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COVER STORY


Spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife were a given as we made our way through the Inside Passage. Our pace leisurely, with Captain David Landis slowly maneuvering the boat close to diving whales, idling there as long as the display continued. A spectacular waterfall ahead? We’d find ourselves within spraying distance.


went to the bridge to visit with Captain Landis – bridge visits are encouraged – as we made our way into Tracy Arm, arguably the most spectacular of the Passage’s waterways. At 32 miles long, edged by dense forests of spruce, hemlock and cedar with sheer granite walls, it is a monument to the power of ice. Increasingly, our way became clogged with enormous floating, icy-blue sculp- tures; many favoured as rafts by seals, en route to two of Alaska’s most enormous and beautiful glaciers which reign over the Arm’s upper end. Now 68, Landis had semi-retired from captaining cruise ships in far-flung parts of the world, as well as Alaska, when he heard of the new venture and “badgered them,” as he put it, until they took him on. “I’m having fun again,” he said, as he


I


steered Admiralty Dream as close to the uppermost glacier as safety allows. There we lingered, waiting for the glacier to “calve,” and were rewarded with a thunderous display.


30 WORLD OF CRUISING I Winter 2011-12


That evening, the featured drink from the


bar in the Vista Lounge was a Glacier Martini – vodka or gin tinged with a splash of blue Curacao. A tiny chunk of iceberg, chipped off a larger piece crew members had fished from the sea, floated in the glass. Equal to the Glacier Martini’s nod to Alaska were other selections from the ship’s galley. Always an option with the four-course, multiple-selection dinner was the bounty of the sea – gloriously fresh halibut, salmon or Dungeness crab. Dining, whether for breakfast, lunch or


dinner, emphasised the ship’s casual atmosphere – absolutely no dressing up – with guests free to sit wherever and with whomever they chose. At the same time, the wait staff amazed with their ability to remember preferences and a thoughtful, friendly professionalism. All too soon, we arrived at voyage end


in Sitka with ship-departure arrangements made with such grace I had no feeling of being hurriedly pushed off. With the crew lined up on the gangway to see us off, my sadness at saying goodbye was tempered with the anticipation I was disembarking in what I consider Alaska’s most fascinat- ing and beautifully situated city. Population 8,627, its rich and dramatic past meriting no less than 24 sites on the National Register of Historic Places. After my Alaskan Dream Cruise, I could hardly wait for the next adventure. 


ADMIRALTY DREAM FACTFILE


Built: 1979, refurbished 2011 Tonnage: 514 Length: 143ft Beam: 28ft Draft: 6.5ft Speed: 10 knots


Passengers: (all berths) 66 Crew: 21


Passenger decks: 4 Registry: USA


ITINERARIES: May 12 to September 4, 2012; 3, 6 or 8-day cruises from Sitka or Juneau.


MORE INFO: call (in the US), 1855 747 8100 or visit www.alaskandreamcruises.com.


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