Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cruise to Alaska--But First a Little Art

Last fall, I talked to an art friend about an art adventure she was active in: teaching art on a cruise ship. I had never really thought of myself as a cruise sort of person, but rarely turn my back on an opportunity to try something new. I applied to a couple of booking agencies, and after fulfilling their requirements, I was accepted as an instructor. As the watercolor instructor on a ship, I could take one guest. Of course I invited my husband, Mike. 

To try out cruising, I chose to go on a week long cruise to Alaska. Both Mike and I were interested in seeing the Inland Passage and glaciers of Alaska and BC. The cruise started and ended in Vancouver, BC. We'd never been to the city before, so we planned a two-day stay in Vancouver before heading out on the cruise.

A wonderful stroke of luck was arriving in Vancouver just after the opening at the  Vancouver Art Gallery  of the art collection of the Baltimore Art Museum. This is the biggest collection of Matisse anywhere in the world, and Matisse just happens to be one of my favorite artists. I'd never heard of the Cone sisters (the collectors of all this art) prior to this exhibit, but they were a couple of interesting women and had a fabulous eye for art.

 
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Aside from the art, we really enjoyed this beautiful, multicultural and friendly city. We spent time just getting acquainted with the city--the old Gas Town area, Granville Island (a giant market of artists, artisans and food vendors), and the amazing Stanley Park. 


 
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Granville Island


 
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Granville Island Food Market


 
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Nesting Swan at Stanley Park


 
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Totem Poles at Stanley Park

On Sunday, June 3, we boarded this "small" cruise ship along with 1800 other passengers. We were greeted with a glass of champagne as we began to find our way around what would be our home for the next 7 days.

 
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Our first stop was at Hoonah, Alaska. Our ship anchored and ran small boats (tenders) back and forth to allow passengers to explore the cannery, shops and Tlingit Community of Hoonah.

 
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Mike and I chose the 3 mile round-trip walk to Hoonah, since we'd been confined to the ship for awhile. The village is the largest Tlingit community, yet a small fishing village.

 
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Back on the ship, we headed on to Hubbard Glacier. The icy wall of this glacier and the surrounding mountains are some of the most remarkable things I've ever seen in real life.

 
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A couple of days later we were able to get much closer to a glacier on foot when we docked in Juneau. In the photo below, you can see the icebergs of Mendenhall Glacier behind Mike and me. 

 
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Mike with Mendenhall Glacier and waterfall behind him

It took awhile to get used to life aboard a cruise ship. Every need is taken care of. There are approximately two passengers to every crew member. We were treated like royalty. Food and drink are available all the time. There are professional entertainers aboard like the string trio below. Every night there is a live show of singers and dancers in the Celebrity Theater.  

 
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We met wonderful, interesting people from all over the world. We saw sights only available by boat. We loved the scenery of the coast and inland passage. We were awed by the glaciers and snow fields that feed them.

My teaching obligation amounted to 4 one-hour classes. I had participants from beginners to experienced painters, so I got better at instructing such a diverse group with each lesson.  The size of the group varied from more than 50 to around 20 each lesson. Mike was a wonder as my assistant. One painter called him her hero, as he gave her individual attention when I was busy. 

If you'd like to view more images of this trip, you are welcome to visit my web album at:

3 comments:

Ruth Armitage said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences Margaret! Looks like you had a wonderful time!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip! We have yet to make the Alaska cruise, although we talk about doing it every year. Alaska is BIG country!
Thank you for sharing,
Marline

rjhargrav said...

It was great to meet y'all on the cruise.