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August 14 2011

This morning we ate at Tritons and in the dining room we realized that we hadn’t been told when the dessert buffet would be. Every cruise there is a dessert buffet towards the end of the cruise with lots of tables lining the dining room covered with every dessert you could possibly imagine culminating in a chocolate fountain. In the end Amp told us that it would be tonight. It must be a secret this year because there’s no way to know about it without asking. Pajama Bingo followed breakfast and Natalie came quite close to winning but no dice.

In the afternnon mom, dad and I ate at Parrot Cay where there was a buffet. I was able to get a lot of food and they even made a special dessert for me that wasn’t out on the buffet. Natalie was feeling sick so she rested in the room. At 1:15 we met for our Alaskan Bear Adventure Excursion in Ketchikan.

We took a bus to the Bear Adventure Terminal where we watched a brief safety video about the float planes we would be taking to the island. The float planes were called “Beavers” and were made in 1947 with one of the most reliable engines in the world. They say that these engines will be the first to be in continuous use 100 years after their creation. I got put into the back of the plane when I admitted to being “a good traveller” so I had a view out both sides of the plane. Each plane seats seven people including the pilot so they are pretty small and the seat in the back could cause people to feel claustraphobic. Soon we took off over Ketchikan (the salmon capital of the world) and headed to the island. These planes are incredible. I had such a wonderful time flying in them…I’d love to get my pilot’s liscence so I can learn how to fly them as well.

When we reached the island we met up with a man who would show us the bears and tell us a little about safety and a lot about the animals. He told us that the native population who lived on the island originally didn’t even have a word for starvation. He said that was incredible for native people and for that reason the bears are always content and don’t seek out humans. Just in case though, he’d killed agressive bears in the past and was carying a shotgun and knife into the woods. We arrived at a wooden platform overlooking a stream filled with salmon. Right when we arrived the park ranger starting motioning for us to come see the bears. We watched about 6 bears catching salmon over the course of a couple of hours. A bald eagle also flew by at one point and we saw another sitting a short distance down the stream.

After what seemed like a short time we boarded the float planes again and flew back to Ketchikan. Each of us received a certificate for flying in the float planes and mom and I got t-shirts. Soon we we were back on a bus into town and browsing the shops. There were quite a few Native American shops and I got some Navajo earings in one of them. While we were shopping dad tried to do a geocache and ran into a woman from Ketchikan who asked him about what he was doing since she’d seen geocaching before–that was a first.

Onboard we showed Amps some pictures of the bears. She was very excited about it. Tonight we saw a ventriloquist who we’ve seen before onboard he is very funny. At Karaoke that night Natalie and I sang “Does your Mother Know” by Abba and wandered around the ship as usual.


August 15 2011

On our final day at sea we tried to squeeze as much fun out of it as we could. I got to eat brunch at Palo’s for the first time. Palo is an exclusive 18 or older restaurant on the top deck where the head servers go to serve as a promotion. The food was absolutely incredible. Tons of foods were available to choose from and I got quite a selection. Our server was Serbian and I was able to use my very limited Serbian vocabulary with him. Vanya would be proud. My gluten allergy wasn’t a problem at all there either they made me gluten-free pasta with the best pesto sauce you’ve ever tasted and I had veal and a poached egg…not to mention the desserts. The desserts. The desserts. Wow. I was able to eat chocolate pot, chocolate strawberries and a fruity pudding in a cocktail glass. Our server even gave us some to bring back for Natalie since she couldn’t come in.

Next I met Natalie outside the shops to get some postcards signed by Captain Guus. He’s a pretty quiet guy but he got us in super close to the glacier navigating through an ice field and he’s one of my favorite captains we’ve ever had for sure. Natalie and I did random trivia later that day and did quite a bit better than with Alaskan trivia. On the way back to the room we started a line for a picture that we weren’t sure what it was. It turns out it was Goofy and Max and we got a really great picture!

Today was Final Jackpot Bingo also and mom Natalie and I played. Unfortunately none of us played but mom’s name did come up on the screen at one point for being a loyal Bingo player! That was pretty neat.

Unfortunately we had to pack after that…which is always the worst part of the trip, but we got it out of the way! That night was Disney Dreams (the award winner for best show in the cruise industry 9 years running). As usual it was incredible. I always tear up a bit at the end when the little girl flies away with Peter Pan. Well…it is Disney after all. We said goodbye to Becky (the new cruise staff earning her ears) and told her we were excited to see her again. She did a great job this week with everything and hopefully she’ll get her ears soon! We watched the guest talent show before dinner and then headed to Parrot Cay for our final night.

We had a lovely dinner and the show at the end was exciting as always with all the servers carrying flags from their countries around the dining room. As always everyone was screaming for their servers when they went by. The surprise of the night came when the announcer began to build up the anticipation for “the flaming baked Alaska, a standard in the cruise industry and one of the most spectacular sights of cruise, the thing we’ve been waiting for all this time…” only to have an awkward silence follow continued with “so…how was everyone’s cruise?” Later when we asked the servers they had no idea why the baked Alaska’s didn’t come out, but dad was still able to get one for dessert.

At Karaoke Natalie and I attempted “I Got You Babe” which we didn’t know as well as we thought. It was a lot of fun though and we even caught the end of pub night in the Walt Disney Theater with the cruise staff. Natalie and I walked around a bit after that taking pictures of things that we only see on the Wonder and looked for the northern lights with dad although we still couldn’t see them. We had such a great cruise and we’re always looking forward to going back.