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 and is 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 #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!

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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…

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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

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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…

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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!! ❤

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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…

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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! ❤

~Arlynn

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:

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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.