Sunday, July 12, 2009


I got home last night and am so happy to be home. It's always fun to plan and go on a vacation but it's always wonderful when you finally get home.

Rather then take days to show you where we went I thought I would do it all in this one post and just hit the high lights.

I went with Trinity, my great niece. We got up early and made it to the airport in plenty of time to check our bags, have a bite to eat and then we only had to wait about 10 mins. before we got to get on the plane.

We went out of Long Beach airport which is a tiny tiny airport and had to walk out to the plane like in the olden days.

We were lucky enough to fly first class but since our flight was only about 2 1/2 hours long there weren't really many perks.

We of course had more room in our seats and got, what they called breakfast, a cinnamon roll, yogurt and a drink. No movies as the flight wasn't long enough.

On the ship the beds were comfy and had nice fluffy pillows and a down blanket to keep us warm in the cold Alaskan nights.

This ship had some crazy, wild things on it. One was a bed in a lounge area that you could lay on and watch tv which was above you.

This is a picture of Trinity giving it a try.

The staff on the ship was not the friendliest staff but this one guy who served us our drinks every dinner was wonderful and quickly became Trinity's favorite staff member.

We went on the NCL Pearl. The staff in the kids club was wonderful and our room attendant was nice but our room could have been kept cleaner. I've been on other cruise lines and this ships staff didn't even come close to the customer service I've had on other lines.

Don't get me wrong, they weren't bad. They just didn't do anything they didn't have to do. Most didn't smile or say hi when you walked by, none of the staff in the dinning room or cafe ever asked if they could get you anything or help you carry your food, get you something to drink or help you find a table.

If you bought the soft drink card and then ordered a coke they got the drink for you, handed it to you and walked away. No smile, thank you or can I get you anything else. If you ordered a coke in the show rooms chances were you were not going to get it. Only if you bought the drinks that cost extra money did they make sure you got your order.

I guess they figured they already got the money up front for the cokes so why bother with you?
The sunsets were just lovely in Alaska. Though they didn't show up until late. The sun set around 11:00 to 11:30 pm and it never got really dark out.

They had a chocolate buffet one night. Boy did everyone go crazy that night.

This is Trinity enjoying one of many chocolate items she tried. YUM!

We spent a lot of our time out by the pool. I know you are thinking "Who swims in Alaska in that cold weather?" Well to be honest we had mostly warm days. One day even 87 degrees!

Here is Trinity kicked back and relaxing as we watched some people playing Wii.

The screen is huge! Larger then life.

Bowling was not very popular. I don't know why. But every time we went in there you could always find at least one lane to bowl on. They have four lanes.

It seems like we did a lot of eating. Well, maybe it seemed that way because we DID eat a lot. LOL

Trinity loved coming back to the room every night to see what towel animal was waiting for us on our bed that night.

She spent a lot of her time in the Kids Club. She couldn't get enough of that. This picture shows her with her face painted by one of the other kids in Kids Club.

The first stop we had was in Juneau. We decided we wanted to go on a helicopter ride to the Glaciers where we could get out and walk around.

They give everyone special boots to wear so you don't slip and slide on the Glacier.

Even though it was very hot that day they told us to wear a jacket as it gets super cold on the Glacier.

We loved the helicopter ride. We wore head sets to listen to the pilot telling us what we were seeing. It was beautiful everywhere you looked.

Then we landed on the Glacier. It was the most beautiful sight ever! Pictures do not do them justice at all.

The water is so pure and has very little oxygen in it so it is a lovely shade of blue.

Some places looked like it was a bunch of water but then it was actually frozen over and very deep ice so you could walk on it but gave you a strange feeling like you were going to step down and just fall through.

The scary part was some of pretty blue was actually water then went hundreds of feet down and you could have fallen in there. Though the guides do keep an eye out for you and point out where to watch out.

This picture shows a rushing river of water running through the ice.

There are cracks in the ice you have to watch out for too. It's hard to watch for everything because you are in awe of the beauty all around you.

Trinity loves to eat ice. She loved knowing the ice she was eating from the Glacier was over 300 years old.

It's amazing to think about how old the Glaciers are and that while it seems like you are just standing on a lot of ice you are really standing on a river of ice that is moving, even though it's moving so slow you can't feel it.

The sad part was seeing how much the Glaciers have melted over the years. Seeing first hand the effects of Global warming really makes you think about things differently.

We all cupped our hands and drank some of the most pure fresh water on Earth. Boy it was super cold but so good tasting.

Our next stop was in Skagway. There we took a train ride that lasted 3 hours. It took us some of the most picturesque spots I've ever seen.

The train was over 100 years old and used to be used by the men going to mine for gold.

We went over bridges and in tunnels that were so dark you couldn't see your hand in front of your face.
We saw rivers, water falls, snow and even a bear. The bear was so cute. He was 2 1/2 years old and was just sitting on a rock about 5 feet away from the train tracks watching us go by.

Sadly I didn't have my camera ready and we went by to fast for me to get his picture. He was the only bear we saw on the whole trip.

One day we went through Glacier Bay. It was also a day filled with breath taking beauty. The Glaciers were so pretty with all the blue, white and even the black mixed in.

The black part is the soil from the mountains. The wind will blow or the water or ice picks it up along it's journey to the sea.

The ice chunks in the water are where the Glacier breaks off and splashes into the water. We got to see a very big piece break off. It is something to see in person. The sound is a loud roar and then a crack like thunder.

The pieces of ice that break off are icebergs.

There are a lot of Totem Poles in Alaska.

I've never been a big fan of them but then we found out that to purchase one you will pay anywhere between $500.00 a foot to $15,000.00 a foot to have one made for you.

Since most are very tall they cost a fortune. Knowing that I got a better appreciation for them. Though I still wouldn't want one.

Our last stop in Alaska was in Ketchikan. This is the only moose we saw on our whole trip though we were told they are all over and most people in Alaska hunt them so they have meat all through the Winter months.

Bald Eagles are everywhere. They were flying all around us and we saw several nests they made. The nests can get up to 100 lbs. They build them high up in the trees.

We went on a hike through the rain forest. Did you even know they had a rain forest in Alaska? This is the 2nd wettest spot in world.

We lucked out though as the weather was perfect. Not to hot and not to cold.

The different shades of green in there were so pretty. It was like walking through an emerald field.

We got to eat wild berries, saw bear dens, lots of signs the bears had just been walking where we were but no actual bears. At the end of the tour we feed reindeer and went to an old saw mill then talked to a man who makes Totem Poles.

Our last stop was in Victoria BC. I loved this place. It's my third time going here and I would go again and again.

When you walk down the main part of town there are rows of shopping, dinning, bars and so on. Out on the street there are lots of people entertaining you with music, magic, painting and so on.

This one young guy was doing the most lovely art work with chalk on the walk way.

He did this one and showed Trinity where to sit so the picture appears like the humming bird is actually flying towards her hands. I love it!
We took a bike ride back to the ship as the sun was setting and the sky was purple and pink. The clouds were coming in and it was cold out.

It was a perfect way to end our stop in Canada.

We thought it was fun to think about all the ways we traveled on this trip. We flew in a plane, rode a bus, took a taxi, flew in a helicopter, took a horse drawn carriage ride, rode on a train, had a guy on a bike give us a ride as we sat in the seats on the back, sailed on a ship, rode on a shuttle and then of course in a car.

This trip was so fun, very beautiful and just a perfect time.

I have so many more photos and stories I could share but I don't want to go on and on. If you have any questions or want any more information about anything on our trip just let me know and I will be happy to tell you.

Today I'm staying home and resting. Even though it's very loud as they are tearing out the 2nd bathroom today.

I'm happy to be back.


Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

What a fabulous trip, Joanne! I learned a lot in your post. I never knew Alaska had a rainforest!
Trinity is one lucky niece to have been along with you on such a fantastic voyage. You both saw and did so much! Will she also be coming to NYC with you? Looking forward to seeing you then.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time, but for a "great" cruise with a child...go on the Disney Wonder to their Bahamas island Castaway Cay! Service is "top notch" on that cruise...I came away feeling spoiled rotten!

Lindsay-ann said...

Hi Joanne
I REALLY enjoyed this post. You sound to have had the most amazing trip and your pictures prove that you have. Trinity is so lucky having a wonderful Great Aunt to take her to amazing places. I can honestly say that I didn't know much about Alaska at all. Now I want to go there too! What a great experience to walk on a glacier and see all those places. The cruise ship looked lots of fun too. I would really love to go on a cruise some day.
Hope you are managing to rest in the midst of your bathroom work going on.
Thanks so much for sharing your trip.

Debbie said... many interesting places in Alaska and how sweet was it for you to take your niece!! What a lucky girl! Very...very cool and it makes me want to go to Alaska and check out those glaciers and that train going into that mountain....that's incredible. I think it would have scared me a little though. Thanks for sharing your trip with us all. That was a lot of writing for you in one post! That tv on the ceiling was kind of weird. Trinity will remember this trip forever as I am sure will you.

Unknown said...

Wow! It looks like a fabulously fun trip for all! Thanks for sharing those fun and lovely photos! :)

mysterious moonfire said...

I love all the pictures and vivid descriptions of your trip. I love reading these! My stepmom took a Carribbean cruise and I wish she would have done a detailed storyboard like you did!

Lori said...

You once again shared a lovly trip with us! I am not a cruise girl, rather scared actually! But if I ever, ever do, Alaska is where I have to go! So much beauty! Thank you so much for sharing! Lori