Day #4 Alaska Vacation 2009 Tuesday 5/12/09 Juneau

Due to the large number and size of the photos that are in each blog post, I will only be showing one blog entry per blog page. If you have missed viewing any prior days, please go to the bottom of my blog and click on "previous" entries.
I woke up around 5AM and I could not believe was light out already. We were out of our cabin by 6AM. We walked around the ship and took photographs. After taking several photographs, we went to the Garden Cafe...the buffet and had breakfast. It was a mad house in there. We ate rather quickly and got out of there. After getting something to eat, we headed up to the 13th deck where the Spinnaker Lounge is located, where they have lots of large windows for viewing the scenery. Veronica found herself a rather large unusually shaped couch where she read a book and took some photos. I tried sitting in the couch but had a hard time getting out of it, so i decided to go outside and take some more photos. The ship was on its way to Juneau and it would be in port from 2-10PM. Veronica and I had an excursion scheduled for 3PM. The excursion was called the Mendenhall Glacier and Wildlife Quest. We were supposed to meet up with Karan, our Concierge, at 1PM for VIP disembarkment. VIP disembarkment is one of the perks for suite passengers. You meet with Karan at a designated area and time and he takes you the back routes on the ship so that you can get off the ship quicker, rather than standing in a long line to get off. Before meeting with Karan, we grabbed a quick bite to eat at Cagney's and then it was off to our excursion. There was a bus waiting for us at the end of the pier. The bus drove us to another harbor where the whale watching boats were docked at. It was about a 15 minute drive from the dock to these other ships. They took us out to the bay where we saw several whales, some sea lions playing on a buoy , a light house and some magnificent scenery. After an our or so of whale watching, we return to the dock, got on the bus and headed to Mendenhall Glacier. We were at the Glacier for about an hour...walking around and taking photos. The bus picked us up and took us back to the ship, where we ate dinner. The ship left Juneau at around 10PM and began its journey towards Skagway. Another thing I liked about our room was the information that they provided us on the flat screen tv. There was a channel devoted to what they call the "ships log". It gave you direction headed, distance from a certain port of call, distance to the next port of call. total distance traveled from Seattle, showed various maps as to our current location, the speed of the ship, the height of the waves and other assorted information. It was kind of cool keeping track of it all.
Scenery from the ship, on our way to Juneau.

This is a Pilot boat. It drops an escort pilot off onto the ship and the pilot steers the ship through the channel or any other tricky waterway, even into the port of call and to the dock.
Pilot ship alongside the ship. Dropping off the pilot.

Scenery as we were heading to Mendenhall Glacier

Juneau, Alaska

This is the Norwegian Star. This ship left Seattle one day prior to us leaving. It was docked in Juneau.

Scenery from whale watching excursion

Guess what???? Whales Ahoy Matey!!!!

This is part of the Maritime Shipping Services. They bring in passengers and cargo.

Playful sea lions

And here are some Mendenhall Glacier photos

There was a waterfall a short distance from the glacier

Day #3 Alaska Vacation 2009 Monday 5/11/09

Well here we are at day #3 of our Alaska vacation. This was a vacation that I wanted to make really special for if going on a cruise to Alaska wasn't special enough. I had put together a secret something for Veronica and I, last January for this cruise. And to think that on this day, all my plans came together without any problems....other than a little last minute issues that I had to fib about. I didn't sleep that great last night...not sure why but I ended waking up for good around 6AM. It was a cloudy dreary day which ended up being an exception for the weather that we got for most of our cruise. This was an "at sea" day...cruisin toward our first port of call...Juneau. Looking out on the water, I could see a couple of other ships heading in the same direction as us. Probably heading to Juneau also. I did not see other ships often during this cruise but when I did, they were usually heading to the same port as we were. Because we were in a suite, we were allowed to eat breakfast and lunch at Cagney's, so Veronica and I headed down to Cagney's to get something to eat. After eating breakfast, we returned to our room. Upon our return, we found an envelope attached to our room door. As it turns out, we were invited to a Meet and Greet with the ships Captain and have drinks with him. we were supposed to meet him in the Bliss Lounge between 6-6:45PM. After reading our invite, Veronica and I decided to walk around the ship and take some photos and too see what the ship offered for some fun. We had received 2 packets of coupons that were good for various things in the casino. One coupon was for an automatic ace as your first card when you played a hand of blackjack. So Veronica took a chance and played blackjack. She ended up betting $20 and guess what...she got blackjack and won $35. I was more interested in playing the slot machines. I found myself a machine that seemed to be calling my name out ever so seductively. So I sat my fanny down in front of this machine and opened myself up a can of slot machine whoop ass. I spent a total of $5 and won $35. This would end up being the pattern for the rest of the cruise. Veronica and I played it smart and took our winnings and left the casino. We both agreed that any money that we won in the casino would be split evenly between us and we could use our half of the money any way we wanted. Veronica can always find something craft related to buy and I can never seem to get enough fishing lures. We both were happy with our agreement. After leaving the casino, we spent a little time looking through the stores on the ship. I am amazed at all of the jewels and art that they try to sell on these ships plus they must have some type of arrangements with many of the diamond and jewelery stores that were in each port and mean to tell you that there were a lot of them. Many times they were 4-5 stores right next to each other. It was like we were at Gem Central. We stayed clear of them. We ended up going up to the Spinnaker lounge where we played Bingo. Unfortunately, we were not as lucky at bingo as we were in the casino. I came close a couple of times but the bingo Gods were not looking down upon us favorably. It was strange because the people on each side of us won so I was waiting patiently for our turn, which never arrived. It was getting to be lunch time, so we went back to Cagney's. I usually don't eat breakfast nor any real lunch...maybe nibble on something for lunch but I gotta tell you....I ate like a porker that had not had a lick of slop in a month and boy did I pack on a few pounds in that weeks time on the cruise. We did a ton of walking but I could not walk off the amount of food that I ate even if you gave me 50 legs. I promised myself that I would get back in shape as soon as this vacation was over with. After eating lunch, we returned to our cabin to relax for a bit. Now we start on the good part. In January, I had set up and planned for Veronica and I to renew our wedding vows. I had made many telephone calls to get everything arranged and did all I could to make sure that everyone on board new that it was a secret and so no one would spill the beans. The ship usually puts a letter along with champagne and other items in your suite so that you can celebrate the occasion as soon as you arrive on the ship. I wanted to make sure that there was nothing placed in the room and that no one would even mention the ceremony for my secret to work out. This meant that there must be communication between the person I arranged this with on land and the person setting this ceremony up on the ship at sea. There were so many things that could have messed this secret up at any point in time. I was originally supposed to meet with the group events coordinator person on the ship shortly after I got on board. I knew that there was no way that I was going to be able to leave Veronica alone in order to talk to this person especially since it was both of our first times on a cruise. I got it fixed that I would not have to meet this person until the time of the ceremony, which was at 4PM. I also arranged that we would be eating at Cagney's that night as part of the celebration. The last issue I had was on how to get Veronica to dress up a bit and how to get her to go with me to the chapel without spilling the beans about the ceremony. So this is when I decided that a good fib was in order. I told Veronica that while she was in the shower, that Karan our concierge had called and told me that the Captains meet and greet had been moved up in time. Now we needed to meet the Captain at 4 o'clock and that we need to be at the Spinnaker Lounge instead of the Bliss Lounge. The Chapel is right outside of the Spinnaker Lounge. Now just to let you know, I don't get dressed up for anything...well I did for our wedding but I had no plans on wearing a suit or anything close to that so we ended up wearing what they call "resort casual". "resort casual" fit in nicely with the little fib I had told Veronica too so all was going as planned. Come 3:45 and we started to head up to the Spinnaker Lounge. As we got to the Spinnaker Lounge, I called Veronica back to the Chapel door. I got down on one knee and asked Veronica if she would marry me again. Veronica had no idea what was going on and probably originally thought that I was just goofing around. When she said yes she would marry me again, I said ok let's do this and I grabbed her hand and took her into the chapel. Unfortunately we were just a tad early but the group events coordinator woman was there dressed in her official NCL garb which kind of resembled dressy military style clothing. I believe her first name was Tracy. Tracy talked to us for a bit while letting Veronica pick what type of music she wanted to be played during the ceremony. Tracy was also the person who took our photos during the ceremony. Usually they have a ships photographer taking the photos and charging big money for them. but Tracy volunteered to take them for us. There was also a table in the chapel that had a really nice white frosted cake that the chef had made for the occasion and there also was a bottle of bubbly there. After a little bit, in walks the Captain of the ship himself. I will call him Capt. Lars I believe Capt. Lars was of Swedish decent so he had a heavy accent but let me tell you, he also had a dry sense of humor. We found him to be a very enjoyable person to be around and listen to him when he did his official announcements throughout the ships intercom systems. He could be quite humorous when he wanted to be. It was a real honor for us to have the ships Captain come down from the bridge and perform the ceremony for us. It is not something that usually happens. They usually have another officer do the ceremony but not the Captain. Once again we felt like we were treated like royalty. The ceremony lasted a few minutes. During the part of the ceremony where I was supposed to repeat what the Captain said after him, I had to ask him to break down the long sentence into 2 shorter parts so that I would not mess it up while I repeated it. Of course this request got everyone to laughing. Better that, than me messing up repeating my vows. Both Veronica and I repeated our vows to each other. When it was over with, the Captain said that we could now kiss...which we did. Then we each received a glass of champagne to toast our vows renewal ceremony. We offered the Captain a glass but because he had to go back to work, he had to decline. After talking to us for several minutes, the Captain signed our vow renewal certificate and a copy of the actual vows that he had us repeat after him. Everything went off perfectly. No one knew what was going to happen other than me, the ships personnel, the planning people and Miss T...she knows who she is....I had to spill the beans to someone. you can't keep something like this all bottled up inside without at least telling one person...thank you Miss T. We were supposed to go to Cagney's for a nice steak dinner to celebrate but both Veronica and I were pretty tired. We gathered up our bottle of bubbly and our white frosted cake and head back to our cabin. When we got back to our cabin, we ordered room service. I forgot to mention that when we entered the cabin, Karan, our concierge, had arranged to have a dozen red roses delivered to our cabin for Veronica. He had told me that he was going to do something special for Veronica but I did not know what it would be. Karan was an amazing person who went out of his way to make you feel special. Thanks again Karan!!! Because Veronica and I were pretty wiped out by this time, we turned in early. We knew that tomorrow we were going to be in Juneau for our first excursion...the Mendenhall Glacier and Wildlife Tour. was a good day and sleep came quickly.

Here is the chapel where we renewed our wedding vows

Here is the cake that was made special for us..chocolate cake with white icing. There was still some of the cake left even after our 7 day cruise.

Here is Capt. Lars Bengtsson who honored us by performing the ceremony himself...something that is not done very often. Capt. Lars had a great sense of humor. When he gave me one long sentence to repeat after him, I asked him if he could divide it into 2 parts so that there was less a chance of me screwing it up. We all had a good laugh over that one.

It's almost bubbly time...
Here comes the bubbly...
We offered Capt. Lars a glass but unfortunately he had to turn us down because he had to get back up to the bridge to continue working.

Denis Prguda, the Hotel Director, sent us treats to our suite every night. Here is what he sent us for after the ceremony.

Karan, our fantastic Concierge, sent a dozen roses to our cabin for Veronica. Karan treated us both like royalty.

Here is the entrance to the Stardust Theater. This is where they had several shows and performances.

There are a lot more seats in the theater than what you can see here.

This art was in the entrances of the Spinnaker Lounge. This is where they had line dancing classes and where they held bingo at along with other classes and performances. The room had kind of a retro feel to it. There was great viewing from this large room. It had lots of windows and the best seats were right up front on either side of the stage facing towards the front of the ship. Veronica always tried to get those prime seats because they provided such a great view.

Veronica enjoyed laying in the aqua couches while she read a book or gazed out of the tall windows. Personally the couch seats were not for me...I had a hard time getting out of's an old age thing I guess.

Side of the ship while we are cruisin along.This is the rock climbing wall that is in the aft upper deck of the ship.
Here is the pool area, which was located midship. There was a small restaurant near the pool. That had bar-b-que lunches there...ribs and chicken. Unfortunately I missed out on both times that they did the bar-b-que lunch. I did not find out about it until after I had already eaten lunch. Boy did those ribs sure did smell good. They cook it on what appeared to be a large over sized Weber charcoal grill.

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