Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cruising Around

We were off on another adventure with Logan a couple of weeks ago - a 7 night cruise to Alaska from Seattle.  We've been eyeing up these for years now, talking about how easy it would be to take advantage of them with no flights, etc.  The perfect one finally popped up earlier this year -  a great deal on a balcony, a nice itinerary AND stars / professionals from Dancing with the Stars. Yes, Joe and I love that show!

After some strategic packing (gosh it's nice to be able to pack whatever you want and not worry about checking luggage), we were off!  It was an absolutely gorgeous day for sail-away in Seattle.

I was initially pretty nervous about letting Logan wander around topside without this backpack / leash.  But, this ended up being the only time we used it.  Later on, it was just easier to hold his hand or carry him through areas where we worried about the railings.  But - bye bye Seattle!  See you in a week.

Logan adjusted pretty quickly to life on the ship...a big person bed - for me?  Uh, no bud....nice try, though.

However, we could quickly tell something was off.  The first night was MISERABLE.  Logan didn't really get to sleep until about 11pm.  He cried intermittently every 30-60 minutes.  I finally took him out of the pack and play (multiple times, but I had it), gave him some kid's tylenol in case he had a fever or was teething (as was already being indicated by the crazy drool) and popped out the tent.  This PeaPod tent was the BOMB!  He loved it and couldn't wait to crawl in each and every time after this one.  

I highly recommend one to all my friends now.  It's his own little place, the animals could go in there, it was great.  The only issue was the light coming in - so we put lightweight blankets on top that blocked out all the light - awesome for reading at night.

So, teething...yeah.  It sucked.  We didn't bring any anbesol this time - a first in months.  I've traveled prepared every other trip we've taken and thought we were in the clear.  So, Mr. Grumpy was wearing on us...and the clothes!  Dinners in the dining room were awful through Tuesday - we barely made it through the meal and on Tuesday, we didn't make it through the appetizers before we had to walk him around.  Plus, he was eating pretty minimally.  I think watermelon, bread and pancakes in the AM were about it.

On the second full day of the cruise was "scenic cruising in Tracy Arm".  We made it almost to Sawyer glacier before we had to turn around...the best part about having a balcony for an Alaska cruise was this (well, and having wine out there at night while Logan was sleeping).  

Joe also starting identifying fun shapes in some of the ice in the water...here is a swan...

And then more "scenic cruising"

The thing that we really liked about Holland America was the dining room set-up.  This was our 4th cruise and we've done the Freestyle Dining (Norwegian) and traditional dining with a fixed time.  We WAY prefer the traditional dining - we love getting to know our server and the people at our table, or in this case, the people around us.  They were all super tolerant of Logan's antics for the most part (except that one lady who said "I recognize you - you're the loud baby from dinner".  Yes, thank you.  Ptthhhh.  

Please?  Please make it through dinner...play with my phone!  

We loved chatting with Ali, our server.  It seems like a lot of the men who are working on the ship have kids back home - so we got tons of extra special treatment from them.  Ali would take Logan in his arms, wander around and, on the last night, dance with him for an Indonesian dance.  It was awesome and Logan had a blast. 

Finally, on Wednesday, we hit Juneau.  I was so ready to get off that damn ship.  I've done a lot of longer times at sea, but the 60 hours from when we sailed from Seattle to hitting Juneau were some of the longest I had known because of a 17 month old creature.

Joe and I planned on keeping it pretty low key this time. We didn't want to spend a ton of money or time on excursions that might be too long for Logan's patience.  In Juneau, we hopped one of the school buses that are just at the dock and went to Mendenhall glacier for $12 round trip per person.  It included a short tour on the way there and a lot of eagle spotting!  We threw Logan in the BOB and went for it down the trail - a little more than a mile and we were as close as we were going to get.

Smiles - finally!

After nap time, we had a bus booked to Alaskan Brewing.  This too was only an hour trip...but they were totally not set up for little kids.  Logan was a little loud (feeling better and running all over the place), but...oh well.  We do what we can do...

Look at all those GABF awards, dude!  We love their beer!

The second day of ports was Sitka, AK.  Most of the ships go to Skagway....but Holland does Sitka for their AK cruises out of Seattle.  

Again, we did it on our own (as we always do) and walked over to the raptor center to look at some amazing birds being rehabbed or kept safely in captivity because they'd die in the wild.  Pretty awesome stuff they do and well worth the admittance.  

There's also a hands-on science center there with a feel tank.  If we ever go back, we'll definitely hit that with Logan.  

Otherwise, we just walked around town, checked out the totem poles...

And just got out there.  

Supposedly this is an old russian town.  We saw a few remnants of that with one or two buildings (churches), but for the most part...looked like any other small port town.  :-)

Happy 4th of July!

Ok, so the other big draw for this cruise, other than the great price on a balcony, was the Dancing with the Stars portion.  Our cruise had Kym Johnson, Tristan McManus for the pros and Carson Kressley, Shawn Johnson and Sabrina Bryant as the stars.  There were dance classes, photo ops (which we missed due to the cranky kiddo) and some other cool things.  Including running into them in town and Joe being out with them at the nightclub every night.  The one night where they all did a performance, Joe and I got an in-room babysitter...it was a good show...and here's the last shot of it before the curtains closed.  :-)  We had a nice time, enjoyed the dancing (Logan loved the dance classes too!) and it was overall, a really cool experience.

Our last port visit in Alaska was Ketchikan...and...here's the highlight...

Yes, a totem pole.  There was a cool street called Creek Street that was all built up on wooden stilts on....wait for it..the creek.  But, it was all in the tourist section of town.

That's not to say there's not a ton of cool stuff to see in Alaska...but it was all "too old" for us at this point.  In another 5-10 years, we'll go back to AK with Logan and do some of the cool older kid stuff, but that wasn't the deal this time.

Our very last port was Victoria, BC.  Joe and I hadn't been back since our first anniversary (um...almost 12 years ago) so it was nice to wander around town a little bit, relax and enjoy the weather.  We found Spinnaker's brew pub - one of the places we hit the last time we were in town and enjoyed a British style pint and just walked around until we could tell Logan could take no more (it was 9pm by the time we got back to the room). 

Overall, it was a great trip.  We had our challenges, but, wow - it was pretty awesome.  We keep choosing to do all these crazy trips with Logan while he's young because traveling is part of what Joe and I love to do and we want Logan to be a great traveler.  We loved running into people who totally understood what we were doing with a 17 month old on this trip.  It had it's challenges (eating, keeping him on his sleep schedule, relaxing at night), but in the end, it's all worth it.  Fun thing - all the toys he needed (or wanted) fit into his little tiny backpack.  Talk about figuing out what would be winners and losers - overall, we picked winners!

Well, that was Alaska in a nutshell.  Love the adventures that we're doing with the little one. 


  1. Yay! An update :) Been keeping my eye out for a couple weeks ;) Glad to see you guys had fun.

  2. Oh, and the comment from the lady about your 'loud baby'... seriously? These days, I know I'd return a comment like that with a look.. if not a snarky comment. It's totally appropriate to bring your children on a cruise.