By Sammy Park
Photos by Sammy Park
From the hectic packing to the occasional family member getting seasick, cruising with my family was a memory I will never forget
The Norwegian Pearl is an Alaskan cruise that boards in Seattle, Washington. The seven-day cruise attracts passengers from as far away as India and as close as Orange County. And as I was cramped in an elevator filled with 15 other people, I was struck with the realization of how many people were onboard. From the wait staff, pilots, and passengers, there were well over 2,000 people stuffed onto the boat.
On the third day of the cruise, somewhere in between the 6th or 7th time of mandatory hand sanitizing, I was informed that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) was called in April of this year. This was due to the many people onboard that had contracted gastrointestinal illness. After hearing the ‘fun’ fact that my aunt shared with me, I was made grateful for the multitude of hand sanitizing dispensers onboard and the two person band that sings a jingle about hand washing every morning and afternoon, serenading the passengers.
The places we stopped were Juneau (Alaska), Skagway (Alaska), Ketchikan (Alaska), and Victoria (British Columbia). The cities felt initially tourist-y, but the further out we traveled, the food became more delicious and the tacky atmosphere disappeared.
Skagway, population of approximately 800 in the wintertime, was by far the best port. The ship docked in the early morning and I woke up late, resulting in me indulging in the overlooked pizza restaurant, Skagway Pizza Station. In the tiny town of Skagway, the tour I took was informative and beautiful. With more than a few waterfalls and colorful foliage, the atmosphere of Skagway deserved a stay longer than one day.
I walked away from experiencing a cruise with the knowledge that cruises are definitely not accessible to everyone. Not everyone has the money to pay for things like airfare, excursions, or even the cruise itself. Yet the hefty price of a cruise for the family is only justified by the fact that memories made on the ship cannot be made anywhere else.