August 31, 2008

Cruise Recap

We have never gone on a cruise before. We were a little apprehensive but we all had a very good time on our trip.

Friday: Boarded the ship from downtown Seattle (no plane rides! Hooray!)in the afternoon. We had a few hours on board to see where everything was on the ship before we left Seattle. We had the late seating for dinner which worked out well. We were able to take our younger son (super-picky eater) to the buffet before we all had our sit-down dinner.

Saturday: At sea all day. It was really rough this day. Really, really rough. We started the day with both kids throwing up in our stateroom (good times). We finally dragged them and ourselves out of the room and found some spots on the ship where the rocking and swaying was less pronounced.

Sunday: Juneau, AK. It was rainy and in the 50s the entire trip. The area of Juneau where the ship docked is entirely built around the tourist industry. It's tacky. But if you want to buy tacky, touristy stuff this is the place to get the best deals. We took the Mt. Roberts Tram up and did a little hike around in the rain. Very pretty. Very expensive. We left Juneau around dinner time. It was much smoother.

Monday: Skagway, AK. We did a little walk around town in the morning. Touristy but cute. We took the scenic railway trip in the afternoon. The kids were bored, bored, bored. We should have left them on the ship. The train ride was very pretty but awfully long. We're also not really train enthusiasts so all the train information went right by us. We left in the evening.

Tuesday: We were supposed to go to the Tracy Arm Fjord but the conditions there weren't good for getting close to the glacier. We went to Endicott Fjord instead. We arrived very early--7ish. It was amazing. We coasted up the fjord passing seals and huge icebergs. Then we got right up to the glacier. It was just stunning. The kids were bored, as always, and went back to the stateroom and missed the whole damn thing.

Wednesday: Prince Rupert Island, BC. We left the kids on the ship and walked around town. Not much to see. The museum there is very nice but the signage is awful. There is next to no information about anything on display. In the afternoon we went on the whale watch. Once again, we probably should have just left the kids on the ship (free childcare, gotta love it) but I hoped they would enjoy it. Younger son enjoyed the free cookies. Older son slept and then got to see a few whales. We arrived back just as the ship was about to leave.

Thursday: At sea. Not nearly as bad as the first at sea day but still a little rough at times. Lots of great views of Vancouver Island and the coast. A few orca sightings. Lots of activities to keep us all busy.

Friday: Seattle. When we woke up we were already docked. We had a very leisurely breakfast and waited for our luggage group to be announced. We grabbed a cab and were home before lunch.

Overall, this is a great, easy way to travel with kids. There's a childcare center on the ship. We also felt, after a few days, fine with letting the kids roam a little on their own. We brought walkie talkie because cell phone service was either non-existent or completely insanely priced ($5/minute!). The on-board entertainment was as silly and cheesy as we feared but so much so that it was fun to go watch. There was karaoke which Wes and I enjoyed. There was family karaoke which the boys LOVED. They seriously rocked the mic with renditions of "I Wanna Be Sedated," "School's Out" and "Sunshine of Your Love." Older son declared karaoke to be "wicked." After dinner each night we'd put the kids in bed and go to the dancing lounge (non-smoking). I would knit and we'd watch the dancers. I only saw one other knitter on the ship and she didn't seem very interested in talking to me.

We developed nicknames for many of the passengers. (Funny how with 2000 people on a ship you see the same 20 people over and over.) There was "The Hills Have Eyes" family, Long Island family, Dancing with the Stars couple (complete with matching outfits!), Tony Montana (15 year old kid in a white suit just like Pacino's from Scarface), etc.

We would definitely do this again. We especially loved not having to deal with going to the airport and all the hell that entails.

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