Flight Centre’s Melissa Coakes recently travelled to Alaska on a cruise with Royal Caribbean, and was able to take part in a truly Alaskan experience; dog sledding! She shares her experience with us:
I recently took a seven night cruise with my grandmother in Alaska on Royal Caribbean Cruises. Despite all of the amazing food, sights and sounds that Alaska has to offer, the highlight would still have to be our excursion to visit with an Alaskan dog sledding team.
We knew from the moment we stepped off the ship that day in Juneau that we where in for a real treat. We were greeted right at the port by our first real snow dog, named Mitch. He was lying in the sun waiting for us to scratch his belly. He rode with us on the bus up into the mountains for our snow dog sledding experience.
We could hear the dogs barking hello before we could see them as we wandered down into the rainforest. They had two teams of dogs set up to take us out on a run. I have never seen such excitement, they couldn’t wait to be let loose on the trail. We climbed into the purpose built sled with tires and buckled up. No sooner had we climbed in, they were off! It was so smooth and gentle as we followed the track that weaved in and out of the giant cedar forest. We stopped a couple of times for photo opportunities but the dogs didn’t like to sit still long, they definitely love their job!
After our run with the dogs, their owner and runner, Dave, takes time to introduce us to each member of his team. The two teams of dogs on site come every summer to continue to train despite the lack of snow. Dave likes to use the opportunity to keep them fit and moving throughout the summer months. “This keeps them ready for the winter when it hits and we take them back up north” he told us.
The highlight of the experience was yet to come though- meeting the puppies. They had two separate litters on site. We had some time to hold each of the puppies, at three weeks old they where so small and warm and cuddly.
They made little squeaking noises at first, but soon snuggled into our necks. I wanted to take one home with me. Dave laughed and told us that previous visitors have tried, but they always do a puppy count. The mother definitely looked relieved once she had all her pups back safe and sound in the kennel.
Finally, we had sometime to sit in some rocking chairs on the porch and enjoy some hot apple cider and cookies while we waited for the bus to come and take us back to the ship. The Dog sledding excursion with Royal Caribbean was definitely the highlight of our trip and something we will always hold dear to our hearts.