Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Alaskan Cruise: Icy Straight Point

The port of Icy Straight Point is one that I was especially excited about on our recent Alaskan cruise because it was brand new to me!

Basically, this port consisted of a campfire, a nature trail, a walking trail to the nearby fisherman's town of Hoonah, a vintage cannery with lots of history of the area, a zip line, a restaurant, and a gift shop. There honestly was not a lot to see, but our sense of adventure was strong and we went with it 100%! This port was not filled with the traditional Diamonds International and Effy Jeweler and such and it was honestly a nice change of pace!


This port was about 80% nature and included a nature trail we didn't end up walking. I was honestly a little nervous about running into a bear in the wild. Silly fear I know, but it's true.


After gathering our bearings and seeing the layout of the area, we set out on our walk!


I loved that there was a chart which told the distance to each location.


The cannery was interesting. I love to hear and see how others live, especially years ago - it's seriously fascinating to me!


It was incredibly rainy and chilly on our Icy Straight Point day (appropriately named)!


We were in layers with gloves, ear covers, hats, etc.


I posted this picture to my instagram and had several ask if I caught these fish - no, they aren't actually real fish - they were laying on the cutting table as an example of how the cannery worked, so I picked them up to snagged a picture! :)


After walking through the cannery and gift shop, we decided to take the Veterans Memorial Walkway to the nearby town of Hoonah (a little over a mile away).


It was along this highway where we saw SEVERAL bald eagles. It was by far one of my favorite parts of the entire trip!


This guy was just perched on top of a wooden pole in the water!


We also saw several flying above our heads. When you don't see this kind of thing on a daily basis, it's an amazing and incredible sight when you do! 


Although we had the stroller, Brayden wanted to walk during several parts of our stroll.


Is this not the most precious thing. I just love it!


On our way back, I snagged a random lady and asked if she would take a picture of us with our ship!


We decided to forgo lunch at Icy Straight Point and eat on the boat. Although we were chilly all day, Brayden still wanted ice cream for dessert! Of course!


Dinner that evening included steak. It was delicious!


Speaking of dinner - I have a funny story. So, Brayden became quite the extra picky eater on this cruise and only wanted chicken and french fries at dinner time. Every. Single. Night. On previous evenings, we had to cut the french fries out all together, because he would eat those alone and not eat any of his chicken. Well, on this night, he actually asked for a hot dog which amazed me. So, we asked if we could get a hot dog. Apparently, hot dogs are available on the lunch buffet and after 9 p.m., but not "during" dinner. Had I known this, I would never have asked for one because I never want anyone to go through any extra trouble just for something like that.

So, the staff went above and beyond to obtain said hot dog which we were very appreciative of. When it arrived, it was covered in onions and sauerkraut and of course...there were french fries. I seriously about died of mortification because these guys went above and beyond to obtain this hot dog and I knew all my child would only want to eat were the french fries. Even our server was like..."face palm".... Hah!

We removed the onion and sauerkraut as best as possible and made him take a few bites. If you've ever had a toddler who was somewhat of a picky eater, you understand this situation...

Needless to say, we left that dining room with 3/4 of a hot dog "to go" and Jason and I ate it later that night. Never. Again.


Our friend for the evening was a cute little elephant who wore Jason's glasses! Too funny!


Jason's mom also graciously agreed to put Brayden to bed for the evening so Jason and I could go watch the Piano Man show in the theater. I seriously LOVED the show! They did an excellent job!
 

Since we are "old" and tired, we didn't stay out too late and were back in our room not long after the show ended. I did randomly wake up at 2 a.m. though...and I was amazed by what I saw. I don't think it every fully got "dark" that evening at all! Craziness!

That's all for our Icy Straight Point day! Up next: Juneau and whale watching!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Alaskan Cruise: At Sea Day & Ketchikan

On our last Alaskan cruise recap, I left off with our first evening on the ship and sailing away from Vancouver. Thankfully, our first full day on board was an "at sea day", so we ordered room service for breakfast. On Royal Caribbean, a continental breakfast is complimentary in the mornings (if you choose to do so), but any other type of room service throughout the day comes with a fee. We ordered coffee, fruit, and bagels and it was all nice and fresh (and yummy, too)!


After reading through the day's schedule, Jason and I decided we wanted to hear the Canadian Mountie speak. Coming from a law enforcement family (and as someone who loves history), the idea behind their troop fascinated me.


We also dropped Brayden off at the kids club for about an hour while we listened to the Mountie and he really enjoyed "circle time"...whatever that was! Hah!


After lunch, we took naps then went for a swim in the indoor solarium pool. This is normally an adult only area, but they were kind enough to open up hours in the morning and afternoon for the kids to swim.


Brayden LOVED the pool!


To get back to our room, we had to walk outside (which was rather chilly). Royal Caribbean does this silly thing with their pool towels, so you can't really use them for very long because you're paranoid about forgetting to return them. Basically, you check the pool towel out with your room key, and if you don't return it by checking it back in, your room is charged $25 per towel. Anyway, we used my sweatshirt to cover Brayden up with, so he turned into a little penguin while walking back to the room. It was SO funny and we heard so many giggles from people as they passed us by in the hallways!


That evening was formal night, so we got dressed and headed to dinner! I know I mentioned this in my previous post, but I truly loved our wait staff! They were so kind and generous and helpful. All 12 of us were also seated at one giant table which was nice!


We had a lovely towel creature waiting for us when we returned to our room! :)


We also enjoyed another gorgeous sunset as we sailed to our first port of all, Ketchikan!


By the time we woke up the following morning, we were docked in Ketchikan. We didn't plan any formal excursions here, so we took our time eating breakfast, getting off the ship, and shopping around town.


I just love the landscape of the port in Ketchikan. It's so colorful and welcoming!


We also had a chance to finally SEE our ship from the outside for the first time! With the way it was docked in Vancouver, we couldn't even see it before boarding!


My main goal in Ketchikan was to purchase an Alaska Pandora charm which I did! Some of our crew also walked to Starbucks which was about a mile away. If you're interested in Starbucks at all at any of these Alaskan ports of call, Ketchikan is your place. Unless you plan on taking an Uber, no other port has them within walking distance.


I loved being able to walk around slowly, take our time, and simply enjoy the clean and fresh air! It was a great day for sure!


While Brayden and Jason napped, I had the chance to do something I never get to do on a cruise - I spent about 2 hours on the balcony, drinking coffee and reading a book! It. Was. Heavenly!!!


Once Brayden woke up from his nap, he snuggled with me for a little while, then we got him dressed to go swimming in the pool!
 

Once leaving Ketchikan, I stood out on our balcony to snap a few pictures of the gorgeous landscape. Alaska truly is a magnificent place.


Back to the Solarium pool we went!



He truly loves the water!


For dinner that evening, we had a rip roaring good time while chanting our waiter's name during the parade and waving our napkins in the air. This truly was a wonderful time with Jason's family!!

Up next: Juneau and Skagway!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Summer Running Plans

Races in the summer here in Southwest Louisiana are not plentiful, and for good reason. Unless you are able to wake up early before the sun rises or go out once the sun is setting, your chances of getting in a decent run will be few and far between! However, there are still a few (random) opportunities for races during the summer and I'm going to take advantage of at least one of them!


4th of July 4 Miler

This is one I've run almost yearly for a while now. It's hot, it's sunny, it's crazy, but it's so much fun! A couple of friends and I are also participating in the Triple Crown again this year, so we will receive a medal for completing all three races of this series (the other two races were earlier this year). I am definitely looking forward to a fun day with friends!

Orangetheory

Even though I leave a nasty mess, at least this one is inside with AC and fans! Apart from a few Saturday long runs, the majority of my workouts will be taking place at Orangetheory this summer!

Wine & Dine Half Marathon Training

With the Wine & Dine Half Marathon at the beginning of November, training will have to begin sometime this summer. Although it's going to be a hot one to train for, this race is going to be so much fun and I'm really looking forward to it!

...and that's about it! I knew there's not much going on around here this summer, but it's still going to be a great one!

What are your summer running plans? 

Today, I'm also linking up with KookyRunner and Zenaida for Tuesday Topics!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Alaskan Cruise: Travel Day & Boarding the Ship

Happy Monday!

Although we've been back from our Alaskan cruise for a full week, I was seriously worn out, jet lagged, and trying to keep my head above water. Our travel plans home included an overnight flight where we also lost 3 hours of time (and I hardly slept on the plane), so my body was all messed up and it seriously took an entire week to get it back on track!

Now that I feel back to the land of the living, I'm going to share a trip recap of sorts here.

For starters, let me share a little more about our actual travel plans - this cruise was a family cruise (Jason's side - 12 total) where we spent 7 nights on board Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas to Alaska (we began in Vancouver, Canada and ended in Seward, Alaska). This itinerary was different from the previous cruise to Alaska that we took because it was not an out and back - we were definitely able to do and see a little more here with this itinerary!

Today's post will include our travel to Vancouver along with our first day on board the Radiance of the Seas!


Our journey began in Houston where we took a flight to Calgary, followed by a second flight to Vancouver.


This was our first time to fly West Jet and we really enjoyed it! The cookies that were offered on the plan were delicious and definitely my favorite part!


As we landed in Calgary, I was SO excited to see the Walt Disney World wrapped plane. Now, y'all know this trip had nothing to do with Disney but you also know I'm a huge Disney fan, so seeing this plane made my heart do a little flutter!


Imagine my utter surprise to find that WE were going to board the WDW plane to Vancouver!! I was to the moon!


Of course, I also had to stop and pick up a "real" cadbury chocolate bar in the airport!


Once in Vancouver, we took the airport shuttle to our hotel to meet up with Jason's parents. A first for me on this trip was the fact that I had no input in any plans whatsoever and I honestly liked it! Jason's dad did most of the leg work and for once, it was freeing to release control to someone else. I was seriously able to go with the flow and not really worry about anything. He found all of the hotels we stayed at along the way as well as most of our travel plans and he did a great job!


The following morning (Friday) was boarding day for our cruise! We met at the gorgeous port terminal and sat outside for a while, just enjoying the beautiful day. I also had to purchase another "real" cadbury chocolate bar to take back home with me (since this was our last time in Canada on this trip) as well as a bag of ketchup chips. A friend of mine told me that these chips were a "thing" but I'd never heard of them or seen them. I bought them to share with the entire group and the general consensus was that they tasted like vinegar chips. Brayden on the other hand loved them! While in Canada, right?


Before long, it was time to board! Now, this was our first time ever on Royal Caribbean and I'd heard good things so I was excited to see what this ship was all about.


Boarding the ship was very lackluster. No, I didn't expect the fanfare of Disney, but at least a little "welcome on board"? They literally swiped our cards, then we were ushered into this tiny walkway of a space where tables were crowding the way, attempting to sell us drink, food, and spa packages. Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore, right?

First thing's first when boarding a ship - the buffet! We all headed up to the Windjammer for lunch which was delicious! One thing I loved about the Windjammer was the large variety of food options - they had something for everyone, including vegetarian and gluten free options! Score!


After lunch, we headed over to our rooms to check them out. The view of Vancouver was amazing - it's such a pretty city, I wish we had more time to explore!

Our muster drill was the usual - here's where you stand, come to this area, etc. They also placed a bracelet on Brayden's wrist which was individualized to our specific evacuation area. This was our first time cruising with a kid, so it was interesting to see the new-to-us things they did!


After muster drill, we dropped our bags off in our room then headed upstairs for the sail away party and to let Brayden swim before dinner.


Brayden LOVED the pool. Sadly, this was the only day we had a chance to swim in the outdoor pool as it was very chilly for the remainder of our cruise. We did appreciate the indoor solarium pool which had family hours throughout the cruise, so we were able to take advantage of those!


Dinner on our ship took place in the same dining room every evening with the same wait staff.  I did like that the menu changed each evening, with a few offerings remaining the same. Our waiter (Ronnie) was excellent and the food was delicious as well!


...and just like that, we were off to our Alaskan adventure! I couldn't wait to see what it had in store!


Oh yes, I did sneak away that evening to watch the Welcome Aboard show, where I discovered that this cruise included a live orchestra! Jason's entire family is musically inclined, so they were very excited to see that! (So was I!)

Up next: Our first (and only) At Sea Day & A Stop in Ketchikan

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