Hold on to your hats, our latest vacation recap begins today! I am going to post by either port or cruise day with some extras as well (9 in all). Enjoy!
In June 2015 we took our first cruise on the Norwegian Pearl to Alaska. As you know, we are road trippers at heart but this year we decided to do something completely different – cruising! Incidentally, you can’t exactly get to Alaska by any other means than by boat so it was perfect. We also wanted to try a vacation that was relaxing; road tripping is thrilling and adventurous, but not exactly restful what with the strict schedule and daily demands of getting from point A to point B. Cruising was a very welcome change – everything is organized and pre-planned, all activities are optional, casual, and stress-free. There’s so much more to say about the nature and vibe of the cruise, but we’ll get to that soon enough!
On this Alaska cruise we sailed 1,760 nautical miles over seven days from Seattle, Washington to Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan in Alaska, through Glacier Bay National Park, to Victoria, British Columbia, and back to Seattle. Check out our route:
One quick thing before I start the recap. One of my favorite things about vacation is photographing and documenting all of the amazing things we encounter on our travels. I knew that since we’d primarily be observing our surroundings from a boat, I would need a more powerful lens for my camera with zooming/telephoto capabilities. A coworker, and excellent photog, recommended checking out Borrow Lenses, a photography equipment rental company headquartered in San Francisco and here in Boston. Borrow Lenses has a huge inventory of rentals, most notably lenses. I did months of research and ended up selecting the Canon EF 70-300mm L series lens. Overall I was very happy with the lens and my resulting pictures. I hope you notice the long range shots and enjoy them!
Let’s get this trip recap started! We were up at 4 AM on Saturday to get to the airport for our flight to Seattle.
After a 2 hour delay and much boredom, we were in the air with free movies and free wifi. I watched The Hobbit 3 and caught up on my much-neglected Feedly backlog.
When we arrived in Seattle we were picked up by our dear friends Matt and Danielle, and went right to Salty’s on Alki Beach for lunch. Afterwards we took a drive downtown and made a stop at Fran’s Chocolates to stock up on our favorite chocolate ever.
Also, in what must have been foreshadowing, we saw an eagle flying up over the Puget Sound. Apparently this is semi-rare for Seattle and I’m glad I was able to capture these crappy pictures with my new lens (more awesome, clear, up close and personal pictures of eagles to come in later entries).
I love Seattle, and the entire Pacific Northwest, and could totally see us living there if it wasn’t so dang far from the East Coast. It’s a beautiful place that I’m completely in love with.
We chatted the afternoon and night away with Matt & Danielle and crashed that night deliriously tired. Spending time with them was awesome; they are such quality folks and I loved our time together, even though it was too short.
On Sunday we all got breakfast together and they were kind enough to drop us at the cruise terminal. One of the things I had read online was that you should board the cruise ship as soon as you can because technically it’s Day 1 of your cruise and you’ve paid for it! So we did just that. After several lines of baggage check in, security, and registration we were finally on the cruise ship. We quickly checked out our room, got a snack, and went out to the deck to take in the views as we set sail from Seattle.
After about an hour of being on our way, John hit the gym and I spent some alone time on our balcony…
The balcony was truly my Happy Place throughout the entire cruise. The views were unreal and the atmosphere was so serene.
A gorgeous view of Mount Rainier and a wee Seattle skyline:
I actively let everything from real life just fall away as we cruised out into the Pacific Ocean. I knew then that this vacation would be different – relaxing, restorative, without distraction, and with gratitude.
Day 1 ended with the excitement of a new adventure and all of the possibilities of vacation ahead of us.
Day 2 is easy to recap and is included here at the end for brevity. It was our first and only full day at sea. We spent it as we wished – laying around, napping, watching movies, eating, playing card games, exploring the ship, and doing nothing but totally relaxing. It was perfect and I took zero pictures.
Stay tuned for Cruise Day 3 in Juneau, Alaska!