Alaska Cruise Part 2—The Cruising Experience

Hi Stamping Friends!
Today, I'm sharing some highlights from the actual cruise portion of my Alaskan incentive trip adventure. I've already shared all about how Stampin' Up! completely spoils us in my Part 1 blog post.  See some of my trip highlights below and more on my Too Cool Stamping VIP Facebook Group.

But first, over the weekend, my family gathered together to celebrate the life of my sweet grandma, Dorothy Hunt, who passed away last week.

Grandma Hunt & me

She was 95 and lived a wonderfully full life. I was always impressed at how amazingly healthy she was her entire life, only occasionally taking an aspirin. I take more prescription drugs than she ever did!  She was fortunate to have lived independently until just a few years ago. She was a postmaster in her small town of Craigville, IN, for many years and helped me start my first stamp collection (postage stamps, not rubber stamps!) by sending me new stamps as they were issued. 

We had a little family reunion in her honor, with all of my cousins from all over the country gathering in Bluffton, IN, for her service.  What a blessing to see everyone together!  With all the grand- and great grandchildren we have more than 60 of us, so that doesn't happen EVER!  We'll miss you, grandma!

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Explorer of the Seas ship

Explorer of the Seas—Our incentive trip was an all-expense-paid 7-day cruise for me and a guest and Stampin' Up! took care of everything—the flights, the shuttle to and from the pier, the cruise itself and even the gratuities!  Wow!  Talk about feeling pampered!  We were on the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas. Our guest could be anyone who was not a demonstrator, and I took my husband, Andy.  We also had the option to buy in accommodations for additional family and friends.

Sea - pulling away from Seattle

Setting Sail—This was our very first cruise, so it was especially exciting to watch the ship pull away from shore on our initial departure from Seattle. Thankfully, neither one of us got motion sickness, even though it took me a while to get used to the movement of the ship.

Ship - balcony selfie

Balcony Selfie—Stampin' Up! set us up in a stateroom with a balcony.  Rooms were assigned according to our global demonstrator rank in the company, but I think most everyone received a balcony room, rather than an interior room with no window.  It was so great to have our own personal view of the scenery whenever we liked and I loved being able to sleep with the door cracked to feel the breeze and hear the water. So relaxing!

Alaska photo frame
Door Décor—Stampin' Up! had this cool magnetic photo frame on our door.  It was a nice keepsake and a great way to see which rooms held a Stampin' Up! demo!  There were 400 trip achievers and more than 1000 total demos & their guests on board. 

Ship - cafe promenade

Exploring The Ship—It was so fun to explore the ship!  The photo above is of the main area of shops including the Café Promenade where we could get snacks throughout the day for free.  The only thing you had to pay for there was Starbucks coffee and Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Above the shops were some of the interior staterooms. 

There is something for everyone on the ship, so there was never any worry of getting bored on our two full days at sea!  I was amazed at all of the activities from comedy & ice shows, to trivia & games, to basketball & a surf-rider, to pool & spa amenities!  Every night there was music in several of the different styles of bars, and you could try your luck at the casino.  Way too many things to list!  We did more relaxing than participating in the activities, but we were just fine with that! 

Ship - Windjammer Buffet

Eating, Eating & More Eating—Of course, my favorite activity on the cruise was eating!  LOL!  The Windjammer Café had a full smorgasbord of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Salad & fruit bar, soups, sandwiches, main entrees with hot sides, desserts and international fare were included in this complimentary buffet. So much food!  Complimentary drinks included water, tea, coffee, milk and lemonade.

Ship - coke machine

Soda Fountain—I couldn't go all week without my Coke fix, so I purchased an optional soda package. I was given a special keepsake cup that I could fill with soda at the fountains in the cafés or at the bars with unlimited refills.

Syarif & Carlito
Dining Room—The BEST food, however, came from the dining room!  Each night, we had the option of attending the main dining room during our 8:00pm time slot.  We had an assigned table and our head waiter Syarif and assistant Carlito took very good care of us each night! 

Dining Room - rigatoni

The food was AMAZING!  We had several choices of starters, entrees and desserts each night, and we could select as many of them as we wanted.  Several times, Andy and I each had a main entree, then split one to try it.  I could totally get used to having prime rib, steak or rich pastas served to me every night!  

Dining Room - Baked Alaska
Desserts—I took a photo of my dessert every night, because they were always so pretty.  Above was the baked Alaska, which of course seemed appropriate to try!  Sorry, it wasn't set on fire…no flames allowed on the ship!

  Dining Room - Danny & Colleen

Dining Guests—We got to know the other guests at our table throughout the week including Danny & demo Colleen Magness…

Dining Room - Melissa & David

…and demo Melissa Ellis and her husband David.  We also chatted with demo Susan Elise Morton and her husband, Alan. How fun to hang out with them!

Washi washi

Washy, Washy—Before you entered any of the dining areas, the cruise attendants were passing out hand sanitizer and there were sanitizer stations set up all around, too.  Still, I took home a souvenir cold by the end of the trip. 

Sea Sunrise 2

Spectacular Scenery—Of course, the highlight of the trip was the extraordinary views of Alaska from the ship!  We enjoyed several beautiful sunsets and sunrises!  This was one sunrise while we were at sea!

  Ship - track with mountains

What a better way to start the day than enjoy my daily walk around the Deck 12 track taking in the breathtaking sites on over lap! 

Mendenhall Glacier

Our first port was in Juneau and we paid for an excursion to see the Mendenhall Glacier.  The weather was unseasonable warm, in the upper 70s, with beautiful sunshine the whole week!  The locals were giddy with excitement about the weather because they said they only have an average of 44 sunny days a year!  We had packed for 50s to 60s and rain, which is what is the norm in July.

Juneau - Nugget Falls

We took a 2 mile hike to get to Nugget Falls. The warm weather meant there was intense glacier melt and the falls were very fast and intense.

We also went on a whale watching expedition and we able to see humpback whales, orkas (shown in the video above) and a sea lion.

  Skagway - white pass railway

Our next port was Skagway, and many of the cruisers enjoyed a ride on the White Pass Railway up the Yukon Pass.  It was so interesting to hear about the stories of the men who risked and sometimes lost their lives in search of gold in these hills.

  Skagway - train 1

Photos do not do the train ride justice, as we were riding along some super-steep roads that were cut through the mountains.  It was gorgeous!

You can get a better idea by watching this video of the train crossing a bridge and going through one of the caves.  Too Cool!

Endicott Fjord 3_edited-1

The best views came in the Endicott Fjord, a narrow passageway with super-calm waters that ended at the Dawes Glacier.  It was such a beautiful morning and so serene!

Endicott Fjord 4 - deck 12

There were so many people checking out the sights on the upper deck that we were glad we had decided to take a tip from our waiter and watch most of it from our private balcony.  He told us the ship would stop at the end of the fjord and rotate 360° several times, so we could just get some breakfast from room service and watch the views go by.  Perfect!

  Dawes Glacier - sunrise

The morning sun was bright, so it was a little hard to get a great photo of the Dawes Glacier at the end of the fjord. 

  Dawes Glacier 1
Since the weather was warm, we saw the ice calving off the glacier several times, but we never got it on video. The chunks were so huge and the movement was so great that it sounded like thunder rolling across the water.  Amazing!

Dawes Glacier - floating iceberg

There were large icebergs floating all around.  Look at the blue color…so breathtaking!

Endicott Fjord 9

There were several waterfalls and we even spotted some mountain goats with our binoculars.

Endicott Fjord 2

Gorgeousness from every angle!

Endicott Fjord 5

God's majestic beauty!  I spent a few moments praying while taking in the awesome sights…so grateful to receive this blessing!  I truly appreciate my stamping friends and Too Cool team for helping me to achieve this trip.  It is all because of YOU!  And, thank you to Stampin' Up! for giving me the opportunity to experience this!


A full moon glistens on the water during the final night at sea!

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I have several more photos from the trip on my Too Cool Stamping VIP Facebook Group page as well.  You are welcome to join by request by visiting my VIP Facebook group page.  Tomorrow, we'll be back to stamping projects!


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2 thoughts on “Alaska Cruise Part 2—The Cruising Experience”

  1. Angie, thanks for sharing all here. I’m sorry for your and your family’s loss. Very nice to hear you had your grandmother for so long. Thank you, too, for all the great pics. It totally comes through how much you enjoyed your trip. Well deserved!

  2. Angie – Am sorry to hear about your grandmother but sounds like she had a great life & left our earth very peacefully.
    Love you pictures of Alaska. Makes me remember my trip to Alaska and wish I go again.
    Love you cards & your blog. Kathleen


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