Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'm hooked...

So, minus the mega preggo (who shouldn't have even been on the cruise due to NCL's restrictions on how far along you can be and still cruise) and the numerous infants (and toddlers) that vacationed alongside us on the cruise, it was a fantastic getaway! It was so nice to vacation in a way that we don't have to worry about how we're getting to our destination, or where our next meal should be, etc. To just wake up each day with a list of activities that we can partake in if we choose, a new city to explore, an assortment of restaurants (with unlimited food -- great for the hubby) to check out, and some form of entertainment on the stage that night...it's definitely the way to go! Halfway through our cruise, we were already looking at NCL's list of other cruise locations. Where should we go next? When I would mention to James two different locations -- using the word "or" between the two -- he would cut in with, "why don't we do both?" Sounds like a plan. I know, I'm game. Perhaps once we're settled in GA, we'll look into the possibility of such a vacation...

I will say, for us, it was the ultimate way of relaxing. We both get too antsy when we travel, so sitting on the same beach for an entire week with nothing to do but stare out at the water gets a bit too tiresome. Heck, we traveled down the entire Oregon coast, a good portion of the northern California coast, and back up the other side of both states in three days. That may sound like a ridiculously quick trip, but there wasn't a moment when we felt rushed. Maybe we get bored too quickly? After skimming the city of Ketchikan, AK in just a couple of hours (being completely satisfied and ready to head back to the ship), James reminded me of the scene in National Lampoon's Vacation. In this particular scene, Chevy Chase nods his head as he quickly scans the scenic area and just a few seconds later says, "Ok kids, let's go!" Maybe we're too much like that. Oh well.

Due to that Clark Griswold Syndrome that we seem to suffer from, it's nice that there is so much at our finger tips on the cruise ship, but yet so little stress added to it. There were a few times during our week that we did run into moments of not knowing what to do with ourselves, and would wander around aimlessly. However, they did a great job at providing nonstop entertainment of some kind. I suppose with the location that we chose, just staring at the scenery was entertainment enough. Heck, we were the only fools to stay out on the deck in the freezing weather at times. But, how could you not? The Alaskan frontier is breathtaking!

I suppose the amazing scenery was the reason behind my obsessive picture taking habit throughout the week -- or maybe I'm just trying to find an excuse behind taking so many pictures. We came away with over 1500 pictures from our trip. Now granted, we ended up deleting several due to trying to get the best shot and falling short many times -- like when trying to get that whale in action, etc. That's alright though. That's a perk that comes with digital photography, right? Oh, how I love it!

Anyways. I'm hooked, and would not be surprised if we end up on another cruise during our next block leave!

Since I haven't done so already, here are some of the pictures from our trip...

Enjoying the scenery...it was great. We were the only two on the sun deck at the time, so it was so quiet and peaceful -- that was until James started cracking jokes...

I think the fog may have actually added to the beauty...

What better way to spend your morning, than out here?

This is what resulted when boredom would set in (luckily, it didn't happen too often!)...

LOVED Juneau! There was so much history, not to mention the Mendenhall glacier! These first few shots were from our tour of the old mining parts of the town...

Then, here are the pictures as we hiked to the Mendenhall Glacier. Not only did we see the result of a beaver's actions, but a BEAR that was enjoying his salmon lunch about 15 feet away!

I think I could wake up to this everyday...

And what better way to explore the White Pass, than by train?

And let me just say...if you're in search of the world's best cupcake, Skagway must be on your list of places to hit. Sugar Mama's has it! Oh, and they have a pretty good brewery, too!

And what better way to spend our evening, than a peaceful sunset?

Man...Glacier Bay is something I won't ever forget. It was breathtaking. The sound of the ice breaking off was amazing!

You can tell just how cold that water was. Beautiful...

As we left Glacier Bay...

The wildlife totally made our day! I LOVE sea otters! The whales were pretty awesome too. Unfortunately, we seemed to always be at the wrong place at the wrong time and missed out on those show offs out there. We typically only saw a fin or two and the occasional blow hole. A few different couples told us about the whales they saw that were putting on a show for the crowd. How fun! Bummer that we missed it!

When we weren't on the deck soaking up the scenery, we were enjoying the many entertainers provided for us at the Stardust Theater. SharkBait was fantastic! I would recommend seeing them if you ever get the chance. I had remembered seeing them on Letterman awhile back, so I knew before their show that we were going to enjoy it...

As our vacation neared the end, the rain took hold. We were so incredibly fortunate to have as much sunshine as we did on our cruise, but by the time we arrived in Ketchikan, that was over with. As it turned out, Ketchikan didn't have too much to offer...some totem poles, Creek Street (which was definitely beautiful in its own right), and some pretty tastey carmel "Orca Corn"...

Victoria, BC was beautiful! Unfortunately, that Clark Griswold Syndrome took hold and we were done after a couple of hours. Of course, my first experience in Victoria may have had something to do with it...About 10 minutes after we arrived downtown, I slipped on the wet pavement and rolled down a hill. Yeah, James laughed hard and hoped for his sake (not mine, ha!) that no one witnessed the hilarious event. Soaked and muddy...not exactly the way I wanted to spend my evening out on the town.

But we made the best of it (after trying to clean off a little bit!)...

Overall, we absolutely LOVED the cruise and couldn't have asked for a better way to spend our post-deployment vacation!

However...On a small side note, we're definitely choosing a more adult-focused cruise line next time so as to avoid all of the babies. One of the awesome couples that we met recommended that we try Princess next time. Even though we loved our cruise and NCL, there were constant reminders of our sweet baby girl -- that we were missing tremendously -- everywhere we looked! Oddly enough, my mom said earlier today that she could tell in a few pictures (which I had posted on Facebook) that it showed on our outward appearance, too. I went back to look, in attempts of finding the pictures that she may have been talking about...Perhaps some of these?

I guess it's one of those things where you can't really tell unless it's a candid shot. I mean, who doesn't smile when they know a camera's pointed at them? It's easy to put on a fake smile (not to say all of our pictures are like that, because they're not!). It is true though. We were missing her. My mom was very thoughtful in her comments about it. Of course Livy was on our mind the entire trip. Heck, several times a day one of us would mention the fact that had things gone as they were supposed to, she would've been with us...enjoying the sights and spending time with her dad.

It's such a hard thing. Missing her, yet trying to enjoy our getaway. We met several couples on our vacation, and as we got to talking, they would *of course* ask if we had any children. There was always that pause. I mean, how do you answer that? No? Yes, but they're gone? Do you want to kill the atmosphere with a Debbie downer comment or just give the quick "no" and continue on? There was once where we found ourselves saying "no" rather quickly since it was such a brief conversation. We didn't feel the need to go into detail. Yet, after doing so, I felt like I was lying. We both did. Then with the next couple, we told them (as James typically tells people) that it's a complicated answer. That we've had three, but we've lost them all. That particular conversation allowed for the more in-depth answer, and we ended up elaborating upon their inquiry. Every situation's different though. As we were riding the bus to downtown Victoria, a couple asked us the dreaded question and we gave that same answer and man...talk about an awkward silence! They just froze. We tried to play it off, as we obviously weren't trying to make them feel sorry for us. We were just being honest. However, there was no salvaging that conversation after that...

I suppose the pain lingers on in so many different ways, and the reminders of our loss(es) never cease...

Wow, well there went a major tangent! I'm sure I've put half of you to sleep by now, so I suppose I better do the same. Bis morgen...

3 comments:

  1. Sounds like a good time, I'm glad it went well. I may have to check out a cruise if we ever get over by Florida. You'll have to give me all the ins and outs of course :) Anyway, I know you'll be out of here soon, I will miss you! Maybe a get together should be in store before you leave? Plus, I need to return your curling iron!

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  2. And I totally understand the Clark Griswald thing, that is so me, I'm not one to sit and look at stuff, I went to the Chicago art museum and almost just walked right through it in like an hour, which is crazy. alrighty, well, talk to you later!

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  3. Looks like you and your husband had a wonderful vacation and the sights are breathtaking! I love the pics!

    I hear you about the dreaded question, it's like Russian roulette. Reactions of people vary - from genuine 'I'm sorrys' to quickly changing the subject to awkward silence. Sometimes I get to thinking, why must we, the bereaved parents, have to walk on eggshells when we answer that question. Our grief is tough enough to carry.

    Thinking of you and your precious little ones. Btw, we also have a basset hound. When I saw Oba's pics, I went 'aww, he's adorable.' :)

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