Cruising the San Juan Islands and Alaska by Land and Sea

The breathtaking beauty of Denali National Park is ours to discover during a full day and overnight stay. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia / Creative Commons

We take you to Denali National Park during our Alaska coverage beginning July 5. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia / Creative Commons

Next week marks the start of a whopping 17 days of Live Voyage Reports here on From the Deck Chair, as we sail the San Juan Islands aboard the gorgeous Schooner Zodiac and travel to Alaska to escort a stunning 12-day journey from Fairbanks to Vancouver with Cruise Expert Travel aboard Princess CruisesCoral Princess.

Our coverage begins Monday, July 1 with a full rundown of our voyage aboard the Schooner Zodiac as she sails on her Island Brewery Tour Cruise from Bellingham, Washington to Seattle.

Sunset aboard the Schooner Zodiac; a magical moment. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Sunset aboard the Schooner Zodiac; a magical moment. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Eagle-eyed readers might notice that this itinerary departs June 27th and returns June 30th, so our coverage on July 1 to July 4 won’t technically be “live” – though there’s good reason for that. A sailing aboard the Zodiac is a fully immersive experience, and guests are encouraged to leave electronics at home for the simple reason that, obviously, there’s no Wi-Fi onboard.

Click here to read about our Wine Cruise aboard the Schooner Zodiac!

When I sailed aboard the Zodiac last summer, I took only my camera with me, writing my daily reports and observations by the light of my bunk each evening using pen and paper – anyone remember those? Coupled with the ability to actively participate in sailing this beautiful, two-masted Gaff Topsail Schooner that was originally built for the Proctor & Gamble family in 1924, the past truly comes alive on this beautiful vessel, which is maintained by a small complement of volunteer crew members – many of whom once came aboard as guests themselves.

Evenings onboard the Schooner Zodiac are spent socialising and enjoying the fantastic food - and, on this trip, some tremendous beers. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Evenings onboard the Schooner Zodiac are spent socialising and enjoying the fantastic food – and, on this trip, some tremendous beers. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

During the day, we’ll sail the beautiful San Juan Islands of Washington State and go ashore to visit the region’s numerous breweries. We’ll also be brewing a special batch of beer right onboard the ship as she lies at anchor in one of many picturesque inlets. Evenings are spent kayaking, or simply enjoying the sumptuous food prepared by cook (don’t call him Chef) Ian Relay.

The Zodiac was one of the highlights of my cruising year in 2012, and I can’t wait to step aboard her again this week!

Step onboard for a truly classic sailing experience! Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Step onboard for a truly classic sailing experience! Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Immediately following the conclusion of our Zodiac Live Voyage Report, we’ll be taking you back to Alaska for another Live Voyage Report to this stunning cruise destination, but with a twist – we’ll be actively escorting Cruise Experts Travel’s 11-night Southbound Best of Alaska  CruiseTour.

Starting in Fairbanks – where the sun will set at 12:29am and rise again at 3:30am – we’ll take a riverboat cruise along the Chena River and take in a salmon bake at Pioneer Park before setting off for the brilliant splendour of Denali National Park for a full-day tour and overnight stay.

Princess Cruises' Coral Princess, sister-ship to Island Princess (above) will be our home for seven glorious days of cruising fun! Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess, sister-ship to Island Princess (above) will be our home for seven glorious days of cruising fun! Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Click here to read our past reports from Alaska aboard Holland America Line’s Zuiderdam from Vancouver, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Pearl from Seattle!

Then, it’s off to Anchorage to meet Iditarod musher Martin Buser and to explore Alaska’s largest city before setting off for the small town of Whitter to join the Coral Princess on a weeklong southbound journey to Vancouver that will include scenic cruising in College Fjord, Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay along with port stops in Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan.

Climb aboard the Riverboat Discovery during our cruisetour for a trip back in time! Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises

Climb aboard the Riverboat Discovery during our cruisetour for a trip back in time! Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises

The full itinerary, both here and onboard:

DAYPORTARRIVEDEPART
July 6, 2013Fairbanks, AlaskaMeet and Greet; Transfer to HotelOvernight in Fairbanks
July 7Fairbanks, AlaskaCruise the Chena River; free time; Salmon Bake Dinner at Pioneer ParkOvernight in Fairbanks
July 8Denali, AlaskaRail journey to Denali National Park; six to eight-hour Tundra Wilderness TourOvernight in Denali
July 9Anchorage, AlaskaVisit Iditarod musher, Martin Buser at Happy Trails Kennels; continue on to Anchorage for dinner.Overnight in Anchorage
July 10Whittier, AlaskaDepart Anchorage for Whittier; enjoy a visit to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center; Embark CORAL PRINCESSCoral Princess sails at 8:30 PM
July 11Hubbard Glacier, Alaska (Scenic Cruising)3:00 PM8:00 PM
July 12Glacier Bay, Alaska (Scenic Cruising)10:30AM8:30 PM
July 13Skagway, Alaska7:00 AM8:30 PM
July 14Juneau, Alaska 6:30 AM 4:00 PM
July 15Ketchikan, Alaska10:00 AM6:00 PM
July 16Inside Passage (Scenic Cruising)
July 17Vancouver, British Columbia7:30 AMDisembark

Now, since our responsibilities are somewhat increased – particularly during the land portion of the trip – I hope you’ll bear with me if updates are somewhat shorter than my previous missives. Frankly, no one will be happy with me if I am running on four hours of sleep every night! But it is shaping up to be an exciting few weeks of Live Voyage Coverage here on From the Deck Chair, and I hope you’ll all be along for the virtual journey!

Sunny days in Alaska do exist, like this Caribbean-esque day in Glacier Bay this past August.  But it is amazing in any weather condition. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Sunny days in Alaska do exist, like this Caribbean-esque day in Glacier Bay this past August. But it is amazing in any weather condition. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Join us next week as we report from onboard Schooner Zodiac from July 1-4 and as we escort Cruise Experts Travel’s Best of Alaska itinerary from Fairbanks to Vancouver July 5-17.

 

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