Alaska Back to Back Voyage of the Glaciers Cruises, Episode #2: Traveling & A Sweet Visit

Okie dokie, it was finally *the* day, *the* day that I’d been anticipating for what seemed like forever! It was time to leave and head to the airport.  Here I was at around 2am that morning, finally all packed, freshly shower, and already sleep deprived because I couldn’t even lay my head down on my pillow; that’s how excited I was for this trip, I was like a little girl on Christmas Eve!  Our first flight was at 6:55am, but, you know, you have to be at the airport so many hours early now-a-days (although we did apply for and got approved for TSAPre✔️, so that did help us zip on through some of the arduous process of flying now-a-days.


That first step out of the door was the hardest, even though our daughter Christin had already arrived and would be at our house caring for our pups for the duration of our trip, I was in tears as I stepped out the door to climb into the car.  I hate leaving our puppers, so, so, so much.  And this time it was even a bit harder because our big Newf Sophie has been struggling with many joint issues as of late and I just could hardly stand to leave her.  BUT, I knew that she had everything that she needed, i.e. Christin, the correct amount of pain medications, new, large throw rugs strewn about the hardwood floors to help her get up easier, and a strong spirit, so I knew she’d be okay.  Still, it was so hard to leave. You can see the rugs strewn around behind me and the couch and beyond in this picture—Chris found many rugs like these at our local Home Depot and he purchased every dark brown one that he could find…Bless him!! ❤


Here are the three sweet puppers that we left behind in the very capable hands of our daughter…as I said though, I left with tears streaming down my face. ❤

Here’s Sophie (Newfoundland):


And Samson (Newfoundland):


And Gracie (Golden Retriever):


And all three:


All righty, so off we headed for the airport. It was the day before we were to climb aboard the beautiful Coral Princess and leave out of Vancouver for our back to back Voyage of the Glaciers cruises. Our first stop once across the Country though would be on Vancouver Island, B.C (Victoria).  We got to the airport with absolutely no traffic issues…miracles of miracles in these parts, yes, even in the middle of the night. 🙂 We took a picture of where we were parked in the garage at Dulles Airport, quite the large hub of an airport.


We’d be flying Air Canada for all three of our flights on this day.


The first leg was Northern Virginia to Toronto on this jet:


Second leg would be Toronto to Vancouver on this jet which was the most comfortable of all of the jets we flew in that day, this one was actually quite nice:


Third leg would be Vancouver to Victoria and that is where we’d pick up our rental car and head to our dear friends Liz and Mike’s house for hugs, a lovely dinner, and wonderful conversation. First things first, we had to get there.  As y’all know, I cannot stand negativity, but, I’m going to get a little negative here.  Even though Chris had procured us “Exit Row” seats for the first 2 legs of the flight which provided me tons of leg room that was awesome, I still felt like we were two sardines in a can…what is it…have they cut 4 inches off of the seats? Or well, maybe I’ve expanded that much, but, dear me we were smooshed…miserable…tried (and succeeded) not to be grumpy as we flew across the country.  We were *supposed* to land in Victoria at 1:40pm local time, but, we were delayed so long in Toronto that they had to put us on a later flight…ugh…I was SO sad that that had happened. But, Liz made everything okay, she was so gracious, so loving, and so supportive in her responses when I texted her to tell her the bad news that I couldn’t be sad for too long.  We’d be late getting to their house, BUT, we would be getting there *that* evening!  Here is the plane we endured for the 11 minute flight from Vancouver to Victoria (of course you sit smooshed in the plane for 30 minutes before take-off and for another 15 as you are taxying to the terminal…BUT, the flight was only 11 minutes…haha.  <slapping self on forehead> ) 😉



This was me after that flight…I was pretty much in a daze by this point. 🙂


Okie dokie…We had landed in Victoria!! Woohoo, strike up the band, do the happy dance, breathe a huge sigh of relief…the hardest part of our journey was now behind us. So we headed to the luggage carousel to retrieve our luggage…well we got a bit of a surprise when my purple suitcase rounded the bend…the front pocket was gaping open and the zipper had been ripped apart…oh joy, joy…that was a fun piece of luggage to push over to the rental car agency and then out to the car then later into the hotel then…well, I’ll continue this little saga a little later.  😉 Here is the pocket I’m referring to–thankfully, the jackets that I’d stowed in that pocket were miraculously inside the large suitcase compartment.


ANYhoot, we finally found our rental car, loaded Liz and Mike’s address into our GPS (my phone).  It was a 45 minute drive over to their house from the airport…I tried really hard to slap on a little bit of makeup and put a comb through my rat’s nest before we got over there…but, truly, I could hardly breathe, the butterflies in my belly were definitely doing a dance for that entire car ride.  Vancouver Island is absolutely gorgeous btw, although I don’t have many pictures of it because I was too busy primping…or trying to anyway. 😉 I did manage this one shot:


We pulled up in their driveway and there sat sweet Liz waiting for us to arrive.  As most of you know, Liz was diagnosed with ALS a little over a year ago.  I could NOT wait to get to her to give her a HUG…Chris barely had the car stopped and I was stepping out to make my way over to her so that I could hug her neck! ❤


OMGosh y’all, what a sweet hug that was!!! Here we were a few minutes later:


Talk about happy, I was SO excited to see her…boy oh boy do I love this sweet lady!!! ❤

We made our way into their beautiful home and Mike had prepared us the most scrumptious of meals…that I did not take one picture of…UGH…I’m so sorry.  But, everything he fixed for us was completely delicious!!! We so enjoyed every bite. Then it was gift giving time…Liz has been building a beautiful dollhouse so I had gotten her some little items to make a “Red Wagon Decor” out of, along with a miniature Newfie doggie figurine (that looked like their sweet Newf Jack (rest in peace) when he was a wee pup, and a bracelet.  1V4A9626.jpg

After dinner we headed out to their back deck to chat for a nice long little while.  As you can see, they have a front row seat to the most beautiful cove I’ve ever seen. 🙂 And they get to sit and watch all of the cruise ships dock in Victoria.  Here are a few shots of the view off of their back deck:




And we even had some beautiful visitors come around:


The sun was was setting as we sat out there and chatted away…it was a wonderful, sweet time with Liz and Mike.  But, we knew that we needed to head on out and get to our hotel  back over across town as we’d be spending the night there and heading back over to Vancouver via another one of those planes and 11 minute flights very early the next morning.  OH those goodbyes were bittersweet though…my heart just about broke into a million pieces…truly! ❤ ***THANK you so much Liz and Mike for having us over to your home and for the great food, conversation, and love…such genuine friends y’all, I can’t even begin to tell you what an affection Chris and I have for both of them!! ❤


Chris and I climbed back into our rental car and begrudgingly headed to our hotel.  I was pleasantly surprised with the hotel though…It was the Best Western Plus, Emerald Isle Hotel in Sidney, B.C. (very close to the airport).


Here are some pictures of our room which was actually a suite with a kitchenette…very nice. 🙂



And what did Chris expend the rest of his energy doing that night? Yep, you guessed it, he fixed my suitcase’s zipper using nothing more than a butter knife, his tenacity, and his ingenuity. What can I say, the man can fix ANYthing! lol (I felt bad though because Mike had given us a roll of duck tape at my request to be used to fix that gaping pouch—no worries though, I’ll pay him back the next time we see them). 🙂 I was much relieved about that zipper though, I must admit. 🙂


Trust me y’all, I did not feel my head hit that pillow that night…I slept like a baby…And we were back up and moving very early the next morning because we had a flight to catch that would carry us back to Vancouver and to our awaiting cruise ship. 🙂




Talk about beautiful country…the Pacific Northwest’s views are breathtaking!

This was my outfit for this day, still looking pretty tired, but, this was after about 5 hours of sleep and a shower…haha:


We landed in Vancouver pretty early that morning, we actually were offered an earlier flight than we had booked…so we jumped at that because we figured that once we were in Vancouver, we could get to the ship pretty easily.  We had arranged for a Princess transfer from the airport to Canada Place (the cruise port). Once we landed we headed over to the luggage carousel and our luggage was literally the only luggage on said carousel …haha…we figured out that that flight was probably full of either commuters or those that had checked their luggage though to another far-off destination. 🙂 Once we had our luggage, I went looking for our Princess Representative that I knew wouldn’t be too far away, and I was right.  Princess has a little kiosk set up right past Carousel #6 in the luggage pick-up area.  We headed that direction immediately…


It wasn’t long before a Princess Rep showed up and took possession of our luggage–We had placed our cruise luggage tags in the front pockets of our suitcases and had placed them on our suitcases when we retrieved our luggage.  That was all she needed, we didn’t see our luggage again until we were on the ship. Nice!! She told us that we needed to be around between 10:15am and 11am (it was only 9am) and that is when we’d be gathered up and escorted to a motor coach for the trip over to Canada Place.  Chris and I took that opportunity to go and grab a bit of breakfast right there in the airport.


Chris and I had a hearty breakfast and then headed back to the Princess kiosk and found a nice comfy seat.  We met a lovely couple while sitting there and chatted with them, I got a lovely phone call from a dear lady that I’ve met through the Alaska Cruises on Princess Group on Facebook, her name is Eva and she and her hubby Steve live right there in Vancouver—Unfortunately, we didn’t have a chance to meet them in person this time around…but, we hopefully will do so the next time. 🙂

Our Princess Rep picked up up at around 10:30ish and we were escorted down a level and on out to our awaiting motor coach.  The traffic in Vancouver on this day was pretty crazy, our bus driver said it was because it was Labor Day weekend…it took us almost an hour to get over to Canada Place.


But then all of a sudden, the beautiful Coral Princess came into view. 🙂 AND it was time to start our cruise!



One of the members of the Alaska Cruises on Princess FB group posted this beautiful picture of the Coral as it sat waiting for us right after sunrise that morning.


Oh yes, the butterflies in my belly were fluttering again, I was so excited to be going to my favorite place on the planet, Alaska.

Next up, embarkation, a tour of our Mini Suite D407, and more! Here is a sneak peek of what our Stateroom looked like for the Northbound cruise…


And here is a link to Episode #3!


***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 ❤

Voyage of the Glaciers-Vancouver, Whale Watching Tour, & a Special Friend Meeting in Victoria

I’m almost sad to be writing this my last post lamenting about our Alaskan Voyage of the Glaciers cruise.  In this post, I will tell you about the last 3 days of our vacation

1) Our last day on the Coral Princess…

2) Disembarkation in Vancouver…and…

3) An Orca whale watching excursion trip that took us to Victoria on Vancouver Island.  A strategically planned trip just so that I could meet a very special friend that I had met on Facebook via my Newfoundland dogs. This would be our first ‘in-person’ meeting–more on that later. 🙂

So, after saying goodbye to Ketchikan, we were ‘at sea’ for a day.  I only took one exciting picture on this day.  😉  On sea days the crew brings out a plethora of different chains and you can have them made to fit.  Cute little option, and not expensive at all…, I purchased a couple of bracelets.


We mostly used this day to relax, pack, shop for souvenirs, and just explore parts of the Coral Princess that we hadn’t seen yet.  Then, the next morning, we woke up and were docked at Canada Place in Vancouver, B.C…


Disembarkation went extremely smoothly as it always does, Princess runs like a well-oiled machine, they are very organized and efficient.  We were escorted to our waiting motor coach that would take us to our hotel for the next couple of nights.  The The Westin Bayshore


We had big ideas of what we might like to do on this day, but, in reality, we took a little walk along the water, found a Subway, and r-e-l-a-x-e-d.

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The next morning I woke up with butterflies in my stomach; I was so excited that the day I had been waiting not so patiently for had finally arrived! First, I was going to see Orcas, and second and more importantly, I was going to meet up with my friend Liz!!  YIPPEE!!  We didn’t have to go far to catch our whale watching excursion boat, it was parked right at the dock outside of our hotel.  We had booked this excursion online months and months in advance and it was finally time to climb aboard and experience the Prince of Whales excursion.  We were not disappointed on the way to Victoria, after cruising under the Lion’s Gate Bridge, we spotted Orcas pretty quickly and enjoyed watching the J and L Pods as we made the crossing to Vancouver Island…amazing creatures that move effortlessly through that beautiful water, a site not to be missed if y’all ever have the opportunity. 🙂

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We also eyed a harbor seal haul out–these cuties were just lounging around sunning themselves…ahhhhh, the life…;)

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As we were getting close to docking in Victoria, we passed our boat’s sister ship…


The trip from Vancouver to Victoria (Vancouver Island) was absolutely breathtaking, the shores were tree-lined in places and in others there were lovely homes with sprawling properties that one could just melt into as they dreamed of how life might be living in this part of the world.  The Pacific Northwest is one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever seen. As we were pulling into the dock, we saw the Fairmont Empress Hotel right in front of us, what a gorgeous place.  If we had stayed in Victoria and booked through Princess, that is where we would have stayed…next trip. 🙂

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Here is a little video snippet for you of the Orcas!

So, okay, we were snuggly moored up to the dock and it was *finally* time for us to meet my friend Liz.  Liz and and I met on Facebook through the smallish Newfoundland dog community.  She and I have a love for animals of all shapes and sizes, but we have a real affinity for our “Gentle Giants”, our Newfies; there is something very, very special about this breed of dog. ❤ All right, now for a little backstory on Liz, she used to be a professional chef, was a food critic writer for over a decade, is the author of several cookbooks (I brought this one with me for her to sign A Real Newfoundland Scoff), and she is an awesome blogger ~~ >Food 4Thought.  She is the one who encouraged me to start this blog.  Liz and her hubby used to live in St. John’s Newfoundland and Labrador–you know, over here on ‘my’ side of the Country, but her hubby got transferred and they had to pick up and move all the way over to the west coast.  Liz and I had been wanting to meet for years and years and when they moved west, I told her that it would be more likely that she and I would get that opportunity (because my hubby and I routinely travel to Alaska and routinely disembark in Vancouver).  AND, low and behold, my hubby and I planned another cruise to Alaska; I just couldn’t go without touching base with Liz and seeing if we could set up a meeting. She was thrilled and was on board with us stopping by for a visit, she and her hubby even went to the trouble of coming to the dock to pick us up.  Now, I rarely meet anyone new without bringing them a little gift, so while I was still at home, I collected several items that I thought might give them a taste of where we come from and packed them in my suitcase,  I also packed up a gift bag, and ribbon (so I could make her a bow for on the package), and tissue paper.  I put the gift together while in the hotel room and carried that big bag on the whale watching boat…I didn’t get too many odd looks, well that I saw anyway…haha.  Even if I had, I wouldn’t have cared…lol.  As I was walking up the gangplank, I could see Liz at the top waiting for me, arms open wide, with the biggest grin I’d ever seen all over her face!! I practically ran into her arms and we hugged and cried for a good little bit of time. OH I was so happy to finally be meeting this lady!! AND her hubby who as you can see in the picture below was chuckling at us while we stood there making quite the spectacle out of ourselves while hugging and crying…It was an awesome moment!!! ❤ (I think she loved all of her little gifts too…you can see the bag in my hand there…haha…I was a site carrying that bag, no doubt about it…lol)

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Once back at their home, I got to meet their Newfie Jack!!! OMGosh, what a big LOVE he is…he is as calm as they come…the epitome of how a Newfoundland dog is supposed to be.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to meet Liz’s sweet Newfie girl Fleur, she had passed away a month ago on that exact day. 😥 Liz was so sweet and said that our visit helped her get through that day and gave her some good memories to recall on that ‘anniversary’.  Bless her heart!! ❤



We were only able to stay there for a couple of hours because we had to catch a motor coach that would take us over to the other side of the island so that we could catch our boat that would take us back to Vancouver. Trust me though, we made the very most of our short time together; Liz had prepared a gorgeous meal for us…OH dear me, Liz created the best fish chowder that we’ve ever and I mean EVER had based on the kind of seafood we love…it couldn’t have been more perfect (and it was figure friendly, but we didn’t know that until after we were finished eating…haha…). It was SO good!!! YUM!!  For the rest of our visit, we talked and laughed, and cried and laughed through tears, we loved on Jack, my hubby and her hubby got along famously and chatted almost more than Liz and I did. 😉 ALL was right with our worlds in those couple of hours…honestly, it was one of the very best visits I’ve ever had with anyone.  Liz and I definitely have a very special friendship, one that I will cherish for the rest of my life!! **LOVE ya Lizzy**

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<Sigh> Unfortunately, it was time for us to go and catch that motor coach, so we climbed back into Liz’ car and she and her hubby took us to our drop-off point.  Talk about a bittersweet parting…OH I didn’t want to leave, that was a very difficult goodbye…


So we pulled ourselves away and headed to our motor coach that would take us to The Butchart Gardens.  I had had no expectations about this place as I had been so focused on our visit with Liz and her hubby, but, when we arrived, I was blown away by the beauty that stood in front of us.  As we meandered our way through the Gardens on our way to our transportation back to Vancouver, I was in awe and mesmerized by the sheer beauty of that place…

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We hopped back on our whale watching tour boat and away we went back to our hotel in Vancouver.  I will admit that I sat on that boat and was very sad, sad that I was leaving one of my dearest friends behind and I was also sad that tomorrow I’d be leaving this part of the world that I’ve come to love so much.  DSCN0151

We pulled back into the Westin Bayshore’s dock, disembarked, headed up to our room and packed our bags…Tomorrow we’d take a taxi ride to the airport and head back to our humble abode.

Every time we go to Alaska, I always say it is “the trip of a lifetime”, and we’ve been blessed and lucky enough to have been able to do that trip 4 times.  Who knows, we might go back again, I hope we go back again. So in closing, let me take a moment to thank you Princess Cruises for another amazing journey, one that allowed us to bask in Alaska’s beauty, cruising through Yakutat Bay, into Disenchantment Bay and then experiencing the wonders of Hubbard Glacier,  gliding through the pristine waters of Glacier Bay culminating in the stupendous calving of Margerie Glacier.  Then traveling through the Inside Passage where we experienced the three vastly different ports of Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan. Thank you Canada for again welcoming us with open arms and hearts and for bringing two friends together, even if it was only for a couple of hours.  Oh what an amazing journey…yes, **definitely** the trip of a lifetime!

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


Here is one more link…I wrote one post describing the Cruise Tour that we took in 2012…:)  It covers our travels from Anchorage to the Princess Mt. McKinley Wilderness Lodge, on a jet boat excursion to The Devil’s Canyon (out of Talkeetna), then onward to the Princess Denali Wilderness Lodge, and then on a train ride back to Whittier (Anchorage) where we hopped on the Diamond Princess and enjoyed another Voyage of the Glaciers cruise. 🙂

Sneak Peek:


I’ve also written two other blog posts that go hand in hand with these blog entries.  Here is a link to my Alaska Wardrobe Choices entry. And here is a link to my What’s In My Carry On, My Must Haves, and Packing Tips & Tricks entry.