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Found 6 results

  1. Hi Forum going on my first cruise on Navigator of Seas from LA on 20th May for my Birthday, be great to connect with people on this cruise for drinks. look forward to meeting you all tony
  2. “Boarding has now begun for all first class passengers heading to Seattle.” I looked again at my boarding pass which clearly still read, “Coach.” I honestly kept expecting to see it magically change to “First Class,” but alas, it never did. Oh well, a girl can dream. I’d never imagined myself taking a cruise, much less planning for one. Yet here I was, waiting for our group to be called to board the flight which will take us to Seattle. The past six weeks have been a blur. Between the researching, the Google-ing, booking excursions, buying two different “for Dummies” books and four cruising the Inside Passage books, and then reading said books, shopping…sigh. And that was on top of all of the preparing and stressing that went in to leaving our business and our two year old son for 8 days. Shockingly, I actually feel quite prepared, especially since I packed according to a really great list I found online…but I still don’t understand why we need a string of Christmas lights or a roll of duct tape. At our travel agents urging, we decided to fly into Seattle the day prior to our cruise, as we had never visited the city before. I was looking forward to strolling around Pike Market, window shopping downtown, finding a great local place to eat dinner…pretty much do anything and everything to distract me from my mounting anxiety of actually boarding the ship. Double checking for what must have been the hundredth time, I made sure my bottle of meclizine was safely inside my carry-on bag. Of course it was there, snuggled beside my candied ginger, my Noro virus-fighting hand sanitizer, and these cute little lollipops I found that advertise banishing morning sickness for pregnant women. Hey, I figured if they can tackle morning sickness, they can tackle the looming seasickness that I was positive was going to cripple me. Of course my husband thought this was all ridiculous and completely unnecessary, but inside I know I’ll delight in hearing his apology when he begs me for a cherry maternity sucker. We landed in Seattle right on time and quickly catch the shuttle to our hotel. After dropping our bags and getting checked in, it was off to explore Seattle. We spent a gloriously sunny day wandering Pike Market and doing all things tourists visiting Seattle do, but for dinner we wanted to try something more local. We asked the hotel for a suggestion and we were told very enthusiastically to eat at Elliott’s. I can say that Elliott’s was quite possibly one of the best meals we’ve ever enjoyed. Everything about that restaurant was outstanding. The only disappointment was having to push my plate of fresh salmon away because I just couldn’t eat any more. Riding quietly in the back of the cab next to the hunky hubster, I realized that the butterflies that were flying around weren’t due to eating entirely too much crab fondue, they were from excitement. This is really happening, ya‘ll!! Tomorrow is the big day. Tomorrow we are sailing to Alaska! I’M sailing to ALASKA!!! We plan to arrive at the port around 11 in the morning and I’m really looking forward to my first glimpse of the Diamond Princess. Will she look as enormous as I think she will? Am I still having my initial worries of boredom, of feeling trapped, of certain and crippling seasickness, of how in the world I’ll swim in freezing water after the ships hull bashes into an iceberg? Maybe a tiny bit. I mean, hey, it’s happened before. But honestly, I really am getting excited. I believe my anxiety has finally flown out the port hole. Who’d have thought? Tomorrow…we’re going on a cruise, baby! To be cont'd...
  3. I literally saw every single hour pass on the hotel alarm clock display. I couldn’t sleep, I was too excited. Too nervous, too anxious, too ohmygoshthisisreallyhappening sort of excited. I finally couldn’t stand it any longer and decided to start getting ready about 6:00 am. Hey, a girl needs her time to get her face on. I have to confess that I changed my outfit twice and my shoes three times. I really wanted to look sophisticated and cruise-y, without looking like the scared-witless newbie that I was. And since we’re all such close friends here, and I feel that I can tell you anything, I may as well also confess that I brought an entire suitcase dedicated to shoes. Just my shoes. Scott’s shoes fit perfectly into his one suitcase, and I was quite proud of myself for condensing my packing list into just three suitcases and one carry-on. Honestly, Scott should be thanking me for making this small miracle happen instead of glowering at me while hauling everything downstairs to the cab. We arrived at the port of Seattle a few minutes before 11:00 am and finally got our first look at the Diamond Princess. Nothing, and I mean nothing, could have prepared me for the sheer size of this ship. My very first impression was, wow. She was so big and so white! Scott and I were excitedly jabbering to each other about which balcony we thought was ours while snapping as many pictures as we could. Even though it was a cloudy and gloomy morning in Seattle, this beautiful ship practically glistened. She was fairly new - only about two years old at the time - but to me, she looked perfect. I have to confess it was love at first sight and I‘m pretty confident that Scott was feeling the same arrow from the cruise cupid. Check in was quick and easy. Even though we had absolutely no idea what we were doing and where we were supposed to go, we were zoomed through all of the lines and agents and walked on board only about thirty minutes after stepping out of the cab. We walked on into the Grand Plaza…what a wow moment. We both just stood there with our mouths open. We could see up floor after floor of marble and steel railings and glass elevators and winding staircases. We kept saying to each other, “This is on a boat???” And yes I realize the correct term is ship, but hey…we’re new here. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring every inch of the ship. She was just beautiful. I kept reminding myself that the little Texas town we lived in has a population of 3,400. Our entire town could fit onto this ship, with room to spare. Despite all of the traveling that we have been fortunate to do together, nothing prepared me for the wow factor this ship gave me. After completing the Muster drill, we decided to head all the way up to the Skywalkers Lounge for sail away. We found two seats right at the window at the area of the lounge that is cantilevered over the side of the ship. It felt as though we were suspended in mid-air…especially since the portion of the floor under my cute-shoe clad feet was see-thru down to the water below. We ordered our drinks and were chatting happily with each other when I noticed that the scenery below was moving. No…we’re the ones moving, not the buildings! I started excitedly babbling, “I can’t even feel it…I can’t even feel it!,” to Scott over and over. I even called my Dad from my cell phone and told him the same amazing phenomenon that I had discovered, “I can’t even feel it!!” We had the following itinerary ahead of us: Sat Jun 6 Seattle, WA 4:00pm Sun Jun 7 At Sea Mon Jun 8 Juneau, AK Noon 10:00pm Tue Jun 9 Skagway, AK 6:00am 8:00pm Wed Jun 10 Tracy Arm (Cruising) 8:00am 1:00pm Thu Jun 11 Ketchikan, AK 6:00am 12:30pm Fri Jun 12 Victoria, Canada 7:00pm 11:59pm Sat Jun 13 Seattle, WA 7:00am In Juneau we planned to catch the bus to Mendenhall Glacier and wander around the town. For Skagway we have a car reserved with Avis and plan to drive the Yukon Highway into Canada and up to Emerald Lake. In Ketchikan we we’re booked with Southeast Sea Kayaks for a sea kayaking excursion. Victoria’s plan was an evening haunted history tour of the entire city. Sitting in the Skywalker Lounge I kept marveling at the lack of movement I felt. I felt so cruise-y and non-newbie. Why on earth was I so nervous about getting seasick? Pft...amateur. I had nothing to worry about. But just to be safe I had a maternity sucker tucked into the pocket of my linen jacket. And a spare meclizine pill. And a few pieces of ginger candy. But I had nothing to worry about. To be cont'd...
  4. My very first sea day! I was so excited to get up and explore this gorgeous ship some more. I woke up that first morning, though, to the strangest sensation. It felt like the bed was sliding across the floor…back and forth, back and forth. It took a few seconds before realization finally dawned on me, “Ohhhhhhh. Now I can feel it moving.” I remembered the itinerary map showed that the ship had to go out and around Vancouver Island after leaving Seattle, and now it was all making perfect sense. In fact, maybe this is why I was supposed to pack duct tape…to bind me to the bed to keep from rolling out? Thanking my lucky stars that I had taken a meclizine pill “just in case” before bed, and thrilled beyond belief that it appeared to be working, I decided to get up and go out on the balcony for a bit while I waited for Scott to wake up. How in the world Scott can stay asleep through this motion in the ocean was beyond me, as his head was literally being rolled side to side on the pillow, like he kept slowly shaking his head “no” at me over and over. Slipping out onto our balcony all alone that first morning was a moment I will never forget. The almost ethereal sights, the crashing wave sounds, even the briny smells were forever burned in my brain. I believe the Cruise Cupid’s arrow went a little deeper at that moment. I could see nothing but dark rolling ocean and misty grey skies clear to the horizon. The seas were clearly high out in the wide open Pacific, but it wasn’t bothering me a bit, and instead it was almost mesmerizing and the rocking sensation was oddly comforting. Our first ever day at sea couldn’t have gone any better, despite the almost twenty foot seas and drizzly conditions we experienced for over half of that first day. Scott talked me into treating myself to a spa appointment (I know, totally twist my arm), and after that we explored some more of the ship and then dropped a few bucks at the casino. Toward the afternoon, as the seas got calmer and the skies cleared, we sat out on deck and people watched while wrapped up in the thick blankets the staff was handing out. The beautiful coastline was visible on the starboard side, and small tree-filled islands were visible off the port side. We could see snow-capped mountains in the distance, and the colors the setting sun was painting across the sky were breathtaking. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that we of course ate our way across the ship, but that’s to be expected on a cruise…right? Here I was with not even twenty four hours of cruising experience under my already getting too tight belt, and I was officially in “Cruise Mode.” We chose Anytime Dining for this cruise and really enjoyed it. I admit I was intimidated of the large tables and sitting with strangers, and so we chose instead to eat by ourselves for dinner. This was to be our first ever formal night, and I honestly had no idea what to expect. Would the Dress Code Police be stationed outside of the dining room ready to turn me away if my dress didn’t meet the minimum requirement of sequins? Obviously that didn’t happen, and to be honest I hardly even noticed what everyone else was wearing because I was so distracted by how delicious my dinner was and also by the handsome fella in a suit that I was lucky enough to be sharing it with. It was a definite Pinch Me Now moment. Formal night on a cruise to Alaska….Wow! We excitedly talked about our first port city and what we had planned for Juneau after we arrived at noon the next day. I was almost MORE excited about the fact that early tomorrow morning we would be making the turn into the Inside Passage and I could only imagine what sights would greet me off my balcony early the next morning. To be cont'd...
  5. Still. That’s the first thing that came to mind when I woke up early that next morning. Totally and completely still. Excitedly I threw back the covers and ran out onto our balcony. I felt like I was on sensory overload when I saw what was waiting for me behind the closed curtains. The ship was gliding slowly and silently through a narrow passage and the breathtakingly scenic shore almost looked close enough to reach out and touch. The early morning sunlight was glowing a beautiful gold off the water that was as smooth and reflective as a mirror. But what struck me most was the silence. With the exception of the water quietly lapping on the side of the ship, it was totally silent outside. In about four hours we were due to pull into Juneau, our very first port city. After lunch at Red Dog Saloon, we planned to catch the bus to Mendenhall Glacier and then stroll around town. After we perused the shops for a bit, we planned to find a nice local fish restaurant for dinner. It was salmon season, and by golly I was bound and determined to get me some fresh salmon! After another yummy breakfast and lots of scenery watching on deck, we decided to walk to the very front of the ship and watch our approach into Juneau. As it came into view, it appeared to me that the town was literally dropped in the middle of nowhere. Juneau is surrounded by water on one entire side and towering mountains on the other. Two other ships were already there ahead of us as we glided into our enormous “parking spot.” I would be lying if I didn’t feel just a little smug that “my” ship was bigger than “their” ships. Looking back at her after disembarking, it was an almost humbling moment to think to myself, “Wow…I’m living there for the next five days.” After a fun lunch at Red Dog Saloon where a fabulous piano player was entertaining a fully packed restaurant, we caught a quick, and cheap!, bus ride out to Mendenhall Valley. Once there we finally got our first glimpse of a glacier! The bright blue colors of the ice that were threaded in with the black streaks of the minerals were stunningly beautiful. We hiked the easy and flat path to the five-story-tall Nugget Falls and then spent a good two hours wandering around and taking what seemed like eleventy billion pictures. Pictures that I knew simply could not capture the jaw dropping beauty of our surroundings. Brilliant yellow and orange wildflowers were blooming in the surrounding vegetation, the sky was crystal clear and cloudless, and the sun had warmed the afternoon air up to the high 70’s. Perfect almost seemed an understatement. We almost reluctantly returned back to town and did the traditional tourist shopping for a little while up and down the picturesque streets of Juneau. Literally following our noses like two starving dogs, we happened upon a great restaurant called Twisted Fish Company. The restaurant was right on the water and had a chalkboard sign out front that advertised in hot pink chalk and girly, loopy cursive, “Fresh King Salmon - NOW!” Knowing we had found just the right place for our dinner, we immediately made our way into the restaurant and unbelievably snagged a table for two right away, even though the place was packed to the walls. I had my very first cedar plank salmon at Twisted Fish Co., and after a lingering and amazing dinner, we decided to make our way back to the ship. Pulling out of Juneau in the 10:00 sunset, the retreating city glittered and shimmered in the reflection of the nearly still water. The air was quickly turning chilly so we decided to head back inside and catch some live music before going to bed. We had a very early morning ahead of us in Skagway. But honestly, I thought to myself, how could Skagway top Juneau? How do you trump such a perfect day? Well…I guess I only had eight short hours to find out... To be cont'd...
  6. I set the phone back in its cradle and with a sigh of irritation I leaned back in my chair. The custom shower tile was going to be late…even later than it already was. Delays are a part of custom home building, but this particular job has had hiccup after hiccup, and frankly this little gem of good news is not going to be received well by my client. Deciding to put off that impending phone call for just another moment, I instead began opening up the mail. Bill…bill…bill…junk…bill…junk…big manila envelope. Hmmm…it’s from our lumber supplier. Frowning in puzzlement, I slid out the glossy brochure and a letter that was addressed to myself and my partner-in-crime and “boss,“ my husband Scott. Dear Scott and Stacey, Congratulations! As a thank you from SmallTown Lumber Company, we are pleased to announce that you have qualified for our end-of-the-year “SmallTown VIP Giveaway!” As a top customer, you are one of our “SmallTown VIP‘s!” As a token of our appreciation, we’re giving our largest customers an all-expense-paid “VIP” dream vacation! This “VIP” vacation includes a 7 night Alaskan cruise, airfare to Seattle and all transfers. Please contact our corporate travel agent for scheduling and details. From everyone here at SmallTown Lumber, we thank you for being a “SmallTown VIP!” I believe I read the letter a dozen times. Is this for real? Yes…the return address is correct. Yes…I recognize the signature on the bottom of the letter. Holy cow…this is for real!! I started thumbing through the glossy brochure in amazement. The photos showed an enormous ship silently gliding through channels of sheer cliffs and snow kissed mountains. Happy looking people dotted the outside decks pointing in amazement at the beautiful scenery. A bald eagle majestically soared through the unbelievably blue sky in the background. The plume of vapor from a whale erupted from the glassy surface of the water. Bright white icebergs were dotted all around the ship’s hull. Wait…ICEBERG’S?? Reality hit me like a face full of arctic water. Uhhh…me…on a cruise??? I’m too young to go on a cruise…I’m only 28!! We’re too active for a cruise!! We’ll be bored!! What if we get seasick??!! Why, I’ll surely feel trapped! Oh. My. Gosh…What if the ship hits one of those iceberg things? What if it sinks??!! I can’t swim in freezing water! A mental image of Scott and I running together in panic, hand in hand just like Jack and Rose flashes through my mind. Ok, enough. I snapped myself out of my dramatic little daydream and snatched up the phone to call Scott to tell him the news. He had the same reaction as me, while we were overwhelmed with gratitude and disbelief at the generous gift…we just couldn’t shake the, “Oh goody…a cruise,” state of mind. While we love to travel, we’d never even considered taking a cruise before. Knowing we could not turn this down, I called the travel agent to get the details. By the time I hung up, we were booked. June 6...a ship called the Diamond Princess….balcony room…Seattle round trip to somewhere called the “Inside Passage.” A cruise. We’re going on a cruise. Blinking a few times in shock, I started thinking of all the planning and research that was ahead of me. Me, on a cruise? In six weeks??!! Little did I know, I was about to become “The Accidental Cruiser”…. To be cont'd...
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