Alaska

What a thrill! Being able to be part of a group that was able to catch red snapper and cook them on shore, see the Sawyer Glacier, hike in the wilderness, and golf 18 holes with beautiful Canadian scenery all around was an experience that won’t soon be forgotten. This trip on Oceania’s Regatta left from Seattle, Washington, and cruised up through Alaska’s inside passage to Ketchikan, the Sawyer Glaciers, Wrangell, and finally to Prince Rupert, Canada.

The boat was absolutely beautiful. I heard many comments on its size. It held 684 passengers and about 400 crew members. The ratio of crew to passengers was pretty high, which made the whole experience that much better. There were always things to do: play a game of chess or bingo, browse in the beautiful shops onboard, gamble in the casino, lounge on the top deck by the pool, or take in the magnificent sights of the surroundings as we passed them.

Going on an excursion from Ketchikan called Fishing in the Wilderness was a highlight of the trip. Six of us, including the guide, got on a little motor boat and went about 30 minutes to where red snapper are prevalent. Within 15 minutes, we had caught four red snapper! Our guide knew just where to go. Then we moved the boat to try our hand at salmon and halibut — without any luck — so we took our red snapper to a beach where Oceania had set up a canopy dinner for us. Our guide cleaned the fish and gave them to a cook who prepared them for us right on the beach. Under the canopy were two campfires with restrooms on each side, plus a little kitchen furnished with drinks and desserts in the middle. We enjoyed our dinner and headed back to the boat. It was phenomenal.

The Sawyer Glacier was amazing. On our way to see it, we passed through huge, fog-filled mountains and beautiful, cool-blue ice chips in the water. When we got to the glacier, the boat was able to get up close and turn so that people on both sides were able to view them from their individual stateroom balconies. Some of the crew even went out on the tender boats to break off parts of the glacier to bring them back on board. It was a beautiful sight to see!

In Wrangell, Alaska, we walked up 23 stories’ worth of human-made steps in the wilderness to see the Regatta from afar. It was great to get out and exercise a little, as we had eaten like champions on the boat! The top viewing deck in Wrangell overlooked the docked Regatta.

Our last day on shore was in Prince Rupert, Canada. We golfed 18 holes at the Prince Rupert golf course with a few of our Wisconsin alumni travelers. It afforded many beautiful views of the mountains that we do not have in Wisconsin, and deer even made appearances at several times during the day.

Words cannot express how beautiful it was. You have to experience it for yourself. What made it even better was traveling with 28 wonderful UW-Madison alumni and friends. It was great getting to know everyone and having that special Badger bond.