Breaching Whales, a Sports Court and Fine Dining: Three Ingredients for a Memorable Family Alaskan Cruise!

Cynthia Bartlett and family on an Alaska cruise vacation

Last summer, my husband and I took our three boys on our first family cruise to Alaska.  My oldest was going off to college and we stole one week of his precious last few days of summer to secure a family vacation.  As our younger boys were 12 and 16, we were determined to find a trip to satisfy everyone. We booked the Celebrity Cruises Solstice seven-night Alaska Sawyer Glacier Cruise, not only because the itinerary worked for us, but also because the ship was beautiful, and there was so much for the kids to do.  We looked forward to being immersed in Alaska and all that it has to offer.

The Celebrity Solstice dazzled us as we boarded that first day. The boys quickly surveyed the kid/teen zone before landing on the outdoor sports court, which they called home for the entire week.  There were many other active children/boys/young men who loved the soccer and basketball games. We quickly adapted to their disappearance, knowing they were active and content, while we enjoyed a more leisurely pace of balcony reading while absorbing the view or being entertained at the martini bar, where the bartender cleverly mastered cascading martini pyramids!

The epicurean delights at each of the ten restaurants made us all anticipate family time where our boys availed us of the details of the day. While the food was often creative and always delicious, the service never failed us in being attentive, and fun, even engrossing us in their magic tricks. When we weren’t enjoying the haute cuisine, the boys were able to go freely to the multi-station buffet, consuming multiple bowls of ice cream and endless servings of fruit (a mom can dream!).

In Ketchikan, we enjoyed a hokey lumberjack show and an unforgettable day of fishing as we caught twenty-four salmon, which we shipped home and enjoyed for several subsequent months. We biked in gorgeous verdant Skagway, zipped around in a high-speed boat searching for wildlife in Juneau, and meandered through Butchcart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia. The highlight, though, was bearing witness to the breaching humpback whales in Juneau.

While we held our breath in anticipation for the next breach, I couldn’t help but gaze at my oldest, counting his numbered days before college. While steadying his binoculars, surrounded by his brothers and young kids of all ages, I thought of his fleeting childhood and how much this trip reminded us all of our inner child. That night, while dining at one of the three specialty restaurants, we toasted to our Alaskan memories before heading off to our respective corners of the ship: the sports court and the martini bar, something for everybody!

Cynthia Bartlett