Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day 7: Victoria, B.C.

Victoria, B.C. was our last stop! When we got off the ship, we fell in love with this bush sculpture of a mama and baby killer whale. How cool is that?

We didn't get to explore Victoria too much (guess I'll have to come back!), but to culminate our British experience, we HAD to ride the infamous double decker bus. It was just like the Night Bus in Harry Potter - wild ride and all! We rode on the top level and hoped that our driver wouldn't crash into anything.

Our last towel animal of the cruise was this little monkey who we found hanging from a clothes hanger. Isn't he cute?

So, that was our cruise. I know, I know, it wasn't the most exciting one, thanks to the weather, but that couldn't be helped. I still had a LOT of fun spending time with new and old friends alike, and it was a treat for me just to go on the cruise itself. I've never experienced anything like that before.

Marsali's mama surprised us all - me, Marsali, Novya, and Taryn - with our very own souvenir cruise shirts. Here we all are in our new shirts, which read, "I sailed Holland America, Alaska 2011."

Well, I am currently on my way home as we speak. It has been about a week since I left Oregon, so I should be home really soon. I hope so! I SO need to stretch my legs!

Talk to you later,

Day 5 and Day 6: Ketichikan and another day at sea!

So, our fifth day on the cruise found us visiting Ketichikan, Alaska. Fun, right? Not really. It was so wet that we didn't bother to get any photos. If you'd like to see what Ketichikan looks like, see this album from 2008! It hasn't changed much since then, as I've been told.

We got off the ship to do a little shopping and to stretch our legs, but no sight-seeing was in our schedule.

We spent Day 6 at sea, staring at the seemingly endless water before us. We encountered stormy weather again, and some people were feeling sick. Luckily, we were feeling well enough to spend the day on the lido deck.

Here are some photos of what we saw on our last day at sea:

See more photos HERE.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 4: Tracy Arm Fjord

Today, we encountered more rain - what a "surprise"! Needless to say, I was more than a little discouraged by now.

The girls and I spent a lot of the day looking out at the beautiful scenery that lay before us. In addition to the rain, we saw icebergs, waterfalls, and even dolphins and sea lions!

When we got bored, we took turns roller-blading around the halls, which amused us greatly. Marsali and I also spent a lot of time just chatting, catching up as girlfriends tend to do.

By the way, how do you like our outfits? Marsali's mama sure worked hard to outfit us well on this cruise!

At the end of the day, we were greeted with another towel animal - an elephant! Isn't he cute?

To see the full album - complete with lots of Alaskan scenery - click HERE.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Day 3: Juneau, Alaska!

As my friend Taryn has already written, we woke up raring to go explore Juneau, Alaska. We were excited to begin that scavenger hunt we'd planned to do. So, we frantically dressed in some of the cute outfits Marsali's mama had made and headed off for breakfast on the lido deck.

As we were heading to breakfast, we noted that it was, in fact, raining. Again. This obviously put a damper on our sightseeing in Juneau, but we tried not to let the rain get our spirits down, too. Instead, we enjoyed our breakfast and then went off to the pool area. There was a dogsled on display, and we wanted to play on it:

We got some nice shots of the wet day from our place on the lido deck:

We went downstairs to another room where we could watch our ship as it eased into the Juneau port. There were five other ships in port with us, so between the rain and the crowds, we decided to give up the scavenger hunt idea. Marsali and I went off the ship with Marsali's mama to do some shopping, but that was the extent of our visit.

By the end of the day, I couldn't help feeling a little sad that our Juneau visit had been rained out. However, it's not like one can control the weather...

To see the full album, click HERE.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Day 2: Seasickness!

That's right - our first full day out at sea was not exactly fun. As Taryn talked about on the Bolton Girls' blog, we encountered a bad storm. This meant that we had to take a different route than we would've had we had clear skies, but different route or not, we still experienced hurricane-force winds and 33 foot waves!

It was a nightmare! Lots of people were seasick, and Marsali and I were no exception. We woke up with queasy stomachs and told Taryn to go off to breakfast without us. There was no way I would've managed to keep breakfast down, even if it was delicious French toast!

Taryn did manage to get us out of bed. We were passing our first glacier, and Taryn didn't want either of us to miss it. I was ultimately glad that I had gotten out of bed to see it because it was the only one I really got to see. Seeing Hubbard Glacier was now out of the question, given our bad weather.

But isn't the glacier gorgeous?

The sky did clear up in time to view this gorgeous sunset. I'm not sure I've seen anything like it before!

Oh - and take a look at this! The pool had to be drained! Taryn told Marsali and I that pool water had been splashing all over the floor, so the cruise staff made the decision to drain the pool. There would be no swimming on this cruise, but hey, I can go swimming anywhere. I came on the cruise to see Alaska, not to swim!

By evening, Marsali and I were feeling better, so we went down to Maggie and Kimmy's room to prepare for the next day's activity. We were to be visiting Juneau, so we'd decided to play a Photo Scavenger Hunt game. Each of us would draw an item out of a hat to find while we were in Juneau. Like, if you drew "moose sweatshirt," you would have to go find a moose sweatshirt and have someone take a photo of you with it. So, that's what we were doing that evening - drawing items out of the hat to search for while in Juneau.

When we came back to our room, Marsali, Novya, and I found a lobster on our bed! That is, a lobster made out of a towel. It's always a tradition for the stewards to make towel animals for people onboard. They even offer classes where you can learn to make your own towel animals!

Marsali and I stayed up talking for a while, but we eventually went to sleep, hoping for clearer weather for our Juneau visit!

To see the full album, click HERE.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day 1: Boarding the ship!

Finally - Day 1 of the Alaskan cruise had arrived! After we'd gone through customs, Marsali, Taryn, Novya, and I found ourselves waiting impatiently in the docking area. Novya got her camera out and took a photo of Marsali, Taryn, and me waiting, as you can see on the left.

Then, Marsali and I looked through her mama's Alaska coupon book. Taryn rolled her eyes; she is not a shopping kind of girl! We proceeded to ignore her, drooling over all of the things we could buy (at discounted prices!).

Yeah - here we are on the ship! After we set down our luggage, we rushed to the window, looking at the other cruise ship in port. We decided to get a photo in front of it:

We soon found ourselves going through the obligatory safety routines - the lifeboat drill, checking to make sure the life vests fit, etc. You know, everything the Titanic didn't do! Marsali, Taryn, and Novya helped me into a life vest, but it wasn't a great fit...

Once I'd gotten that heavy thing off, we headed up to the Observation deck to explore our new surroundings. We found out that our ship was called the Westerdam, and Marsali was telling us that we were in for a treat. She's sailed on the Westerdam three times now, and it is by far her favorite!

Alas, the sky was darkening, and it soon began to rain. We headed inside to our room. But look what Marsali and I found on our bed! Marsali's mama had bought us matching bags to store our cruise souvenirs in. I smiled when I saw that they were adorned with Le Tour Eiffel and the Arc du Triomphe. Ah, to be reminded of home!

Taryn got a present, too - her very own Rebecca Rubin doll! So, we spent the rest of the evening playing with American Girl dolls. Marsali was nice enough to lend me one of hers, so I could join in.

Once the adults had everything unpacked, we got into our PJs and snuggled down into our sleeping bags. It wasn't very long until we were snoring away, dreaming of what our first full day at sea would be like...

See our full album here: Boarding the Westerdam!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shopping in Seattle!

Hi again!

Before we got on the cruise, Kimmy, Novya, Marsali, and I stopped for a last minute shopping spree at the American Girl store in Seattle, Washington. This was a real treat for me because I've always wanted to visit Seattle! Maybe someday I'll get to explore more of it, but for now, I'm pretty content.

Before heading into the store, we stopped to pose for some pictures. We could barely contain our excitement, so I don't know how we managed to stay still for this long!

Once inside, Marsali and I immediately headed towards the Kanani display. We thought about our friend Vienna, who looks just like Kanani! She wasn't able to make the trip, but she would've loved to have had her photo taken here.

We walked around the store together, helping each other decide what to buy. Once we'd both made purchases, we stepped outside for a breather. As we looked through those infamous red shopping bags, our minds wandered to the cruise and how much fun it would be to wear our new purchases onboard.

We went back into the store a little while later to have dessert at the bistro with Novya, Maggie, Elizabeth, and Kit. We got our own pink seats and were promptly served mugs of pink lemonade - yum! As we waited for our sugary treats to come, we chatted about the day and how much fun shopping in an AG store always is. I told the girls about my visits to the AG stores in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Natick, and New York. I can't believe I've been to all of those stores now! That's five stores, counting Seattle.

After dessert, we wandered around the store a bit more and helped the big people do more shopping. I stopped for a visit with the lovely Rebecca Rubin. She has the nicest bedroom, doesn't she? I'm sure the Becky who goes to my school would love all of this...if only I had the room in my travel box!

See more photos here: American Girl Seattle!

I'm actually starting to pack my things up, so I can head back to school soon. I left school in April 2009 and haven't been back since, so I think it's definitely time to head back. It's been a great round of travels, and while I've loved meeting so many new friends, relaxing at home in my own bed is always nice, too! Well, okay, I'm not going home to Paris, but I can't have it all...

I'll post about the cruise soon! The weather was not on our side at all, but I still had a blast exploring the ship itself.



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