Saturday, September 5, 2009

Back in NC

After a very long day of travel yesterday, we finally arrived back in
Charlotte at 10:30 last night. I won't be back to Greensboro for a few
days, but I will post more photos and video at that time.

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thursday - Leaving Ship

We had a wonderful last evening on board, but again, we stayed up way too late. We are spending our last morning in the Observation Lounge, but will need to depart shortly. We said goodbye to Joaqui and I think he was sad to see this crazy crowd leave. We are off to the Fairmont where I hope to post some more pictures and some video.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wednesday - Victoria, BC

Today we are in the capital of British Columbia. Breakfast arrived at 9:20, a little too early after last night. Today will involve a lot of packing, filling out forms, etc. One of the best perks about our suite is the complimentary laundry service. We sent out our final 2 bags of laundry this morning, so we will come back with almost all clean clothes! We have utilized the service many times this trip and everything comes back perfectly pressed – even pajamas. Our butler has made the joke that we brought our dirty clothes from home just to get them washed here! It has been awesome. I am up in the lounge and Mom has started the packing process. Dad’s legs and ankles are terribly swollen from all of the walking, so he is resting. I am not sure that they will venture into town. We hear the Empress Hotel is THE place to have high tea, so we may try and do that. We have to have our luggage out by 11 pm, so I hope we can get it accomplished earlier rather than later.

Tuesday Evening

It took quite a bit longer to get everything uploaded to the blog, so I didn’t have much time to get ready. We made it to the cocktail reception by 7:15 in time to see them thank the staff and crew. They also did a slideshow of photos from this trip, the passengers, etc. We then went down for dinner and were joined by a gentleman from Wales, who lives in Spain, a Dr. and her husband who are from Leichester in the UK, and David, the cruise director. I had mentioned something in passing to the maitre’d about upcoming menus and if we would be having escargot. Well, last night they appeared, just for us and they were so good. We had several other courses, but the entrée we all chose was the beef wellington. We were enjoying the company at the table so much that we missed the early show at 10, but made it up to our usual lounge for the 11:15 show. It’s a good thing we went early because the place was packed. The funniest part was when we walked in they were playing “Lady in Red” and I had on the red gown. There was another woman who also had on a very similar dress and she ran up and grabbed me to get a picture. We joined our tablemates from dinner as we enjoyed more singing and dancing. David later came over and spent time talking with us. He ended up coming back to the suite with us where we had some champagne. It is really nice to have the bar in the room, fully stocked. He left just before 2 am and we had to get out our breakfast menu, we made it in under the deadline. Once we all readied ourselves for bed it was 3:00 am. It was another late night for this crowd.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tuesday - At Sea

I think I went to bed too early last night because I couldn’t get up this morning. We managed to wake up long enough to eat and then fell back asleep until 11 am. This is the epitome of laziness. We had a very light breakfast because today was the galley lunch. We went down as they opened the doors to the most food I have ever seen. There was every type of seafood imaginable – caviar by the pound, lobster tails, and of course Alaskan king crab. We managed to make it through all of the salads and seafood and a little sushi, but decided to stop ourselves. We didn’t try any of the other delights, but they looked fantastic. We had to have a little sweetness at the end, but didn’t over do it. We have been sitting up in the Observation Lounge enjoying the beautiful view – Dad has been napping in the massaging chair, Mom had her hair done, and I have finally taken the time to blog a little and download pictures from the cameras. I will not be able to upload video due to the speed of the internet, so I’ll have to post those from Vancouver. We have our cocktail party at 7:00 pm, followed by dinner with David at 7:45 pm. It’s a formal night, so it’s time to go and dress!

Monday - Wrangell, AK

After a very late night I am not sure why we decided to have our breakfast delivered so early. Joaqui arrived at 7:55 am with our breakfast. Needless to say we were all still asleep and that doorbell is that last thing I wanted to hear! We were only in Wrangell until 2:00 pm, so we needed to get going with our day. The most amazing thing today – it was sunny and warm!! After another fabulous breakfast, Dad and I ventured into town. Mom decided to stay onboard and enjoy the warmer weather out on the verandah. The town of Wrangell only has about 2300 people and is what I would picture as a typical Alaskan town. It is unspoiled by all of the jewelry and t-shirt stores that littered Juneau and Skagway. It is a very simple town, with phenomenal views. Everyone spoke to you on the street, and local artist sell watercolor prints, beautiful wooden items and the children sell garnets. The Boy Scouts of America own the area where they gather garnets, and children up to the age of 18 are allowed to chip them out of the rock and sell them. We walked all of the way down to the local museum, which was very well done for such a small town. They had the history of the town that dates back to the gold rush days. We saw all that there was to see and returned to the ship about 1:15. We found mom sitting out on the verandah, sipping a mimosa, and reading her book. Now that is the life! We left a little bit late due to the fact that we were missing some passengers. Once everyone was on board, we departed. Since we had gotten up so early we were all ready for lunch. I think everyone decided to go up on the pool deck due to the sunny, warm weather. The burgers at the pool grill are some of the best! We each had one along with a margarita – must have been the weather. After a very leisurely lunch we went down and looked around the shops on board, and then of course it was naptime. I guess travelling with the parents is a little like travelling with children they need to eat and have their naps! The ship had started moving quite a bit more than usual, so we were all a little uneasy as we dressed for dinner. We had reservations up in La Terrazza, the Italian restaurant. We ended up being late for dinner, but it was not a problem. We had tuna carpaccio for an appetizer followed by a white bean and prawn soup. Dad is on a risotto kick, so he had that secondi. We all enjoyed the monkfish medallions for our main course. We kept dessert light, just a little gelato. We went to the lounge for a marionette show. I thought we would just stop by, but the show turned out to be really interesting. It is truly amazing to watch how he maneuvers the puppets. It is way more complicated – some even have more than 16 strings. We were losing an hour as we head down to Victoria, so we called it an early night.

Sunday - At Sea

Sunday was spent cruising up into a fjord and to get up close and personal with a glacier. The morning started out with breakfast in our room – something that has really spoiled us. We then attended a cooking presentation featuring chocolate crème brulee and also featured a wine from Justin Vineyards. It was a Cabernet Savignon, but was almost like a port, a very good dessert wine that went great with the chocolate. Of course we had were served both the dessert and the wine. Not a bad snack for 11 am. At noon, they featured a mussel and clam bake up by the pool. Since we had already enjoyed dessert it was time for lunch. The first thing we noticed was the change in temperature. I had to go back to the room and get coats and sweaters for all of us.

The warm mussels and clams tasted great, especially with a little Gluewine on the side. After lunch, we first noticed a glacier high up in the mountains, so we decided to head up to the top deck to get a better view. It was amazing how cold it was, in fact, we found out later that it was about 38, not to mention the wind chill. The scenery was gorgeous. There were some spottings of a bear or two along the shore. I took a few photos of what I thought might be a bear, but that remains to be seen. It may have been some drift wood instead! We had a little more Gluewine to try and warm up and then quickly realized how ridiculous we were being. This was the exact view from our suite, and a heck of a lot less people. We headed back, opened all of the curtains and took in the view. We also turned on the TV that has the camera view from the other front/side of the ship, just so we didn’t miss anything. We saw lots of pieces of ice, but nothing like I thought we would see. It didn’t seem like too long until we were turning around. We found out later that we were unable to make it up to the glacier due to the ice field. That was a big disappointment. Mom and Dad napped up until dinner, but then once again, it was time to eat. We ate in the main dining room where we again had a wonderful meal (I’ll need to look back at the menus because it is all running together). There was another production in the lounge, singing and dancing – sort of like Broadway meets Dancing with the Stars. The professional ballroom dancers from Belarus are amazing to watch. After the show we were again joined by the cruise director up in the Panorama for the late night quartet and the usual crowd. It’s been fun to get to know the other passengers – a vast range of ages and nationalities. After another hour or two of entertainment, it was time to put the folks to bed.

Saturday - Skagway

Seeing as it’s been a few days since I blogged, I need to play catch up on what we’ve been up to. I was able to post a few pictures from our trip up the Yukon Railway on Saturday. I will post a few more here.

We came back and enjoyed that wonderful tea that Joaqui set out for us. We then had an announcement that the captain was sick and had to leave the ship. Fabrizio, whom we’d had dinner with a few nights before was in command. We opted for the main dining room for dinner where we had the most wonderful Chateaubriand for dinner. I cannot even describe how wonderful it was, but I do think it was the best meal yet. We went up to the Lounge for the evening’s entertainment which featured David, the cruise director. He did a number of pieces from Broadway. We adjourned to our usual spot in the Panorama Lounge where we concluded the day with an after dinner drink. At about 1:30 am, we called it a night.

Photos from Juneau

Day in Juneau and then dinner in La Terrazza.


I know have failed to post to the blog mainly due to the fact that we
have been staying out so late. We are at sea tomorrow, so I will play
"catch up".

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