Just One Thing Before You Start Reading This Post
This is the third post of a three post series. If you haven’t already read them, you might want to start by reading; “Travel – Cruise Alaska on the Norwegian Pearl – Part 1, Prepping for the Cruise“. Next read “Travel – Cruise Alaska on the Norwegian Pearl – Part 2, Up Through Our First Two Excursions”.
Our Third Excursion was Horseback Riding
We had decided to go horseback riding for our third excursion and we did it just before the no port day so we could rest up the next day.
Also, after this were two days where the excursions involved sitting, so we figured we wouldn’t ruin the rest of our trip if we made ourselves sore while horseback riding.
We Got On a Charter Bus, Then Got On a Horse
As before, we disembarked from the ship and got on a charter bus. It took us to a horseback camp. We were explained some basics and asked what our horseback experiences were.
My son hadn’t ridden much (if any). I have ridden horses on and off most of my life. For many years before my son was born I owned horses. It had been a very long time though since I had ridden.
I used to own two saddles, both were western pleasure horse saddles. I still have one of them left, along with all of the tack needed to ride. I keep thinking, someday I’ll get another horse.
We were given helmets and were led through the countryside by a guide.
Turned out for me horseback riding was like riding a bike (you just don’t forget how). My horse was great. My son’s horse was too.
They did warn us that we could come across a Grizzly Bear but we didn’t see any (Thank God)!
Did you know that horseback riding is great exercise? You burn 6 calories per minute while riding on a horse, while that horse is simply walking. I wonder how many calories you burn if the horse is running!
I really need to buy myself another horse!!!
The ride was great. The horses were fantastic. The scenery was beautiful. At the end of the day, I was so very pleased that we had selected that excursion.
A Glacier in a Bay (One Day Without a Port Stop)
During our trip, there was one day that was scheduled to be completely at sea. Our ship was scheduled to sail into a bay that day.
The ship came into the bay, then sailed in a circle so we could get a good look at the glacier.
I went to my room, grabbed my coat and gloves and stepped outside onto the deck. It was so very cold but I wasn’t going to miss getting pictures of this amazing site.
In order to get great pictures, we went outside on the deck. If you do too, make sure you are wearing your winter weather clothing and be careful not to slip on the deck.
The entire bay was beautiful. We were surrounded by snowcapped mountains.
Then we started to see the glacier.
The ship turned left and circled around in the bay. It moved a little closer. The fog started to lift.
I noticed off to the far right, it looked like there was a waterfall, but it may have been totally frozen.
As we circled closer, we were able to see the glacier more clearly.
Here is a close up look at the ice fall at the left end of the glacier. This is something you must see to appreciate.
Because the ice is constantly moving and calving, when you go to see this what you see will be different.
I wonder what you will get to witness? Will you catch a picture or a movie as calving is actually happening?
We Left the Bay, Had Dinner and Went to a Show
Because we knew this would be a day at sea, we spent some time in the forward lounge and played bingo.
We went into one of the art auction/exhibits.
We had dinner reservations for ourselves at one of the specialty dining restaurants. Excellent food.
After dinner we went to a show in the Stardust Theatre.
We had so much fun this day.
The Best Time of Year to Cruise
I had heard that the best time to schedule an Alaska cruise was September, specifically the second to last cruise offered from a cruise line.
(1) To be comfortable on the cruise (and on excursions), this is the time of year that the mosquitoes are least bothersome.
Note; We weren’t bothered by even one mosquito on our trip.
(2) Shopping is said to be better towards the end of the Alaska cruising season.
This is the time of the season that the merchants are offloading stock. They don’t want to hold onto stock until next season so there are discounts to be had. If you cruise on the second to last cruise day, I had heard there is still plenty of merchandise to choose from (often with great sales prices).
For our on shore shopping adventures, we selected one port specifically. At this port, the shops were very close to the dock where our ship was moored. Taking purchases back to the ship would be fairly easy (a short walk). We took advantage of this and did quite a bit of shopping there.
One Final Remembrance for Me
The morning before we disembarked to go shopping, we attended a lecture and I found out there was a jewelry store that carried a nice line of watches (Diamonds International). This company carried Philip Stein watches.
I had wanted a watch with a few diamonds. I tried on several of their watches. One of the watches that I really liked had beautiful diamonds all around the face of the watch. They wanted $3600.00 for it. No I didn’t get it, but it was beautiful.
I bought myself this lovely watch instead. No diamonds, but it tells time perfectly and it is still pretty. A nice remembrance of the trip.
This link will take you to a Philip Stein watch that is similar to mine. The watch at the end of this link has a limited supply. I don’t usually provide a link to an item in Amazon where there is only a few left, but my watch is a great watch. You may want to get yourself a beautiful Philip Stein watch too.
This link will take you to another Philip Stein watch. As with the link above, the link in this paragraph goes to a watch that is similar but not the same as my watch. This watch has a very limited quantity left for purchase too. If you love watches like I do, regardless of where you get it, I hope you find just the right watch for you.
On this day, I wanted to get gifts for family. I wanted to bring back some presents for my other 2 children who stayed behind (both are older than my son who came with me).
I got each a pen with their names on them, a nice folding knife and a watch set for each (the watch sets we bought onboard the ship after we got back).
I surprised my youngest son with a couple of remembrance gifts too.
I got a couple of surprises on Christmas, (after the Cruise was long past).
Because he knows I love watches. My husband bought me the above bracelet and watches stand as a present for Christmas. I love this gift. It is sold on Amazon, click on the link or the picture below and get one for yourself or someone you what to spoil with an elegant gift.
I actually received two of these kinds of stands at Christmas. The second one was from my eldest son. I have bracelets on that stand, (that stand is black). It looks like this one below.
Our Forth Excursion, A Lumberjack Show
We arrived at the port of Ketchikan. We were ready to go to see the lumberjack show.
We disembarked and got to the show early. It was raining, but the seating area was covered so we were comfortable.
The Master of Ceremonies came out. This woman introduced the lumberjacks and the skills that they were going to exhibit for us.
Seeing her standing next to these men was actually kind of funny in itself. She was about two thirds the size of the men she was working with.
They threw axes with amazing precision. They performed speed cutting. They raced up what looked like wooden telephone poles, using boot hooks and straps to climb up, then down as fast as they could. They ran across the pool, along a long log without falling in.
They showed how a log man might work his way up a tree, to remove branches prior to falling a tree.
First this man chopped a notch in the bottom of this log. He stuck a board in it, climbed up onto it, then made a second notch and did it all over again.
They demonstrated their skills of balance while trying to knock each other off a shared log.
The first time, the man in red knocked the man in gray off. The second time, the guy in red went down.
I deliberately didn’t show you most of their performance because you really need to see it for yourself. Seeing this show was well worth the price of the admission.
If you decide to go to Ketchikan as one of your ports, go see the Lumberjack show. I don’t believe you will be disappointed.
Onboard, We Ate Like Royalty
We ate at the buffet for all of our breakfast and lunch meals and loved it. They also served wonderful dinners and late night snacks.
One of the nights we ate in their French restaurant “Le Bistro” for dinner.
The day when we didn’t stop at any port, we ate at the Japanese restaurant “Teppanyaki”, which was a show in itself.
The final night we would eat in “Cagney’s Steakhouse”.
I am amazed at the consistent quality of the food that was served no matter which place we ate. I so appreciate the care and obvious dedication to fine service and fantastic food from Norwegian.
Yes, I Got a Year Older
We celebrated my birthday when we went to the Italian restaurant “La Cuchina”.
We didn’t actually go on my birthday, but it was close enough for us to celebrate it.
After my meal, they brought me a huge piece of cake with Happy Birthday written on it.
How did they know?
Yet again the staff was top notch in everything they did for us.
We Had Lots to Do In Between Doing Stuff
In the daytime (when it was warmer outside), we played shuffle board on deck.
We played chess on deck too.
We went to the casino to entered a nightly drawing.
We stayed up late, grabbed snacks from the aft snack bar and then parked ourselves in the main lobby to watch a movie on a big screen (a theatre sized display screen).
The Fifth and Last Excursion, Victoria British Columbia, Canada
Our last excursion was to be done with us riding in a horse drawn trolley through downtown Victoria British Columbia, Canada.
Here is where we were going to need our passports. You enter and exit using your passports (don’t lose them).
We arrived in port.
We disembarked and went through an area where we officially entered Canada.
It didn’t feel any different to me though.
We walked to a line where the trollies and horses waited for their passengers. These were huge horses. Two of them can pull 20 passengers, the driver and the cart through the downtown area of Victoria.
The driver was very informative about the horses and the sights we saw as we rode along.
We saw lots of homes, businesses and such (the kinds of things you see when traveling through city streets).
We got to see the funniest sign on a building. I didn’t know if it was for real or a joke sign.
The capitol building was huge. The grounds were immaculate. The grounds and the building itself had wonderful sculpted figures of people on and near the building. There were lots of people simply walking around, enjoying the sights.
The trolley ride was very pleasant, but it was over too fast.
We headed back, non-stop to the port of Seattle.
When we arrived in Seattle, all too soon it was time to get the luggage (and the really big wrapped framed print).
We departed as thousands of other people were boarding (they would be the last to see Alaska from the Pearl that year).
I just wanted to get back in line and do it all over again!
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