On our NCL cruise through Alaska last May I stayed at Hotel Alyeska in Girdwood, AK for two nights prior to flying out of Anchorage. Not only did this hotel get amazing reviews, but it was also a halfway point between Seward and Anchorage. My plan was to grab a taxi to take me there after I disembarked, but it proved to be more challenging than I expected.
When disembarking from the boat it is important to have your transportation prearranged in Alaska. I have been very spoiled in the past with having the option of hailing a cab to take me wherever I wanted to go. There were a few reasons why this was not possible in Seward. The first is that there is a very limited population in this town depending on the time of year. Second, I was traveling with a group of seven. We required a 15 passenger van to take us because of the amount of luggage that came along with us. Lastly, the cruise line was pushing guests to pay for the train back to Anchorage.
On our last night of the cruise, I called the front desk to confirm our disembark time and to ask a few questions regarding the surrounding area. It was at this point that I realized, I needed to make a very quick and strong effort to find a taxi, because it was going to be far more difficult than I planned. I began to email companies based in Seward. One company said they could not accommodate us, but would be able to get us in touch with someone who might. I was directed to a woman named Renee, and if you have ever taken a taxi in Seward, there is a strong possibility you know her. After much emailing, she agreed to take us to our hotel, and would pick us up around 10am.
Disembarking was simple and rather quick. The whole process from room to curbside was roughly 20 min. Once we made our way outside, Renee then called to say she would be a little late. Slowly, people came and went, until we were the last group on the dock. Hovered over a picnic table with all of our belongings, we stared out at the parking lot and hoped every van driving in would be her. After about 1.5 hours of waiting, an old looking van rolled in the parking lot, and I knew this was her.
She rolled up and threw the car in park. Immediately she began to apologize. I am not one to get about things like this, because it was evident she was doing her best to get there. Plus I really just wanted to get to the hotel to relax by the pool. Once we loaded everything into the van Renee began to describe her effort to accommodate us. In just a few hours, she detailed, jumped, inspected, registered, and insured the van. I was very grateful she did this, because she was our only option.
Once on the road she shared an abundant amount of information regarding the sights we passed, the people of Alaska, and the wildlife. She was much more than a taxi driver. She was a tour guide I didn't plan on. Without her determination to get the car on the road, I am quite certain I would have been stuck on that dock with a group of angry family members.