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Sailing the Inside Passage

When choosing a cruise, a lot of people try to pick an itinerary with as few ‘At Sea’ days as possible. These, though, are almost inevitable on most cruises. Sometimes, they make me think of the old music-hall song:

‘We joined the Navy to see the world

and what did we see?

We saw the sea ….

I tend to treat such days as ‘down time’, and usually spend them catching up on reading, writing, sunbathing or sleep. The cruise lines probably hate me; I think they’d rather I spent some money in the shop, the bar or the casino.

Sometimes, though, the ‘At Sea’ days can be used for sightseeing; a cruise along the Norwegian coast is a particularly good example. Better still is the cruise along the Inside Passage.

If you look at a map of North America, you’ll see that, north of Vancouver, there’s a myriad of islands lying of the coast of Canada and Alaska, and cruise ships usually weave their way through them.

We joined the ship at Vancouver, at Canada Place, where the cruise ships dock. We had to wait (with the meter ticking!) until a lady in a road-mender’s jacket indicated where our taxi should park.

I have to say, though, that Canada Place is extremely well-placed for anyone visiting Vancouver. There are quite a few attractions within walking distance … but those, we saw when we returned the following week.

Our only mild complaint was the queue to check in. I suspect, though, that it's not the fault of the cruise line, but the queue at US Border Security. Still, when we eventually got there, we were processed quickly and efficiently, by a smiling, jolly lady, who wished us a pleasant trip.

I awoke the following morning to a wet deck, and wondered if it was due to the weather, or they’d just swabbed the decks? It had been cold and windy, with rain overnight, but we were compensated for the unpromising weather with a magnificent double rainbow!

I passed the day with a quiz and a port lecture, before venturing out on deck to view the surrounding scenery. The lofty Coast Mountains, still capped with snow on this early Spring day, reach almost to the sea for most of the length of the passage. On the other hand, there are the islands. I’d love to report on the wildlife we spotted on them, but, unfortunately, we didn’t pass closely enough.

We ate our meals sitting as closely as possible to a window, We did see a few blows and splashes, but we would get a far better view on our excursion when we eventually arrived in Juneau, where we took a boat trip from especially to see whales.


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Keith Kellett spends his ‘retirement’ travelling, writing, photographing, videoing and blogging about food and drink, beer, old cars, railways, beer, steam engines, history and historical re-enactments, bygones, beer, gardens, travel, beer and brewing, nature and the outdoors and beer. Sometimes, he gets published; sometimes, he even gets paid! He operates a blog ( and has written two books ‘One Thing Leads to Another’ and 'When the Boat Comes In'He’s originally from Cumbria, but now lives in Southern England, near Salisbury, just (I was going to say, a stone’s throw) a short distance from the ancient stones of Stonehenge, where he’s a volunteer at the Visitor Centre when time permits..

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