Caribbean 10-Day Southern Medley Cruise w/Princess Cruises, Episode #1 – Wardrobe & Packing Tips and Tricks

It all started, the planning for this cruise that is, over a year before embarkation onto the Royal Princess was to transpire.  Yes, yes, it sure had. 🙂 I had met the 3 ladies with which we cruised on a Princess Cruising site that I help to admin. The ALASKA CRUISES ON PRINCESS Group. We had all become really great friends through all of our interactions in that group and eventually way beyond that group. To say that I adore these three ladies, well, that would be an understatement.  In conversation we came up with the idea to go on a bit of a group cruise; all of us ladies and our significant others. 🙂 The fellows agreed and we were off and running and planning our 10-Day Southern Caribbean cruise aboard the Royal Princess (one of Princess Cruises largest and newest cruise ships–and trust me, she is a beauty!!).  Before we go further, let me introduce y’all to Barbara, Barbara, & Pat (that Barbara on the second row of the picture and Pat are sisters). ❤ Here is a magnet that I created for us so that we could hang one on each of our Stateroom doors.

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Before I get started telling you all about our adventure, let me first share with you a link to my Pre-Cruise “What’s In My Carry On & “My” Must Haves” video that I created before we left on our trip. :). Most of the things that I speak about in this video can be found by doing a quick search on Amazon. My Vera Bradley can either be found on the Vera website or on eBay. 🙂 I hesitate to give y’all links any longer because I have found that they become antiquated very quickly. 🙂 If you can’t find items on Amazon, Vera Bradley, or Ebay, a quick Google Search can do wonders. 🙂

And now, I will show you a part of the wardrobe that I compiled to take with me. Remember y’all, I am an expert at packing for our Alaska cruises, but, the Caribbean, well, that was a new one on me…haha. BUT, I didn’t have too much trouble. 😉 Here are some of the outfits that I put together to take with us. As most of you know, I am a plus sized girl and I am of the mindset that just because I’m a fluffy lady, I don’t have to compromise my taste in clothing or my desire to wear clothes that hopefully flatter my figure and that make me feel pretty. These outfits fit that bill pretty nicely. As you can see, I took mostly dark–navy and black–capris, of a non-wrinkling material (unfortunately, I got those capris from Avenue last summer and they are currently not available to purchase…yeah, ugh!), and an array of cold shoulder tops some of which are available at Dressbarn or Avenue:IMG_2600IMG_2595IMG_2596IMG_1062IMG_2597:

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I also took these sweet floral pants available online only at Avenue, They are called “Joggers”…super cute and super comfy!!! I highly recommend them–I ordered a size up only because I didn’t want them hugging my chunky-bunky hips. 😉

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And of course I took a bathing suit from Swimsuits For All and a cover up that I found here on Amazon:

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One of the special things that my lady friends and I did was to order ourselves up some “Cruising With My Peeps” shirts. (Thank you so, so much Barbara for taking care of having my shirt created before we left… ❤ ). Here is a picture of my shirt and y’all will see a picture of all of us donning our shirts later in this Series:

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Here is some of the jewelry that I took, I do not take really any expensive jewelry with us on our cruises, but, I do enjoy a nice statement necklace and y’all know how I love my Brighton:

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And of course, I needed to take some shoes, here are the pairs that I decided to take this time…those beauties in the front were my travel shoes…so comfy so cozy.  They are  Minnetonka Women’s Deerskin Gore Front Moccasins.

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The week of our trip had arrived and so of course, I wanted my fingernails and toenails to look spiffy for our cruise, so I went and had myself a little spa day–hair, nails, and toes all done on the same day. 🙂 Here are my nails and toes:

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Okie dokie, the day finally arrived for me to pack for our long-anticipated trip. Of course Chris got out our suitcases. We each took our 29″ spinners and we ended up taking a small carry-on suitcase as well because, well, we just couldn’t fit everything in the 2 spinners. Hey folks, I *never* professed to be a minimalist. 😉 Here is a shot of my suitcase, that’s my carry-on on the floor, a Vera Bradley Campus Backpack in Midnight Paisley . And on top of my suitcase sits my Vera Bradley Weekender bag (<~~~That link is not my pattern, I couldn’t find it available). I packed that Weekender in my spinner just in case we might need it for a second carry-on bag on the way home:

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Of course I gathered my wonderful well-used packing aids that I will *not* cruise without. My Shacke Pak Packing Cubes & my Eagle Creek Pack-It Medium Garment Folder:

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And so, my packing commenced, and yep, you guessed it, I did create a video of me literally packing for this trip utilizing both the packing cubes and the garment folder. I entitled it “Caribbean Cruise Wardrobe For A Plus Size Lady & Packing Tips”–You don’t see many of those floating around YouTube. 😉 BUT, I’m comfortable in my skin, no matter the size. Yes, yes, I am always working on my weight and have actually had a bit of success at shedding a few pounds (no I don’t need help in that area. 😉 ) since our return home. Regardless of all of that, I’ll quit yammering and give you a link:

So, there we go, I was ready to debark on our next adventure. Christin came over to our house the evening before we were to leave, bless that girl for always coming to house and pup sit. ❤  Of course we had to leave in the wee hours of the morning in order to get to the airport, through security, and well, y’all know that routine. 🙂 Here I am standing in our kitchen at around 3am on the morning we left to head to Richmond International to catch our Jet Blue flight that would take us to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A-N-D our adventure begins!!!

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Next up, I’ll tell you all about our first day of our adventure…let’s say that meeting my lady friends in person on that first day was one of the very best days of my life…yes, yes it was!!! For now though, I will close this my first post in my new Caribbean Cruise Series. 🙂

A little scripture for you:

***If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me…Psalm 139***

~Until next time, y’all take good care! ❤

~Arlynn ❤

Alaska B2B Voyage of the Glaciers Cruise, Episode #14: Last Sea Day and Disembarkation at Canada Place in Vancouver, B.C.

What’s that you say? Our back to back Voyage of the Glaciers cruise adventure was coming to an end?! To say that I was sad about that little tid-bit of information was an understatement. I always tell folks that are wishing time would pass faster so that the time for their upcoming cruise would arrive, that time will continue to pass even when they are on their cruise. Such was the the realization of this day when I opened my eyes and packing instead of basking in the glory of Alaska was ahead of me.  Sigh, I was sad, BUT, I will not be a “Debbie Downer” in this my last post in this Series of blogs. 🙂 Instead, let me show you my outfit for the day and then the Princess Patter of which was full of wonderful things to do as we sailed ever so gently toward our disembarkation cruiseport at Canada Place in Vancouver.

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Here is some of our disembarkation paperwork that we had to make ready and peruse through for our disembarkation:

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Okay so yeah, there was all of that…haha…Never makes me happy to see that stuff show up in our little mailbox. BUT, next up, I am going to share a few of the Main Dining Rooms menus with y’all. When in a Suite, and as you know, we were lucky enough to be staying in a suite on this our second leg of our back to back cruise, you can request a menu from the MDR (main dining room), and if so desired, you can order from said menu and have it delivered to your Stateroom. Unfortunately, we never did end up ordering and having it delivered, but, I did keep the menus so that I could share them.  Here we go, I honestly do not remember for which night each menu corresponded, but, you’ll get a good idea of the kinds of delicious food they offer. NOTE: These menus are in no particular order…my computer gave me fits loading them into my post here, so please forgive my discombobulation in posting. 🙂

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Next up here I’m going to add a smattering of pictures that we clicked off of the beautiful Coral Princess. She still is our very favorite Princess ship. 🙂

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Sigh, the beautiful Coral Princess, I miss her so very much!!!

There was one more Wildlife viewing opportunity on this day…Here are a few pictures that we captured…I NEVER can get enough of this type of thing. 🙂

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We spent our last dinner on board in the Buffet at a window seat, the Horizon Buffet is on the front of the ship on the Coral and the Island Princess’ and it is so pretty to sit at the very front and watch where you are heading next.  You can see the front of the ship in this picture, straight ahead with the slightly slanted windows…that’s where I was heading. 🙂

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This was delicious!

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Here are some pictures of their self-service drink station:

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After dinner, we came back to our Stateroom and packed up our belongings in preparation for our trip home the next day…nope, I didn’t take one picture of that action..haha…BUT, after we were finished, we headed out onto our balcony to take in the last moments of our cruise before the sun went down on this our last night:

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We had both moved out onto the balcony and were sitting in those two lounge chairs…We were quietly chatting about our trip and were hopeful that we would once again be able to come back to our “happy place”.  It was calm, quiet, serene, and to this day, I remember the feeling that I had while we were sitting there. Then, I heard a strange sound…a pretty loud, strange sound…it was then that I realized exactly what it was!!! It was the very distinctive sound of a humpback whale BLOW!!!!  I smacked Chris on the arm and said, did you hear *that*?!! He had not heard it…but, trusted my ear and jumped up out of his lounger and grabbed a camera from right inside the balcony door (where we kept them just in case we came across a moment just like this). He caught this big, beautiful, majestic humpback as it was oh so gently gliding down the side of the Coral, RIGHT below our balcony…I was blown away!!!!!! Completely blown away, I remember feeling the butterflies in my belly and I remember taking a quick gasp of air in as I saw this beautiful creature ***right*** there…MUCH closer than they were while we were on our whale watching excursion—One just NEVER knows what may happen at any moment in time on an Alaska cruise y’all…honestly.  Here are a couple of pictures that Chris managed to click off right at that moment in time:

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What an end to our very last day aboard the Coral Princess…a-m-a-z-I-n-g!!

Disembarkation Day

 

Oh my gracious, when my peepers opened on this morning, a wave of sadness came over me, for just a moment, just a tinge of emotion to remind me that we’d be traveling back to our beautiful home in Virginia today. Yes, I was sad to see my “bucket list” vacation come to an end, but, I was ready to head back to my kids and pups…I missed everyone terribly.  Chris caught these beautiful pictures, taken at dawn, as we were approaching Vancouver, then gliding under The Lion’s Gate Bridge, and then snugging up beside Canada Place.

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And a little video of us moving ever closer to Canada Place:

 

And that was it…do y’all believe that I do not have one more picture from this trip…haha…I will usually try and capture some shots as we move through Vancouver on the way to the airport…not this time…I will admit that I was quite sad. Out of all of the trips that we’ve ever done to Alaska, this was one of the very best.  I saw all of my remembered sights and added more sights to my categorized Alaska photos repertoire.  I heard all of my remembered sounds and added more sounds to my categorized Alaska memories. I felt all of the ‘feels’, ‘feels’ of which are the things that make me yearn to go back again and again and again. I cannot get enough of Alaska, there is something magical, mystical, and marvelous about that place. ❤

I will close this blog series out by saying that if you have never been to Alaska, try to go via a cruise ship just once, you will get to see so much of the pristine, untouched, unsurpassed beauty that is abounding EVERYwhere you look when you are on a cruise. Right now, Chris and I have one more Alaska cruise in the queue, and we are thinking about booking my friend Scott Singer’s Group cruise which is an Alaska cruise in taking place the 2019.  Btw, check out Scott on YouTube here: Scott Singer Cruises .  OH how I hope we can book that one. When I think about my future, I love to have an Alaska cruise to look forward to no matter what the “Cruise Countdown” says, because the time ticking away as I anticipate what I might see and do on that future cruise fills my belly with more of those butterflies and causes my heart to race with excitement. To me, there is NO place on the planet like Alaska and I will continue to return as long as I am able!

 

***If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me…Psalm 139***

~Until next time, y’all take good, good care!! ❤

~Arlynn ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alaska B2B Voyage of the Glaciers Cruise: SB – Episode #13: Haines, Juneau, & Ketchikan

Since Chris and I did an excursion a day at all three Ports of call on our Northbound trip, we decided to take it a easy and just do a little relaxing and some exploring of the Port towns on our Southbound trip.  I will be telling y’all about all three Ports here in this one post. 🙂

Haines Instead of Skagway!

First up was Haines, yes, I said Haines…haha. 🙂 I bet you were expecting Skagway huh? Well, if y’all remember, there had been a rock/land slide the day before we docked in Skagway while on the Northbound journey.  We were diverted over (which is just a trip down the Lynn Canal – a gorgeous fjord – from Skagway) so that they could have time to repair the damage to the dock over in Skagway.  Princess was awesome and provided all of us passengers with all of the necessary tools and paperwork with which to handle our day in Haines. They also provided extra Ferries so that all that wanted to head to Haines could and in addition covered the cost of said Ferry Ride.  Here is the Princess Patter for that day and also Excursion info and a map of Haines:

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I was nursing a sore foot on this day, so I did not venture off of the ship, instead this is the day that I pulled together my Stateroom tour of our abode for the week, the Seychelles Suite D701. Here is a link to my YouTube video of that tour. 🙂

Here is my outfit for that day, I was comfy and cozy while hanging out on the ship:

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Here are a few pictures of the Ferry activity of the day, it was a very busy day–those ferries ran all day long:

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Haines is a beautiful port, soaring mountains and scenery was abounding!

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Our dinner on this evening was at the Crab Shack.  They set up the Crab Shack on one side of the Buffet, they switch out the table cloths and even the wait staff wear different shirts…it is a lovely experience, one that I highly recommend. 🙂 AND the food is phenomenal; you do pay and upcharge for this experience…when we were here the charge was $29 per person (of course, moving forward in time Princess may raise the price, so please keep an eye on your Patter to make sure you know what is what while on your cruise).

Here is the Menu:

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After we were finished eating, we took a stroll around the ship, here are some pictures that I clicked off:

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I will have to admit that this day in Haines was one of the most relaxing days that I’d ever experienced on an Alaska cruise, my dumb foot aggravated me in that I couldn’t get out and explore, but, it also forced me to stay put and enjoy the quiet and serene port. I had no internet on that day, well I had 3g phone coverage which was super slow and I gave up trying to get anywhere online..haha. So I sat out on our balcony watching the ferries come and go, and I gazed down the Lynn Canal and at all of the beauty that was laid out in front of me…it was a party for my eyes on this day…no doubt about it!

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As we pulled out of Haines, we caught this gorgeous sunset…so, so pretty!!

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Juneau

 

Our next stop on our Southbound cruise was Juneau! My foot was still screaming at me a bit, but, I was determined not to allow it to hinder what I knew I wanted to do on this day! First off, here is my outfit of the day:

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One sweet Suite perk…is that we were able to go and eat breakfast in Sabatini’s every morning, we chose to do so on this morning because we didn’t have anything special planned other than to just walk around town a bit and enjoy a nice relaxing day.

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It was delicious!!

Here is the Princess Patter for this day:

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I also did a Facebook Live video on this morning:

BTW, here is a closeup of what is costs to send out your laundry if you so choose–for Suite passengers it is complimentary:

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A seal came to visit in the harbor that day…too cute for words!!

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We decided to go off of the ship and do a little bit of shopping and exploring, here are some of the sights we encountered.  You will see that there are excursion vendors lined up on the dock, I am not in the know about them, but, I did want to let you know that they are there:

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I was so excited to be able to find this little jewel of a shop…I’d heard about it many times in the Alaska Cruises on Princess group that I Admin on Facebook, so I was anxious to find it and to purchase some spiffy soap that was made from Glacial silt.  Here are a few pictures and a couple of videos of our time at the Juneau Silt Soap Shop. 🙂

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And here I am trying out some of that wonderful soap!! I highly recommend you go and visit this little shop and try some of the soap out for yourself. They do have a website as well, here is a link – Silt Soap Shop.

Here are a few pictures of the Mt. Roberts tramway, we’ve yet to do it…although I would love to do so, but, it was super cloudy on this day not to mention that my foot was screaming at me by this point and we needed to get back to the ship:

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And then we had some friends (Bald Eagles) gazing down on us from the trees, never forget to scan those trees for those “golf balls”. 😉

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Here is a little video showing those beauties along with a few other things.

Of course, I stopped into a couple of shops on the way back and purchased a few things, and, of course, I had purchased some of that spiffy, wonderfully smelling silt soap too! 🙂 IMG_1673IMG_1676

We spent a little time out on our balcony that afternoon…there is always something to see..I love watching the ships come and go.  The rest of the day went off without a hitch, we just grabbed some dinner from the Horizon Court Buffet, hung out on our balcony, and just r-e-l-a-x-e-d! This lady laid her satisfied head on her pillow without a care in the word or negative thought in her head…it had been a wonderful day!

 

Ketchikan

I could not believe when I woke up on this morning that this would be our last Port of Call on our trip…the time had flown by, I’d made tons and tons of memories, and I had a little twang in my belly that our trip would soon be coming to an end. BUT, I didn’t allow that sad feeling to overtake me, instead, I zipped on up out of bed—*well* that may be a little fib…I hardly ever “zip” out of bed, truth be told, I am not too much of a morning person…haha.  I need to warm up to the day for a bit of time with my first cup of tea. 🙂 We were situated facing the water on this day, which was fine and dandy with me, I love watching the boats and floatplanes come and go, I could spend hours just doing that. 🙂 ANYway, this is the outfit that I chose to wear on this day, I knew that we’d be heading off of the ship to go and take a little walk back to Creek Street and over to the Outlet Store to meet a dear lady named Aimee that was so kind in our Alaska FB Group in that she actually took peoples addresses and sent out a fantastic coupon book before folks’ cruises…what a wonderful gesture…I knew I had to head over and give that lady a hug in person! ❤

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And here I am out on the balcony with Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam and Princess’ Ruby Princess line up behind us. 🙂

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We headed to Sabatini’s again on this morning, that breakfast was the one Suite perk that we enjoyed the most. 🙂  Here is the Princess Patter for this day:

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We were ready to disembark the ship once we let our breakfasts settle a bit…it was quite crowded in Ketchikan on this day, but, pfft, it didn’t bother us too much.  We stepped on the dock and made a beeline over to The Outlet Store where Aimee works as a manager. 🙂

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And here are Aimee and I meeting in person for the first time…hopefully it won’t be the last!!! She is a lovely, sweet, awesome lady! ❤

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I am standing right outside of Aimee’s store here, you can see how close we were…I believe we were in Berth #2 on this day:

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Now, I will hush up and allow the pictures to do the talking, they are pretty self explanatory, Ketchikan is a colorful, fantastic town and very easy to get around in…we really enjoyed sauntering back to Creek Street and doing a little bit of exploring.  Here we go with some pictures:

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It was time for us to climb back aboard the Coral Princess. We’d had a lovely time exploring!! In all of the years that we’d been doing Alaska cruises, we’d never taken the time to just walk around this quirky little town, I loved it!! Once back on board, I noticed that I had great cell service, so I did a Facebook Live video…Here is that video–It includes a great look at the Promenade Deck–which btw you can walk on ALL the way around on on the ship–a little tour of the Atrium, and then an elevator ride up to the Dolphin deck and into our Suite and out onto our balcony. 🙂

 

As I mentioned in the video, I set up shop with my computer and camera on our balcony and that is where I spent the rest of that day…the sun was shining down on me and warming me to my very soul.  Trust me y’all, I do not take for granted one second of our time in Alaska, and it doesn’t matter if I’m out on some grand adventure or if I’m simply sitting and watching the people, ships, and planes…I love Alaska! Here are some shots that I caught that afternoon.

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I did purchase a few things while traversing around Ketchikan btw, here are some pencils that I purchased for our daughter’s Kindergarten students…IMG_8327

And here are some earrings, one pair for me, and one pair for each of our daughters that ended up in their Christmas stockings. 🙂 IMG_8328

And I used a coupon out of Aimee’s coupon book to purchase these 3 spiffy magnets…that will of course be used to hold things on our future Stateroom walls. 😉 🙂 IMG_8329

I also took a nice little stroll around the ship, this sign hangs in all of the elevators. 🙂

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Someone sent this picture to me of us leaving Port…There we go, off for a day at sea…Check out that gorgeous sunset!!!

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I have to admit that I had little bit of sadness as we were pulling out of Ketchikan, the thought that our cruise was truly almost over made me very sad. My only saving grace was that I knew that we had another Alaska cruise in the queue for the next Season!! Now *that* made me very happy and satisfied!!

Next up, our day at sea, a little picture tour of the Coral Princess, & disembarkation day. 🙂

A little scripture:

**If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me…Psalm 139***

~Until next time, y’all take good care!

~Arlynn

And here is a link to Episode #14!

Alaska: B2B Voyage of the Glaciers Cruise, Episode #12, SB – Glacier Bay Day!

I was so grateful when I woke up on this day, this day that we’d be taking our second trip into Glacier Bay in as many weeks. Again, I must reiterate that I’d been dreaming of doing back to back Voyage of the Glaciers cruises for over a decade, so yes, I did pinch myself yet again when I opened my eyes on this day. I knew, without a shadow of a doubt that I’d be able to walk outside and take in a breath of the freshest and cleanest air ever, I knew that many gorgeous sights would come into view, I knew that the White Thunder (the sound that the Tlingit people dubbed when the glaciers crack and moan as they move) would sound like music to my ears, well, I knew that this day would be a day that would fill all of my senses with a great peace, a calm only a touch of God can produce.  Glacier Bay is definitely my happy place and I was ready to experience it all again.

This was the sunrise on that morning:

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I don’t even remember eating breakfast or lunch or dinner for that matter on this day…hahaha…I do believe that Chris brought us back pastries from the International Cafe that morning though. We were sailing into Glacier Bay pretty early on this day, so we were busily about setting up our camera on our balcony and making sure our camera batteries were charged. 🙂 It was a bit cloudy that morning, but it didn’t take long for the blue skies to show up, it was going to be a gorgeous day!

Here is the Princess Patter:

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On Glacier Bay day Princess always has an Alaska Outpost sale up on the Lido Deck 14 – Midship…Here is a picture of what they were offering on this day, trust me, the sales were very good–I think part of the reason was because we were sailing during the second week in September, very near the end of the Alaska cruising Season:

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This is what I chose for my outfit of the day, I wanted to be super comfortable, I had purchased this cute hoodie during the Northbound cruise when we were in Juneau, at one of the shops right as we stepped off of the ship at the dock. I would be comfy, cozy, and warm:

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And yes, I was glad I wore that hoodie, this is me sitting on our balcony…quite cold even with that hoodie on and a coat over it,  *and* with a blanket up over my lap…haha…

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Before long, we were coming up to Bartlett Cove and that is where the Park Rangers would come from…they’d be carried over to the Coral Princess on a Park Ranger boat and they’d climb aboard and be giving talks in the Princess Theater, setting up a table with spiffy merchandise, they’d be commentating over the PA system and would be able to be heard out on the outer decks, in the Horizon Court Buffet, and through the tv on channel 41 in all of the Staterooms.

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Here is some information from the National Park Service, this was delivered with our Patter that morning:

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They also provided a map of Glacier Bay (I already had it hung up on the wall of our Stateroom using magnets–remember, the walls in your Stateroom will be metal, so don’t forget to bring along, or buy some magnets). 🙂  You can see my Glacier Bay Map on the left of this picture. 🙂

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Here is what the Park Rangers had set up on the upper deck of the inside pool:

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Before long, we were approaching what was an odd site for me to see.  What you see in the picture below is the Grand Pacific Glacier. This was the 6th time that I’d been on a cruise ship sailing up to that “dirty glacier”, but, this is the first time that I’d ever seen anything behind it.  Before this day, I had only seen what looked like a black mountain and I was never too awfully impressed with it—NOT that it wasn’t awesome, but Margerie Glacier sits right next to the Grand Pacific, and she is a lot “showier” than the Grand Pacific. But, on this day, the Grand Pacific was ready to show her true beauty, and I was completely blown away by what we were approaching.  I will let our pictures and then a little video that I made speak and show you the gorgeousness that appeared before us on this day:

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As you heard me say in the video, the Margerie Glacier didn’t calve for us on this day, but, that didn’t make her any less beautiful.  Here are some pictures that we clicked off:

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As you heard me explain in that last video, we were able to go down into Johns Hopkins Inlet and sail up pretty close to Johns Hopkins Glacier.  This is the second time on this day that we’d be doing something that we’d never done before in Glacier Bay. I will again allow our pictures and video to tell the story of the beauty that we saw next. 🙂

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To say that I was humbled, a bit overwhelmed, and blessed was an understatement.  While leaving this pristine place I again lamented to myself that I couldn’t wait to return once again to experience this grandeur and beauty. I felt content though at that moment in time. Y’all have asked me how I remember so clearly these days, well, truly these days are soulful experiences for me. I always tell folks that if they ever have a question that there is a God, all they need do is to take a trip to this place, after they see these wonders, trust me, they would wonder no more if there is a God. 🙂

Our day was coming to an end–again, I have no memory of meals on this day…go me huh? 😉 lol I do remember that there was more beauty to behold as we were sailing out of Glacier Bay and that we had a few “visitors” come by to say hey…;)

One was a humpback whale just quietly gliding along coming up for air with that signature blow:

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And then right before sunset, these two Orcas made an appearance, a pair (the one with the bigger dorsal fin is the male) and a female cruised on by without a care in the world:

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And can we talk about the reflections?! No, no talking, just take a look:

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The sun was setting on this wonderful day…I know I sound like a broken record because I say this in just about every post, but, I watched out the windows as the sun set and was completely content and satisfied to be in that very moment in time. Again, Glacier Bay did not disappoint, again, it gleamed like a shiny penny and continues to do so in my mind’s eye. I cannot wait to return…AND, guess what, we get to do just that, at least one more time, Lord willing, next summer. Ahhh, I cannot wait!!! I’ll leave you with the sunset from that evening, the perfect ending to a perfect day (check out the heart cloud in the sky in the last picture).

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***If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me…Psalm 139***

~Until next time, y’all take good care! ❤

~Arlynn ❤

And here is a link to Episode #13!

Alaska: B2B Voyage of the Glaciers Cruise SB-Episode #11 Hubbard Glacier

Our first “Scenic Cruising” day on our Southbound Voyage of the Glaciers cruise began as a rather cloudy, drizzly day.  There was a chill in the air as we cruised toward Yakutat Bay in route to the magnificent Hubbard Glacier.  We’d seen Hubbard 3 other times on our SB Voyage of the Glaciers cruises, and she had always be shrouded in a mist and almost hard to make out.  I’m excited to say that on this day, we experienced Hubbard like we had never experienced her before—yes, still in the mist BUT, the ship got so close to her this time, I almost felt like I could reach out and touch her face…OH how I wish I could have really done that.

Here is the outfit that I chose for this relaxing day on board the beautiful Coral Princess:

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And here is the Princess Patter:

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Chris and I spent the day just walking around the ship and relaxing, honesty. I did click off some pictures while we tootled around. 🙂

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We were quite impressed with this violinist, he never once looked at a piece of music:

I believe we caught brunch at the IC (International Cafe) that day and then around 3:00pm, we made sure we were back in our Stateroom setting our video camera up on its tripod out on the balcony and making other preparations to sail up to Hubbard Glacier.  We knew we were getting closer to Yakutat Bay when the Pilot came aboard to help navigate his local waters.

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And then as we were very quietly sailing toward that massive wall of ice in the distance, our Naturalist’s commentary started…

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Here we were on our balcony and at the ready to see the super-star of this day:

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I am going to share a video that I created to try to bring you along with us on this day.  After the video, I’ll share a plethora of pictures that we captured. As you’ll hear in the video, we’d never been as close as we eventually got to this glacier, it took my breath away, I was amazed, I was touched, and I was humbled. As I watched the ice bergs float by the ship bobbing up and down gently in the water and realizing that they were the size of small cars, as I took deep breaths of some of the freshest air ever, as I felt the air get chillier and chillier, I was again reminded just how small and insignificant we are compared to all of the massive beauty that was surrounding us at that moment in time. My memories are well ensconced in my mind and they are easily conjured up at a moment’s notice…Someone once asked me how I remember these moments so well, trust me, they are easily remembered when such times make such an intense impression in my heart and mind,  Okay, I’ll stop yammering along and start sharing the magic of this day with you:

 

And here we go with a lot of the pictures that we captured:

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What a magnificent show that beauty put on for us on that day!! As we were cruising away, I got a little twang in my belly…I do not know if I will ever be lucky enough to ever return to this gorgeous place, I remember stopping and saying a prayer of thanks for allowing us to once again bask in the absolute magnificence of Hubbard Glacier.

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Chris and I stayed out on our balcony for a very, very long time on this evening.  The skies cleared up and the mountains started to show themselves in all of their glory.  Here are some shots that we took while we sailed away as the sun was shining on our little corner of the world at that moment in time; we were in awe:

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As the sun set on this day, I was contently snuggled up in my nice warm jacket and just watching as the quiet of the evening engulfed me. I was calm, I was happy, I was contented, and as a tear of joy ran down my cheek (no really that really happened because I am such a sap) I once again “felt” Alaska.

Up next…our trip into Glacier Bay!! Sneak Peek:

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**If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me…Psalm 139

~Until next time, y’all take good care! ❤

~Arlynn ❤

And here is a link to Episode #12!

Alaska: Back to Back Voyage of the Glaciers – Episode #10 – Turn-Around Day: Whittier, AK & the 26 Glaciers Cruise, Tour of the Seychelles Suite D701

Our Northbound Voyage of the Glaciers cruise had officially come to an end and normally, I would have been crying big elephant tears because I would have been walking off of the ship and making my way home. BUT, for the first time ever, all I had to do was to literally walk down the hallway from our mini suite D407 (mid-ship) to the Seychelles Suite D701 (aft) and begin our next adventure, the Southbound Voyage of the Glaciers cruise.  Before we left our mini suite to make the transition to our next stateroom, we received this “Log of the Cruise” for the Northbound leg of our cruise in our ‘mailbox’:

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Yes, yes, I did say that we’d be moving to a suite for this part of our journey…let me tell y’all, I literally got lucky and found that suite on Princess.com for not too, too much more money than what we would have had to pay for the mini suite, so we jumped at the chance to experience the suite life in that sweet suite! There were many perks that came with staying in a suite, one of which was that we got double the “Captain Circle” points to go toward our ‘loyalty level’.  Truly, if I’m honest, and I am never not honest, I can NOT stand to hear folks lamenting about how wonderful they are because they are Platinum or Elite members of the Captain’s Circle (Princess’ Loyalty Level Program)–All it really means is that they’ve spent a copious amount of money with Princess cruises in the past and “expect” perks for doing so–blah, I’m just happy to be able to cruise thank-you-very-much!  We are Platinum and still have like 6 or 7 more cruises to go until we hit Elite.  I hope upon hope that I remain humble and grateful for each upcoming cruise that we are blessed enough to take and never, ever worry about what level I have attained in the Captain’s Circle. 🙂

ANYway, let me tell you about the “Turn-Around Day” process so that those of you who might take a back to back (b2b) cruise moving forward will know what to expect. The evening before the last day we received a packet from Princess that included this letter and instructions:

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As you saw in the information above, we didn’t have to pack up completely, instead, I had used my packing cubes and garment folder and Chris had done the same, and we packed up all of the items that we had in our drawers and out on shelves into our suitcases.  We left all clothing that was hung up on the hangers alone and before we knew it, our room Steward Kurt knocked on our door and told us that our next accommodations were ready for us to move in to.  We were blown away, we fully expected that we’d need to wait until after we were back from our planned excursion (the 26 Glaciers Cruise) before we’d be able to unpack and such. Instead, here came Kurt with a helper who had a cart in tow. They started to fill up that cart with our suitcases and hangers and whoosh, we were heading toward the aft and to our next room the Seychelles Suite D701. There was such a flurry of activity that I neglected to take one picture of that process…go me right?! Gracious! We arrived at our stateroom to more of a flurry of activity and Kurt introduced us to our next room Steward, Jimmy. Kurt had told us that he had already told Jimmy all about us, that we were very kind, down to earth folks. Jimmy was so kind right from the very start, so much so that I told him to calm down, that we would not expect to be treated in any special way…hard to explain really. Bottom line, we are just regular folks who don’t need special treatment.

Here is a Facebook Live video that I took shortly after we got unpacked in our new digs for the week:

And here is a link to a much slower paced and detailed tour of the Seychelles Suite that I created for my YouTube “Arlynn’s Travels” Channel:

Here are some still shots of The Seychelles Suite:

We’d be leaving soon with our “Passenger in Transit” cards and our new cruise cards to go to meet our guide in the cruise terminal for the 26 Glaciers Cruise, but, as we waited, we got to see the flurry of activity that occurs before one ever steps on the ship on turn-around day.  First, there were some officers in the Seychelles Suite as we were arriving there and they were inspecting everything–as I mentioned in my live video above, there are a team of 5 of them that inspect every single stateroom on the ship before boarding begins. In addition, the things that we had ordered via our Cruise Personalizer before the cruise started to arrive such as, my spiffy cup that went along with my “Soda & More” package & our water package (BTW—PLEASE be aware that if you would like a water package for your cruise that you *must* order it via your Cruise Personalizer *before* your cruise. A water package is not available once aboard):

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Here are some pictures of the beautiful town of Whittier…Well, pictures that Chris took in the wee hours of the morning and then a few that we took while waiting to depart for our excursion:

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Here is the outfit that I chose for this day:

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We were ready to go!

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Here is the Princess Patter for that day and some of the other paperwork that the Princess folks dropped in our mailbox that morning:

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A couple of Suite perks that we weren’t prepared for were these two lovelies…The plate of tasty treats was just a one time deal, but, the fruit bowl was refilled each day (and we could choose the kind of fruit we preferred):

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Okie dokie, it was finally time for us to disembark and head to our mode of transportation for the 26-Glacier cruise, the Klondike Express:

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Our first stop was the cruise terminal where we met our guide who gave us our table assignment card and our lunch tickets and led us to a line where we waited to board–BTW, we’d chosen what we wanted to eat earlier in our Northbound cruise. You can see our tickets from Princess in the envelope below the lunch and table assignment cards, I had arranged for this tour through Princess via my Cruise Personalizer months and months ago:

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And onto the Klondike Express we stepped, here is a little brochure that was sitting atop our assigned table when we got there–btw, we shared a table with a lovely couple from California…shout out to Erin and David!

And after a little safety talk from the Captain, we started on our journey…It was a magical day filled with sights that were just astounding, amazing, phenomenal, and very, very memorable.  I took a bit of video on this day and I will post it below, but, first, here are some of the pictures that we caught on this very special excursion. If you ever get the chance, I highly, *highly* recommend that you take this awesome tour!! I am so sorry that I do not remember the names of the glaciers, there were SO many!! lol. All right, get ready for your eyes to have a party now…3-2-1…GO:

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And that my friends was that, I do not even remember where Chris and I ate dinner that evening, I do believe it was at the Horizon Court though. Another Suite amenity is that you get a complementary meal in Sabatini’s (one of the Specialty restaurants) on embarkation day, but, we were bushed when we got back and we called the dine line and were able to reschedule for a day later in the cruise.  Truthfully, we crashed and watched tv for the rest of the evening.  I will say though, that nothing could compete with what we’d already laid our eyes on earlier that day. We had a wonderful time…Alaska just continued to give and give and give to us.

Next up, the magnificent Hubbard Glacier…Here is a sneak peek:

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***If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me…Psalm 139***

~Until next time, y’all take good care! ❤

~Arlynn ❤

And here is a link to Episode #11!

 

 

 

 

 

Alaska: Back to Back Voyage of the Glaciers – Episode #9 – NB – College Fjord, Bayou Cafe, & Ship Venue Pics

It was a very surreal feeling waking up on the last morning of our cruise and coming to the realization that that morning would *not* be our last full day on board the beautiful Coral Princess, instead, while everyone else was packing up and readying themselves for their journeys home or to their next destination on the next day, Chris and I would be taking a trip right down the hallway to our new Stateroom where we’d reside for the Southbound Voyage of the Glaciers cruise. I just shook my head and pinched myself to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming.  Speaking of dreaming, I’d dreamed for a decade of being able to do just what we were right in the middle of doing, back to back Alaska cruises. We spent most of this day tootling around the ship because we wouldn’t be to our “Scenic Cruising” destination until around 6pm that evening.  We had made reservations at the Bayou Cafe, one of the “Specialty Restaurants” on board, for 6pm too and we’d be doing some of the scenic cruising viewing right from there.  SIDE NOTE:  We’d be taking the 26 Glaciers Cruise out of Whittier, Alaska (where the Coral would be docked) the next day which would take us back into College Fjord only even closer to the glaciers than the cruise ship would be getting).  This was a very low key, relaxed day for us. Shoot, we didn’t even have to pack, well I take that back, we did have to pack the things that we had in the drawers, and I had to gather up all of my magnets and maps and such that I had sticking to the walls…more on how they transferred us in my next post.  For now, let me show you the Princess Patter for this day:

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And here was my outfit for the day:

IMG_8116We decided to eat very lite that day because we knew that we’d be eating a pretty hefty meal at the Bayou Cafe later that evening. So we took our sweet time getting ready that morning and then we headed on up to the Horizon Court for a little bit of a late breakfast.  I must pause here and say that we enjoyed the Horizon’s buffet, whatever time of day we decided to pop in there on this cruise.  Everything was always hot, everything was always super clean and organized, the service crew members were jolly, and the food was excellent.  You will not hear one complaint from us about the Coral’s Buffet.  Here are some pictures that I clicked off on that morning:

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When in the Horizon Court, crew members will come around and ask what you’d like to drink and refill your coffee/tea/whatever else for you. There is also an entire self-service drink station that is always open no matter the time you enter.  Here are a few pictures of what they offer:

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The Amuleto Italian Cafe is also part of the Horizon Court and this is where you can get your choice of sweet treats from cookies, to bread puddings, to cakes, pies, and much, much more. My personal favorite was a warm vanilla cream that they had out almost every day…I would have put that stuff over a steak if I didn’t think I’d be looked at strangely. 😉 lol Of course I’m kidding, w-e-l-l, maybe I’m not. 😉  IMG_1641

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After we were finished with our breakfast, we headed to the “Onboard Outlet Sale” that was being held down on Deck 6 mid-ship in the Provence Dining Room:

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I controlled my urge to pick some things up just because they were a great price and instead picked up these 4 spiffy magnets.  One for myself and one for each of my girlfriends and their hubbies who we’ll be cruising with to the Caribbean in the coming months. 🙂

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After we finished, well I should say, after I finished at the sale (because Chris was waiting out in the Atrium for me…haha), we decided to take a little walk around the ship and click off a few pictures of a few venues. 🙂

This is the Chapel:

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The Wheelhouse Bar:

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We clicked off a couple of shots of the Atrium…Such a pretty area!

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And Crooners:

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Also Meridian Bay:

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I’ll tell you this table of Brighton jewelry called to me for the entire two weeks we were on board because I really love Brighton, but, I abstained and can you believe it, I made it through without purchasing one of these pretties. 🙂 IMG_1041

Here is the Casino:

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And I thought these were super pretty, these were part of the Fine Arts display that they set up and down throughout the week–I believe the final art auction was on this day–don’t quote me though on that one…haha…I don’t have one lick of wall space available for Art so if I’m totally honest, we didn’t pay too much attention (*although* I would love a Robert Kincaid one of these days…<sigh>…more dreams). 🙂

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We then headed back to our Stateroom and hung out in there and leisurely packed up what we needed to pack readying us for our transition to our next room the next morning.  Before we knew it it was time for us to head on down to the Bayou Cafe. I chose to change my outfit for this little outing:

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And here is a picture of the two of us…Chris hadn’t changed yet, he actually wore a dress shirt and slacks (he didn’t want to wear jeans into a Specialty dining venue—I think you could but, he wouldn’t–his preference of which I’m fine and dandy).

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And here is the menu:

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Dinner was delicious…absolutely wonderful!! And this is what we had for dessert the “Buttermilk Bread Pudding with the Pistachio Caramel Sauce” <~~~ HELLO…SO good!!

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As we were sitting and enjoying our dinner, College Fjord was very quietly gliding by as we sat and gazed at its magnificent  glory out of our window seat.  Here are some shots we took while at dinner:

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