Reflections of an explorer 

Explorer-in-Residence Jill Heinerth discusses her time aboard Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth to Alaska

  • Aug 07, 2023
  • 315 words
  • 2 minutes
Alaska’s Inside Passage is an untamed spirit of the wild, a sanctuary where the human soul can glimpse the immeasurable grandeur and find solace within the depths of the unknown.
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In the remote folds of the Inside Passage, where inlets carve into the land like the scars of ancient battles, nature’s unforgiving majesty unfolds, revealing a realm where mountains, mist, and frigid waters coalesce into a haunting symphony.

Along the old tracks of Skagway, the ghosts of ambitious men and shattered dreams whisper through the frigid winds. The train, a rusted testament to the feverish stampede of greed and delusion that once gripped the land in the name of gold.
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Travel stimulates my imagination. Whenever I break away from the routine of life, I find inspiration. The geography of a remote landscape and the people I meet are sources for new perspectives and a refreshing reminder of all that connects us. Truthfully, I might be considered a reluctant cruiser. I am normally forging my way through the wilderness in significant discomfort. My expeditions are not easy, meaning I might be fending off mosquitoes in my hammock in the Everglades or diving into the water with wild polar bears. I’m not accustomed to luxury when it comes to travel. Would I get bored? Would I have opportunities to stay active? Would I be able to meet like-minded people? 

Sailing on the Cunard Queen Elizabeth to Alaska was quite a revelation. The red carpet boarding was the beginning of a stellar experience that left me feeling genuinely spoiled. Any doubts quickly vanished. There was so much to do, wonderful people to meet and non-stop activities and opportunities for photographing the remarkable landscapes along our journey. Exquisite meals, brilliant lectures, performances, games, events, exercise and sightseeing filled my days. I sat with new people for every meal, building new friendships that will endure beyond my trip. The relaxing days also stimulated my writing as I tried to capture the wild beauty with photos and words. 

Would I go on another cruise? Absolutely! I have gained a much greater understanding of the comfort and relaxation of cruising and can see why so many of my fellow passengers were repeat customers with Cunard Lines. The service was second-to-none, and becoming a pampered explorer/passenger was unforgettable.


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