Tag Archives: Endicott Arm

Cruising to Alaska on Rhapsody of the Seas – Pros and Cons


100_1002.JPG Cruising to Alaska on Rhapsody of the Seas – Pros

Scenery – awesome
Wildlife – good, but we didn’t see enough, probably should have sprung for a tour
Meals onboard – almost always good, sometimes excellent
Service onboard – friendly and capable
Music onboard – good and sometimes excellent
Ports – interesting and sometimes unforgettable
Change of itinerary – trading wind and rain in Skagway for beautiful Endicott Arm, worth it

Cruising to Alaska on Rhapsody of the Seas – Cons
Change of itinerary – it felt like we traded cruising the Inside Passage to being out of sight of land for gambling, yuck!
Coffee – made double strong all the time, almost made me a tea drinker
Cabin – I knew I was getting an inside cabin, but never dreamed I would have to crawl off and on the end of the bed
Sneaky fees – park the ship at the most distant pier and then wait in line and pay an extra fee for a shuttle to where we were supposed to be in the first place

You can see our photo album at http://picasaweb.google.com/pastorscott.com

Cruising to Alaska on Rhapsody of the Seas – August 17, 2009 – Was supposed to be Skagway but ended up being Endicott Arm

Endicot Arm - Dawes Glacier - 8-17-2009 4-58-08 PM.JPG We woke early Monday morning and I was surprised at how distant land was on either side of the ship.  It was raining and the wind was blowing, creating whitecaps on the water around us.  Jackie and I went forward for breakfast.  I usually have a very good sense of direction and I felt the ship was going west rather than northeast as it should be in making its way to Skagway.  Of course, cruising, of all activities, seems especially designed to confuse one’s sense of direction.  After all, one day, when walking some interior hallway forward one is walking, say, east.  Then, you go to bed, wake up the next morning and walk in the same direction, but you are now going south.  Again, it’s easy to get turned around.

Still, as we ate breakfast, I remarked that I wouldn’t be surprised if we were diverting from Skagway.  The widening waterway and the “feeling” that we were going in the wrong direction was soon confirmed as it was announced that when Rhapsody arrived at Skagway at 4:00 a.m. that the whole area had rain and 50 mph winds.  The captain had gotten permission to divert us to a day of cruising Endicott Arm down to Dawes Glacier and then going to a yet to be announced port the next day.
I was pretty disappointed that we weren’t going to Skagway because we had a car rented and planned a drive up the Klondike Highway into the Yukon for the day.  However, doing that in weather conditions such as those wouldn’t be much fun anyway so we decided to go with the flow and look forward to our unexpected visit to Endicott Arm.  This also meant we wouldn’t visit Tracy Arm as was scheduled.  The cruise people spun it as something special because the big cruise ships generally don’t get permission to go up Endicott and this would be only the second time for Rhapsody to visit it.  Since I’ll probably never see Tracy Arm I can’t compare the two, but, honestly, I can’t imagine it being more beautiful than Endicott Arm turned out to be.
The ship cruised through a fairly narrow passage with sheer cliffs on each side.  Waterfalls were abundant; some dropping over 1000 feet and many were quite large.  At times, the mountains on either side were higher than could be seen looking out the windows.  We saw, literally, hundreds of waterfalls.  Ultimately, we arrived at the glacier.  It was taller than Mendenhall, which we saw the day before.  I couldn’t believe how close the ship came to the face of Dawes Glacier.  In anticipation of the scenery, Jackie and I had staked out a couple of window seats on deck 11 and it turned out to be the perfect place.  We took over 200 photos, although I managed to cull the number down quite a bit.  The trip back out enabled us to see the opposite side of the Arm and weather conditions had improved a bit so the photos we took on the way out were somewhat brighter than those we took going in.

Back out in the Inside Passage we saw several dolphin and a few whales.  We decided to skip the main dining hall again and eat at the Windjammer buffet.  By being there when they opened the doors we were able to get a window table right at the front of the ship.  The view from there was neat and we even saw a couple of whales as we ate a leisurely supper.  All in all, in spite of the change of itinerary and the inclement weather, we thoroughly enjoyed the day.  Because of the diversion, we were told we were headed to Ketchikan on Tuesday.

I was rather disappointed when the ship began to rock and roll mid evening.  I’m not sure, but I think we went back out into the open sea for the overnight journey.  Maybe it has something to do with opening the Casino.  Also, there was some kind of poker tournament going on during the cruise.  Since the pre-cruise information said we were supposed to cruise the Inside Passage on our journey south and I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that we were, once again, moving out of sight of land.  About 9:30 I went to bed to escape some of the discomfort of walking around in the up and down, back and forth motion of the ship.  Jackie and I had no problem with sea sickness, but after a while I started feeling somewhat dizzy.  Just in case I took some motion sickness pills and then, in the night, I ate a few Rolaids.

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