Texans Take Alaska By Boat

The Flying Longhorns aren’t a group of circus trapeze artists, and the Texas Exes aren’t a support group for divorced and separated Texans.

These are some of the guesses we get when groups from the Texas Exes’ travel program, the Flying Longhorns, wander the world. So we wind up advancing cultural understanding about Texas — and having a ball doing it.

But nobody could represent the UT and the entire state better than the group of alumni I hosted a week or two ago on a cruise to Alaska (the only state that could possibly make Texas look small).

We sailed from Vancouver to Anchorage, stopping to see cloudy Ketchikan, scenic Skagway, mountain-ringed Juneau, and the breathtaking Hubbard Glacier along the way. We spotted bears, whales, otters, seals, sea lions, bald eagles, and loads of other wildlife. And of course, we sipped and feasted in style every day on our ship.

But we didn’t settle for blending in with the masses on the Regent Seven Seas Navigator. (A luxury liner, it only holds 490, but who wants to be just one of the crowd?)

We put up Flying Longhorns pennants on our doors, Texas flags on our cocktail tables, sticky Bevos on our lapels, and a copy of our favorite fight song on the piano as a gentle hint to the band. 

And we might have left it at that. We had no intention of disrupting dinner. But when a group of Ole Miss alums (who perhaps had been a touch overserved) mumbled through their fight song over in the corner one evening, our group took it as a challenge. 

“On the count of 3, we’re going to stand up and sing ours!” one of the gents commanded.

This was the ship’s formal dining room, mind you, and we’d been seated right next to the captain’s table in the center. But there we were, standing up, holding our horns high, and belting out “The Eyes of Texas.”

I was nervous. Could they write us — especially our hostess — up for disturbing the peace? But when I peeked at the captain, I was relieved to see him smiling. One of the gowned ladies seated with him was holding her horns up too. And she was by no means the only other one in the room. There are lots of Texans out there — many of whom, at least on our ship, clearly wished they were traveling with us!

You can get in on the fun — whether in Africa, Peru, Greece, Tuscany, China, Paris, Switzerland, or even Wonderful West Texas — by checking out the dozens of trips we offer here.


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