Sunday, July 21, 2013

July - Cruise to Alaska July 4 - 9th, 2013 Park I

Just on a whim (and a good price) I asked John if he wanted to cruise to Alaska and he said yes.  So we got our tickets about 8 days before we left (this is after checking our calendar to see if we had appointments and found we were clear). 

We left on July 4th pretty early and arrived in Richland, WA around 1:30 p.m. and went to Terry and Dale's house for their fun party.  What a feast.  We had it all, even music.  Nice party and their friends were super people.  We had a great day.  We spent the night and they had us a breakfast fit for a king.  Two of the most hospitable people in the world.  Thanks for the fun holiday and visit.

Terry - you will not stave at her house
She is a lady who has everything
So fun to sing along
Beatles, Eagles, oldies
Terry's husband Dale, he just
a great guy, one of a kind
We had sparklers - always fun
Drove to Redmond, WA (a little suburb of Seattle), got to our hotel and then headed out for a little seafood.  Stopped at Ivar's Seafood Bar in a lovely park.  Had a tasty, casual dinner and walked around the park a bit.  People were walking, fishing and boating.  The lake is huge, and the grounds at the park couldn't be nicer.  It was a very peaceful spot.

Loved the hydrangeas at Gene Coulon
Memorial Beach Park on Lake Washington.
Sailboat rentals
Sun was attacking John at dinner.
Cool sculptures dressed
for 4th of July
Time to call it a night.
Big day tomorrow
Next day, drove to ship parking.  Boarded ship with ease and got to our room.  It was a very nice room and I think it had more space than our last cruise ship which was Carnival.  We were on the Star Princess that has a passenger capacity of 3,100.  Crew of over 1,000.  A fabulous ship and we never felt more than a tiny rocking on the entire trip.  Food was very good (not great), but their desserts were excellent.  We saw shows, went to all kinds of fun activities and enjoyed the four part series by Michael Modzelewski about Alaska.  He has written several books that I want to get from the library.  He truly loves Alaska and animals and he was an excellent speaker.  His talks were a highlight of my trip.

Our beautiful, huge Star Princess
Pulling out of Seattle harbor*
Huge movie screen on deck
Fruit/vegetable carving demos by
three kitchen staff
These guys were amazing
Gorgeous parrot

I went on the kitchen tour and it looked like a stainless steel paradise.  I'm sure they have every possible tool, machine.  The kitchen was immaculate.  I didn't take my camera and they had many carved items that were lovely.  I was so impressed with the cleanliness.  They have hand sanitizer all over the ship, signs everywhere about washing hands.  At each buffet line there is a Purell dispenser with a staff member there asking you to sanitize.  It is nice to see they take health issues so seriously.
Of interest:  Average amount prepared daily:
fish, 1,700 lbs.
poultry 1,400 lbs.
beef 1,700 lbs.
salad 1,600 lbs.
shrimps 400 lbs.
mayonnaise 13 gallons
potatoes 2,700 lbs.
butter 400 lbs.
coffee 470 gallons
dishes washed day 70,000
glasses washed 21,500
So this is a huge operation and they do a fantastic job.
Our trip took us through the Inside Passage to Juneau, Skagway, Ketchican and Victoria.  We cruised through Glacier Bay and saw glaciers that were taller than our huge ship, aqua blue glaciers in spots, heard the "calving" of the ice.  The sights were all majestic and I'm so glad we were able to experience our state to the North.

I can't describe all the beauty we saw, so I will just share some of my photos (only some since I took over 400).  Thank goodness for digital photography, storage and cost wise.

Juneau, Alaska
We had clouds and off and on
rain during the day
Mendenhall Glacier over my left
shoulder, and Nugget Falls on my right
Mendenhall Glacier
Oxygen depletion makes ice blue
I walked trail out to lookout
and found lovely plants
I just have to stop and photograph
flowers, plants
So delicate
You won't believe that this is the
Alaska State Capitol, but it is. 
 So unremarkable.
My friend, Dave, is a musher in Juneau.  He met us after we went to glacier and we took him to lunch.  We then walked to the capitol building.  Then he was able to get us (John didn't go, rainy and he was cold and pooped out) a free dog sled adventure, a ride in cart (summer) with 16 dogs pulling us, seeing and holding puppies, talk on sledding.  It was a one of a kind trip and so fun.  An adventure I will always remember.

Dog sled I went on
I'm ready for the Iditarod
My friend Dave, he's a great
guy and a crazy adventurer
Sled dog puppy, so sweet
Skagway, the gold rush town that never had any gold, just the stop off point to travel to the gold fields.  Fun little city.  We took an excursion to the White Pass Summit.
Look at the snow pole to guide
the snow plow.  Deep, deep snow on this road
We had some wind up at the Summit
Historic trail to gold fields.
Trip made 30-40 times per miner to
get their required full ton of goods to the top.
Bridal Veil Falls, AK
Very overcast around summit
Historic saloon - opened in 1898
top floor had the ladies
AB Hall covered in drift wood.  One of the most
photographed buildings in the country.

Looks like our ship is coming
right down the street
Now a funny part is that on the 7 day cruise there were 2 formal nights so off to the storage unit we went to find our "good clothes" that we haven't worn in over a year.  We didn't even have any good shoes.  We dug around, found John's shoes and that was about it.  So we went off to the Goodwill and Idaho Youth Ranch and had a blast shopping for our dress up outfits.  I found a cute long, sparkly top (had the top and pants) and got some patent leather shoes at Penney's.  Got an adorable long black dress with bling at Walmart.  John got a suit jacket at Goodwill and bought some good black pants and a new tie.  We will put these outfits in a well marked box so next time we need to spiff up we can find our clothes.
Formal night on ship
All dressed up
End of Part I
* Side Note:  The Space Needle is from the World's Fair - that believe it or not, I went to when it opened in 1963, when I was 13 years old.  I lived in San Diego, CA and my aunt and uncle, who lived in Bellevue, WA, had me come up and spend a week with them.  My uncle took me down to the fair twice.  Something I'll never forget.  I've got to find the picture of me with a huge stuffed giraffe he bought for me (tried to win it, no luck).  Happy memory.