While attending Utah State University in Logan, Utah, I had a good friend that spent a summer at Denali Princess working at the front desk. Upon her return, she shared stories of hiking in the Park, wildlife viewing and of all the other adventures she had during the 4 month contract. I was hungry for some adventures of my own, so literally after graduation (I left on a plane for Alaska that night!) I headed to Denali Princess for a summer in Denali National Park. I thought I could go up to Alaska for the summer and then in the fall find a “real” job when I returned back to Utah.
I worked at the Front Desk of the hotel and made friends from all over the world. I gained valuable experience and training for my resume. Every day off I was in the Park, hiking & exploring and finding my own adventures. It was truly an amazing experience. At the end of the summer, some of these new friends and I took advantage of the discounted cruise program available to seasonal employees, and did 3 cruises! The first cruise was to Bermuda for 7 days and then the next 2 were back-to-back cruises from Ft. Lauderdale to Valparaiso, Chile. After traveling through Peru and hiking at Macchu Picchu, I called home to get monetary assistance for a plane ticket back home (aka, I called the Bank of Mom) to make it just in time for Christmas.
The next spring, after volunteering for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and working at a local ski resort, my mom prodded me that it was time to get a “real” job. But I wasn’t ready to be working 40 hours a week in a cubicle for some job that didn’t excite me or offer interesting opportunities to see the world! So I decided to go back to Alaska and work for a company that offers a great working environment, training and travel opportunities. This is now my 10th summer in Alaska and with Princess. Never did I imagine that my fun summer job would turn into my “real” job—I guess you never know what’s going to happen when you spend a summer in Alaska working for Princess!