RSVP's Alaskan Adventure: Days 5 - 7
Story and video by Michael Anthony; Photos in order: Michael Anthony (3); Getty (1)
If the ship is a-rockin'…get those anti-nausea pills ready!
Yes, on the 5th official day of RSVP's Alaskan cruise (from which I've been reporting) we awoke to hurricane force winds. Standing on our balcony, holding on for near-dear life, we watched as the captain tried to tender in (or pull into harbor, in landlubber-language). Literally 4 attempts ensued before the commander made an announcement: "I regret to inform you that we will not be docking in Sitka. Instead, you will be enjoying another day at sea."
On one hand, this was disappointing. Sitka is a cultural city that my world traveler friends have told me is definitely worth seeing; it's a rural yet refined collective with heavy native and Russian influences. But, at 60-knots, docking was out of the question. So enjoy the boat, we did!
Even five days in, it's shocking how many things were yet to be discovered on this 12-story ship. Aunt Ros spent the entire day in the "Crow's Nest" library, grilling the on-staff Alaskan expert about everything and anything wilderness-related. Helen and the Uncles took to the ship's culinary school -- culinary school! David, as he usually does, ran off to the gym and spa for some mind, body and soul respite. I jumped in on my first-ever slots tournament. (Second place ain’t bad for an amateur, now is it?)
At night, the cruise ship party scene commenced. Unlike other gay cruise lines, RSVP has those gay good-time vibes rather than that "party atmosphere" that many LGBTQ travelers would prefer to avoid when relaxing. There are parties nightly (like Day Five’s "leather-themed bonanza"), but this Alaskan Adventure boasted all of the fun with none of the attitude; even the great-aunts took to the dance floor and had a blast.
Day Six brought us to Ketchikan, a small Alaskan port town. While the uncles took an historic nature walk and Helen went off to perform in a Native tribe dancing ritual, David and I sated our inner-adventure
seekers and spent the afternoon zip-lining through the city’s rainforest (the second biggest in the world, only second to the Amazon). What can I say about taking a 400 foot nosedive through the misty woodland with nothing more than a mere rope harness as your savior? Priceless!
The evening of Day Seven dropped us off in the heart of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. We arrived by bus to the world-famous Butchart Gardens just in time for a fireworks spectacular for which clearly no expense was spared.
We also got a quick tour of the Gardens themselves before being bustled back to the Westerdam. Now I’m not a big "flower and fountain guy," but something about outdoor floral design done right really makes a man appreciate the world around him; it was absolutely stunning, whether you’re a "stop and smell the roses" kind of traveler or not.
Of course, David and I rocked out the night as hard as we could; refusing to admit that our vaca-y had come to an end. The verdict? From 28-to-70-some-years-old, each and every one of us enjoyed a five-star time. It's hard not to enjoy any openly-gay cruise, but when it’s done in a setting as beautiful as the picturesque Alaskan coastline, it's truly memorable. An expensive memory, yes, but worth every pretty penny.
Writer Michael Anthony, contributing from aboard RSVP's Alaskan cruise