Friday, May 29, 2015

Alaska Cruise!!

Yes, we did just get back from a cruise to Alaska =) It was fantastic! If you ever have the chance to go, DO IT!!! (Side note: I know a fantastic travel agent who can help you plan your trip! Check out Pictures just do not do it justice...but you can still expect me to post more than necessary =P Spoiler alert: long post with many photos!

We flew out to Seattle on Friday evening and the ship left Saturday afternoon. It was a huge relief when we finally boarded the ship, because I had been dealing with a partial bowel obstruction the week before we left, and it had been a bit up in the air whether I would even be able to make the trip...but thankfully things finally got moving and we were able to go!

Crown Princess
Leaving Seattle (space needle on the left side)
We sailed on the Crown Princess, and it was my parents, me, Nick, my brother, and his friend (who is practically my brother too). Our first day was at sea, so we had no stops, just exploring the ship. 

Side note: if you ever go on a cruise with my family, be prepared to WALK. Elevators are against our religion (=P) so we took the stairs everywhere (shout out to my amazingly tolerant husband to putting up with the weird eccentricities of his in-laws =P).

Our first port was Juneau. Interesting fact: Juneau is the only US capital that is inaccessible by car. You can only get to Juneau by plane or boat. As we were sailing into the port, we got our first glimpse of Alaska. Like I said, photos do not do it justice, but at least it can wet your appetite for your own trip to Alaska (!

Sailing in to Juneau
Juneau, Alaska
We did a kayaking trip along the coast in Juneau which was a lot of fun. The scenery was incredible, and while we didn't get to see any bears or moose on the shore, we did get to see some sea lions! They were no more than 20 feet from our kayaks and would pop their heads out of the water, look around, go under, then resurface a little ways away. I didn't get any good pictures of the sea lions unfortunately, but here are some of the scenery.

Kayaking along the coast
Two-person kayak!
Beach, forest, mountains - quintessential Alaska
The next day we were in port in Skagway. While Skagway is technically accessible by road, it is pretty far from anything...all their supplies are brought in by train once a week. It is a town of 850 year-round residents, and during the summers they can get up to 10,000 people coming in on cruise ships each day! 
Tourist train that you could ride up to White Pass
Town of Skagway at 6:30am

I think Skagway was my favorite of the 3 Alaskan ports we visited. My mom and I got off the ship when we got to port at 6:30am to run around the town. Skagway is set in a bit of a valley with the mountains surrounding it. It had a really nice small town (obviously) feel and the scenery was incredible. We did a hike/float trip in Skagway where we hiked 2 miles along the trail that the miners used when they first came during the Gold Rush. Then we got in a raft and floated down stream where we could take photos and see the scenery.
Overlook of a bay just outside Skagway
Hiking - everything is covered in moss
BEAR claw marks! These were about 7-8 feet up...
Can you believe it was about 70 degrees??

The day after Skagway, we were crusing in Glacier Bay. Not all the cruise itineraries we looked at went through Glacier Bay, but this was one thing that we all really wanted to do. We made sure we were on a cruise that did go through it, and it was definitely worth it. 
The water was so smooth and quiet the reflections were incredible!

Margerie Glacier - It is about 3xs the height of the ship
Our last Alaskan port was Ketchican which is the southern-most city in Alaska. It is a primarily fishing based town that is built into the mountains. Where Juneau and Skagway were mostly flat, Ketchican was very hilly (what can I say, runners notice these things =P).
Salmon capitol of the world
Built on the side of the water on stilts
Lots of fishing boats and homes along the coast
Our final port was Victoria, Canada, but we didn't get off the ship there. It was only in port from 7-11pm our last night, and we had other things to keep us busy...such as croquet!! Peroutky/Scheff/Boka/Baldwin style of course! Instead of boring you with details, I'll just say that Nick and I were the two-person team champions getting it both FIRST and TWICE!!
So that's pretty much our cruise! We had a great time, and I would go back in a heart beat! I felt really good pretty much the entire cruise =) Our Head Waiter and Waiter were fantastic and made sure I was included at meals even though I wasn't eating much. I ate rice milk pudding and orange jello the whole week, and was even able to try a couple scrambled eggs and a few bites of fruit by the end of the week. It was a huge blessing to be able to go on the cruise, and having Herman II was not even much of an inconvenience. Although there were times when we had a different server who thought it was weird that I was only eating pudding and jello as my entire meal. 

God is good, and I am so grateful to have been able to do something "normal" with my family and feel more or less healthy. Thank you so much to everyone who was keeping me and my family in your prayers this past week. We are so thankful to have had the opportunity to do something fun and get away from doctors and ERs even for a short bit. 
Family (don't ask how many tries it took to get this =P)

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