displays.  Paul found it odd that it was a destination in the middle of nowhere, but I enjoyed the stop.  We took pictures and video of each other walking across the bridge.




Then Jonathan drove us¬†back into the United States¬†and on to our next¬†destination.¬†¬†On that stretch, he earned my admiration and unofficial recognition as¬†”best tour guide of the trip”¬†by continuing to share interesting information about the area, and by reading us, while driving, a poem by Robert Service: ‘The Ballad of Blasphemous Bill’.¬† Jonathan¬†introduced Robert Service to us by explaining that he is also known as the “bard of the North.”¬† He made his fortune during the gold-rush era, not by finding gold, but by documenting the lives of those who tried to¬†in an everyman, but somehow¬†erudite style of poetry that I can’t put down.¬† (I picked up a book of his “best” a couple of days later).¬†

Welcome to Alaska

Welcome to Alaska,
originally uploaded by Koog Family.


Our final stop of the day was at the Jewell Gardens, a “show garden” displaying the amazing size that flowers and vegetables can reach in the “land of the midnight sun.”¬† After walking among the 30-pound cabbages and other fauna, we ate a lovely lunch.¬† The ingredients for our soup, salad, and quiche had been picked that morning from the garden surrounding us.¬†

Jewell Gardens, Skagway Alaska

Jewell Gardens, Skagway Alaska,
originally uploaded by Koog Family.


Jewell Gardens, Skagway Alaska

Jewell Gardens, Skagway Alaska,
originally uploaded by Koog Family.



Jewell Gardens, Skagway Alaska

Jewell Gardens, Skagway Alaska,
originally uploaded by Koog Family.


Finally, Jonathan dropped us off in the tiny town of Skagway proper, where I was shocked to find that a Starbucks exists. 

We visited the Red Onion Saloon, a former brothel that still caters to the image of its past.  Strangely, we had a bartender there who hailed from Green Bay, Wisconsin, and we learned that a man who sat down next to us was a fellow attorney from Milwaukee. 

Skagway, Alaska

Skagway, Alaska,
originally uploaded by Koog Family.




Finally, we got back onto the ship for a casual dinner at the buffet, and some folly in the casino.  Paul continued his winning streak while I slowly enriched the cruise line via the $.01 slots. 

Our ship¬†remained alongside Skagway “until 2028hrs.¬† At that time, we let go our mooring lines and maneuvered clear of the berth swinging the ship bow to starboard moving astern on engines.¬† Once the swing was completed we set a southerly course leaving Lynn Canal.¬† Throughout the evening, we continued to follow southerly courses bound for Juneau.”

The sunset was at 9:05 p.m.

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