Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 9 On the Train to Denali

 After about a 1/2 hour wait in the Explorer's Lounge it was our turn to disembark. For those of you who haven't cruised before it's pretty orderly...there's no just get off and go thing. So our group got off and headed straight to the train that was waiting right there at the dock for us!

Farewell to the Island Princess
Everyone in Alaska has a bush plane. One neighborhood turned their adjoining backyards into a landing strip!

 The view from the train was pretty cool. This was a tidal bay on the way to Anchorage.

Trumpet swans and a beaver lodge

We were on the train all day until about 6:30 or so. You sit 4 to a table and we were at table 12. I was glad we had assigned seats so we didn't have to push or shove on our way on to the dome cars. They had Libby Riddles come onboard and do a presentation about the Iditarod. She was the 1st woman to win it. The scenery was just beautiful all the way to Denali. We went through Hurricane gulch where the winds got so bad it knocked 3 men over to their death while they were putting in the bridge there. 
 This was our first Princess lodge. It was beautiful. They pretty much have a whole compound there with shops and restaurants so you never have to leave the property of course.
 I had such good fish and chips that I had the same thing two nights in a row!

This was at about 9pm on the terrace at the restaurant. It was a fun but long and tiring day since we had been up since sixish.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Day 8 College Fjord

Sadly this was our last day on the Island Princess.  We just had fun kicking back and then packing up. I had my massage on this afternoon and can I just say it was fantastic! Worth every cent. I choose this instead of salmon fishing...I agree with what you are thinking. We had an incredible dessert buffet in the afternoon. Seriously it was all desserts. They were creamy and luscious and here's where I probably gained all my weight for the trip.

 It took about half an hour to go through the whole line while people were deciding what to get. I say what the heck have everything you want.

I'm not proud of it but I ate most of the plate even if it did take me all afternoon.
 Later than afternoon we attend the Chef's demo and galley tour. Really fun. The galley was enormous and really fun to see. I love behind the scenes stuff:
The birds are carrots!

The dinner spread to come

Early evening we cruised through College Fjord. It was named that because it has 15+ large glaciers that all are named after colleges back east. It was just fantastic.

Hanging out on our balcony

Harvard Glacier


It was really hard to narrow the pictures down as usual. After the scenic cruising it was time to get ready for dinner. We spent our dinner seating time watching the glaciers so we hit the dinner buffet instead for the first time actually. Like we were really hungry, ha!

It was a beautiful day. We wished we could take everyone with us to see the gorgeous views we saw in Alaska. We spent the rest of the evening going to our last show...a comedy magician named Lorenzo Clark and packing up. Our suitcases needed to be outside our door by 10pm. It was interesting figuring out which suitcases got which tags since some were coming with us on the train and the big ones were going to meet us in Anchorage. We screwed that up but luckily they figured it out for us somehow!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day 7 Glacier Bay

 We were so impressed with the views from the ship that we decided we didn't want to miss a thing so when we entered Glacier Bay at about 5:30 we were up and ready before 6am. We had breakfast and listened to the park rangers prepare for the day of scenic cruising. I was thrilled to get my Park Passport stamped too! We were in Glacier Bay for about 9 hours so we had lots of time to see everything. They only let 2 cruise ships in per day and only from Princess and Holland America so it was a special day. It was misty that morning and our coldest day yet!
 This was our first time to cruise amongst little icebergs or growlers as they are called. We saw lots and lots of them. The wake from the ship would toss them around beside us. The seals raised their pups on them too and we saw lots of seals that day. They were too tiny in the pictures though.

 Shelie and I bundled up. We got lots of hot chocolate that day too. After a couple of hours on the deck we headed to our balcony where we pretty much spent the rest of the day watching the sights.

 We were so excited to see the glacier calving. It is super loud and sounds like cracking and thunder!!

 Lunch was special because they served the "taste of Alaska buffet" on the deck. It was incredible. Thank goodness there was more than just seafood...tons of salmon cooked lots of different ways too.
 I thought the ice sculpture was a nice touch. I love those!

 The other Princess ship in there that day.
The whales were hard to take pictures of because they are super fast and you never know when you are going to see them.

 After we left Glacier Bay and headed north it got super foggy. We had the fog horn blowing and everything. I love that. Yes I did get a little nervous about running into something as you can imagine because you couldn't see anything at all.
Our last formal night of the cruise! 
After dinner we went to a production called "Motor City" and it was really fun. It got rough at sea that night though so that wasn't the best. We watched a movie in our room and watched lit up ships pass us in the night. I can always sleep the best listening to a fog horn! Loved it.