Sunday, September 1, 2013

Anatomy of a Cruise: Alaskan Cruise Part 1

The First Cruise I had ever been on, was a cruise my Dad and Kathy  took us on in 2002.  Wait a minute.... let me  take that back.... I was also on a cruise in the approximate year of nineteen hundred and sixty four I would have been the tender age of 3;  I can hardly remember that one, but I think it planted something in my DNA.  In 2002,  Dad treated our entire family to a most amazing family reunion;  It included my 3 brothers; Dave, Mike and Charley, my brother Dave's family and my family, which, at that time, consisted of  Steve and I, Nathan, Himilce, Luke, Marie and Elizabeth.  We went on an 18 day cruise from California through the Panama Canal ending in Puerto Rico.  None of us will ever forget it.  It is one of our happiest moments and is often talked of and re-dreamed of by us all.  If Steve and I are  ever given the ability to repeat that kind of blessing for our family....we will do it in a heartbeat.  It was like a little portion of Heaven, to swim and snorkel in crystal clear waters with sea turtles and amazing fish, and lay on white sands and eat amazing food and feel the rhythm of a ship as it sails and be treated so wonderfully, all while your whole family is in your midst, coming and going and laughing and participating in joy with you... yes, it was wonderful.  To this day, I still thank the Lord and My Dad and Kathy for that trip..... and..... this recent wonderful trip to Alaska.  So get you a cup of tea or coffee, and get ready for a lot of pictures.

Say Hi to Dad and Kathy.  Here they are  peeking around their balcony divider onto our balcony.

Day 1:  Vancouver.  We begin in Vancouver; after the "all aboard",  we are on our way, headed North, up Vancouver Sound.

View of Vancouver as the ship pulls away.  See the people on their balconies watching as we sail away?

The view of the balcony below ours.

A tour of our room:   Standing next to our bed and looking at part of the balcony through part of the sliding glass door.

Our very comfortable bed that was made for us every morning and evening by our steward Rodney.  Rodney also turned our bed down every evening and left chocolates on it to greet us when we came in for the evening. I think I could get used to having Rodney around everyday. 

A view from our bed.  I don't want to forget how lovely it was to sleep with our sliding glass door open, and hear  the water and see the moonlight on the water,  and the stars, mountains and clouds whenever we woke (we did this only the first couple of nights until it got too cold to do so).

A tour of the ship.

We never did get into the pool on this trip.... it was a little cold outside to suite us, but there were plenty of brave souls who would get in the pool or jacuzzi.

The food is one very important part to a great cruise as far as I am concerned.... not that I have ever had anything other than awesome!!!!   I just can't imagine not having the awesome!!!! half the fun would be gone. Dinner in the dining room was always wonderful.  You are served in 4 courses each evening and are able to choose from the menu, and add or minus each course as you desire.  You sit with other people throughout the cruise if you had signed up for the fixed seating at dinner.  There are two waiters who are assigned to your table the entire trip.  We were signed up for the early dinner at 5:30, and were seated with two other couples besides Dad and Kathy.  There is also the option of  breakfast, lunch and tea time in the dining room (but not fixed seating at those meals).  We enjoyed breakfast, lunch or tea in the dining room in one way or another each day.  If you didn't eat in the dining room you would eat at the buffet, or Burger or Pizza Cafe or even Room Service... all a part of the package.  I will admit that I gained way too much weight on that first cruise 11 years ago;  I didn't gain weight this time (a miracle), thank goodness, but I certainly enjoyed myself.

An example of the appetizer each evening.

My Dad loves his ice cream;  I wanted to get a picture of his dish;  isn't this beautiful, with chunks  of fruit and nuts and so creamy.

Tea time was another of my favorites.  I didn't have tea every day, I mean can you imagine eating 3 amazing meals a day and tea time like this as well.  I didn't always have "tummy room". Yet I love tea time;  It reminds me of the girls (my girls)..... we have always loved having tea time when ever we are together; and even if I was not quite hungry at dinner, I still wanted to enjoy that tea.   I would say to myself;  "should I skip lunch or dinner in order to have tea? Oh go ahead have them all, this isn't an every day event after all"  And so I enjoyed my tea.... several times; sometimes with Kathy, sometimes by myself.  You sit with other people at elegant tables, and enjoy being served, and visit with strangers.  You get to know where they are from, and a tiny bit of their lives in that part of the world; The waiters bring more tea, and more delights to try.  It is elegant and peaceful and all  delightful.

Our dinner companions.  David and Aly....

.... and Don and Theresa.  We  enjoyed them all so much.  We have gotten each other e-mails and will keep in touch.

There are two formal evenings on this cruise, and it is fun to dress up; we do it so little in life where we come from.

Here is part.... only a small part of the buffet.

I love the paneling and paintings of this part of the ship.

Day 2: Cruising the Inside Passage
Beautiful and tranquil.  Steve and I love "at sea days".  They are restful.  Sailing in the inlets and coves is wondrous. It is very quiet and peaceful.  We have needed this and are soaking it in.  The water is deep blue, and the mountains are beautiful; so much green on them.  Pine trees come down to the waters edge.

Day 3:  Ketchikan. The ship docks during breakfast.  It looks like rain.  The rain begins as we disembark..... we need one more umbrella (Note never buy needed items in first store off the ship.... tourist trap-they are half price up the road).  So glad we brought those layers of clothes to add on or take off as the weather dictated.  Love the coolness and smell of rain.   Ketchikan  is  known as Alaska's first City and the Salmon Capital of the world. It was beautiful and quaint and was like a frontier town.   Our stop here felt too short.  The shops in Ketchikan had the best prices of the whole trip, and we were glad we got souvenirs for the Grandkids while we were here.  I also got a great light-wieght jacket to protect from mild cold and rain for only $4.99 while we were there.  I was very glad of that purchase, because I had wanted to buy something like that before we left, but everything we looked at in Colorado was $50.00 and up.  

My handsome hubby patiently lets me take his pictures.

Ketchikan to the left.

Day 4: Juneau .  Alaska's State Capital.  There was a little bit more "city" to this town... but not a lot.  It is beautiful surrounded by amazing mountains, trees and water.  The only way to get here is by sea or by air.  There are many private pilots in Alaska, and we were able to see that getting a pilots license could be an important aspect of coming and going in many places.  The Governor's Mansion is here.  It is where Sarah Palin and family lived when she was Governor.  She was well liked by the Alaskan's and it was nice to hear.  I wasn't quick enough to get pictures of the Governor's Mansion or the government buildings, but  enjoyed the tour of the city.

  We then went on a tour out of town to pan for gold.....
This man was our guide and instructor.

This man was out panning for gold on his own... There is still plenty of that going on around here.

... and to answer your question, yes, we found our little "flash in the pan"  "Eureka!"... we were given the title of bonafide "Sourdoughs".   Now I wonder if that makes any sense to any of you.  Our flash in the pan was real gold, and not fools gold.... Unfortunately, Steve can't retire yet.

Next stop Salmon bake....

We enjoyed a wonderful meal of fresh hot salmon off of the grill along with a lunch buffet.   The rain was coming down, but the fish camp was set up under a large well built canopy type structure.  We enjoyed cups of hot chocolate, coffee and tea which hit the spot, and took the edge off of our chill.  

We met up with our dinner companions David and Aly while we were here.  Many of the other groups came here after their excursions.  We finished with another hike up the path to the waterfall and stream. There were more Salmon swimming upstream here,  and an old mineshaft that was closed up

Old relics of time gone by.  

More to come..... click here to read Part II


  1. What beautiful pictures. What a peaceful and fun time. You make me want to get brave enough to get on a ship some day:-) Can't wait to see more of your trip.


  2. I don't think I would ever convince my husband to go on a cruise but your pictures definitely show the classier side of cruising Pam! My impression of the cruises that leave from here and visit tropical locations is that they are 'party ships' and then there was the cruise where lots of passengers contracted bad food poisoning when they were at sea - that kind of put me off too but I'm sure it was an isolated incident. Seeing the pictures of Vancouver was great - that's where my daughter is heading to in October, she's staying with my blogger friend there for the weekend before flying to Regina. She was kind of excited by the fact that Vancouver has so many high rise buildings but the type of landscape that appeals to me is more like the Alaskan one, mountains, water, trees. Throw in some towns with pretty houses and gardens, antique shops, good coffee shops and at least one Italian restaurant and it's almost heaven!

  3. Wow MOM!!! I was so sad when I realized I had reached the end of the post! It wasn't enough! I can't wait for the following parts! I loved every-single-little-tid-bit that you talked about! I really feel like I am sitting with you and getting to look through the pictures while you tell me all :) I hope you and Dad are having a nice Labor Day with Roxy and Danny. I-love-you-so-much!

  4. Oh PAM!! I hardly know what to say! (not like me, eh ;) ). These photos, and your telling about the cruise... it's wonderful! I can't wait for the rest of it, but for now, I'm going to go over the whole blog post again to re-read and re-savour :)
    I am so happy you got to do this. (Oh, and I love the photo of Steve with the Alaska cap on. He reminds me of my fella ... they both have kind faces :) )

  5. Pam! The photos are gorgeous! I would have loved to sleep to the sound of the ocean outside my door, too!

  6. Oh wow Pam!! What fun and what special memories to have!

    I loved all the photos, it kinda made me feel like I was apart of your journey.

    Oh and Thank you so much for thinking of all of us on your trip. That was very thoughtful of you and Steve. We loved all the treasures!

    Love You,