Cruise 20

Sailing to Northern Europe

Kevin and I will have been married 30 years in May 2020. And since we love to take cruises every year, we’ve decided to do something really different this go around.

We’re going to Northern Europe.

The only cruise line, well, aside from Norwegian, which is too expensive, that sails to that area is MSC Cruises. We’ve never sailed on MSC before so this will be many firsts for us. We’re not going in May, but we’ll go later in 2020.

It took a lot of toggling windows back and forth between the MSC cruise website and American Airlines, but after running nearly every scenario we could think of, we opted to fly into Amsterdam and drive to Rotterdam, which is where the boat will sail from. It’s about a 50-minute drive and luckily, they drive on the right side. It’s a straight flight from Dallas to Amsterdam, granted, a nine-hour straight flight, but still, it’s better than the other options we tossed around. We’ll leave from Springfield, fly to Dallas and then to Amsterdam. We’ll get in to Amsterdam at about 9ish AM, rent a car and drive to Rotterdam. Turn the car in, stay the night in Rotterdam then sail out the next day.

We’ll sail to Hamburg Germany, have a sea day after that, then sail to Paris, London, Belgium then back to Rotterdam. We’ll then rent another car, drive back to Amsterdam, check into our hotel in Amsterdam and spend the rest of the day exploring Amsterdam. We’ll fly home the next day.

We had initially thought we would take a cruise to the Mediterranean and we will eventually do that, but Northern Europe caught our attention because Brandon recently flew to Belgium to meet some online friends, (I won’t even tell you how nervous I was for him to leave the country and meet virtual strangers. Though, he said he had been talking to them for nearly five years online, the most nerve wracking part of his trip was hoping that someone would pick him up from the airport and be a real, legit, normal person. I’m happy to report everything worked out great and he had a fantastic time).

We looked through Brandon’s pictures when he got back and it was GORGEOUS. The architecture, the history … just everything. And that is when we started looking at cruises to Northern Europe. We didn’t even know there WERE cruises to that region until Brandon’s trip.

I’m beyond excited though. I’ve always wanted to go to London/Paris and I can’t wait to explore. There are a TON of excursions to choose from and we’ll probably just stick to the excursions where we walk around the cities and learn about the history. We feel like that is the best way to see the sights.

We also booked a balcony room! Kevin surprised me by upgrading to a balcony room our last cruise and I’m afraid I’m spoiled now.

I can’t wait to take pictures!

We have a whole year to plan and narrow down details, but for now, it’s a done deal. We booked our cruise and reserved our flights.

Gah! I’m so excited!

Camp NaNoWriMo, Las Vegas

Las Vegas Trip – 2014

So the last time I updated you on our vacation experiences/pictures, was 2013. Wow. I’m really behind. I’ll try and work on this starting with our vacation in 2014.

We didn’t go on a cruise in 2014. I think part of the reason is because we didn’t have enough points built up on our credit card to cash in for a flight and we didn’t even think of driving to a port, back then, so we went to Las Vegas.

But I think the primary reason we went to Las Vegas that year was because Kevin needed CPE credits to maintain his CPA license and we thought it would be fun to go to Las Vegas and kill two birds with one stone.

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Kevin had his seminar until 2:00 every day and for the life of me, I don’t remember what I did while he was doing his thing. I think I just walked around the hotel because I KNOW I would have left the room so housekeeping could do their thing and I seem to recall reading my Kindle, (really, when am I not?) out by the pool a few times and I’m sure I would have taken my laptop … but it seems I could never find an outlet to plug the thing in to so I don’t really remember doing a lot with my laptop, sadly.

After Kevin finished his sessions, we walked around and took in the sights.

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This building was by far the coolest building I saw, or have ever seen since.

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Kevin was pretty big into Nascar at the time so he was pretty excited to see the M&M car.

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The night lights were incredible. The whole city transformed into magic.

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We went to the famous strip:

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And saw some people dressed up as various characters.

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They even had a zipline stretched from one end of the city block to the other and people would routinely fly above us. I wanted to try it but I couldn’t talk Kevin into it.

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We toured the Hoover Dam – it was like something out of a movie.

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We dressed up and went to see Shania Twain in concert.

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Kevin was in heaven because he LOVES Shania Twain. In fact, he told me the other day that she’s going to be back in Las Vegas with another concert. He wants to go. I wouldn’t mind going back to Las Vegas.

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The hotels are so impressive. We stayed at the Tropicana positioned more on one end of the strip.

Saw a few celebrities, no big deal.

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They weren’t very talkative and looked a bit waxy, but hey, it was still cool to see them.

Spiderman kept bugging me. Man, that guy hangs out everywhere.

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We have badges on here … I seem to recall we went on a tour and stopping at the Las Vegas sign was one stop. I think we also visited the famous Pawn Stars shop on this tour, too.

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Yep, here’s Chumley.

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And inside Pawn Stars.

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The rest of the trip? Well, let’s just say that story will stay in Las Vegas.

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Pretty sure we’ll go back to Las Vegas one of these days.

Post Nine
Camp NaNoWriMo, Vacations

A List of Past Cruises

We just got back from another cruise. Well, we didn’t JUST get back, we went mid-May.

If you didn’t know, Kevin and I are BIG cruisers. It’s fun and most importantly, we feel like we get our money’s worth.

When you mention cruising to people they immediately discard the idea. “It’s too expensive. Cruising is for rich people.”┬á I can tell you right now, neither is true.

As with anything, you have to budget for a cruise but when you break down the cost and really see what you’re getting for your money, it’s actually a really good deal.

I mean, just the cost of the room and food nearly justifies the cost alone. But when you break down the number of places you stop, each port that you visit, again, you can’t beat the cost. Imagine how much it would cost you if you flew to each of these places? Then the cost of a hotel room and food on top of that. Don’t forget entertainment and taxis, tips, etc.

You honestly can’t beat the cost of a cruise – and I’m speaking of experience on that; I’m married to an accountant!

Kevin and I try and go on one cruise per year. We have an American Airline credit card that builds points toward airline tickets each time you use it. We also started using the Barclays card, which builds even MORE points toward airline tickets. (Honestly, we HIGHLY recommend looking into the Barclays card). We use our credit cards for everything – I can’t even tell you the last time I used cash for anything.

Now, keep in mind, we pay our cards off every month. Building points toward airline tickets only pays off if you’re not paying crazy high interest payments each month. But we figured, we’ll be buying this stuff anyway, why NOT use a card AND build points while we do it.

However, even though we build a lot of airline points each year, we don’t typically have enough accumulated by the time we’re ready to go on our next cruise the next year, so we have been alternating years we fly somewhere with driving to a nearby port other years.

For example, the last four years, we flew one year, the next year, we drove to New Orleans, then flew the next year, then drove down to New Orleans again.

That way, we continue to build points, don’t pay for flights, and we still get to go on a cruise every year.

In fact, I can’t even tell you the last time Kevin and I paid for airline tickets.

The points cover our airline tickets, it does not cover checking baggage. But still, it ends up costing us maybe $100 dollars to fly when we cash in our airline tickets – FOR BOTH OF US. I’d say that’s quite a deal.

Even though building points sounds great, and it IS great, there is a downside. Cashing in your points means you’re at the mercy of the airline. The available dates and times are limited. Which means, there will be times you have to fly at odd times, or have one or more layovers, or, you have to stay over someplace an extra day or two because the flight plan doesn’t exactly match your travel plans. And yes, then you have the extra cost for the hotel and food but even after factoring that cost in, it’s still cheaper than paying full price for airline tickets for each of us.

In short, it’s worth it. And if you have to stay over someplace, we take that time to do a little sight seeing – when are ever going to be back? Might as well take advantage of the time we’re there.

So again, win/win, really.

And that is how we manage to go on a cruise every year. Remember when I said you really need to budget for vacations/cruises? Well, Kevin has set up a cruising account made up of investments, and that’s the money we use to go cruising. So, we’re saving for retirement and basically cruising on the interest from our investments.

Another perk of being married to an accountant. ­čÖé

When we were driving back from New Orleans in May, (it takes about 10 hours and it’s really not a bad drive at all), we got to talking about how many cruises we’ve actually been on in our lifetime. We took our first cruise for our tenth anniversary. (Blake was about 8 and Brandon was 6 – they stayed with my parents for half the week and Kevin’s parents the second half of the week). We started naming them but honestly, we knew we were missing a few. (How sad, and how awesome, is it that we lost track of how many cruises we’ve been on? What a great problem to have!)

Kevin, being the super Excel geek that he is, made a spreadsheet of our cruises and I’d like to list them now, have a record of them, because if I don’t list them somewhere, we’ll lose track again.

  • 2000 – Honeymoon cruise – we left out of Miami and cruised to San Juan/St. Thomas/Virgin Gorda – Carnival Paradise
  • 2009 – left out of Miami and cruised to Belize/Honduras/Cozumel – Carnival Valor
  • 2010 – left out of New York and cruised to St. John’s, NB/Halifax – Carnival Glory (this was right after Kevin’s’ motorcycle accident – he walked New York streets with a walker!)
  • 2011 – left out of Port Canaveral and cruised to Orlando/Nassau/Freeport – Carnival Sensation
  • 2012 – left out of Vancouver and cruised to Astoria OR/San Francisco – Holland America Zuiderdam (this was only a three-day cruise – TOO SHORT)
  • 2013 – left out of Vancouver and cruised to Alaska (rode the train into the Yukon territory) – Holland America ┬áStatendam
  • 2014 – no cruise – we vacationed in Las Vegas that year
  • 2015 – left out of Honolulu and cruised to Hawaii (big Island)/Kauai/Maui – Norwegian Pride of America (This was our 25-year anniversary trip)
  • 2016 – left out of New York and cruised to Bermuda – Norwegian Breakaway
  • 2017 – left out of New Orleans and cruised to Montego bay/Jamaica/Grand Cayman/Cozumel – Carnival Dream
  • 2018 – left out of San Juan and cruised to St. Thomas/Antigua/Barbuda/St. Kitts/St. Lucia – Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Sea
  • 2019 – left out of New Orleans and cruised to Key West/Freeport/Half Moon Cay/Nassau – Carnival Glory

 

So I’ve been on 11 cruises, and Kevin has been on 13 cruises. (He took a cruise with the boys and LeRoy a few times without me).

Looking over that list, I would say … my favorite cruises were; 2000 (it was our first cruise and everything was new and exciting), Alaska, Hawaii, Bermuda and the one we just got back from.

2012 Alaska is AMAZING and we will most definitely be back.

2015 Hawaii was fun and so beautiful, but it was expensive and we were in a port every day, which was fun, but utterly exhausting. Tip: book a cruise with at least one, or two sea days. Give yourself a chance to relax and catch your breath.

2016 Bermuda is breathtaking. The beaches are pink and super soft. We both loved it and will absolutely be going back for more.

2019 This past cruise was so smooth, literally. Every day the waters were smooth as glass, very little rocking. It was awesome and VERY unusual. If you go on a cruise, you need to plan for one or two patches of rough seas. The captain does everything he/she can do to stay clear of rough seas but sometimes it’s inevitable. You’re on the ocean after all, what do you expect? Just take a Dramamine, sit, relax, drink a ginger ale and the waters will smooth out eventually. Whatever you do, don’t walk around. It makes the sea sickness worse.┬á This past cruise was also awesome because we sailed to Carnival’s private island, Half Moon Cay. It’s a private beach, plenty of room to enjoy the beach (you just have to walk away from the crowds a bit but it’s worth it), and there are no vendors there trying to shove their wares in your face. We will MOST definitely be back for more.

My least favorite cruises?

2009 The cruise itself was fun and this was the first time the boys cruised with us but I hated the ports. Belize/Honduras were pretty but super hot and humid and they had armed guards walking around with guns. Not fun.

2012 The cruise was just … meh. it was a short cruise and we just didn’t really have time to enjoy ourselves. And Astoria Oregon was beautiful but boring.

The rest of the cruises were fun, just nothing spectacular about them. I mean, every cruise is great, don’t get me wrong, I’m not ungrateful, but certain trips are just … perfect, others, are just fun.

If that makes sense.

We are planning our next cruise. It will be our 30th anniversary next year so I want to do something extra special. We have been saving our airline points and plan on flying to Barcelona Spain to take a Mediterranean cruise. It will take quite of bit of planning, the flight itself is about 14 hours long. And we will likely have to stay an extra day or two in Barcelona before flying back but somehow, I think we’ll find something to do.

Post One

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vacations

Planning Vacation in 2016

So, I bet you can’t guess what’s on my mind right now…

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I initially told Kevin that we weren’t going on vacation this year, that we were going to have a staycation and save some money ….

And then I got to talking to a friend of mine at work and she was raving about her stay on South Padre Island and I thought … hhmm…. that wouldn’t be too expensive, right??

And then I talked to another friend of mine at work who just got back from Destin, Florida and how she rented a car to drive down there and I thought … hhmm…

So I started doing some research.

Let me just say, that I LOVE doing vacation research. The possibilities are nearly endless.

I looked up cars and it would cost us about $300 dollars to rent a car for a week. I thought, okay, we’ll drive to South Padre island, it’ll take us two days down there and back, we’ll take our time, stop off whenever, wherever, we wanted … we would get the XM Satellite option and Kevin would have all sorts of stations to listen to .. it’ll be cool.

Then I started researching hotels in South Padre island and things to do – which admittedly, wasn’t much. But that’s okay, we would relax, enjoy the sun/beach. Our Hawaii vacation, though freaking awesome, was anything but relaxing, we went on excursions every day and we were constantly on the go. But we figured, WE WERE IN HAWAII, and we would likely never go back, so we wanted to see as much as we possibly could. And we did. We island hopped and we got some pretty fantastic pictures, which I have yet to show you or talk about, but I’ll get around to it, eventually.

I presented my ideas to Kevin. I was excited, I had a plan. This would be different, relaxing and relatively cheap compared to vacations in the past.

Kevin was less than thrilled with my idea. In fact, he shot me down. In fact, he hated the whole idea.

He wasn’t excited about taking four days out of our vacation to drive. He’s never been one to like driving anyway, he feels like it’s a waste of time so no, that idea was shot.

I didn’t give up though. He wanted to cash in our frequent flyer miles and fly down there, the problem is, there really isn’t any place to fly TO. There’s Brownsville, TX, but American Airlines doesn’t go there, the closest we can go is San Antonio. So I thought, okay, let’s fly into San Antonio, spend a few days there, see the sights, (they have a hop-on-hop off boat tour thing which I thought looked fun), and then we would rent a car and drive the five hours to South Padre Island, spend a few days on the beach, drive back to San Antonio and fly home.

Again, Kevin shot me down. I just couldn’t get him excited about South Padre Island.

I got to talking to my friend again at work and she mentioned she wanted to spend her 25th wedding anniversary at a Sandal’s resort.

Hmmm….

So I started researching Sandals in the Bahamas. We’ve talked about wanting to go back someday. I figured we could fly out of Tulsa using our frequent flyer miles and stay at the resort for four days, then come home. We would then have a few more days at ┬áhome to goof around.

I started shopping prices, dates, things to do, which admittedly, there wasn’t much to do during the day at the Sandals resort, the beach, of course, but so many days of sitting on the beach and even I, who loves to sit and read, would get bored. So I figured four days would really be all we could handle. But there looked like there would be plenty to do at night, so that would be fun.

I approached Kevin and he loved the idea. Sandals is basically a cruise on land. It’s all inclusive, which means it includes food/tips/drinks. We love that concept because then you don’t have to worry about where you’re going to eat and how much it’s going to cost.

We HATE spending money on food. You’re literally eating your money. Hate it.

I had everything lined up. It would cost us about $2,200 dollars for four days. Remember, our flight was “free” with our frequent flyer miles, we would have to pay taxes (GRR) and luggage fees.

I hesitated clicking the “book it” button. We sat around and talked about it for a while then we went to the Sandals website to look at pictures of the resort. (We were booking the resort through hotels.com – highly recommend, by the way).

The pictures were nice – full of nicely-dressed people standing around with smiles and drinks, looking happy and oh-so pretentious.

Pretentious.

Kevin and I looked at each other. “Do we have to dress up for this place?” Kevin asked.

“I hope not,” I said. “Though if we want to eat at some of their nicer restaurants, we’ll have to dress a little nicer than a t-shirt and shorts.”

Now, we know the pictures on the Sandals’ website are┬ámeant to entice and advertise for their resort, but honestly, it sort of turned us off because we’re t-shirt/shorts sorts of people and if we’re going on vacation, the last thing we want to do is dress for work. (Well him, anyway, since I’m in scrubs all day every day).

So. We scratched the Sandals idea. Though we would still like to go to one of the resorts some day – we’re not totally tossing the idea. And $2,200 for four days?? We could go on a cruise for cheaper than that.

Which brings us to our latest vacation idea – another cruise.

People, you just can’t beat a cruise, you truly can’t. It’s not as expensive as you might think it is. Especially when you start comparing what you get on a cruise and what you get when you have to pay for all of the individual goodies by themselves.

Again. I fought against another cruise. I love cruising, don’t get me wrong, but they are hard on me. I’ll be honest, I get seasick. Not so bad that I’m stuck in my room puking my guts out, but there have been a few occasions when we have run into rough waters and I’ve had to sit, breathe and drink ginger ale. (Which helps a lot, by the way).

I really wanted to take a break from cruising this year. But then Kevin said, “do you really want to look back at our lives and have nothing to show for it? Look at all of the fantastic vacation pictures we’ve taken over the years and how many stories we have to tell. Let’s do it.”

And still, I hesitated.

And then, I noticed how tired Kevin was looking. He’s been working really hard lately and taking very little time off. For those of you that don’t know, he is self-employed which translates into, he is always working. When he’s not at a client’s, he’s working from his office after 5:00 and on the weekends. He never really gets away from it.

Which got me thinking, what if we went on another cruise, he would have no choice but to relax if we did that. We’re out in the middle of the ocean, he has no where to go.

One of the places we haven’t been to is Bermuda. And to reach Bermuda, you leave from Boston or New York – which we have yet to visit Boston, (well me, Kevin has been for business) and we want to go back to New York because that was the year we left for a cruise from New York for the Bahamas shortly after he had his motorcycle accident and we didn’t get to do as much as we wanted because he was weak (and probably shouldn’t have gone on vacation so soon after his accident anyway).

So I started researching a cruise to Bermuda. Kevin told me dates that would work for him and his business and I set to work

I went to Royal Caribbean’s website first, because we haven’t cruised on that line yet, but their cruises were only 5 days and leaving from Baltimore and New Jersey. That didn’t work for us.

Then I went to Norwegian’s website – we sailed with Norwegian last year when we cruised the Hawaiian islands and we really liked it. I started with leaving from Boston, but the dates didn’t line up so I looked at leaving from New York.

The dates matched.

Then I went to American Airlines’ website to look at flights. I always start my search leaving from Springfield because if we can avoid driving four hours to St. Louis/Kansas City/Tulsa, then we’re going to try and avoid it. The down side to cashing in frequent flyer miles is that you’re limited on your dates. You just sort of have to make it work if you want to cash them in. And since paying for flights can cost $1,000’s of dollars, we make it work.

To my surprise and delight, flying from Springfield would work. (If Springfield hadn’t worked, I would have checked Tulsa then Kansas City – we try and avoid St. Louis airport unless we don’t have any other choices).

Here’s a little tip if you’re looking into booking a cruise – bite the bullet and arrive at your destination the day before you’re supposed to board the boat. We flew down ON the day we were departing one time, ONE TIME, and never again will we do that. It was beyond stressful worrying about whether the flights would leave on time because one little hiccup and we risk not boarding the boat in time. In fact, the time we flew down on the day, we were one of the last to board, we cut it that close.

NEVER. AGAIN.

So we always fly in to the city the day before, spend the night and then it’s no big deal to get to the pier the next day in plenty of time. In fact, we’re always one of the first batch of people to board the boat.

This particular cruise is from Sunday to Sunday. So, the plan is, since we want to spend a few days in New York to finish sightseeing the places we didn’t have a chance to see last trip, we will fly in on Friday, get to New York about 11:00 PM, then we’ll have all day Saturday to sight see. Sunday, we’ll have a nice breakfast, check-out of our hotel and make our way to the pier.

There was one flight back on the Sunday the ship returns but it was at 7:30 AM and the boat won’t dock until 8:00 AM, so that won’t work. We’ll have to spend Sunday in New York, do more sightseeing, then catch the plane back home on Monday. It will be back to work on Tuesday. It will be rough, and I’m sure we’ll be exhausted, but we’ll handle it.

We haven’t booked it yet – we’re still talking, but I think we’re about 80% sure we’ll do it. This is what we do every time we plan on going anywhere – we talk it to death before taking the plunge.

Yes. It will be expensive (but not as expensive as other trips), but you know what? I work hard, Kevin works harder. We deserve one week of the year for some R-and-R.

Don’t you?

Cruise 13 - Alaska

The Statendam

So. Alaska.

We went in 2013. I’m behind – deal.

If you’ve never been on a cruise, well first of all, you NEED TO GO ON A CRUISE. It’s awesome. It’s our preferred vacation for sooo many reasons. I’ll have to write a blog post sometime: “tips from a veteran cruiser.”

Anyway. Whenever you go on a cruise, you have to do a safety drill. It’s mandatory. You HAVE to participate. If you do not, they will hunt you down and MAKE you participate. Everyone hates to do it, but it is nice to know what to do and where to go in case of an emergency. This picture is me at our lifeboat station. Only, we went to the wrong lifeboat station and we were the last ones to get in line and it was embarrassing because they don’t dismiss you until everyone has gotten into line and been checked off the list.

We got a lot of dirty looks from fellow cruisers that cruise.

Kevin and I still laugh about our stupidity to this day.

We sailed on Holland America’s Statendam. It was an older boat with even older people. I think we were the youngest on that cruise.

One of the first things we do whenever we go on a cruise is put our luggage away in our rooms (once they’re ready – a lot of times, they are loading up the boat and cleaning your rooms whenever you first go on board so you end up hauling your carry-on luggage everywhere with you until your room is ready. Annoying, but it is what it is), and then explore the boat. We like to walk from bow to … whatever the back of the boat is called (you’d think I would know that by now). This gives us a chance to get our bearings though we usually end up getting lost or turned around every single day. We usually get the hang of the boat by the end of the cruise.

One thing I consistently forget to do is take pictures of the inside of the boat. We’ve been on some TACKY boats, but the Statendam wasn’t that bad, really.

This was the library. We spend a lot of time in the library on the boats. Mainly because that’s where you can hop onto a computer and access the internet, which, I might add, is ASTRONOMICALLY expensive. But we have to access it because Kevin needs to be able to check into work and make sure Blake has things under control.

Which, I might add, he does a pretty fantastic job of keeping things running. We did have a bit of a scare though on this cruise. Kevin couldn’t reach Blake online and his phone was getting spotty service so he couldn’t call him. Kevin saw that our brother-in-law was on Facebook, messaged him and asked him if he could call Blake and make sure he was okay. Blake was supposed to have delivered some paychecks to a client and the client contacted Kevin and said that Blake hadn’t made it in yet. That didn’t exactly sound like Blake so we began to worry. Our worry was compounded whenever we couldn’t reach him. Our brother-in-law connected with Blake, asked him to sign on and everything was fine – he had overslept. He got a little bit of a butt chewing for that one but it all ended on a positive note.

(And in case I haven’t mentioned it before – Blake is Kevin’s bookkeeper at his office).

The food is always pretty good on cruises.

In fact, that’s always one of our favorite parts. You can always get something to eat and you don’t have to even think about where your next meal is coming from. That’s always a pain whenever we go on vacation.

Come to think of it, I hate thinking about food, period. It’s a good thing Kevin likes to cook or I would have starved my family a long time ago.

Cruise 13 - Alaska, Vacations

Sailing the Inside Passage to Alaska

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Finally. We’re on Holland America’s Statendam. Look at that water – smooth as GLASS!!

Here’s one of my favorite pictures from our 2013 Alaska trip:

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I want to blow this one up and hang it – soooo pretty.

Here’s a short video to show how smooth the water was in the inside passage…

We were also fortunate to see some whales, too.

I wish I could say the trip back down to Vancouver, after our cruise was over, was equally smooth sailing but alas, no, it was not.

We were one of the last cruises of the season and we ran into a storm on the way home. Luckily, our ship was small enough that we were able to stick to the inside passage and though it was not as smooth sailing as above, it wasn’t too bad. Whenever we passed by an area that there were no longer mountains on either side of us, the waters got very choppy and I got seasick. In fact, we have a video, somewhere, of the water in the pool sloshy so much that it soaks the deck. The pool water got so bad, that Holland America had to drain the pool it was making such a mess. But at least we were able to keep to the inside passage most of the way back to Vancouver. We were sailing side-by-side a Royal Carribean ship and it was too large to sail the passage so I heard they had some REALLY choppy waters on the way back.

That is definitely a con to cruising – even though the captains do a fantastic job of avoiding rough waters, it will occasionally happen. That’s when your Dramamine comes in handy.

Cruise 13 - Alaska

Excited to Board Our Ship

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Still waiting to board our cruise ship to Alaska. This was back in October 2013.

We chose Holland America. It was the last cruise to Alaska in 2013. It was a smaller boat and full of old people, we were one of the youngest couples on board. It was comfortable though and we thoroughly enjoyed it. It won’t be our first cruise line choice in the future, but we certainly don’t regret sailing with them.

If you’re ever in the market to take a cruise, TIP: stay overnight in the city where your shipped is docked. We flew down the same day our cruise was set to take off (it was our first cruise – rookie mistake) and very nearly didn’t make it in time. It was one of the most stressful times of my life and we vowed NEVER to do that again. Yes. It’s more expensive, but it’s money well spent in the end because you arrive, get to do a little sight-seeing, get a good night’s rest and arrive in plenty of time to board the ship the next day.

And speaking of cruises … I don’t think we’re going to have the money to go on a cruise this year. Which is very disappointing as this will be our 25th wedding anniversary and I’ve always told Kevin I would love to go to Hawaii for our 25th anniversary. I wanted to take a seven-day cruise around the Hawaiian islands this year but wow – expensive. And we would have to cash in ALL of our AA airline points THEN SOME and well, money is tight. We’ve been fixing up the rental house and … life happens. So. I know Kevin feels bad about it but I don’t want to stress him out so I have firmly declared that we’re taking a staycation this year.

There’s always next year, right?

Cruise 13 - Alaska, Photos

Photo: Vancouver, You Have a Lot of Glass and Boats

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October 2013 – we’re in Vancouver, British Columbia. We flew into Vancouver the day before our cruise was scheduled to leave and we spent the day sight seeing. It was a GORGEOUS day and this is one of my favorite pictures.

One. Because there is so much glass! And boats!

Two. Because I think I look pretty good leaning up against that post. Note to self: wear dark clothing – it hides the chunky monkey.