In July we took a cruise to Alaska on Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas. Our friends Valerie & Ian (we met them on our 2009 Australia to Hawaii cruise) were able to include this cruise in their North America vacation. We were also joined by my daughter, Tracy, and her vacation friend, Melissa. One of my friends, Sue, and her husband, Don, were also on the cruise! We had beautiful weather, except the day we departed Seattle and the day we returned to Seattle – it POURED!
As a side note, we were on Rhapsody of the Seas on our Australia/Hawaii cruise. Our ship’s captain was Rick Sullivan. Captain Sullivan had just gotten back to work from vacation for this Alaska cruise.
(Click on any of the pictures to make them bigger.)
I wasn’t going to make a 12 x 12 scrapbook for this vacation, but this album was available on the ship and I just couldn’t pass it up! And thanks to Tracy, I discovered collages using Picasa! It’s so much easier than having too many pictures to try and fit into an album. Now I can pick a handful of pictures and turn them into a collage that fits onto one page! Love it!
I had actually just planned on making a smashbook album – I brought it, double-sided tape, scissors and pens along with me on the cruise so I could scrapbook every night before going to bed, leaving a place for the pictures I had taken each day and would get printed when I got home. My smashbook was getting filled up nicely … and then the last sea day I saw the 12 x 12 album. Now I had a dilemma: I had already cut up and taped down the daily Cruise Compass with some accessories, plus I had written a journal items about each day. I ended up tearing the pages out of my smashbook and attaching them to 12 x 12 paper. Sometimes I had taped/written on both sides of the smashbook page so I had to cut a hole in the 12 x 12 page to fit my 8 x 10 smashbook page into. As you can see from some of the pictures, it worked!
This picture was taken by the ship’s photography staff right before we boarded the ship in Seattle. What a motley crew! Left to right: Ian, Valerie, Melissa, Tracy, me, Jim.
Before every cruise, I sign us up on CruiseCritic.com. It’s a website where you find your cruise line, then your ship, then your actual cruise. Once there are 25 groups signed up on the website, the cruise line will hold a little party for the group on an “at sea” day. This little party is called a Meet & Mingle. They provide snacks, drinks and prizes. Jim won the final prize – champagne (we saved it for the last night of the cruise and shared it with the gang)!
Our first day of the cruise was an “at sea” day. And much to our delight, the ship was offering scrapbooking classes – for free! Of course we went! We actually just ended up chatting with each other and getting the free packet of paper/accessories. Sitting around the table, left to right: Tracy, Melissa, Sue, me! The sea was a little choppy that day, but thanks to my motion sickness pills I was fine!
After cruising through the Inside Passage, our first port of call was Juneau. The weather was perfect and the seas were nice and calm. Once we got off the ship, we wandered around town and then rode the Mount Roberts Tramway up to the top of the mountain. The view was awesome; you could see forever!
At the top of the mountain, we visited Lady Balderly! She was a beautiful bald eagle that had been shot and was now blind in one eye. She wouldn’t have been able to make it in the wild and therefore had to be kept in captivity.
Our ship was docked in the same harbor the seaplanes used for taking off and landing. It was fun to be up on deck and watch them. They flew very close to the ship – or at least it seemed awfully close to me! I think there were 5 cruise ships in town that day, and Juneau is not that big of a town! Of course we had to get a picture of that Palin woman who could see Russia from her deck (or igloo)! Valerie & Ian’s cabin was right next to ours so it was easy to spy on them!
Our second port of call was Skagway (or Skaguay as it was originally spelled).
We were already docked in Skagway when we woke up that morning and this is what we saw when we opened the curtains to our balcony. Lots and lots of paintings of ships names and the year they were in port on the cliff wall. Our favorite was the skull! Again, we had perfect weather!
Skagway is a very small town with basically just one main street and some little side streets. I did find the quilt shop but there were so many people in there you could hardly look at the fabric. I walked in … and walked out. We did some window shopping, spied on Tracy and Melissa as they were window shopping, saw lots of totem poles, and took a picture of a picture of Barack Obama!
There were two Royal Caribbean ships in Skagway that day, ours and Radiance of the Seas. We beat the Radiance out of port and as we were cruising by them our captain and their captain just kept tooting the ships’ horns at each other. It was funny to watch them getting tickled with themselves! They were on the outside bridge!
The day after we left Skagway, we cruised up the Tracy Arm Fjord to Sawyer Glacier.
We were up by 5:00 a.m. to make sure we got to see the entire fjord and all the “icebergs”! We even ordered room service – the first time we’ve ever done that on a cruise. I will definitely be doing that again!
You could hear the ice banging on the ship as we were slowly cruising up the fjord to the glacier. Once we got to the end of the fjord, at the Sawyer Glacier, the captain turned the ship around in a slow circle a couple of times. It was a pretty cool!
Our last day at sea was a little choppy. We were catching glimpses of whales; I was only able to get pictures of the end of their tales as they dove back down! But it was a sighting, nonetheless!
Our last port of call was Victoria, B.C. Another friend we met on the 2009 Australia/Hawaii cruise, Rebecca, who lives in Victoria, picked us up and showed us around the island.
Rebecca took us to Butchart Gardens. What a beautiful place and we definitely didn’t get to spend enough time there! That might have to be a visit planned for the future just so we can spend more time there! And also visit with Rebecca & Andreas!
A funny thing happened after we left Butchart Gardens and headed back to the ship. We were taking a little tour through town and all of a sudden Rebecca whipped into a parking spot and told us to get out and run down and back through this alley … so we did! It was called Three Fan Tan Alley! It was the funniest thing! We had a great time with Rebecca and hopefully will get to meet up with her again!
We drank the champagne Jim won (at the Meet & Mingle on the first day of our cruise) at dinner the last night on the ship. We had a great time and will miss Valerie & Ian. After this cruise, we are now Emerald status with Royal Caribbean which basically means we get savings on every cruise and every booking. Savings is a good thing! Of course, after a week of great weather, we came back to pouring rain in Seattle.