Hello Coffee Lovers Dilemma readers!! I’m so excited to write this guest post for
Katie about my recent vacation adventures! Katie and I met about exactly 1 year
ago before beginning our Dietetic Internship. Now, a year later, not only did we
achieve our goal of becoming Registered Dietitians, but also we became great
friends through our love of nutrition, exercising, and having lots of fun!!!
But enough about us, let’s talk about vacation! A little over a month ago, I was
extremely blessed to be able to go on an Alaskan cruise with my fiancé and his
family! When I first heard the news about us going on this trip, my mind was
consumed with many different thoughts…Alaska=beautiful, cruise=crowded and
sea-sickness, studying while on a 7-day cruise=waaah waaah. But before I knew it, I
was on a plane to Seattle to start off an amazing and unforgettable adventure! (Not
after having a fiasco with a missing passport of mine—classic Sarah style: write 7
reminders for myself and leave the thing on my desk, 8 hours away. Cool. But that’s
different story for another day!)
First of all, Seattle is epically awesome! We were lucky enough to port out of this
city and were able to fly out early to sightsee a bit. Man was I impressed—the city is
incredibly beautiful with the Puget Sound on one side and the Cascades on the other,
combining my two favorite landscapes into one! We went to see the Space Needle
downtown and got to visit the Pikes Place Market!
Pikes Place was literally my Heaven on earth!! Just imagine a huge farmers market
with tons and tons of fresh fruit and veggies, freshly caught fish, with the added
bonus of fresh flowers!
Apparently in the Pacific Northwest, farmers grow fields of flowers! For this
Nebraska raised girl, the only crops I saw daily growing up were corn and soybean
fields! But I had a great time spending hours trying all of the different things and
only spent a little bit of money on chocolate covered Washington cherries and a
photograph of the market from a local photographer. And my lovely fiancé also
bought me a bouquet of flowers—he’s a gem!
The next morning we were all aboard the Norwegian Pearl—holding about 2,100
guests and 1,500 crewmembers! It was massive!
Going in to this vacation, I had my reservations: is there enough to do on a cruise
ship, can I still workout daily, is my normally healthy diet going to go out the
window? I can safely that my worries were put to rest! I’ll break it down into 3
bullet points to make it easier on the eye!
• Is there enough to do on a cruise ship? Oh my gosh yes! There are tons of
activities planned every day that you can choose to attend or not. Each
night, there is a show in the theater ranging from Broadway plays, to
comedy, to dance numbers. There was also a casino (which I stayed away
from for the sake of my wallet), mall, and various kids clubs for the youngins
to join! The ship itself really exceeded my expectations!
• Can I still workout daily? Sure thing! Not only was there a full gym, but a
studio for fitness classes, an outdoor track, and a rock wall. A word to the
wise: don’t jump on the treadmill when the wakes are 10 feet high and you
lose your footing walking down the hallway. You end up feeling like you
are running up and down hills and cut the run off early to spend the next
10 minutes in the restroom thinking you are going to be sick! Not fun my
friends! But in all seriousness, after that first day, we were home clear
with the bounciness and my workouts resumed their normal duration!
Additionally, outdoor track=genius! However, on an Alaskan cruise, sun-
tans do not happen and the average temperature is 65 degrees with gusts of
winds from the mountains! Good idea in theory, but the deck is better used
for reading a book and admiring the scenery rather than running!
Is my healthy diet going to go out the window? Maybe… Our ship was
full of different types of restaurants and one extremely large buffet. Each
morning, we stuck to the buffet for breakfast because it had the most
options. I voted for the fruit, yogurt, and granola combo I typically do at
home so I was a happy camper! Lunch again was at the buffet, which had
an outstanding salad bar! I was in Heaven—all the veggies I wanted in one
place! Now I can say that I was pretty mindful of my choices, but there were
many temptations surrounding me…all types of cuisines like Indian, Italian,
German, and French to name a few. And oh my gosh the desserts! I may or
may not have had 2 soft serve cones each day on the trip!
But to put it
simply, vacation is about enjoying yourself so take that brownie for dessert
or eggs benedict in the morning. But don’t do it at every meal! You still need
strength and energy to enjoy all of your excursions off the boat!
Speaking of excursions, we went on quite a few, so I will break it down into the
different cities we stopped in!
• Juneau, Alaska—This was our first stop and it was by far the most
educational! The fiancé, his siblings, and I got off the ship and headed to the
Mendenhall Glacier via a tour bus.
Our guide was phenomenal! I learned tons of interesting, but also useless
trivia facts on the ride! For instance, did you know that Juneau is the only
U.S. capital that is not assessable by car, and only reachable by plane or ship
(or by swimming if you are very skilled!) Additionally, Alaskan airlines
has the only recorded plane interference caused by a salmon! No joke—
apparently a bald eagle (which are all over the place in Alaska) swept a
salmon from the bay and was flying away. Well, the plane was trying to take
off at the same time and the eagle got scared and dropped the salmon on the
windshield of the plane! The plane had to do an emergency landing to repair
the windshield before they could continue the flight!! Warning to all pilots
out there: watch out for those salmon! Once we got off of the bus, we hiked
on a few trails around the glacier and came across a beautiful waterfall!
We were so close to the base—it was kind of scary! But the glacier was
beautiful and absolutely massive (about 12 miles long, or deep, into the
mountains!) The glaciers all appear blue in color, but that is just how the
light hits the ice—up close, the ice just looks like normal, clear ice cubes!
• Skagway, Alaska—This was my favorite day on land in Alaska and it was our
longest-12 hours to enjoy the city!
Skagway is a little tourist town that only has around 900 year-round
residents! My day begin in search of the town library to get access to some wi-
fi. At the time, I was in the middle of an online summer class and was studying
for the RD exam (stress city!) I missed the memo on when the library opened, so
I arrived and I still had 2 hours to kill. So the fiancé and I met up with his family
at the Red Onion Saloon, which is an old brothel! Not exactly the most G-rated
place, but it was a great restaurant with interesting décor: multiple old bed pans
nailed to the wall (strange, but it looked kind of cool!) Next stop was a local ice
cream parlor, typical, and then toured some different shops! I eventually made it
back to the library and finished my work and was rewarded with a cold Pale Ale
and portabella mushroom burger from the Skagway Brewing Company (great
little local brewery and restaurant!) I love going to local restaurants here in St.
Louis, so this place was right up my alley! The day ended with a hike up to an
old cemetery with beautiful scenery along the way! We had AMAZING weather
throughout our entire trip, much of which I attribute to my recently passed
Grandfather—I know that he was watching over me and wanted me to enjoy this
• Glacier Bay, Alaska—This day was spent entirely on the boat, but was most
amazing in scenery! We had park rangers come aboard the ship to explain
different facts about the glaciers and point out all of the wild life (brown
bears and mountain goats galore!)
The most amazing part of the day was seeing the Marjerie Glacier calving, or
big chunks of ice break off! It was so loud, it sounded like thunder! Next to
the Margerie was the Great Pacific Glacier. This one is brown in color instead
of the brilliant blue. This is because over the years, the glacier picked up
the sediment from the ocean floor. It is amazing how different they look!
Overall, it was an amazing day with even better weather—the first day of no
rain since April: truly blessed!
• Ketchikan, Alaska—this day was spent like crab fishermen on Dealiest Catch!
Early in the morning, we boarded the Aleutian Ballad, as seen on the second
season of the show! The fiancé was in HEAVEN!!
He thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread! The fishermen on the
boat toured us around the bay and pulled up different crab pots! We got to hold
the box and snow crab!
And they should us the epic King crab that is so coveted! My favorite part of the
day was the unexpected eagle show—about 50 eagles flew by the ship as we
drove by! It was an amazing sight and they were so close!
• Victoria Island, British Columbia, Canada—This was our final stop on the trip.
We were so sad it was coming to an end, but I think everyone was ready to be
heading home at the same time. This was a very short trip on land (about 5
hours). So we headed out to the Butchart Botanical Gardens.
I have been to a fair share of botanical gardens in my day, but this place was
absolutely stunning! I was amazed by all of the different landscapes and
settings they had the plants in! The rose garden was particularly beautiful! I
was taking notes, because I am getting married in just about 10 months! This
day was great and was an excellent, low-key way to end the trip!
Whew! Now I know that was a bit wordy , but I hope that you learned a little
bit and got to see some pictures of things you have never seen before! I would
recommend an Alaskan cruise to anyone for the sole reason that there was not
a day that went by in which you did not see amazing scenery! That, and I would
have never dreamed that I would see Alaska in my life, and because of this trip, I
definitely plan on going back! It is truly an incredible place!
Well that’s all I have for you on this Sunday! Thanks for reading!!