Well, on May 4th we were at sea making our way from Canada up to Alaska! The route we are taking is called the "outside pass" (or at least that's what WE are all calling it because we're not taking the INSIDE pass! LOL). We have a day at sea, then a second day at sea although that second day is technically a day in Tracy Arm (a fjord in Alaskan waters----more on that in the next blog) then our 3 ports (Skagway, Juneau & Ketchikan) before a final sea day and then we get off the ship in Vancouver (BOOOOO!!! lol). Here is an illustration/map of the Alaskan portion of our voyage:
Days at sea are lovely because they are relaxing.....and today fell squarely into that category....
...although it ended up being a day best spent mostly inside because the weather was wet and gray and icky and very windy and as the day went on, the water got rougher and rougher. Here is a picture of what we woke up to (don't you love the way the opening in our balcony makes a perfect "frame" for pictures taken from the entrance to our balcony?!?):
....by lunch, however, it looked more like this:
...and by 3pm it was more like this:
It stayed like until at least 10 or 11pm and it really had the ship rockin' and rollin'.....so with that and the rain, it wasn't a day to play out on the open decks...so we decided to figure out what to do inside.
The first thing we did was go down and get in line for the collector's Alaska pins. This is always a madhouse of rabid disney pin fans----some of whom come down to start the line in their pajamas with pillows and blankets at 2 or 3am (that would be our nutty friends Michael & Cayla LOL)! We weren't sure we even WANTED the pins, but in order to have a chance to get them at all, you had to get the wristbands because they are limited edition...so we figured better safe than sorry. And good thing, we did, too, because later in the evening we were left a gift from the cruise line in our room---a lithograph by Don "Ducky" Williams that we have decided we are going to mount with all the pins and some pictures of our journey. ("Ducky" Williams is great and we love his art----I even have a very personally valuable sketch by him framed and hanging in our den at home----keep reading to hear more about that story!) Here's a picture of all that stuff:
...but I'm getting ahead of myself.
So after waiting in line for our pins, we decided to go see a retired forest ranger from Juneau that they had onboard who was talking about the wildlife we would see on our journey.
His name was Pete Griffin (NOT Peter Griffin---which he was quick to remind us is an overweight cartoon character! LOL). This talk was a very interesting and included some fun pictures and stories and a very cool video his program had made about research being done on wild flying squirrel populations. If you know me very well, you know I love animals (I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it elsewhere on this blog at some point, too, but I can't remember exactly)....and I ALWAYS try to book excursions that will involve seeing or (even better) interacting with animals. So this talk excited me because it gave me a glimpse into some of the animals we might see----birds, mammals, sea mammals....OH MY!! *smile*
After the talk, Jason and I decided to kill some time playing games----both board/card games in the cafe and some ping pong and foosball out on the covered deck:
I should confess that none of these pictures are "action shots"----we did really play all these games...but for these pictures we used Jason's fancy technology to splice pictures together and make it LOOK like the picture was taken during a heated ping pong or cards battle! And so.....because we were bored and enjoying playing with Jason's camera phone....we thought of another idea....
(In case you can't make that out----that's Jason playing ping pong against.....JASON-----and me playing foosball against myself! LOL)
After this late morning excitement, it was time for lunch and then after lunch we spent some time in one of the lounges and then up on the covered decks hanging out with some friends:
After hanging out with all our Disney character friends so they could get back to whatever is Disney characters do with their days when they're not mixing and mingling (LOL), Jason and I decided to go play Bingo:
...we have never done this on the ship before (it costs extra and it's the closest that Disney ships have to gambling onboard---whereas most other cruise lines have full casinos). It was OK to say we've done it...but we had no luck at all and it wasn't the most exciting thing we've ever done----so in the future we'll probably just play more cards or bananagrams! :)
During the afternoon we also went down to play Disney Tune Trivia----think "name that tune" only with Disney songs. They play a little bit of a song on the piano and you have to give the title of the sing and the film it is from. Then there is also a trivia question related to that song and/or film (like who played the voice of the character who sang it? or who wrote it? or what kind of pet did the main character in that film have? etc.) When we first arrived, Jason and I were on a team of our own but then a really wonderful lady who's been on the same cruises as us before named Kathie came in and was looking for a team to join and she joined up with us. The three of us came in second (really we tied for first but we lost the tie breaker question----We couldn't accurately guess the age of the cast member who was "hosting" the game!---LOL). It was very fun and we've really enjoyed re-connecting with Kathie and her husband on this cruise. We first met Kathie on our second cruise ever about 6 or 7 years ago at this point. On that cruise, which was a short 4 day cruise, we happened upon a lecture being given by a man named Don "Ducky" Williams. "Ducky" was the senior character artist for all the print media and artwork (NOT animation) for the DisneyWorld company for over 30 years and he frequently gives talks about his career with Disney on the ships---sketching characters on a large easel the whole time. At the end of his talks, he always raffles off the sketches using raffle tickets that are distributed to the audience as they enter the theater. In that very first time we saw him, I won a sketch of Grumpy the Dwarf which was very cool....but I had really wanted to win the Tigger he drew (because anyone who knows me knows how obsessed with Tigger I am! LOL). His Tigger sketch came up later after I'd already won Grumpy and he called out the winning number. It was a woman in the front row (Kathie) and when he saw that she had won, Ducky laughed and she laughed----and then he looked at the audience and said, "It's funny that she won it...because she's a friend of mine and she hates the Pooh characters!" Without even thinking I hollered out---"I'll trade for it!!!" and she turned and called back "Alright!"....and that is how a hand-drawn poster size sketch of Tigger by Don "Ducky" Williams came to hang in our home....one of my most prized possessions. And every time I see Kathie on a cruise I am reminded of the joy she brought me that day! Hanging out with her on this cruise has been really neat!
Anyhow....so after our fun filled afternoon, it was time to get ready for dinner and the evening's show---Golden Mickeys (again). This image to the right is the door magnet we had created for this cruise's showing of this show. It's an old magnet, but it's still cute and we still KINDA look like that pic...so we brought it along. Golden Mickeys night is always formal night. So we decided to bust out some Disney Princess garb. These vests are very similar to the princess vests that we wore on our September cruise...but they are a little different (those ones were pink and the princesses were bigger----these are more purple with slightly smaller princess and their names are inscribed all over the fabric, too). We, of course, wore our matching button studs with the princess faces, as well. You will recall that I mentioned earlier that the seas were not calm today. Well, by early evening time the waves and wind were really big and the boat was kind of being tossed around----it was probably rougher seas than Jason and I have ever had on a cruise...so rough that the boat's movement was slamming our bathroom and closet doors and we went into a shop and the boat's rocking was knocking merchandise off the shelves! LOL We don't mind the movement of the boat at all....but a lot of people do (I think about 1/3 of the ship was sick and the dining rooms that night were all but empty because most people didn't want to be out of their cabins). In addition, they determined that it wasn't safe to do the Golden Mickeys show that night, so while we were getting our tuxes on they made an announcement that the show was being rescheduled and instead tonight we'd see a hypnotist comedy act. None-the-less, Jason and I got ready in our formal wear...and we even got to pose with Belle:
Like I mentioned, in place of Golden Mickeys, there was a hypnotist/comedian on the ship named Ricky Kalmon. Jason and I usually don't like the cabaret acts (random musicians, magicians, ventriloquists and comedians) that they bring on the ship, so we usually skip them. Tonight we were all dressed up with nowhere, to go, though, so we decided to check it out.
It was OK....definitely cute and good for a laugh...but no Golden Mickeys! :)
After the show, we took some more photos and then headed to dinner. Like I said, the dining room was empty because everyone was sea sick----including Kevin, Randall & Janette...so even our table was pretty empty. After dinner, Jason and I went down to Wavebands, one of the night clubs onboard, for just a little bit (our first time this trip actually) because they were playing a version of the Family Feud. That was good for about 30 minutes of pre-bed amusement and then we went back to our room, where this towel creature awaited our arrival:
....and we turned in for the night so we could be well rested the next day when we had Pajama breakfast, brunch/lunch in Palo and then would spend the day in our first "stop" at Tracy Arm ----although we wouldn't be stopping there as much as sailing through!