My answer was, “no cruising.”  They will try to fatten me up for slaughter.  One can eat non-stop. 24/7.  And Christians we serve in Cuba and Asia have legitimate needs–so how can I go on an expensive cruise?  How can I appeal to Christians here to fund mission trips for us and then go on a cruise? Not me. 

But Marilyn wanted to go. So we talked about it for 18 months. I have always been intrigued by the ruggedness and old-wild-west-ness of Alaska.  Still I resisted.  

Seeing the Glory   In about March, 2022, I read “The whole earth is full of His glory (Isaiah 6:3).  This verse is emphatic–whole earth! Not half the earth, not ¾ of the earth, the whole earth.  Full. Not half-full. Not ¾ full. Full of God’s glory. I was overwhelmed with spiritual responsibility and seeing injustice and suffering.   

I was not seeing much “glory,” not much positive.  There was too much work to do.  My responsibilities weighed me down.  I was not relaxing or sleeping well. 

Talked Grace, While Living Law   At the same time I talked grace (“We are redeemed by grace; we do not have to work for it;  we do not measure our worth by how much work we produce; what we accomplish”), but I was living law (“I have to catch up; I know the truth of the Bible and getting it out is essential”). 

No, no cruise for me. 

Whale watching in crisp, refreshing air
Sled dog pup

But Marilyn wanted to go, and gradually I softened, seeing some pluses:

  • like our 50th anniversary was worth dwelling on; capturing a memory.   
  • like having no responsibility for a few days.  I can’t remember a time when I had no responsibility.  No one to call.  No administration. No one to connect with. No responsibility. Delicious. Absolutely delicious . . . 
  • like slowing down mentally enough to enjoy the beauty created by the Living God.
  • like having Marilyn all to myself.   

We made the leap, committing ourselves to go.  I would not have been ready for a cruise at 55, or even 65, but at 77, it was the right time.  Our travel agent was/is a dynamic Christian. A real sparkler (Karen Sale; of Always Travel Season).  She babysat us through all the paper work and the computer mumbo-jumbo. We left August 23.  A week in Seattle with long-time friends and then on to the ship in Vancouver, British Columbia, August 30.  

It was a glorious, sunny day when we sailed out of Vancouver. Northward, the evenings turned cool. We swam once in a wave pool (delightful, and warm enough; then got into the hot tub). 

Our cruise combined seven days on the ship and three days on a train that took us inland.  You can see the grand visibility we enjoyed on the train. Often a river would be right next to the train tracks–along with the autumn color–it all  made for a glorious trip.  

The Elements   I enjoyed the brisk air on the deck of the ship –waves below, faint sun as I read two books about sled dog adventures–man against the elements. Later we enjoyed a lecture about the sport from a woman who finished the Iditarod (1127 miles; Anchorage—west northwest to Nome). Keith with one of the sled dog pups.   

Three trips around the deck was one mile, a glorious orbit. Some days we kept up with our walking; other days we goofed off (returning to “no responsibility”).  

Whale watching was so invigorating, and would have been so even without the whales. The chilly air, the water, the atmosphere, warm coats and hot coffee and salmon-on-Ritz crackers inside the cabin!  Grand.  We did see about 15 whales; the closest was about 80 feet away.  Enjoyed the lumberjack 

show and saw a moose in the wild (above).   

Gold Panning was fun. Though very touristy, it still helped recreate the heady, frontier days of 1901 and the Klondike gold rush.    

We made a memory, and sealed it with a Tanzanite ring.   

I relaxed, taking the days as they came;  no responsibilities.  

Taste of Heaven   Being on this cruise was like a taste of Heaven. Why?  (1) Because we met so many wonderful Christians.  Martin & Lois were from Ontario–very Bible knowledgeable. Barbara was/is a YWAM (Youth with a Mission) leader and her daughter Crystal was/is a nurse in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  When we first sat down across from Benson & Anna, I asked, “What floats your boat?”  After thinking for five seconds – as she seemed to debate whether she wanted to be out-and-out up front or not – she swallowed, paused and then answered, “Jesus.”  We had a delightful lunch. Many of the waiters were Bible-believing Christians (right), one of whom preached regularly to the crew.

Alcohol was ever-present, but never pushed and we saw no one drunk.  

It was a wealthy environment so no need for people to steal. We did not have to be constantly on guard. Friendly people. It was a glorious environment–mountains, wind, animals, salmon, glorious scenery. Delicious food.  No responsibilities. 

To cruise or not to cruise?   Yes, on rare occasions, cruise!  

P.S.  I did not take the picture of the bear, salmon and eagle (second picture).