Friday, June 09, 2006



I haven't been able to get on here (the site was down for maintenance) all week, so I'll do my recap of the cruise today. I still haven't had time to put my pictures onto Shutterfly, so without hosting of some sort, I'm not able to add them in here. Blech. Oh well. I'll do that sometime soon hopefully and then I'll share them.

OK, cruise recap. *drum roll, please*

When we boarded the ship, Seattle was misty and chilly. Yeah, big surprise, I know. Fortunately, because we'd cruised with Norwegian before, we were able to get into the "Latitudes" check-in line. So our check-in process took a total of 4 minutes. We got to jump in front of easily 300 people, probably more. I'm not good at estimating how many people are in a crowd. I know that the wait was estimated at about an hour when we got there. So yay for that! :)

The ship was the Norwegian Sun, which launched in 2001. It was a really gorgeous ship--much nicer than the one we'd cruised on last time, and we thought that one was really nice!

When we got onboard I discovered that Dima and Olga Sukachov, two of my favorite former latin dance champions from back when I used to be really into ballroom and latin, (back in college, and then before I went to law school, I used to compete on the intercollegiate level and went to ballroom camp and all kinds of stuff like that--every year I would go to the Ohio Star Ball, which is televised on PBS, and Dima & Olga won it in 1998--which was one of the years I went) were the featured performers on the cruise! So that was exciting for me. I'm sure everyone else on the cruise thought they were really good and everything but I'm pretty sure I was the only one who knew who they were...kinda like the weird groupie or something, but I digress.

Anyway, it was super cool, especially since they taught a few workshops. Unfortunately, because I was likely the only ballroom nut on the cruise, the workshops were (of necessity) taught at a super basic level. But considering as cruise lines are notorious for trying to sell you stuff, I'm surprised they didn't offer private lessons that you could pay for. You better believe that, even with my tendonitis in my knee, I'd take a private lesson with Dima Sukachov (it's a nickname for Dimitri. Hell yeah. I took a group workshop of theirs once at a dance camp in Florida and it was fantastic. So anyway, the workshops they taught on the ship sort of bored me but I did them because I was hoping that somehow Dima's super sexy magic latin hip action would rub off on my two-left-feet hubby. It didn't. :(

Anyway, the cruise was great. As always, the food was incredible. Yum yum yum. Apparently the average cruise ship passenger gains 9 pounds on a 7-day cruise. Yikes! Fortuantely Eric and I tend to go to the sit-down restaurants on the ship rather than the buffets, but either way, it's all-you-can-eat, so I can definitely see how people could gain that much weight. But I doubt we did. We were quite active for the average cruise ship passenger, depsite my injured knee. We went on four hikes of varying length and went bike riding. Made sure to do something active in each port, and also used the gym whenever we didn't have a port day. Actually, sometimes Eric went running on deck after we got back on the ship before dinner after being in port. (I walked...even with a good knee I don't run. EVER.)

OK, as for the ports, our favorite was Juneau. In fact, of all the shore excursion/sightseeing/etc that we did, our favorite was the one that was free! (Go figure...) In Juneau, one of the more popular sights right inside town (the most popular is Mendenhall Glacier, which I'm getting to in a second) is Mt. Roberts. Most people take the tram up the mountain, at a cost of $22/person for the 3-minute ride. At the top, there's an amazing view of the harbor below, some neat exhibits, a really good film on Tlinigt culture, and some hiking trails. But what most people don't realize is that you can actually hike up the mountain. It's a 2 1/2 mile hike and takes about 90 minutes to reach the top (2000 feet). And then you can take the tram down for a $5 purchase either in the gift store or in the restaurant. So that's what we did. The trail was COMPLETELY DEVOID OF TOURISTS!!!!!!!!! It was lovely, both figuratively and literally. The scenery was gorgeous and it was also nice to be entirely away from people.

Also in Juneau is the famous Mendenhall Glacier, one of the few drive-up glaciers in the world (bus tours and shuttles will take you to the visitor's center parking lot, which is about 3/4 of a mile, maybe a mile, from the glacier). Most other glaicers are only accesible by boat or plane/helicopter. Anyway, being the resourceful gal that I am, I didn't want to spend the $45/person that the cruise line was charging for the city tour that included a stop at Mendenhall Glacier, so I researched other options. The AAA guide suggested a tour company that sold a similar tour for $20/person so I booked that. Well, it turns out that had I waited until we got to port, we could have simply purchased tickets for the express shuttle for $10/person that would just take us straight to the glacier and then we could take a shuttle back whenever we were ready (when one arrived, of course). But we didn't know that. Even if we had, we might have thought that the city tour would be the best bet anyway. Well, hindsight is 20/20 and now we know that we wished we had skipped the tour and just went straight to the glacier. We would have LOVED to have more time there. We only had 40 minutes, which wasn't nearly enough time to hike out to the glacier and back, so we just got as close as we could, took some pictures, and then turned around in time to meet our tour before they left and stranded us there. Oh well. Next time.

OK, I'll continue the recap on Monday. Time to head home and start the weekend!

Posted by Amanda Brice :: 1:53 PM :: 4 comments

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