Category Archives: Alaska

Souvenir Pizza

On June 25, 2012, I woke up at 10 am.  Jennifer got up at 11:20 am.  She requires 8 or more hours of sleep while I’m good with just 6 hours.

We walked to the Anchorage downtown area to find lunch.  Snow City Café looked busy…and busy is good right?  There were lots of people sitting down waiting for a table as there was a 45 minute wait.  I asked if we could sit at the bar and we were seated right away.  I don’t understand why people would rather wait for a table for THAT long when you can sit at the bar.  Maybe they don’t think of asking or they just want to sit at a table and not sit next to strangers…either that or they are just plain stupid.

I got tasty salmon cakes while Lil Dave got a banana omelet.  Jen got a delicious Crabby Omelet – she claimed it was the best omelet she’s ever had.  I’m sure all that Swiss cheese made it taste scrumptious.

We walked around downtown and checked out a couple souvenir shops.  Jen and I bought a few things for my parents and my bro.  We bought a ulu knife made in Alaska with it’s own stand – it even came with directions, which will come in handy since we’ve never used one before!

We decided to do a trolley tour of Anchorage..more because we had nothing else to do rather than because we particularly wanted to…We boarded the Anchorage City Trolley Tours trolley.  Our tour guide had lots of stories to tell about Anchorage…most of them not particularly interesting.

IMG_8131

The trolley stopped at the Alaska Railroad, Lake Hood (which is the largest float-plane base in the world), cruised Earthquake Park and the Cook Inlet.  You know it’s a small city when the highlight of the tour guide’s week was seeing 10 people behind a row of port-a-potties after the marathon.  She needs to get out more. The tour was alright – definitely not worth $15 though.

Jen wanted to mail postcards – so we walked to the 4th Avenue Marketplace since there’s a Post Office on the 1st floor there.  Jen mailed our ulu knife and the postcards.

We walked to a grocery store that is supposed to have unique food items for sale.  I noticed Patak curry sauces and Jen saw naan bread – but not much else that was unique.  I grabbed some bananas and bread for breakfast tomorrow since we have a morning flight tomorrow.

It was raining outside.  I thought we should walk back to the house, so we could have pizza later tonight. It was about  a 3 mile walk back, and we had walked about 3 miles earlier on in the day to get to downtown, so if that doesn’t deserve some pizza then what else does!

Jennifer noticed fishing rod flower pot holders that she thought were cool.IMG_8181

Later on, we walked to Moose’s Tooth for dinner.  Lil Dave got a small banana pizza with honey on top. 

IMG_8193

Jennifer and I shared a delicious Strawberry Summer Salad.  It came with tons of fruit.  I hate it when I get a salad that should have lots of fruit – but it’s about 90% of lettuce.  We each got a tasty Hard Apple Ale that they brew themselves.  Our pizza came out next which was half of Wild Mushroom (portabella & crimini mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, goat cheese, mozzarella, provolone cheese and denali sauce which is like pesto) and half of Roasted Garlic pizza.  It was so very delicious again!!  We both wish that Moose’s Tooth had a branch in Las Vegas.  We would be regular customers for sure!

Share

Wedding Penalty

Jennifer, Lil Dave and I woke up at 9:30 on June 24, 2012.  The weather outside was overcast and it looked like it might rain at any moment….oh so different from yesterday with all the sunshine and beautiful blues skies.

Ivan loaded the England vs. Italy Euro Cup football match on his laptop.  Both of the teams didn’t score – so, it went to penalty shoot-out to determine the winner.  It was going well, but then England missed a couple goals.  Then, Ashley Cole missed a shot and it was over.  Too bad! We had really been looking forward to watching England play Germany in the semi’s. Still..what’s a football championship without seeing England being knocked out on penalties…Its required in every single tournament, and England always ensure that it happens!

For a late lunch, we walked around to find something to eat nearby.  There aren’t many restaurants around Kelvin’s house.  It was cold and I felt drops on my head.  We went to Pho-89.  I got a shrimp pad see-ew which didn’t taste remotely like a pad see-ew.  Lil Dave got a banana pad thai while Jennifer ordered a chicken sukiyaki pho. 

ph89

The food was okay…nothing special….

We headed back through the rain to the house afterwards. Jen and I went through all our wedding photos (through all 9 wedding ceremonies) and picked the best ones for the wedding photo book we’re creating for our parents.  I can’t believe how many good pictures there are.  Can’t wait to see the finished book!

We chilled at the house for the afternoon using the internet. Still lots of planning to do for the rest of the honeymoons, so its good to get some down time to get all the admin parts of our honeymoons out of the way.

During the evening we decided to go and watch a movie. First though we looked for a restaurant…there wasn’t really much choice – the place wanted to go to closed at 9, and then we walked into the most depressing Pizza Hut in the world. It looked like the menu and décor had not been updated since the 80’s, and after the toothless old lady waitress came up to us, I decided that maybe it would be a good idea to find dinner someplace else. We ended up going to Silk Restaurant & Sushi Bar which is an Asian Fusion joint. I’m not sure what that term really means..in this case though I think it was Asian food fused with crap food – to give a fusion of crap Asian food!

Jennifer and I shared a large hot sake.  Lil Dave wanted a banana sake, but he’s waaay too young to drink alcohol.  I got the shrimp yakisoba and Jennifer got shrimp pad see-ew.  Both dishes were average….and that’s being generous.

We went back to theater and watched the movie That’s My BoyBoth of us had very low expectations of this movie.  It was more a case of the best of a bad bunch – the only reason we saw this was because everything else sounded even worse. However it actually turned out to be quite good! Sounds a bit ‘wrong’ to admit that we watched an Adam Sandler movie and we enjoyed it!

After the movie, we walked back, still finding it amusing that it was 12.30am and not really dark out yet.

Share

Sunny Solstice Market

I woke up at 10:30 am on June 23, 2012.  Jennifer woke up shortly at 11 am.  We headed out into Anchorage at noon.  It was a lovely sunny day. 

We walked to the downtown area, after getting lost quite a few times, taking a number of detours, and learning that there really arent that many taxis in Anchorage…especially when you want one due to the fact that you have walked miles and still have miles to go to get to your destination. We were hungry, so went to the F Street station which our couchsurfer had recommended to us. I got a tasty halibut sandwich while Jen got a crab sandwich.  We enjoyed our food with a sweet Riesling.  I noticed on the tourist map that there was a market going on.  I was disappointed that I didn’t read this early since we could have had a nice lunch there instead…..

After lunch, we started walking towards the market.  I saw a sign for the Downtown Summer Solstice Festival and Hero Games.  I thought we would check it out after the Anchorage Market & Festival.

The market was filled with many stalls selling food, jewelry, clothing, candles and soaps.  We saw a place selling salmon quesadillas. Jennifer thought that sounded really good.  I told her that we would come back later and have one…..not because necessarily we would be hungry later, but because you can never say no to a salmon quesadilas can you.

We walked to the Summer Solstice Festival. 

IMG_8102

We saw many things like wood carving with chainsaws, a big sand box, a pool of water where kids could go kayaking, a puppet show, skateboarding, animals to pet and bouncy castles.  There was one Hero Game we came across.  Two teams were playing volleyball with water balloons.  Each team had a blanket. 

IMG_8094

One team would serve the water balloon by throwing it up in the air with the blanket.  The other team would have to try to catch it.  If they dropped it, the other team would score.  It looks liked fun, but Jen and I would have rather had a great big water balloon fight with everybody.

We checked out the largest souvenir shop in Anchorage.  It’s definitely not as big as the largest souvenir shop in Las Vegas.  We didn’t get anything, but we’re going to come back to buy a ulu knife with a bowl for us to use at home.

It was time to walk back to the Anchorage Market & Festival.  Jen and I shared a delicious salmon quesadilla. 

IMG_8109

We walked around checking out the stalls we missed last time.  I bought some peppered smoked salmon. 

IMG_8114

There was lots of unique products being sold like fishing lure earrings, Alaskan nightlights made out of wood or hand painted clogs.  Jennifer bought a cool J scrabble tile zipper pull and banana earrings. 

IMG_8121

Hopefully, Lil Dave doesn’t try to eat her earrings mistaking them for real bananas!

We were feeling pretty tired after that, so jumped in taxi and headed back to the couchsurfer’s house.

After using the internet for a bit, we headed out to the Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria which had been recommended to us by the couchsurfer and was also number one on Tripadvisor for restaurants in Vancouver.

The pizzas were supposedly meant to be the best in Alaska….We haven’t had many pizzas in Alaska (in fact we’ve had none) so we can’t vouch for the validity of that statement, but we do agree that they were very nice pizzas!

IMG_8126

We got two small ones – both half and half. So four different flavors of pizza. Our favorite was the wild mushroom, and the roasted garlic one.

Share

Kayaking Train

Hello, it’s Ivan here!  Jen, Lil Dave and I got up at 7 am on June 22, 2012.  We were surprised that there wasn’t any announcements in the room to disembark the ship. Usually on cruise ships, on the last day of departure, the moment the boat docks they start announcing in the rooms that everyone needs to clear out ASAP.

We headed up to the buffet for breakfast to get our last portion of free food (especially bananas for Lil Dave!). We were glad to see that the weather today was perfect – blue skies and very sunny. It was great news, especially as the afternoon/night beforehand had been very very foggy and cloudy.

We got our luggage from the room and got off the ship. It was an incredibly easy debarkation also. No silly immigration, and no long liens. We found a taxi driven by a man who looked like he weighed more than the actual taxi, and got taken to Kayak Adventures Worldwide for $5. 

Today, we were going on a half day kayaking trip on Resurrection Bay.  Our group consisted of four people and one monkey.  It was great to be in such a small group.  Our guide was a friendly guy named Zack.  

We piled onto the van with another group, an Indian family from California. 

Once at the beach, we suited up, had to listen to some safety rules (blah blah whatever, can we just get in the water already?!) and then we boarded our kayaks and headed off into the bay.  Zack even showed us how to paddle correctly which helped Jennifer out who always seems to have sore arms after kayaking for a few minutes (probably from doing it wrong!).

IMG_0306

The views were simply out of this world. The water was calm…the mountains were covered in snow…it looked even better than any postcard could ever be.

IMG_7714

Paddling around the bay was simply an incredible experience.

After a while we stopped at a shore and went for a walk along a beach.

IMG_7756

We headed to a river where usually there would be lots of salmon, but either the salmon knew we were coming and made themselves scarce – or more likely its simply too early for salmon season right now (it’s around about July that they start to come by and say hello). We had a little picnic by the river, while continuing to be flabbergasted at the incredible views.

We then kayaked back, enjoying the slightly more wavy conditions now that the winds had picked up.

We left our bags at the kayak office (oh, aren’t we the trusting kind?) and went off to find some lunch. A bakery that offered free wifi also did the trick and we replenished the calories spent doing the kayaking by eating some black bean soup and vegetable lasagna. They also had some black pepper bread there that had been made incredibly and had way more black pepper than it was meant to, but we actually really liked it and was quite unusual.  Lil Dave had a banana soup and banana bread for dessert.

After making the most of the free wifi, we left the ‘Ranting Raven’ bakery and had a little walk around the town. Wow, what a place! From all around were views of snow covered mountains and the main street was full of family run old time stores. It was simply adorable. We wished we could have spent a few more days at the place. At the bottom of main street was the lake with those incredible views. 

IMG_7785

I wish I booked a couple nights of Seward – I didn’t know it was such a charming little town.  But, I talked to the girl at the Kayak office and she said we were lucky because about 75%of the time it’s raining in Seward.

Even though we had a lot of bags and it was a mile to the train station, we decided to walk it, as it was downhill and the views just got better and better. We even had a guy stop and offer to give us a ride, which would NEVER happen in Vegas!

We were feely a little sleepy but didn’t want to sleep on the train as we heard the views were amazing, so after checking in at the train station, we popped to a little café to get an espresso to perk us up at the bit. That worked, and with a spring in our step we boarded the train and immediately knew it was going to be a memorable journey, just by the views that greeted us at the train station alone!

IMG_7861

The views were simply gorgeous on the train ride.  Jennifer and I couldn’t believe just how beautiful it was. 

IMG_7835

We took loads of pictures.  Jen and I drank sparkling wine and shared a salmon corn chowder while we enjoyed the lovely greenery and snow covered mountains pass us by. 

IMG_7982

The train went through lots of tunnels as well.  There was an announcer telling us there was a waterfall passing by or a bear or an eagle flying above.  Sometimes the train would even stop, so we could take photos. 

For dinner, we had the salmon trio (salmon cakes, salmon dip on bread and smoked salmon) and a sockeye salmon with rice pilaf and green beans.  It was a delicious meal.

The train picked up 4 backpackers.  Later, Jen was sitting behind them and kept plugging her nose because they smelled.  They really needed a shower.  She wished she had a clothespin so she could plug up her nose effectively. 

This was the best train ride ever.  I don’t understand how the Skagway train is more famous than this train ride. 

IMG_8058

The scenery is so amazing!  If you ever get a chance to come to Alaska, don’t miss the Seward to Anchorage train ride.  You will enjoy it immensely!

IMG_8078

The train arrived in Anchorage at 10:30 pm.  The couchsurfer Kelvin we would be staying with us kindly picked us up from the train station.  We said hi to him and proceeded to the white tent to wait for our luggage.  It took a few minutes for the forklift to pull the luggage off the train and then place them under the white tent.  I thought we’d have to wait ages since the men were pulling random luggage off each crate.  Thank goodness, they went back to our crate and got our luggage out before the rest of the bags.

Kelvin drove us to his house.  He’s a 25 year old local.  We chatted to him about the train ride and our trip to Seward.  Once we got to his house nearby, we met his roommate which I can’t remember his name.  We chatted awhile with them about life, Alaska and traveling.  It’s so weird how the sun set at 11:40 pm – that even at midnight it was still so light (compared to what we’re used to). 

Jen and I were so exhausted and went to sleep around 1:30 am.

Share

Glacier Plunge

On June 21, 2012, Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 7:15 am…even though it was a sea day meaning we didn’t have any excursions to go on. However, we knew the boat was going to be sailing around the Hubbard glacier today, hence the rude awakening so early in the morning.

We looked out our balcony and the boat was at the entrance of Disenchantment Bay.  There was ice and icebergs around the boat.  We arrived at the Hubbard Glacier at 8 am.  We listened to the naturalist Dirk on the tv.  He said the boat would go really close to the glacier – 1 mile closer than before and the closest this season. 

IMG_7555

The six mile long glacier was a wonderful sight and I was so thankful that we had a balcony.  We didn’t have to bear the cold out on the crowded helipad.  We could go back inside if we got too cold.  Even Lil Dave had to bundle up with two blankets so he stayed warm – his monkey fur wasn’t enough.

The views were simply out of this world. The boat was literally driving through the ice and it seemed as though a cruise ship shouldn’t really be there – we were surrounded by glaciers and snow covered mountains all around and we could hear the thunder of the ice caps in the distance. The boat was pushing the ice to the side and lets just say I’m just glad that I haven’t seen the movie Titanic recently.

Remember all these pictures were taken from our balcony, and those blocks of ice in the water were actually HUGE blocks of ice which the ship was pushing against.

IMG_7577

We headed to the buffet for breakfast at 9 am.  We enjoyed the view of Binky Island and the glacier while we ate outside.  

IMG_7625

It was almost 10 am, so we headed to the Metropolitan Restaurant.  The Sea Day Brunch was opening at 10 am.  We walked through and checked out the ice carvings, cheese carvings and lots of food which was better quality then what is offered at the buffet.  Ivan said we’d come back later for lunch.

It was time to see the Filipino ice carver master make an ice carving on the Pool Deck.  Personally, I think they should have sent him overboard and got him to do an ice carving in the glacier that was right next to the boat. He could have spent a couple of hours on it and made something really grand!  Instead he used a large 300 pound block of ice probably brought from the freezer. The guests were trying to guess what he was carving.  I thought it would be an animal relating to the ones we’ve seen during our Alaskan cruise.  But, the guests guessed that it was a swan.  I was hoping for an eagle or a humpback whale. 

Next, it was the Officer’s Pool Plunge.  The pool was filled with glacier water and a few of the senior officers were crazy enough to jump in the 10 degrees Fahrenheit water.  The officers jumped in and once they got out none of them covered themselves with a towel or robe or even jumped in the hot jacuzzi (which Ivan said he would have done). 

IMG_7651

I would have been freezing!!  5 guests and one monkey were also brave enough to jump in the freezing glacier water.

We went to the Sea Day Brunch and ate lots of fresh salmon, pasta, cheese, lasagna and chocolate covered bananas. The food was especially delicious, and Ivan especially loved the smoked salmon, of which he ate way more than his fair share’s worth.

IMG_7634

Lil Dave just ate 5 bananas covered in chocolate. 

Ivan and I walked down to the Celebrity Theater for the Crew Talent Show.  There’s definitely not much talent in the crew (besides cooking and cleaning which they do do rather well).  The show was 90% of Filipinos singing.  Japanese created karaoke, but the Filipinos are the ones who do it the most – on a ferry boat in the Philippines, there will be karaoke.  Most Filipinos think they can sing and to tell you the truth most can’t sing well.  It was excruciating sitting through the boring, slooow songs. 

The Special Farewell Parade came next.  Tons of the Celebrity crew came up on the stage and waved good-bye to the guests.

The Star Chefs Cooking Competition was the next activity in the theater.  It was just like Iron Chef with two crew chefs and two guests cooking.  At the end, guests would be chosen from the audience to eat and judge the dishes.  An English chef and his German boss were hosting.  They kept drinking wine.  The Germany guy was getting on Ivan’s nerves since he kept talking and wasn’t funny.  We left after a few minutes since we were tired.

We took a much needed 2 hour power nap back in the room.

Later on, we stopped by Café El Bacio for a white zinfandel while listening to Beacon Street: String Trio.  

The last show on the ship was a funny juggler named Steve Carte.  At first, he was a bit cheesy – but then he got really funny. 

IMG_7680

He was very talented, fun and funny.  It was a great show for the last night on the Celebrity Millennium.

Ivan was feeling a bit tired – so we went back to the café and we shared an espresso.  Shortly, the wonderful a cappella quartet North by Northwest sang a few songs.  I don’t know why this talented quartet only perform a 10 minute show.  I would love to see them sing for at least 30 minutes.  I wonder if Celebrity is being cheap and they’re paying them per song.    

It was time for our last dinner with our friendly tablemates.  We had a great conversation again.  For dinner, I had the delicious mushroom risotto, tilapia with pasta and Ivan and I shared a crème brulee.  Ivan also got a plate of stir fried tofu which he wasn’t too impressed with. Overall though, the food on this cruise has been mostly good – just not as good as Carnival.

At the end, we hugged everybody and said good-bye.  Our tablemates Thresa, Keith, Dave and Miriam have been the best tablemates we’ve ever had on a cruise!

Share

Emerald Dogs

Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 7:30 am on June 20, 2012.  We had breakfast at the buffet before heading off the boat.

The weather was overcast.

We were met by our friendly, lively tour guide from Frontier Excursions as we exited the ship,  and left Skagway at 8:30 am. The group consisted of 22 people and 1 monkey.  Our tour guide was a local named Tyler from, of all places Florida (he said he wanted to get as far away as possible from that place).

We drove through Skagway – Tyler even showed us his house and invited us to a Dungeness crab party tonight.  Too bad we can’t go since we’ll be sailing on the cruise ship.  Even if he was joking about the invite, we would have turned up and claimed that we can’t tell when a joke is a joke, and then helped ourselves to tons of Dungeness crab!

Tyler drove us through the White Pass Trail which follows the same path as the train.  The train is $129 per person while our tour is $99 per person and goes a lot more places, plus we get to stop and get off the bus to take pictures. The people on the train are the usual idiots who don’t check Tripadvisor and realize that you can do the same excursions the ship offers for a lot less money, or at least with a lot less other people around you.

The bus stopped at a place with lots of snow covered mountains. 

IMG_7332

We got to stop and play in the snow.  I threw a few snowballs.  The kids and Tyler really liked throwing snowballs at people.

The bus drove through the beautiful Boreal Forest. Later on, we had to stop at the Canadian Customs and show our passports as we were leaving Alaska and entering British Columbia.  We were headed up to Yukon. 

The bus stopped at Caribou Crossing for lunch.  It’s called this because caribou can cross at any time.  Too bad we didn’t get to see any caribou today though.  The weather was quite sunny and warm and the clouds were clearing away.  It was turning out to be a lovely day!

Ivan and I each had the curried lentils and a baked potato for lunch.  Lil Dave had a BBQ’d banana which he thought was a bit strange (and so did we to be honest, but lets face it, the fact that we let a 10 year old monkey hang out with out on our honeymoon is even more stranger!).

We had time to walk around Caribou before headed to our next stop.  There’s a museum, dog sledding, husky dogs, a donkey, ponies and goats.  We skipped the museum and went to see the husky dogs.  There was a few pups that were born last month – they were really cute.  Ivan fed some dog treats to the mama dog and a few of the pups. 

The husky dogs are training for the Iditarod race by doing dog sledding here. 

IMG_7163

The dog sledding is done on grass which isn’t the real thing, so we decided not to do it.  It was $35 per person for 15 minutes which to me is a rip off.  Plus, Ivan has done the real thing (dog sledding with a whole pack of dogs to himself) in Lapland on a multi-day trip a few years ago.

The dogs go absolutely mental when they’re being picked for the dog sledding.  The dogs are jealous when they aren’t chosen, they seem to go mad (jumping up and down and barking) and keep barking until the dogs start sledding away.  The way the dogs act you’d think there was some delicious salmon above their head that they couldn’t reach.. but no, they just really have it in their blood to sled. (side note  – do dogs eat salmon I wonder? And if they don’t, do you think that’s because they don’t like it, or just because they have never tried it and are like some humans who claim they don’t like something even though they have never tried it!)

We saw the mama dog Geisha feeding her pups.  One of the pups was on his back while grabbing his lunch – how silly and cute!  Look at him in the picture below on the left.

IMG_7189

Next, we visited the ponies.  One was very friendly and liked being petted while the other one kept eating grass and would move away when you tried to pet him.

There was another area with a big donkey and small goats.  You could feed the goats by paying a quarter in the vending machine.  

It was time to head off. 

IMG_7239

Our next stop was the beautiful Emerald Lake.  I could see why it was called that since the lake was a lovely green color. It really was so so beautiful and none of our pictures do it justice.

The group boarded the bus and were off to Bove Island.  It’s an island in the middle of a lake.  Alaska is really a beautiful state filled with wonderful nature and wildlife.  We were lucky to see 3 baby bears on the side of the road during the tour. 

We stopped by the Welcome to Alaska sign and Tyler took pictures of people in the group. 

IMG_7323

Tyler got us back on time on the boat at 3:05 pm – we were supposed to be back on by 3:45 pm.

Once back on the board, we ordered a cheese and fruit plate from room service and then sat and enjoyed the simply incredible views that we had from our balcony.

We walked around the ship to see the gorgeous scenery passing by.  The commentary from the naturalist was playing in the stairways, and the restrooms, but not outside or in the bars or cafes….slightly annoying..but forgiven due to the fact that the views really were out of this world. We were up close with huge snow covered mountains, and the sun was shining and the water was perfectly calm..simply incredible.

IMG_7391

We headed  up to the Cosmos lounge which gives a perfect view all around from up high from the huge windows. We saw some whales in the distance. People always act crazy when they see just the spout or a tail of a whale.  It’s really not THAT exciting after seeing it for the hundredth time.  It’s cool when they breach, but just the tail isn’t going to make me say ‘Oooh, I see a tail!’ and start clapping. I think these people need to pay a visit to Sea World. I mean I’m not saying seeing a whale in the wild in Alaska isn’t cool..I just think the scenery around is the star attraction, and seeing a tail of a whale in the far distance is not going to be the highlight of my day!

Ivan and I saw the naturalist Dirk Younkerman and Ivan started asking him questions.  He told us that his commentary is played on  channel 16.  He said that you should be outside because on the balcony you only get half the view.  Dirk said that tomorrow from 7 to 10 am, the ship would be passing Hubbard Glacier.  He also said that the helipad area on the 5th floor would be open for glacier viewing tomorrow.  He said you can wake up early and sleep in the afternoon.  That’s exactly what we’re going to do.  It’s not everyday that you get to be so close to a glacier.

It’s so weird to us that sunset is so late.  Tonight it’s at 10:21 pm!  It’s nice though since it gives us a beautiful view at dinnertime.

We got ready and headed to the Martini bar.  Here, we ordered two martini flights and the bartender had to stand on a stool to pour them out of the 12 cocktail shakers.  So cool!! 

IMG_7479

The best martini flavors in the flight are the raspberry and the pear – so tasty!! Lots of people were walking past and taking photos – their faces were saying ‘wow that looks so cool’, but I would imagine they were simply thinking ‘what a bunch of drunks those two must be to have to order TWELVE martinis to drink, instead of just one each!’.

Ivan and I brought two of our martinis to dinner.  It was time for another lovely dinner with our tablemates.  It’s crazy, but we always enjoy the conversation that we don’t really realize what we’re eating.  I had the great crab stuffed mushrooms and a nice tomato bisque for a starter.  Ivan and I each had two main courses: ahi tuna steak and lobster tail.  The ahi tuna steak was covered in pepper and it was simply delicious.  Ivan wanted to order two more, but didn’t.  Everybody was brought a piece of Baked Alaska.  We didn’t even get the dessert menu which we usually do before we order.  The Baked Alaska had cheap ice cream and wasn’t very good.  Ivan and I shared a tasty apple pie a la mode instead.

IMG_7495

We took pictures with our tablemates and exchanged e-mail addresses and Facebook information. 

The show tonight was late, so everybody went to the show right after dinner.  We all sat together too.  iBroadway was the name of the show tonight.  The screen on stage showed an iPod screen and what kind of song the Celebrity Production Singers and Dancers would be performing to.  Many songs were sung from musicals like We Will Rock You, Hairspray, Phantom of the Opera and Mamma Mia. 

IMG_7502

It was actually a really really good show. The dancing was incredible and very well choreographed. Almost every song had the entire cast on stage (about 20 of them) doing very high energy dancing.  It was definitely the best show we had seen all week.

Share

Juneau what I mean?

On June 19, 2012, Ivan and I were woken up from a deep sleep AGAIN from the stupid announcement about where to get off the boat in the room at 7:15 am.  We were not impressed!!!! Especially as this was the second morning in a row this had happened! And it wasn’t as if it was an emergency announcement or some interesting news (like somebody jumping overboard). And the boat wasn’t even docked yet – AND it was only 7:15 in the morning! If we were a couple who only got a couple of weeks vacation per year and we came on this cruise to relax and SLEEP in, then there would have been hell to pay!

I fell back asleep again but Ivan got up and went to get some breakfast upstairs. Then, once I woke up, we both went up to breakfast, and Ivan got his second breakfast while I got my first.

Soon after, we headed off the boat, and after walking around the town for a little bit, took the bus to the Mendenahall Glacier. After about 30 minutes driving on one of the only roads in Juneau (Juneau is a landlocked capital and there is only really one main road in town which just stops at the glacier), we arrived at the glacier and everyone piled out looking up in awe at the beautiful site before us.

IMG_6923

We took a little walk to the Nugget falls. It was beautiful surroundings.

IMG_6889

We then walked back and started on the Marine Ecology trail which was nice but not nice enough for our threshold of what we judge a nice walk to be. I mean it was a nice enough walk, but we couldn’t see the glacier as it was in forest and seeing as we were in town for the purpose of seeing the glacier we decided to turn around and head back.

IMG_7021 

We jumped back on the bus back to town and then entered the Red Dog Saloon which was an old saloon which apparently has been around for ‘years and years’.  The bar has a gun owned by Wyatt Earp.

We parked ourselves down at the bar, and ordered a Duck Fart shot which sounds a lot more exciting than it actually was (the combination of Baileys, Kahlua, and Crown Royal is not really going to win any awards at the national cocktail making competition (does that kind of event even exist? If not, it should, and hey I will volunteer to judge it!!)).

IMG_7083

We then shared a smoked salmon chowder and a salmon wrap, both of which were very tasty. Lil Dave got a banana chowder which he reported as tasting pretty good. He also tried a monkey fart shot which was lemon juice, banana juice, and a small twist of lime.

IMG_7085

After staying for a while and listening to the entertaining piano player Baldini, we headed out, walked around town for a little bit, and then went back home – a la the cruise ship.

Every day on this cruise we seem to have been getting really tired during the afternoon. Its not as if we are not sleeping much – I mean we are probably sleeping much less than we sleep in Vegas…maybe its because we are eating so much food, and the bed in our room really is quite comfy….

So we got a nap, then headed off to the show for that evening which was this black comedian James Stephens III who did the kind of show that makes you think after 30 minutes ‘When is the comedy going to start’?! He was really terrible. He was meant to be an impressionist also, but his impressions were even worse than his jokes! We left way before he finished and went back to our room to get ready for the evening.

After showering we headed off the martini bar where we got a martini flight (shown below) while drawing funny and rude pictures in the ice on the counter (not shown below).

IMG_0266

We then headed to dinner. There were some champagne glasses on our table and we wondered why we had them. We soon learnt why – Theresa had been proposed to by her boyfriend while up on the glacier today! So they celebrated by sharing their champagne with us! It was yet again a very enjoyable dinner, and the two hours just flew by with lots of fun, engaging conversation. The food was the usual story – some of it pretty tasting, some of it Denny’s quality. But of course the good thing with cruise ship food is if something is not that great, you can just ask for something else! And although the waiter probably is calling you greedy behind you back, at least this way you can keep on ordering something until something tastes good!

I think we ate about 5 courses during dinner! Luckily they are not huge portions though, so we weren’t too stuffed afterwards.

After dinner we headed up to the Cosmos lounge to watching ‘Dancing with the Officers’ which was enjoyable and consisted of the passengers dancing with the officers from the boat set to live music from the house band. The unfunny comedian from earlier in the evening was one of the judges and he at least confirmed that our opinion of him from earlier was not due to the fact that our stomachs were empty..nope…even with a ton of food inside us and a bunch of drinks he still failed to raise even a smile!

After the event we headed to the room and bed. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

Share

A Whale of a Day

I woke up at 10 am on June 18, 2012.  Ivan and Lil Dave were already up since 8 am.  I was catching up on my sleep since we didn’t get much sleep the night before.

We headed to the buffet for breakfast where we learnt that apparently poached eggs with a bagel and smoked salmon is called ‘Scottish Eggs Benedict’.

Sometimes the cruise ships will have a character for you to take pictures with before you leave the ship.  Today, it was an Orca.  The ship’s photographer takes the picture.  Ivan was trying to take a picture with his cell phone and the photographer wasn’t having it.  The orca (killer whale) would act shy when I would go by him and wanted to take a picture.  It was pretty funny – look at the bashful orca!

orkl

We took the tender (orange life boat) to Icy Strait Point at 11:10 am.  Icy Strait Point is located in Hoonah, Alaska. Its basically the name for where the cruise ships dock and is owned by some local tribe. Unfortunately the tribe was not there to greet us, which was most disappointing if you ask me…kind of rude also. I’m sure “Running Fox” or whatever the chief goes by, could have taken a little bit of time out of his schedule to say hello and maybe point us the way to the good spots in town. But no, he was too busy catching a bear for some lunch or whatever else it is local tribal chiefs do in their spare time. Anyway…where was I…oh yes…

We walked to the parking lot since this was the meeting point for the tour we’d be going on.  It wasn’t as cold as yesterday.  We were better prepared with blankets we borrowed from the ship.  

There was four other people in the group: two ladies and a couple.  I think they were all from New Jersey.  The woman who picked us up was named Hope.  She was VERY friendly and gave us all a big bear hug as she picked us up. She drove in her van to a restaurant nearby.  Her husband was the captain.  We waited a little while in the restaurant and then Hope said that we could meet the captain at the dock. 

IMG_6532

The previous group filed off the boat and then our group boarded the boat.  

Captain Dan told us where the life vests were.  I couldn’t hear the rest of what he was saying.  I did notice there was a cooler, so I guess that’s where the water bottles were.

The captain drove the ship for about 35 minutes further into the ocean.

Captain Dan stopped the boat and we saw sea lions sunbathing, or maybe just taking it easy, as there wasn’t a whole lot of sun to be honest.

IMG_6552

One was really fat and he was partly on top of a smaller sea lion.  The smaller lion was trying to bite the fat one to get off him.  He wasn’t having much luck though. He should have had a stern word with the fat otters parents if you ask me……

It was time to find whales.  We kept seeing the humpback whales spouting water up into air.  Then, the captain would go closer to where the whales were.  We kept seeing whales come up showing part of their body and their tail. 

IMG_6601

We wanted see them breach (jump).  We saw the cruise ship tour boat which was filled with tons of people, probably 80 people.  It was nice being in a group of 6 people and one monkey on a nice, small boat.  I saw one whale that look like he was waving.

IMG_6606

I wonder if the whales come out and breach to put on a show. 

We saw humpback whales breach.  It was really cool seeing them jump. 

IMG_6672

It seemed that the whales usually jump backwards onto their back. 

Near the end of the whale watching, we saw killer whales swim around.  These whales look pretty, but they don’t breach like the humpback whales.

We headed back to the dock around 4 pm, and then Hope drove us back to the cruise port so we could board the tender and get back on the ship.

We were all really hungry since we didn’t eat anything on the tour – the last time we ate was at 11 am.  Ivan and I each had a tasty salmon pasta while Lil Dave got a banana and honey sandwich.

After chilling in the room for a bit and enjoying the amazing views from our balcony we headed off to the show which was ‘Boogie Wonderland’ and was an enjoyable 70’ style show with lots of cool dancing and fun tunes.

After the show we headed off to dinner. Once again it was an enjoyable dinner filled with lots of interesting and funny conversations with our regular table mates. The food was good also. Highlight was the seafood risotto. We both agree after dinner every night that we have so much fun talking with all our table mates, that we barely get time to think about the food we are eating! It just gets placed there and we eat it and don’t really think what we are eating or how it tastes!

After dinner we headed off to a magic show with Adam Trent in the Cosmos lounge, but it was way too busy so we went to the martini bar instead and had a martini flight. 

IMG_0262

The martinis were delicious!

Share

Crabs and Lumberjacks in Ketchikan

Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up early on June 17, 2012 at 6:30 am.  We went up to have breakfast at the buffet. 

We got off the boat around 7:15 am and boarded the Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tour boat.  The group consisted of about 60 people and one monkey.  I heard it could hold 130 people.  Our boat was called The Aleutian Ballad which was on season 2 of the tv show The Deadliest Catch.  Two of fishermen talked to the group about fishing and the tv show.  They put out bait and caught fish including rock fish and a star fish.

We then came across a pod of killer wales. It was pretty amazing seeing them in the wild rather than at Seaworld.

The guys then threw out herring into the water (much to Ivan’s dismay because he loves herring and said it seemed like such a waste) so the eagles would come catch them.

IMG_6250

We then got to see loads of bald eagles swoop down into the water up close, and grab the fish then fly away. It was pretty amazing seeing these birds up so close.

The guys also caught king crabs in the pods (cages) and then snow crab and box crabs. 

IMG_6296

It was cool though that we were allowed to hold the box crabs and the snow crabs. All that was missing was some soya sauce, chopsticks and a hammer/gun/whatever is used to kill crab.

IMG_6346

  They also caught an octopus. It was a good tour but not worth the $150 per person you pay for it.. After hearing a whole bunch of stories from the fisherman who had been out at sea for many  many years, we went back to Ketchikan .

We got tickets for the lumberjack show which was not a bad show but not worth the 30 dollars they were charging. It was basically a competition between two groups of lumberjacks.

IMG_0180

They had to do stuff like throw axes, chop wood, walk across logs and other lumberjacky things. It  took a good view of two guys log rolling, but I’ll put it up once I have faster (and cheaper!) internet.

After being entertained, we exited and grabbed some yummy smoked salmon chowder and cornbread from the Alaska Fish House.We didn’t get much more food because it seemed a bit silly when we have free unlimited food on the cruise ship which was parked (or is the term moored?) not too far away.

Before getting back on the boat we had a walk around the historic part of Ketchikan which used to be the red light district but is now a pretty street, with all the houses suspended above the water. We went into a few of the shops and did the whole ‘Ooh can I try some of this salmon because I’m thinking of buying it act, which everyone fell for and we got a lot of free salmon samples!

Once we had finished we went back on the boat, grabbed an egg salad sandwich and some MORE salmon from the buffet then after eating it on the balcony looking at the beautiful views, grabbed a little bit of sleep….not too much though coz there was elegant tea being served in the Metropolitan Restaurant!

IMG_6467

There were great views from the floor to ceiling windows, while we enjoyed our Darjeeling tea, scones, and sandwiches.

That evening the entertainment in the main showroom was a magician named Adam Trent.

IMG_0200

He was actually really good – not at all cheesy, and very likeable and entertaining. Plus some original illusions which is always nice to have.

At dinner the Maltese couple weren’t present, and it was the American couple’s ladies’ 50th birthday. However they weren’t celebrating it the same way I would be celebrating my 50th birthday (lots of alcohol and lots of tears!)! The food we had were tomato and chickpea soup, seafood orzo and spicy potato masala which Ivan wasn’t too impressed with at all, so he ordered some trout instead which rated much more highly on his ‘Food Satisfaction Chart’.

After some chocolate lava cake (their description not mine – I think actually the cake would fall under the ‘chocolate trade descriptions act’ because it wasn’t really a lava cake at all really.

After dinner we went up to the Cosmos lounge to watch a newlywed game show which was quite entertaining then it was back to the room for sleepy time.

Share

Cruisin’ to Alaska

On June 16, 2012, Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 10 am.  We slept 10 hours again.  We missed breakfast.  Ivan went to check out the Taste of the Millennium event.  I was supposed to meet him there, but the rocking of the boat made me fall back asleep – also the fact that I kept waking up during the night because I was cold and was too tired to get out of bed to change the thermostat.  Ivan ate different foods from the restaurants of the Celebrity Millennium.

It was another gloomy, overcast day in Canada.  Ivan and I ate fruit from room service on the balcony.  The trees that were passing by would have looked nice, but we could barely see it through the mist. 

I was hungry, so we headed up to the AquaSpa Café. 

IMG_6009

Ivan and I each got a delicious grilled tuna and shared a steamed salmon.  Lil Dave got a banana salad and a banana tart.  Ivan and I also got a raspberry tart for dessert.  I could really get used to eating tasty, free fish everyday.  

It was raining outside.  Ivan and I went into the very hot pool in the covered Solarium.  I am reading ‘Needful Things’ by Stephen King while Ivan is really getting into the James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge book ‘Now You See Her’.  People gave us funny looks as we were reading while in the pool. We gave them funny looks back.

It was time to head back to the room and watch the scenery go by. The mist and steam had started to clear so the views were getting quite pretty.

IMG_6062

A few of the mountains had snow in them.

IMG_6071

We headed down to see the Crepe Making demonstration.  We didn’t stay long since we didn’t feel like having any crepes since we’d be having afternoon tea shortly.  Lil Dave stayed to make his own banana crepe.  I told him to take lots of notes, so he can teach me how to make the perfect crepe.

We went to the Oceanview Café for afternoon tea.  It turned out just to be sandwiches, croissants and scones in the buffet area.  We prefer afternoon tea on Carnival where it’s served to you in the main dining room with lots of selections of cakes, pastries and sandwiches.  We made our own tea.  We enjoyed our scone and tea outside while watching the beautiful nature around us.  I hope to see glaciers, but we’re still in Canada – so maybe soon.

Ivan and I played table tennis out by the pool, and it was a close game, but Ivan won.  Ivan wanted to play more, but I was disappointed that I lost.. so we went to check to see if the sushi was open already.

We met up with Lil Dave at the sushi at the café.  Lil Dave convinced the chef to make a few banana sushi rolls for him.  The sushi isn’t the best quality, but it’s okay.  We asked the chef if we could just have some sashimi as we are not going to eat all the rice anyway, and its going to be wasted. He said he couldn’t do that, so we just took a mountain of sushi, detached the fish from the rice, ate the fish, and then left enough rice on the plate to feed an entire Chinese family for weeks!

Ivan wanted to iron his trousers, but there’s no laundry room (like other cruise ship lines) with a place to do ironing.  Ivan was told that he has to get it pressed and pay for it.  How stupid!!

Ivan and I agreed that the average age on board is 50 years old.  You can tell by what the ship offers which includes ballroom dancing, classical music and a wellness class called Relieving Back Pain & Improving Good Posture.  That and the fact that the ‘activity of the day’ was ‘successful will writing’. Okay that’s a joke, but it really is quite an old crowd on board.

After putting on our smartest clothes we headed to the martini bar to enjoy some pre-dinner cocktails.

IMG_0124

Ivan accidently helped himself to a woman’s cocktail from her cocktail flight, after a misunderstanding with the waiter on whether or not the drinks were free!

After a couple of very strong martinis, we bounced off to dinner for formal night. Most people were wearing dinner suits or at least a shirt and a tie but Ivan just had a nice shirt on. Dave just combed his monkey fur a different direction to what he normally does.

Once again we enjoyed the company of the other couples at the table. We really felt like we struck gold with having such a great table. Everyone is friendly, chatty and fun to have dinner with!

For dinner I had frogs legs and salmon. The legs tasted like chicken, but not as good… The salmon tasted like salmon. No surprise there then.

It was a nice meal finished off with some cherries Jubilee.

IMG_0156

After eating we went to the captains toast and Ballroom dancing show in the main showroom but didn’t stay for too long as ballroom dancing is only for old people…at least that’s what Ivan embarrassingly told the ‘older’ American couple at our table during dinner anyway.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Share