Beware. This is a heavy-duty-photo-happy-post. If you don't enjoy seeing pictures from other people's vacations (or photos of amazing Alaskan scenery) then stop reading now.
In an attempt to explain how incredibly awesome our Alaskan cruise was, I am resorting to the ever-faithful "top 10 list" method. Hopefully this will bring some type of order to our trip and experiences... and will prevent me from trying to download 100 photos to this blog post.
Here are the top 10 reasons why our Alaskan Cruise was flippin' awesome:
1) Amazing weather.
We were told that it usually rains (a lot) on these cruises. Bring warm clothes, your rain jacket... and an umbrella. We were told to expect cloudy, drizzly and cold weather. However, what we got was gorgeously clear, bright, sunshiny weather. The days we were at port were all in the high 70's to low 80's. This apparently is unheard of. In the city of Ketchikan, AK, it rains over 300 days a year... they call their rain "liquid sunshine"... but the day we were there we got the real thing... and it was fabulous.
Pictures, pictures, pictures. I mean, who needs a better excuse to take a bajillion photos than breathtaking views, Alaskan scenery and lots and lots of family time? I took the advice of Molly from her traveling guest post. I came home with 644 photos on my camera... no lie. And I even took a few on my phone. But I wasn't the only one snapping away...
3) Mountain top views.
We experienced so many beautiful mountaintop views. In Vancouver (before we ever even got on the ship) we took the tram to Grouse Mountain... which was about 4,000 ft above the city of Vancouver. Then Alaska was filled with mountain top views... or actually just filled with mountains, rather. Did you know that out of the 20 highest peaks in North America, 17 of them are in Alaska? I know... me either.
4) The ship amenities.
How about the cruise ship itself? We were on The Diamond Princess... which was absolutely beautiful. We could be found watching movies under the stars on the huge big screen on the top pool deck... or in the casino playing BINGO, the slots, or Blackjack... or sipping champagne on my parents back balcony... or dancing the night away. Let's just say the cruise ship staff knew us by name:)
We ate our weight in salmon, shrimp and crab. Seriously. Not a day went by that we didn't have a bite of fresh salmon. They had loads of it on the breakfast buffet. I often opted for the Jewish breakfast combo... bagel, cream cheese, salmon and capers. And there was no shortage of Fish & Chips stands. Oh... and jumbo fried shrimp? Yep... got those too.
It seemed like every night we were celebrating something. Of course the whole trip was in honor of my parent's 35th wedding anniversary (I made them a special scrapbook that I gave them on our first night at sea... more on this another day). We had birthday's galore, which meant the waiters were singing at our tables practically every dinner, and this always had us laughing. Then my Nana & Pop were recognized at one of the late shows for being married the longest... 59 years. We are always up for a good reason to celebrate:)
Glaciers are so.flippin.cool. No really... they are awesome. Taking the ship into Glacier Bay was hands-down my favorite part of the trip. It was AMAZING. And I don't even like cold weather. We saw several big-time glaciers during this trip... the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau... the Marjorie Glacier in Glacier Bay... the Harvard Glacier in the College Fjords. The coolest part was when we saw (and heard) the Marjorie Glacier calve, which is basically when parts of the glacier actually breaks off into the water... absolutely incredible.
I was super excited about spotting some wildlife on this trip. I read that I would possibly see whales, bears, bald eagles, moose, seals, and sea otters. From the boat we spotted several humpback whales and a handful of bald eagles. We also saw quite a few sea otters floating by on the last day at sea. I saw a bear... but it was a rescued brown bear that was in a fenced in area in Vancouver... so I guess that doesn't really count for wildlife.
9) Amazing port cities.
The port cities we visited on this cruise were fabulous. We stopped at 3 smaller cities all along the Inside Passage. Our first stop was Ketchikan, AK. Ketchikan is the "Salmon Capital of the World," and known for it's rainy climate. In Ketchikan we shopped Creek Street and ate the biggest shrimp ever (see #5). Stop #2 was Juneau, AK. Juneau is actually the third largest city in Alaska. Juneau is where we visited the Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls. This is also where Lance had some fresh-right-off-the-boat Dungeness Crab. Our final port city was Skagway, AK. A charming little city known for it's gold rush history. We took a great bus tour, saw a quick rock concert, and ate the best cupcakes ever from Sugar Mamas.
10) Quality family time.
Probably the best part of this trip was all of the uninterrupted family time we had. Not only were we able to hang out with my parents, my Nana & Pop, both of my Aunts (on my mom's side) and their husbands, my sister and her soon-to-be husband.... but Lance and I were also able to spend time with his mom and her husband. I was so thrilled that my mother-in-law and her husband were able to come on this trip too... and even more thrilled that we are blessed to have family that genuinely enjoys spending time together. Definitely a blessing.
If you made it to the end of this post... congratulations. You must be my friend... or have a lot of free time at work. Either way... thanks for sticking it through and taking part in my Alaskan adventure.
Linking this up to Oh Amanda.