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Third Deaf Red Hatters Cruise
Alaska Land & Cruise Tour
June 7-20, 2014

Our Third Deaf Red Hatters Cruise was enriched by an Alaska land tour prior to the cruise. We flew in to Fairbanks where most of us were dazzled by the long summer nights and the midnight sun. After getting settled into our hotel in Fairbanks and a good night sleep, we discovered Alaska's second largest city via a city tour including the Museum of the North. The museum has a marvelous display explaining the history, culture and wild life of Alaska. Hopping on the Discovery Sternwheeler for a river cruise in the afernoon allowed us to experience how the rivers were the state's original highway system in the past.

Museum of the North

Museum of the North

With much excitement, everybody was looking forward to the morning train ride to Denali. Via coach, we transferred to the Wilderness Express train for our journey south. Our car had a restaurant on the lower level and an upstair sitting area with a glass-domed roof. We started our voyage with a breakfast while passing the beautiful scenery. Back on the upper level of the car, we appreciated our tour guides commentary regarding Alaska's history, nature, and culture. At lunch time, we disembarked the train. The afternoon was free for additional activities. Our overnight hotel was the Grande Denali Lodge.



Having a wonderful time on the Wilderness Express train

We learned many interesting facts about Alaska, its wildlife, fauna and flora during the Tundra Wilderness Tour in Denali Park. We traveled via bus and were very lucky to see a lot of wildlife. At one time, all trafic had to stop for bears crossing the road.

Wildlife at Denali National Park

Cabin Night

Many in our group joined an entertaining "Cabin Night" evening. While enjoying a cabaret show, we had a family style dinner with all you can eat food.

The next day, we had free time in the morning in Denali. But most of us decided to go to Husky Homestead, home of Iditarod Champion Jeff King. We were greeted by cuddly puppies and we enjoyed a very educational lecture about the training of the dogs. Jeff King's compelling stories about the Iditarod allowed us to share an intimate view of the Alaskan Husky.

Husky Homestead, home of Iditarod Champion Jeff King

We reboarded the Wilderness Express train shortly before noon. While enjoying a delicious lunch, we marveled at the snow covered mountains. Later, we enjoyed a narrated presentation about the areas that we passed. Talkeetna was our final destination for this day. We stayed at the Talkeetna Alaska Lodge for one night.
Lunch on train Lunch on train

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the onboard restaurant on the Wilderness Express train

View to Mt. Denali

Since our train was not scheduled to depart until the afternoon, we had plenty of time to discover Talkeetna. It is a small town that once served as a miners supply center and a riverboat station. Main Street is the only paved road in town. Late in the afternoon, we returned to the Wilderness Express where a delicious dinner was waiting for us. We departed for Anchorage where we arrived in the evening. The bus took us to the Marriott. Still, we had time for a stroll through Anchorage, the city that is located between the Chugach National Forest and the Cook Inlet.

The next day at noon, we left Anchorage via coach and drove to the Alaska Native Heritage Center. There we had a "wedding ceremony" Alaskan style for our newly-weds Daniel & Chang Wu Wang. Afterwards, we continued to Seward. In the down town area, some of us visited the Alaska SeaLife Center. Afterwards, we went to the pier and had a smooth check-in at the ship. Then, we had plenty of time to explore our ship, the Celebrity Millennium. The ship set sail at 8 PM, still in broad daylight.

Lunch on train

Our newly-weds: Daniel & Chang Wu Wang

Hubbard Glacier

Approaching Hubbard Glacier

We enjoyed a Day at Sea by participating in different onboard activities in the morning. During the early afternoon, we started to slowly approach Hubbard Glacier. After getting to the closest point of the glacier, the ship stopped and we had many opportunities to take pictures. The weather was perfect: sunshin and blue sky.

This cruise was sponsored by the Columbus Buckeye Red Hatters with Queen Mother Julie Crossen. We had a lot of fun during the Pajama Party with a reward ceromony for the best "Red Hatter Pajama Outfit". Everybody was welcomed to participate.

Red Hatter Pajama Party

Red Hatter Pajama Party

Red Hatter Pajama Party

Red Hatter Pajama Party

Patsy Ann

Patsy Ann

Most of us went on a tour to Mendenhall Glacier during our stay in Juneau, Alaska's capital. After the termination of our tour, there was still time to discover the town that was founded during the gold rush in the late 1800s. The city is the home of the Patsy Ann dog statue that was erected at the waterfront in 1992. Patsy Ann was a deaf dog who could tell when ships were on the way to Juneau before they sounded their horns. She loved to meet the ships at the docks and soon became known as the "Official Boat Greeter of Juneau".

Skagway is a town that reminds visitors of the Klondike Gold Rush era. It is a place that offers visitors a nice variety of activities and entertainment. Our group embarked the White Pass Scenic Railway at the Skagway train depot and traveled up the mountains to the White Pass. After arriving back in town, an enjoyable stroll through Main Street offered many opportunities for shopping or for learning about the history of the town. During the course of the years, shop fronts and other buildings have been restored. Thus, the visitor has the impression as if they were walking through the boomtown of the late 1890s.

Ready for the tour in Skagway

Ready for the tour in Skagway
Icy Strait Point

A young eagle welcomes us in Icy Strait Point

We embarked a tram in Icy Strait Point that took us through the southeast Alaskan rainforest and along the shoreline where Chichagof Island meets the waters of Icy Strait. We learned about the ecological and cultural significance of the forest and the daily life of the Native Tlingit people. Icy Strait Point was originally built as a Salmon Cannery. The old cannery closed in 1999. Then, the area was changed into a cruise port area with shops, historical displays and outdoor activities.

Ketchikan, the "Salmon Capital of the World" was our next port of call. The town is also known for the world's largest collection of standing totem poles. One of the places where many totem poles can be found is Saxman Village that we visited during our tour. Members of the native community welcomed us at the Beaver Clan House with traditional songs and dances. At the Saxman Totem Park we saw the largest gatherings of totem poles in the world. Back in town, we walked along Ketchikan Creek that is framed with a wooden boardwalks, a nice pedestrian area with small shops and galleries.
Ketchikan Creek

Ketchikan Creek

Formal Night

Red Hat Ladies

Thank you note
Thank you note

What our clients said after the tour:

Hi Kerstin
I had a blast time with you and the great group... You did a fabulous job in making trip arrangements smoothly... Alaska is one of my favorite trips.... Melinda

Hello Kerstin,
We had a wonderful time in Alaska land and cruise. Thank you for helping me to reserve the seat at any place. You are the best agent for deaf travelers. I did not know you well until we know you now. We would like to say, thank you for everything, Diane and Gary Fortier

We both want to thank you again and again for all the wonderful works you did for us!!! You are awesome !!!! Thomas & Shirley

Thank you for the info! Bob and I really enjoyed our trip. You are super and I was impressed by your patience! June McMahon

Hi Kerstin,
Yes, we tremendously enjoyed Alaska. I enjoyed more by land from Fairbanks to Anchorage. It was really fun riding on the train with different friends. I think David and Richelle are very good interrpreters. Thank you very much for your wonderful service. Martha

Fundraising Poster

We would like to thank the following guests for their donation:
  • Lawrence Sullivan & Judy Baker
  • Mandy Graham-Picard
  • Robert & June McMahon
  • Daniel & Chang Wu Wang
  • Jane Pitman
  • Ronald & Edelgard Hartman
  • Martha Saunders
  • Maureen Whetham
  • Richard & Julie Crossen

Contact Kerstin's Deaf Travel to book your next cruise by sending an e-mail to kerstin@kerstinstravel.com

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