This morning when I woke up and looked out the porthole, the first thing I saw was a waterfall streaming down a slate rockface. It was speckled with patches of small brush and pine trees, some only two or three feet tall.
I’m currently sitting in a lounge that’s located on the top deck of the Rhapsody, writing from a table that sits in front of floor-to-ceiling windows. We’re directly in front of Dawes Glacier, slowly spinning in a circle (we’ve been here for about 20 minutes now). This is the second arm, or channel, that we’ve sailed down today. The ship has consistently been about 100 yards from the shore on both the port and starboard sides, and the mountains, glaciers, pines, snow, waterfalls and low-hanging clouds have filled the windows since Sunday morning.
Locations and temperatures aside, one thing that really separates an Alaskan cruise from other popular routes departing from the United States (such as a trek across the Caribbean) is the scenery during the days spent at sea. Aside from the first day when we saw nothing but water, we have always sailed well within sight of land, usually on both sides and always worthy of your attention, constantly changing and evolving (as you saw in my post about the train ride in Skagway, the conditions in Alaska can go from whiteout snow to lush spring-like green colors in a matter of miles).
The words above come from a previous post, when I was on site and in the thick of the experience. Forgive me for reusing content, but there’s nothing truer than emotions expressed in the moment. I could attempt to recreate them now, although I’m not sure why I would when I have an eyewitness account written by my former self from the deck of the ship.
The photos tell the story, anyway. This is the part of an Alaskan cruise that might often go overlooked when browsing itineraries. Our eyes are always drawn to the stops and the excursions/experiences they offer, yet as you will see below, there is an absolutely stunning, untouched beauty beyond the ports.
Here’s what we saw from Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas as we navigated the inside passage of Alaska: