Frequent travelers Patty and Len Campbell of Washington, D.C., recently took an Alaska cruise aboard Seabourn’s 458-passenger Sojourn. The trip sounded spectacular enough—a two-week journey past glaciers and through fjords, complete with whale watching and grizzly bear viewing—but Wendy’s mission was to make it even more spectacular. That’s because the Campbells had earned a WOW Moment, thanks to their frequent WOW List trips. So we reached out to the folks at Seabourn to see what they could dream up—and dream they did. The Seabourn team created a special day in Juneau: “It was beautifully executed, it was a complete surprise, and it was absolutely wonderful,” says Patty. WOW-ness achieved! We wanted to hear all about it, so we spoke with Patty on the phone.
Q: Did you have any idea that your WOW Moment would involve dogsledding?
A: I love dogs and had told Tom Baker [Wendy’s Trusted Travel Expert for Alaska cruises, who planned Patty’s trip] that we absolutely wanted to go dogsledding during our cruise. But we had no idea what exactly our WOW Moment was going to be.
Q: So how did it unfold?
A: When our ship arrived in Juneau, we got on a helicopter, and there were 25 to 30 people going dogsledding as part of a regular Seabourn shore excursion. We were told to get off last, and that’s when we were whisked to the side for our own private experience. A lovely young woman was our guide to the mushers’ camp. Another woman, Grace, was the actual musher. She told us about the history of the dogs and what their life is like, and we got to meet all the dogs. I was petting the dogs while my husband harnessed and booted up the dog team. We loved getting up close and personal with these beautiful creatures. Then we took off on a spin all the way around the perimeter of the glacier.
We both got to take a turn in the back, working the brake. There’s such a difference between just sitting there on the sled vs. standing up and working at the directions of the musher.
It was the most beautiful, bright, sunny day, and we felt like we were on top of the world. It was absolutely heavenly.
Q: What happened after the dogsled ride?
A: When we got back after the mushing adventure, we got a behind-the-scenes tour of the crew’s camp and learned how they live there. There’s no electricity, no running water. It was fascinating to hear what they have to go through to keep things operational, how they live there and how they cook there. And then we got to have a lunch prepared by the camp’s chef! How cool is that? We’re on top of the world, having lunch, with a beautiful bottle of wine. [The dog camp is “dry,” so Seabourn flew the bottle of wine, a corkscrew, and wine glasses up on the helicopter.] Len and I kept looking at each other thinking, ‘How did we get to do this?’ [Laughs.] We just had no words, it was so cool.
After lunch a private helicopter picked us up and took us back to the helipad, where another lady was waiting to take us to see Mendenhall Glacier, which we drove to before heading back to the ship. That was totally unexpected and quite extraordinary.
Q: And what happened to your fellow travelers from the original helicopter?
A: We spoke to a couple that did the other dogsledding adventure, and they had a great time, but nobody got to do what we did. We will be talking about this for a long time to come.
Wendy would like to thank Brian Badura, Seabourn’s Director of Global Public Relations and Strategic Initiatives, as well as the Seabourn Shore Excursions and Ventures teams, for creating such a magical WOW Moment for the Campbells.