Thursday, 20 May 2010

Alaska - May 2010

Day 1: May 12, 2010
We arrived early (thank goodness), cleared customs and security and were onboard our ship the Volendam within the half hour.
We went for lunch and then disaster. DH never picked up his car keys, wallet, or
vest as we passed through security. Too many people wanting our attention at the same time. But with front desk help, and a call to security and a walk back off the ship too, he found them all intact as well as his money in his wallet. Phew!
Day 2: Oh boy, we are rockin and rollin today. My legs are really
challenged now. I didn't have any balance before but not I am at the mercy of the
waves. I went into the bathroom to apply my makeup, and I had to tie myself to the sink with a seatbelt!
My head was reeling and I couldn't make it to breakfast with the others, so I ordered in and at by myself in the cabin. I was like a spinning top. But by noon,
my head had settled down and the rest of the trip was gravy. Got some lovely photos
of our embarkation. Good scrapbooking material.

Day 3: We floated into Alaska time on a gorgeous day. Just required a lightweight jacket as it was so warm. We had planned a sightseeing trip but it was too late to book, so we shopped in Juneau. That trip was short and I returned to the ship with killing legs. DH wasn't feeling very good, so had stayed behind. Our travelling companion said he was feeling a little lightheaded. Yay, this sounds like a great trip.

Day 4: We arrived in Skagway this morning. It was our first cool and overcast day of our trip. We rode on the Yukon and Whitepass narrow gauge train
today. It was overcast and we were at the mercy of the Mother Nature, so you take what you get. -- Yay! Mother Nature was very kind. By afternoon the sun broke through and it just made the day for us. We travelled to the snow covered summit and looked out over valleys and mountains. We crossed the border between the US and
Canada with a small hut buried in the snow and flags marking the crossing. We Canadians gave a quiet you hoo chant, to the laughter of the other passengers.

Then it was back to Skagway and a shopping trip for the grandkids. They wanted stuffies. One wanted a moose and the other a bear. We found large ones in the first
shop we went into and they were a hit with the girls on our return to home. It was
an exhausting day for all.

Day 5 Glacier Bay: Today we are cruising in Glacier Bay, chilly enough for sweaters and jackets - as we are sitting in ice surrounded waters. We saw a glacier calf. That means a huge chunk of the glacier falls into the bay in a
spectacular display of falling ice and water sprays. See the photo I have of the one
that fell the day we were there. A photographer managed to capture it, and we were
able to buy a copy of it.

Our lady companion traveller is a gambler, so she was in the casino on a few occasions. She entered a Black Jack tournament for two days, and she won the pot.
Almost $500 which paid for the tours we took and some on board shopping they did.
Lucky thing.
DH and I loved the peace of quiet of some of the lounges with nightly entertainment,
from piano, to singer to a chamber music quartet, while we sat watching the world go by outside the window.

Day 6: Our last stop was in Ketchikan. We took a city tour, which visited a totem pole park, and I visited a native American shop for souvenirs. After a week of dragging myself around, my legs were at their lowest point.I was done
and quite ready to return to the ship with my purchases. However, since leaving the ship, the tide had risen, so the gangplank was at a steeper level. I was beside myself. How was I going to get on the ship. Well, I had a push and pull escort!
I had one helper pushing my arm and shoulder while another had my other arm and was
pulling me up the gangplank, all the while I had a full entourage behind me, also
trying to come up the incline. Well when they saw how much trouble, we challenged people were having, they decided to close the gangplank and lower it to the floor
below. (You did notice I said, "after" I had climbed "Mount Mckinley", right?)

Day 7 Happy Anniversary:
Today we celebrate our 42nd anniversary and we are going to attend a special dinner
at the Rotterdam dining room. The dinner is especially prepared by the head chef
so it will be a surprise. Everyone had to wear a chef's hat and the waiters danced
through the dining room, waving napkins over their heads and then placed them all on
guests laps.
(P.S. it was wonderful, and it was topped by Baked Alaska for dessert.)All the curtains were closed and the waiters brought out the dessert and they all had glow
sticks in their hands as they paraded through the room.
This will be our last evening before we reach our home port of Vancouver.
The holiday was much too short, and very physical. Not the best combination for
challenged legs, but none the less we enjoyed it immensely and one day we will do it again.
Epilogue to the story. We chose the right week to cruise because the night we got back and the start of a new cruise, a storm came up the coast and it is following the
ship northwards on each day. We lucked out with gorgeous sunny weather.


Anonymous said...

Wow Norma..looks like you had a great time (with a few exceptions). The scenery is so beautiful and you can see why this trip pulls so many people to it. I can only imagine what the pioneers felt seeing it for the first time. Glad you enjoyed yourself.
Mrs Noofy

yui said...

Hi! I'm behind you.
Good luck!

Denise ~ Paper Ponderings said...

It sounds divine. I hope to do the Alaska cruise some day. I've only been inland in Fairbanks and Tok. It's amazing that you actually got to see the glacier break away! Glad you had such a great time.

Tracy.H said...

Wow! Looks like you guys had an amazing trip! Those photos are beautiful. Everyone that I know that have been on an Alaskan cruise have just loved it! :0)