June 25, 2019

Our Alaskan Cruise

Posted in: Travel

After we got back from Europe last year, we started planning our vacation for 2019.  We wanted something different from all the tropical destinations we usually go to, but we were dying to do another cruise.  An Alaskan cruise was the perfect combination!  We also wanted to take a vacation with our college besties and just a few weeks later, we all made the deposit for our Alaskan adventure.

None of us had kids at the time we booked our cruise and now there are four kids between us!  Daniel and Candace are rocking the foster parent life with their three kids and we are waiting for the arrival of our sweet baby girl.  We ended up having to move our cruise up by 4 weeks because Carnival does not allow you to cruise past 24 weeks pregnant.  It did work in our favor though because we saved a few hundred dollars each by booking a cruise earlier in the season.

Since we visited so many places, I’m going to break it down by ports and share about our adventures!

VANCOUVER

Weston and I had a few extra days we could travel before the cruise and it has been five years since the last time we were in Canada.  We decided to spend 3 days in Vancouver before meeting up with Daniel and Candace.  I posted in a photography group on Facebook to see if there might be someone in Vancouver that would be willing to swap sessions while we were there.  I’m so thankful that Vivian responded because we had so much fun with her and her husband, Victor!

After swapping photos, they introduced us to Thai food and we are definitely fans!  They also introduced us to bubble tea – it was good, but probably not something I could drink regularly.  Our double date night was so fun and we didn’t want it to end!

Some of our favorite places in Vancouver – The Slocan for breakfast, Laughing Bean Coffee Co., Roundel Cafe, and the Farmers Market at Hastings Park.  Weston tried a London Fog tea and I tried an almond latté.  The last time we were in Canada, we ate at an A&W restaurant and when we saw one in Vancouver, we had to go again!  A&W root beer and cream soda were our favorite sodas in college and we loved the fact that we are A&W (Ashley & Weston).

Daniel and Candace joined us on our last night in Vancouver and we set sail the next morning.  Our first full day on the ship was a fun day at sea, so we spent time exploring and eating some of our favorite cruise foods.  We even got fancy for the first cruise elegant night and almost got blown away trying to take a picture.

JUNEAU

Our first port was Juneau, which is the capital of Alaska and the best spot for photographing whales!

Just kidding, this is just a very realistic statue!  I only wish we could have seen a whale do this in real life!

We explored downtown and shopped a little before riding the tramway to the top of Mount Roberts.  Once we got to the hiking trail, we spotted a huge patch of snow.  Alabama only sees snow every few years, so we were all pretty excited and had to play it in for a while!

Tracy’s King Crab Shack was highly recommended to us and it was featured on Deadliest Catch.  We ate there for dinner and had the most expensive crab legs I will ever eat.  It was totally worth it though!

SKAGWAY/CANADA

Since we were limited on the types of excursions I could do while pregnant, we did some research before the cruise and decided that we wanted to rent a car in Skagway to visit the Yukon Suspension Bridge in Canada.  As soon as we arrived at the port, we got our rental car and hit the road.

Shortly after crossing into Canada, our surroundings went from lush green trees to a blanket of snow that looked as soft as a cloud.  We had to pull over and take pictures!

I spotted an area of frozen water and began walking closer to it to take a picture.  Once I started walking back, it dawned on me that the entire area was probably frozen water!  I began to panic and tried walking faster, only to fall in the snow.  Thankfully, I was either on dry ground or the water was still a few feet below me!

We were some of the first guests to arrive at the Yukon Suspension Bridge that morning.  It was a lot smaller than it appeared in pictures we saw online, but the views were still breathtaking.  I usually get pretty freaked out crossing over bridges.  Daniel took advantage of that fear and started jumping up and down to make it shake.

After taking lots of pictures, we decided to move on to lunch.  We had planned on eating lunch at the Yukon Suspension Bridge restaurant, but we were too early in the season and they were not open yet. The park employees recommended that we drive another 40 minutes north to a small town called Carcross.

CARCROSS

The four of us loaded into the car, started our Needtobreathe playlist, and hit the road.  We stopped at another breathtaking site to take pictures and the guys tried to skip rocks on the icy water.

The first sign of civilization was a small restaurant attached to a convenience store.  After eating lunch there, we asked one of the employees what there was to do in the area.  She recommended that we visit the Carcross Desert down the road and downtown Carcross.

As it turns out, Carcross Desert is the world’s smallest desert.  It is one square mile and surrounded by snow-capped mountains.  We didn’t plan to climb to the top of the desert, but a policeman on an ATV drove over to us and encouraged us to climb to the top.

I would have a tough time climbing anyway, but being pregnant made it more challenging.  We finally made it to the top and I will agree that it was worth it for the view.

When we made it back to the car, we drove a short distance to downtown Carcross.  It was the smallest downtown I have ever seen, but it was also one of the cutest!  The coffee shop was our first stop and I got the best lavender latté.  Daniel and Candace found a quaint maple syrup shop and we all got to sample the shop’s unique syrup flavor.

Since we had to cross into a different time zone, province, and country to get back to the ship, we headed back to Alaska a little earlier just to be safe.  I’ll spare you all the details, but Candace gave us lots of laughs with her driving skills and dealing with border patrol on the way back!

GLACIER BAY

After an adventurous day at port, it was nice to have a relaxing day on the ship.  We woke up to our naturalist guide sharing details on the intercom about the incredible glaciers we would see that day.  She constantly pointed out wildlife as we made our way to the famous glaciers.

We were thankful for our balcony room all week, but we were especially thankful for it while we cruised Glacier Bay.  Our ship stopped for a while at the Margerie Glacier, which is 21 miles wide.  We had the perfect view from our balcony and we got to see the glacier calving!  It was pretty exciting!

Candace and I wanted to get a snack while we admired the glacier, so we went to the lido deck for some soft serve ice cream.  We got a lot of confused stares and funny looks as we enjoyed our frozen treat near the icy giant.

We probably spent most of this day on our balcony as we cruised along the bay.  There were so many beautiful glaciers and wildlife!

KETCHIKAN

Our final Alaskan port was Ketchikan, which we learned is well-known for its lumberjacks and the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show.  Weston and I happen to be huge fans of buffalo plaid.  He wore his buffalo plaid pullover and I found the perfect buffalo plaid infinity scarf when we purchased our tickets for the Lumberjack Show.

We found a cute coffee shop and I had a buttered rum latté – so good!  We shopped and ate lunch while we waited for the Lumberjack Show to start.

Apparently, there are competitive lumberjack sports and they take them pretty seriously in this part of our country.  The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show was pretty entertaining!  We enjoyed learning about and watching some of the lumberjack competitions.  They even offered Weston a job at the end of the show because he looked so much like a lumberjack with his beard and buffalo plaid pullover.

It was bittersweet leaving this port because we had so much fun and didn’t want it to end, but we were also ready to get back home.

SEATTLE

Daniel and Candace had to fly back shortly after we docked in Seattle, so Weston and I had to explore the city on our own.  We only stayed one night, but I had a list of three things I had to do in Seattle while we were there – Space Needle, original Starbucks, and ferry ride.

After we dropped off our luggage at our Airbnb, we went straight to the Space Needle.  With it being a Monday morning, it was not very crowded and we went straight in with no delays.  Other than the fantastic views, I really loved that they took your picture and didn’t charge you $20 or more to buy it like other similar attractions.  They made it available for you to download online!

We then made our way to Pike Place Market to find the original Starbucks.  Weston and I are directionally-challenged so we got a little lost, but we found a delicious BBQ lunch and got to watch the guys throw fish at the world famous Pike Place Fish Market.  If you’re claustrophobic, I don’t recommend visiting Pike Place Market.  It was more overwhelming than visiting Times Square in New York City.

By this time, we started getting pretty tired and ready to go back to our Airbnb.  We still couldn’t find the original Starbucks, so we decided to do the ferry ride first and then come back for coffee.  On our way, we stumbled upon the gum wall.  It was absolutely disgusting!

We took a short ride to North Seattle to see Seattle’s skyline.  We literally only stayed long enough to stare at the skyline while we waited for the ferry to return.

Weston and I went straight to Pike Place Market and finally found our beloved Starbucks!  There were so many people, but it was perfectly organized chaos.  The cutest old lady brought out s’more frappucino samples to everyone waiting in line.  Everyone seemed genuinely happy to work there, which is not always the case.  I’m not sure if it was adrenaline from the euphoric state we were in being at the original Starbucks, but Weston and I both believe our coffee tasted better from here than any other Starbucks.

We were exhausted from our week-long travels and decided to head to our Airbnb for the night.  It was so relaxing to just be there with Weston and not have to go anywhere or do anything.  That night is also very special to us because it’s the night Weston felt our baby girl kick for the first time.  I cried because he could finally feel her.

I tried to answer all the questions that we have been asked since we returned, but I’m happy to answer any other questions!  Leave them below in the comments!

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