My Journey to America’s Final Frontier

Yes, you would be right if you thought I meant Alaska. Amazing how Russia sold 586,412 square miles of land for only 2 cents an acre! But then again, Russia probably thought they were getting a good deal for this vast wasteland. Little did they know oil and natural gas would be found there.

My family and I went on a cruise to Alaska. My dad loves cruises, so for our family vacation this year we decided to go to Alaska. Cruises to Alaska departs from Vancouver, which is perfect for us. It also is one of the longer cruises, as it lasts for 8 days, 7 nights. Most of the cruises we went on in Asia lasted a maximum of 5 days since all the Asian countries were so close together.

I must say, I enjoy cruises here a lot more than I did in Asia. Everyone is more polite (and I am mostly referring to the passengers on it), and the vibe is just better.

We chose to go on the Celebrity Century. And by we, I mean my dad, since he plans all the family vacations. I liked the ship enough, but nothing made it stand out particularly from other cruise ships.

A view of the Vancouver Skyline from our cruise ship

We left on Sunday, the 24th of June. When we boarded, they told us our rooms were not ready yet. So everyone headed to the Islands Cafe for brunch. I do not know how many times I visited the Islands Cafe during the whole cruise, since it was the food joint that was opened latest and was a buffet area. For dinners, there was a more formal venue– The Grand Restaurant. Every family had their own waiters and assistant waiters, and ours came from Singapore and Croatia respectively. I always find it really interesting how the crew on a cruise ship always came from all corners of the world. In my cruise to Vietnam several years ago, the staff/crew had little flags of their home country right next to their name on their name tags. It never failed to amaze me how many different flags I saw.

Aboard the ship, there were performances at night. I particularly liked the night when they did a show they called “A Touch of Broadway”. Everything was so colourful! I also enjoyed Jay Mattioli’s magic performances. He incorporated a lot of dancing and jokes, keeping the audience entertained throughout his whole performance!

A Touch of Broadway

Jay doing his thing

They also had a theatre, playing different movies everyday. I was so happy they showed War Horse (obsessed with Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch), the latest Mission Impossible (Jeremy Renner!) and then In Time (Cillian Murphy!) during my cruise. I really liked War Horse (though I have seen it before), and thought that Mission Impossible and In time was okay, but it was like a never-ending fangirling theatre. Well, for me anyway.

My dad alone in the fangirl theatre 😛

For this cruise to Alaska, we stopped at three ports. At one port, Juneau, I was surprised they had a little tribute to their beloved governor. And by tribute, I mean they make fun of her. 😛

For souvenirs, I really did not know what to bring back to my friends. I thought their dream catchers were pretty cool, until I turned the tag around and saw that it was proudly made in British Columbia. Now why would I go all the way to Alaska to bring back something I could have gotten at home? Plus, are not most of the people who visit these souvenir shops from B.C. anyway? Hmm. Anyway, I ended up getting a couple of ulu knives. Nothing says I had a good trip than bringing back knives for my friends.

Along the way, our ship also steered close to some glaciers so that everyone could take pictures and whatnot. I thought it was really beautiful how the glaciers actually looked blue like they do in paintings. It was also a bit traumatizing when you hear the ships’ pick clawing its way through the ice drifts in order to get closer to the glacier. The whirring and scraping noise made me think of the Titanic again and again. However, all turned out well and we did not end up having to evacuate the ship.

Nearing the glaciers. Here I was wearing flip flops and trying not to let the cold get to me.

Yeah, I know it is summer and we chose to go to icy mountains. Not my idea of a summer event, but hey, it was fun! However, when going out on the deck to take pictures of the glaciers and snow capped mountains, I had to wipe my eyes quite several times. Not because I was being dramatic and emotions were overwhelming, but because the winds were so cold it actually hurt. I was also the fool who decided to wear sandals out on the deck (being too lazy to go back to my cabin to change). Ahh, summer.

So overall, it was a very relaxing trip. I finally felt I could unwind after my hectic first year at university. I also gained quite a bit of weight seeing as how I was eating five (or more) meals a day, all being all-you-can-eats. Here you can have some pictures of my food aboard the ship:


I will now stop with the food spam.

So here are my tips for cruises!
– learn the ships’ layout after you get on. Take your time discovering where the restaurants are, where their lounges are, etc. It will help when you read your ships’ daily itinerary, or else you will panic and run around looking for their “Fiesta Deck”. Well, maybe not. You would probably ask a staff, but it is so much easier knowing your surroundings.
– always book your dinner reservations (they usually ask you during registration for your cruise). If you think you will figure it out after you get on the ship, good luck. I saw this huge line of people trying to do their booking after the ship set sail and they did not look happy.
– when you get your ships’ activity schedule of the day, look through it and circle things you want to attend then plan out when you will eat and how your day will look. Otherwise, you end up missing a show that you really wanted to watch, or a class that you intended to try out!
– always get off when you arrive at a port. It feels good to stand on solid ground after days of being on swaying ground. It took me several days after I came back home to adjust. I still felt like the floor was moving below me.
– watch your food intake. Haha, just kidding. It is a cruise. The chocolate fountains and dessert buffets are irresistible.
– pack formal wear along with your casual wear. And if you want, throw in a little smart casual in there too. Some restaurants and times of the day call for different attire. They may even not let you in to a restaurant if you are not in the proper attire.
– if you know you will get sea sick, get pills or those motion sickness arm bands ahead of time. You do not want to feel horrible during your amazing trip. I was seasick for the first two days until I gave in and bought pills. It sucked missing their awesome breakfasts during those days.
-go out on the deck. Enjoy the view. When else can you catch a glimpse of nothing but sea, stretching out to as far as the eye can see! It is as if nothing else exists and it is just you and the body of water you are on. The sunsets are also amazing. It is undisturbed and unobstructed by buildings one usually finds in the city.

Seriously, go out and enjoy the deck!

So that is all from me today! This post definitely came late, but I wanted to document my trip all the same!
Until next time!

-Karen

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