We are finally on our Alaska adventure! We planned this trip just about a year ago and it felt at the time it was a long way off into the future. Well here it is time to start it and our plan to get here worked as well! We had loads of contingencies built in to make sure we were here on time in Vancouver BC to board the ship. The plan worked!
|Our site in Surrey BC. This is where our rig will wait until we get back from Alaska|
Our adventure is a 14 day cruise (Norwegian Sun) and land tour of Alaska. We also added an extra couple of days at the end of our tour to unwind. One day in Fairbanks and then and extra day to take a train back to Vancouver from Seattle. So the entire trip from the start on Monday the 28th to arriving back at our RV on Tuesday the 12th was all of 16 days.
|Fridge is cleaned out!|
Our first day started by closing up the RV for storage. Instead of us moving the RV to the storage yard before we left, the park said they would move it for us - fine with us. Anyway, they never moved it so it was great when we came back, all we had to do was open up the slides and plugin!
Our cruise was leaving out of the Vancouver BC cruise port about 15 miles from where we were. We decided to take mass transit to get there because there was a bus stop just outside the RV Park which took us to the light rail that was then direct to the cruise terminal. We had only to be on the bus for less than 5 minutes and then we go on the light rail system at the King George Street station. Train was about 40 minutes and it took us right to the cruise terminal. The total trip was about an hour and cost just $6 Canadian (about $5 US). Can't beat that!
We didn’t have time for her to go back and get the insulin now. We were on board around noon and would have still had time to get it but they didn’t bring the bags to the rooms until around 2pm. It was about 2:30pm when she realized she didn’t have insulin for the trip and the ship leaves at 4pm. She went to ship medical to see if she could buy some from them. Well, of course, you can, you can buy anything you want on the ship with enough money! The insulin ended up costing us a little over $500. That’s about 10 times the cost if she bought it without insurance at Walmart. We can, however, submit this to our insurance.
Our second day and first full day on the cruise was at sea. It was great weather for being a day at sea going north to Alaska. Not a cloud in the sky and around 75 degrees! It turned to the only day the pool was pretty full as it never got up to that temperature again. There were always people in the pool as it was heated but not very many after today. We never did use the pool. We spent the day wandering the ship with a couple of cocktails. Patty also got a haircut and then we had pictures taken that evening before dinner. We ended up not purchasing any of the pictures either. We had these pictured done with us in more casual clothing as we are never in formal stuff anymore. We just didn’t like any of the pictures enough to purchase any of them. Sort of too bad!
Norwegian does dinner different than all of the other cruise lines, they have want they call freestyle dining. This means that there is no set times for dinner. The ship has 2 dining rooms with the exact same hours they are open. They also have the same menu which made no sense to us at all. One dining room was billed as more formal than the other which really meant very little of nothing. You were supposed to have a collared shirt and no jeans in the more formal dining room. Oh, and no flip flops either. That was out the window by the 3rd day of the cruise.
Freestyle dining means that you just show up during the time the dining room is open and they seat you wherever and not with other passengers. This was our first time experiencing this freestyle dining on a cruise. Patty and I had different opinions about the freestyle dining. I didn’t care for it and Patty liked it. Patty liked it for the same reason that I did, you weren’t limited by having to stop what you were doing to make dinner. However, I didn’t think that was ever really an issue as you just planned around dinner time. The reasons I like the classical seating was that you got the same waiter every night. He got to know you and what you liked. The service seemed much better that way too. However, it could just be the ship we were on too. We didn’t care for the food anywhere on the ship and the service just wasn’t as good as we have had on other cruise lines either. Whether freestyle dining had something to do with it, who knows.
|Entertainment the first night on board.|
|Ketchikan from our balcony|
|Very overcast and rainy day|
The weather was again very cloudy when we arrived but not raining. It’s weird up here in that the clouds hang very low everywhere we went. Our flight wasn’t until 1:30pm and we were off the ship around 11 am so we first headed over to the seaplane office to make sure they were flying.
As we approached we saw no planes in the water and nobody waiting, not a good sign. The office was open so we went in and found out that all of the morning flights had been canceled due to the low hanging clouds. The woman in the office said that we should come back at 1 pm and check and see then. Now we had time for some lunch before checking back in.
We chose to have lunch and a couple of beers at the “famous” Red Dog Saloon. The place has been here since the 1800s. The waitresses are dressed up like in an old time saloon with sawdust on the floors. We learned that when tourist season is over, like next week, the waitresses don’t wear the costumes, they take the sawdust off of the floor and there is an entirely different menu! It was a cool place to park yourself for lunch.
I was a little worried about this flight because it was on such a small plane and I am claustrophobic. I made up my mind I was doing this, mind over matter sort of thing. The seating is one by one so the plane seemed bigger to me and that was all it took for me, I was fine!
The seaplane tour was great! It lasted about an hour from takeoff to landing which was plenty long enough to see everything. I was surprised at just how smooth the takeoff and landing was on water. The only thing is it seemed that the landing and takeoffs were very short. It was great!
|West Twin Glacier|
|The glacier runoff meeting the salt water in the channel. They don't mix for days|
|Juneau from the air|
|Our ship from the air|
|We are back! Trip was about an hour|
After the seaplane ride we did a little tourist shopping and then back to the ship for dinner.
|Never seen such a large pile of king crab legs|
|Monument to the miners who made the city|
|Recreational Marijuana is legal in Alaska|
We had a great day so celebrated a little with a bottle of wine with dinner. So now we have had beers with lunch and a bottle of wine with dinner. The celebration did not last through the night!
|Different photos of the glass elevators on the ship|
|The morgue, we were definitely NOT in there!|
Patty was in the sick bay the entire day! She got out and back to the cabin around 6pm. Basically, they gave her 3 liters of IV fluids and some medicine for vomiting. She has Gastroparesis so she needs to be very careful that she only eats small meals that are easy to digest. We are still learning how alcohol affects this.
Day 6 of the cruise was on the ship the entire day cruising up the Icy Strait and into Glacier Bay. Our destination was the Margerie and the Grand Pacific Glaciers. Patty saw some of it from the cabin bed as we had a balcony. These are mammoth glaciers! They are several miles wide and hundreds of feet thick. What amazed me was that they are not silent, they make a lot of noise! The ice is always cracking which sounds like thunder. We got to see several pieces of ice “calf” off of the glaciers and fall into the ocean. That is incredible too! Since the ship is big and so are the mountains around us the glaciers don’t look that big. However, when a chunk of ice falls off into the ocean it makes a tremendous crash sound and wave. It is very unreal to watch. Some of the best pictures of the trip were taken here.
|Approaching the glaciers we start to see loads of ice in the water|
|The Grand Pacific Glacier|
|View of Glacier from our room|
|Heading out to Reid Glacier|