We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Time to plan 2016 adventures. I have not used this division of American Express, Cruise Planners, but it looks like they offer good deals and know what they are talking about. The era of local travel agents is past.
Call me an effete snob, but I'd stay away from those lower-cost mega-ships but Holland-America is always excellent. I have enjoyed their ships since I was a kid.
AK Inside Passage: Try the Alaska Marine Highway. I like it because it's strictly pay-as-you-go. It was 1990 when I went up from Prince Rupert BC to Skagway & return after 3 months in AK. Just remember, if you take your vehicle, as I did, they book space quickly for the summer season, so make reservations as early as possible. Southernmost point of embarkation in the US is Bellingham, N of Seattle. The scenery is identical, whether you're on a cruise ship or a ferry of the Marine Highway. The ships are well-maintained, but don't expect a suite.