Now I know why I never got around to doing this after our first Mexican Card Making cruise...I've been working on these photo collages for days now. We took SO many pictures, but here are a few highlights.
We sailed on Rhapsody of the seas with Royal Caribbean out of Seattle. All ships that take the inside passage to Alaska are smaller (so they can fit!), but I really liked the size, I only got lost once!
My favorite part of the day was meeting everyone in the dining room, catching up on our day's activities, getting to know each other better and of course, enjoying being served a lovely dinner.
We had some great entertainment on this cruise and by far, the highlight was a singer/impressionist that had us in belly stitches.
What really made the night special is when he picked on one of our sweet couples, Fran & Vince Earnhart. They were such great sports about everything, Vince danced for us all and well, Fran...I never knew she was such a flirt :)
Service, as usual, on a cruise, was superb, and as silly as it sounds, we looked forward to our towel animals, turn-down service and just having someone cleaning up after ourselves everyday...what a treat!
Happily, it was and once we arranged the tables and chairs, we were happy campers. We kept our classes to sea days so no one missed all the fun in port (including me & Heather).
One of my surprises for the ladies was a Ott-lite mini flip light and a tote for the table. So, so glad I did this because the lighting in the room was terrible.
You can also see another one of my surprises was a custom sewn apron (thanks Heather!) with my logo and the cruise date on it. Hopefully, a nice little memento.
We had some very patient husbands on this cruise, fortunately, we had a nice lounging area right outside the classroom.
Our first stop was Juneau. What a fun-filled day, there was SO much to do. A group of about 12 of us did the dog-sledding excursion, what a blast and so interesting. Of course, the highlight was playing with the puppies! Sadie was a resident dog-whisperer, the rest of us are just regular people.
Back in town some of us went to Tracy's Crabshack (made famous last year by a visit from Top Chef's (TV) finalists. It was new food for a few who thought it was ok...me, I was in crab heaven.
With time to spare, we took a shuttle to the Mendenhall Glacier, and hiked out to the waterfalls. A tiring but fun, fun day ended with a whale tails and a stunning sunset as we pulled out of Juneau.
Skagway is famous for the whitepass train ride, which of course, we couldn't pass up. Heather and I spend most of the time between cars with cameras in hand. It was one beautiful vista after another.
Before we headed back south, we entered the Tracy Arm Fjord early, early Tuesday morning. We set the alarm for 5, 5:30 and 6am. At 5 we peeked out the window and didn't see much, same with 5:30, but at 6, we started to see ice in the water, so we bundled up and headed top deck to take pictures. The sun was behind the glacier, so the photo opportunity wasn't great, but it was still exciting to be that close (1 mile) from all that ice.
Our captain turned the ship so everyone could get a great view. Fortunately for us, while we were facing it, the ice calved (where part of the ice cracks off and crashed into the water). So happy we saw that.
Once we left the glacier and headed back out, Heather and I moved our couch in front of the window, put our feet up, had breakfast and enjoyed the stunning view; waterfalls, mountains, valleys, seals, gulls...then we napped :)
Our last stop was Victoria, BC in Canada. This was a special day, as we chartered a bus for all of us. We had an awesome driver/guide that plied us with all sorts of great tidbits as we drove the scenic route to Butchard Gardens.
It's hard to describe just how beautiful these gardens were, there are just not enough pictures to do it justice. We met in the dining room for our special tea/luncheon we had arranged ahead of time. The sun-lit room filled with orchids and silver tea services was glorious. The tiered serving dish with cute little sandwiches, cakes and scones didn't look like a lot, but wow, we were full afterwards. I think we all felt like Queens...and Kings :)
On the way back our driver, at our request, stopped by a Tim Hortons Donut shop, I jumped out (literally) of the bus, ran in, impolitely asked to get ahead of everyone in line (the bus driver said I had to be fast because he couldn't stop there for long) and of course, they all let me because they are polite Canadians, but I'm sure they thought I was rude. I bought a couple of 40 piece Timbits, which are basically the 'holes' of the donuts. So fun to share this Canadian treat with everyone on the bus...NOT that they were hungry of course, having just downed lunch.
Some of us visited downtown Victoria afterwards finding wifi hotspots, strolling and shopping (I found my Big Turks for Steve...Canadian chocolate bar).
It's hard to describe just how fun these cruises are for all of us. We started talking about the next cruise the first night (I know, that's just silly). It's a very bonding experience for all of us and if we didn't know each other before we came, we leave with new friendships that I'm sure will last a lifetime.
Good to be home now...focusing on preparing for the rest of my regular classes for the year. Exciting to share those with you all, as well as the classes we did on the cruise...so stay tuned, it's all coming soon!
P.S. Speaking of next cruise...November of 2015 is the plan in case YOU want to plan :)