Monday, June 17, 2013

Alaskan Adventures

I'm so overwhelmed at the thoughts of trying to write about our trip to Alaska!!! There is SO MUCH and it would be a book if I wrote it all down, so I'm probably going to end up giving way less detail than I want to. It was a wonderful time, and I'm so appreciative to my parents who made it possible for all 8 of us (5 immediate family and spouses) to go on this trip. We don't all get to be together much, so it was nice having an entire week! The cruise was wonderful and the scenery was more breath taking than I could have imagined! We ported in Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Victoria BC with a day trip into Glacier Bay (we didn't get off the ship because the scenery surrounds it!). We saw whales, bald eagles, and a bear. We learned about the way of life in these little Alaskan towns- Skagway only has a population of 800! When one cruise ship docks, their population triples, and there are usually 2-3 cruise ships in port throughout the summer. Can you imagine? Some of the places were pretty touristy, but I loved in Skagway that they kept the original buildings! We were totally spoiled by the all you can eat nature of the cruise. Not only were we sitting down to 4 course meals daily, but we were getting multiple appetizers and desserts. It was so much fun because we never eat like that at home... heck, we don't even get one dessert, to save money. So I felt like royalty between that and room service. I also really liked all the activities they had on board. It sort of reminded me of a modern day family vacation like the one in Dirty Dancing, where families come and can do things together, do things apart, and there are activities already planned for you for all varying interests. We saw lots of comedy shows and live game shows!

View of the Seattle port from the ship

We had a champagne toast to celebrate the beginning of our cruise!

The needle looked spectacular on our way out of the Puget Sound.

I love this picture because it shows how absolutely massive the mountains are when you compare it to the buildings of Juneau. And clearly I couldn't get the whole thing to fit in the picture!

Selfie at Mendenhall Glacier. I'm definitely wearing Steven's thermal under my clothes lol.

Still just love the blue ice!  

This is in Skagway with a view of the buildings, ship docked, and mountains.

Another view of Skagway. I just loved this town!!!

Mom and Dad in Skagway

One of the many views on our train trip in Skagway

Don't look down!

No really, don't.

We <3 trains. This was my favorite excursion!

View of the mountains over the pool deck on the ship. The water was heated and people definitely used the pools and hot tubs! 

I can't get enough of that blue Alaskan water! This was in glacier bay, and the blue water is caused by the silt. 

In Glacier Bay, you stay on the ship and cruise around for a few hours so all sides of the ship can see everything. We camped out with hot bevvies on mom and dad's balcony. A balcony TOTALLY pays off on this trip. Otherwise you had to be in a common area with little to no seating! 

Beautiful reflection in Glacier Bay.

My mom is already talking about doing another Alaskan cruise... and before this, we kept calling it once in a lifetime- haha!

Bald eagle chilling on an iceberg. Get it?... sorry.

Family time with my brother and sister in law in Spinnaker Lounge for a live game show.

The ship rocked A LOT. None of us turned out to get sea sick, which was a huge blessing. Some nights it was scary, and other nights it rocked me right to sleep! 

In Ketchikan we did a duck tour where you first tour on land, and then drive into the water where the duck becomes a boat. Pretty cool!

I still need to google if it was actually the first city. 

He was intrigued and scared at the same time.

Norwegian has a chocolate buffet one night on the cruise... this was like a tiny portion of what they had! 

Peacocks in Victoria, BC. I never would have guessed!

We did a horse drawn trolley tour, which was a great way to see the city. Unfortunately, the port isn't really close to town so when the trolley dropped us back off at the ship, we didn't get to explore anymore. It was such a cute town, though!

Beautiful sunset over Victoria.

My parents' butler (lol!) said most people spend the last night packing since the last port visit starts at 6pm and the cruise is over the next morning at about 8am. Not us! We packed in the afternoon before we got to Victoria, and had a pizza and brownie party that night! It was a great way to wind down our fantastic vacation. 

We also spent some time exploring Seattle before we went home. Steven and I walked 1.5 miles UPHILL to get bloodwork done one of those days. I wanted to die. We quickly figured out the bus system after that, but it was too little, too late for our feet and legs! We hurt for days after that.

 Norwegian does freestyle cruising which means you can get on when you want, eat when you want, get off when you want, etc. So even though we got into port around 8am, we decided to have breakfast and didn't get off the ship til 9:30. 

 Later that morning, we went on a duck tour of Seattle which was SO AMAZING. The Captain was absolutely hysterical and so into his job!

 I can haz for my yard?

 The duck tour captain said he's been at it for 5 years now. Never give up?

 Our captain with his lobster hat. He had a hat and a song to fit just about every fun fact that he told us about Seattle.

 This duck tour boat sat way lower in the water!

 I so want to live in one of these floating houses! Or at least vacation there. They would have grills, patios, the works!

 Look familiar? It's the house from Sleepless in Seattle. Which I now feel I need to watch again.

 This was one of my favorite houses. I would be on the porch allll the time. I wonder if trick or treating is hard?

 Mom with her duck lips!

 Rachel and I ditched our spouses to grab the front seat on the monorail. 

 On the way back, the monorail curved very much like a roller coaster. I couldn't decide if I liked it or not! 

 Seriously. LOVE!

 The gum wall. This is like... a small section of it!

 We made our own contribution. Steven was thoroughly disgusted. 

 I met up with one of my favorite Cathsorority ladies, Kristan! She actually lives in Texas but was in Seattle for work. Perfect timing or what???

 This was on the bloodwork day. The lab tech guy told us there was this AWESOME burger place we had to go to that was right around the corner. ANOTHER mile and a half later, we got there. And there was no seating. Not no seating available... seating didn't exist. I thought I was going to cry! Luckily my ever awesome hubs whipped out his phone and found a park that was a 5 minute walk away. We relaxed in the shade and talked about how amazing the Seattle weather was for our days of intense walking. It could have rained on us, so I'll count our blessings. Oh, also? We flew home at 10pm that night. So we wore the same clothes from 9am that morning until we got home at like 11am the next day. Gross.

 That afternoon, we took the Bainbridge Ferry with my parents. We snacked on popcorn and cookies (they even sell beer and full meals!) for the 30 minute ride. We got off, got in line, and got back on. It was a great way to relax in the A/C and see some good views!

We ended our trip with dinner and dessert before heading to the airport. Here's the sweet couple, married 35 years this past May, who made it all possible! My mom reads this blog so, if you made it this far, you can definitely tell her happy anniversary in the comments :). 


  1. It looks like an amazing vacation! How wonderful that your family got to experience it together.

  2. The reindeer reaction! Priceless! Your photos are amazing!

  3. You and Rachel have given such great written documentations of a fabulous vacay!! You're right - Dad and I are already planning a return trip but maybe from a different port to see some different sights. Can't wait!! LOL Seriously, I don't think all you kids can understand how much it meant for us to be able to share this with you!! To another 35 years!!

  4. Oh my gosh, so many things to see!! That gum wall was disgusting, the cheesecake shop and burgers looked awesome, and happy anniversary to your parents!!!

  5. If you ever get to the Northwest again, I recommend spending more time in Victoria next time. It's amazing.

    Pike Place Market in Seattle is also worth a visit as is the zoo.

  6. Happy Anniversary to your parents! 35 years - wow! Glacier Bay looks does that chocolate buffet! YUM! :)

  7. When my husband and I were in Seattle last June after our honeymoon we got a picture in front of that gum wall too! Seeing your pictures was awesome cause we saw many of the same things when we went to alaska too, looks like a great time!

  8. Looks like an awesome trip! I'd love to see Alaska one day!