Kristy and I just got back yesterday from an 8 day cruise on the inside passage to Alaska and back (Seattle, Juneau, Glacier Bay, Skagway, Ketchikan, Victoria, Seattle). This was our first cruise and given the option of going to a warmer climate and Alaska, we went with Alaska and it's more moderate temperatures. I've heard that after your first cruise you are either hooked for life or not; of course I've heard that about a lot of things too (Opera, Symphony, transvestites, NHL, etc...). So what do I think?
This cruise had some incredible, once in a lifetime type things happen that I am glad I got to witness. Examples include many close up encounters with a variety of glaciers and to see a 200 foot glacial wall drop off or "calf" was something that I will never forget, salmon so thick in a stream that it appears you can walk across water, grey whales jumping out of the water, many bear/moose/bald eagles, and antique totem poles made by Northwest Natives. All of these things were incredible!
The cruise itself...well, the entertainment was just okay and certainly suited for an elderly crowd. If I go on this particular cruise again, I certainly will be more skeptical of the theater shows (think off off OFF broadway). There was a speaker on board named Mike that basically is a hermit on his own island off the coast of Alaska for much of the year. He was quite a dramatic speaker and his presentations were very good. He even got to go up with the captain and whale spot for parts of the trip, announcing which side and where they were. I did get a little motion sick I think (or it was the food). Motion bands helped but not 100%.
Speaking of food, I'm told that this cruise had a lot better variety and quality than some of the other companies/locations. I appreciated what was available but had a hard time finding something that tasted good and settled my stomach. I'm probably being more critical than I should be. I did like that there was a little cafe that was open most hours for tiny desserts or panini sandwhiches. Also it was nice that the wine bar on board would give you *free* tapas or sushi if you ordered wine.
Alcohol on board is expensive. If you saw my pictures on Facebook you saw that we smuggled gin, vodka, and rum on board. It worked well putting the liquor in bottles in the middle of our case of water bottles *however* the case wasn't as secure as it could have been and apparently spilled some bottles during boarding. In the end out of 31 water bottles and 4 liquor bottles, we lost 4 water and 1 liquor (rum). We'll be ready for next time.
Alaskan Amber is quite delicious and our one excursion that we went on (Bike and Brew Glacier Tour) was very nice. A 9 mile, flat bike ride up to a glacier then transportation to a local watering hole for *a lot* of Alakan Brewing Company beverages. Very tastey!
Ports of call, well Juneau was good, Glacier Bay was incredible, Victoria was nice; Skagway and Ketchikan would be easy to pass up again.
Other stuff: only one shuffleboard court and it was either cold/rainy or in service so we didn't get a chance to play. Internet cafe seemed okay but we didn't use it. Theater was nice with comfortable seating. Rooms were big enough; a balcony was nice on days we were near glaciers/whales. The basketball court was always in use but it looked like it could use some love. The pools were nice but full of kids (pass) the hot tubs were nice too but it took some thinking to find one not full of retirees or kids.
Overall I would go on this cruise again but probably not for quite a few years (there are other things that are better for the price). Princess was a very good cruise line and the ship was very nice. I've heard the Mexican and Carribean cruises are mostly non-stop drunk parties so I'm not itching to go to either.
Any cruisers out there with different experiences?
I took Jack to see Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull today. There were few Jonesian moments early in the movie that made me think that it might be okay. Enter the Aliens, exit any remaining chance of a plot. While it was entertaining, I was pretty disappointed. National Treasure 2 was much better than this one. I think it goes back to the other Jones movies were based on some reality but having aliens land and introduce technology to ancient South America???!!! No. I wish we had went to Iron Man instead. In my opinion this is a rent and not a theater movie. Besides the fact you are going to hear all of the hidden gems in the movie well before you go and see it.
Two stars out of five.
Dear Mr. Murdoch, Mr. O'Reilly, FoxNews;
It is with great sadness that I can no longer support FOX’s newspapers, radio shows, television shows, movies, as well as those sponsors who choose to support you. Yesterday during Bill O’Reilly’s show, he made the comment (excuse the paraphrase as I do not have a copy of the transcript) that “he’s not ready to lynch Michelle Obama… unless…” In this day and age the word lynch should be left only for use in history books. At best Mr. O’Reilly used an unfortunate choice of words and at worst showed how truly insensitive he is. To use the word lynch in the context that “he’s going to lynch someone” is deplorable and then to back it up with the word “unless” is outright stupidity! There is NEVER a reason that someone should be lynched! I’m afraid that this transgression on Mr. O’ Reilly’s part will take years for my personal forgiveness; even if he decided to do the right thing today and ask for an apology from not only Michelle Obama but from everyone who has come into contact with his contemptible words.
I could simply not watch or listen to Mr. O’Reilly’s shows and stop buying his books and that would stem part of the problem. However I am forced to go one step further due to the fact that FoxNews showed an almost equal lack of good judgment by immediately suspending Mr. O’Reilly for his insensitivity. As of this evening, I will cease to watch or listen to anything aired by Fox of Fox News; I will cease to watch any movies produced by Fox; I will cease to read any publications backed by Rupert Murdoch; and I will cease to purchase or use any of the products I find associated with the Fox media conglomerate. Additionally, I am going to write letters (and encourage everyone to do the same) to all of these product companies explaining my rationale until a time in which I feel that FoxNews has acted appropriately with regards to Mr. O’Reilly’s comments.
Its not often that things go my way since I usually root for the underdog. That being said, today was SUPER! I wasn't rooting for the Giants but against Mr. Giselle/fake limp and the patsies. The only way this game would have been better is if TB was driving and was intercepted for a pick six while being crushed while attempting a tackle. And for those of you that say the Eli was in the grasp and should have been ruled down on the drive before? Two words; Oakland Tuck! Or Suck It! Whichever you prefer.
Also I thought it was classy for Belicheat to dress up for the big game. Always his classy self. I hope the NFL fines his a** for heading to the locker room before the final snap. I'm sure it was anyone else's fault but he or his team ( too many distractions because of spygate, unfair media, grass cut too low, undefeated pressure etc..). Tell ya what Bill; karma is a bitch. Kick a 49 yard FG instead of going for it on 4th down.
I didn't always hate NE; when they had Bledsoe at the helm I was quite happy to root for them. But when he got hurt and replaced for the rest of the year... let's just say it left a bad taste in my mouth. Not to mention the whole Belicheck/Cleveland saga.
P.S. -- try not to get any more supermodels pregnant in the offseason Mr. Conservative!