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Old 10-06-2011, 11:36 AM   #376
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Seals seals everywhere! Mega update!!

I didn’t mean to tease everyone with my last update but I took so many pictures, I had to break it up! Plus I was out of town all weekend on a girls trip and wanted at least a small update done before I headed out. Thanks for your patience. Get ready for LOTS of pictures. Believe it or not, a fraction of what I took. I need to get better at deleting I guess!

When I left off we were just heading back to our stateroom to gear up for our visit to Tracy Arm Fjord. Heading back we met up with the E’s, got everyone dressed in an extra layer and headed up. Unlike many, we did not scope out a spot ahead of time. We figured we’d be moving around so why tie ourselves, or tie up, a spot. We found ourselves a perfect spot for our initial viewing, on deck 10, right about here. We ended up spending the bulk of the day there.



As you can see we were getting closer! Both to mountains, snow, floating cubes and…glaciers!





Soon, we felt surrounded















A little bit of background info for you.

Named after Civil War general Benjamin Franklin Tracy, Tracy Arm Fjord is an approximate 30-mile-long fjord—a narrow inlet created by glacial activity—that weaves its way past 7,000-foot high snow-capped mountains and floating icebergs both large and small. Formed thousands of years ago, this calm waterway boasts towering granite walls that jet up from the fjord majestically, framed against a sweeping forest terrain.
At the end of the fjord lays the translucent mountain masterpiece known as the Sawyer Glaciers, comprised of the North Sawyer and South Sawyer glaciers. Rising elegantly out of the water, these 2 age-old, glowing, light-blue calving glaciers offer a glimpse into a time so very long ago, when huge chunks of ice the size of continents swallowed up whole countries during the Ice Ages of the past. Once an hour on average, slabs of these great glaciers calf and tumble into the saltwater below.

This is the entry to one of the glaciers. That small island is actually full of eagles and baby eagles.



However, our voyage to check out those eagles was about to be delayed.

By this



The Carnival Spirit.

I am not sure if it was late or we were early but either way it was keeping us from getting closer to this









Oh well, guess we’ll wait our turn!

One of the benefits of a late august cruise is a heck of a lot less floating cubes in the water. While that might not initially seem like an advantage, combine that with decent weather and our captain decided to attempt a visit to the other twin. Apparently the Wonder had NEVER done this before!

As we went along it seemed to get narrower and narrower and we moved up to the front of the ship to the same spot we'd had for the journey under Lions Gate.







It felt like we were on a large river at times



As you can see, CM’s were out below. The previous week had been pretty nasty weather wise so everyone was pretty excited (an amazing amount of back to back folks, at least standing next to us and combine that with a new glacier, the deck was literally humming with excitement.

Not as much blue over here but still pretty cool











Continued in next post
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:39 AM   #377
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A secret hideaway



As we made our way back to the “first” glacier we’d tried to see, The boys had fun with the binoculars



Warm drinks were for sale and we contemplated it for sure! For the moment we opted for the free stuff with our own additives.



Hot chocolate and cookies came out..Jeff trying to steal Evan’s







The E’s were oh so cooperative about getting their picture taken





The naturalist came on the speaker to let us know that there were mountain goats. There are sound restrictions so at times he couldn't talk and at others it was barely audible.



Can you see them?

We were making progress



(sorry random dude!)

So was Eric on the cookies



Now I am not a “sweets” person and it was almost 5pm. I can eat one cookie and really that’s enough. Salt however is a different story. Brunch had been a LONG time ago and while I’d eaten enough to last me through the day at some point Jeff and Evan, or both, decided to get fries. Which we all inhaled. And got another order. Or two. And inhaled. Honestly I don’t know how many orders of fries we plowed through but really, it was gross. And good. And wonderful and then…UGH. I didn’t eat a fry for the rest of the week!

Getting closer







Now what’s pretty darn cool is the captain basically spins the ship on a dime and rotates it all the way around so no matter what dies you are on, you get to see it all









Anyone see some brown dots?









Continued in next post
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:45 AM   #378
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Seals seals, everywhere!















]

A report of more mountain goats.



See them this time?

We were sure trying to see them!





And here they are!





Yeah, my zoom wasn’t quite enough for those guys!

Kind of cool, funnel vision is turned onto the ships camera during the entire Tracy Arm visit



Jeff was almost as cooperative as the E’s!







Not our best shot



Good thing we got an “official” shot earlier!



As you can see, I’d added a hat to my layers by the end of the day. Though it really wasn’t all that cold, we were outside basically from noon until after 6 and we were ready to go in, even the big people had started to get a little chilled. Or at least I had. Forgetting my gloves (ok not forgotten but one was left in the suitcase after unpacking and I was way too lazy to try and get at it) probably didn’t help but I’d have likely taken them off to take my bazillion pictures so it really didn’t seem worth the effort. It was fun to see how many DCL Alaska inaugural hooded sweatshirts were on people by the end of the day. The store must have made a killing on those, especially on Tracy Arm Day. I was surprised neither of the kids were asking to buy one with their money but neither loved the design on it and they are more jacket kids than hoodies anyway.

As we were exiting the fjord we decided a visit to our verandah was in order. I know this update has been picture heavy but the rest of the night doesn’t have much so...you get it all!

Arriving back at our room it was fun to see many more FE goodies as well as the rebooking quote I’d requested. We decided that now would be a great time to deliver ours. I mean to have the BOYS deliver ours! We separated everything out floor by floor and they spent the next 2 hours running around, trying not to get caught. Apparently they were spotted a couple of times. They had a blast delivering though were a bit wiped out by the end.

Slightly warmed, though still bundled up, it was verandah time. It was really fun to get a little closer to the ice. Looks like someone went skating over this





It was also fun to make an adult beverage! We’d decided to break down and get the official mug on our way back to the room. We’d managed earlier with cups from the drink station but they don’t hold up well for long and we figured we’d be much happier for the rest of the week both for our adult afternoon/evening beverages and our morning via. It was a great investment, one we should have made the first night. In fact I'm using mine right now!



As you can see though, we weren’t drinking coffee. Never too cold for a rum and coke on vacation (especially when the ingredients are either free or already paid for).







Continued in next post
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:51 AM   #379
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Anyone recognize the music? (click on the pic, it is a video) We are having boat drinks after all.



So serene!





Sadly we learned later that our adult beverage had been at the expense of an orca pod sighting. We didn’t even hear the announcement and they were on the other side of the ship. Oh well.

We got ready for dinner and headed out. My characters, wanted to see their characters. Actually, initially only Eric wanted to see anyone. Pluto would be in the atrium, Goofy in the Lobby. Eric loves Pluto, I think half his pins at the start of the cruise, were Pluto. Evan loves Goofy and has as many Goofy pins as Eric does but was playing the "been there done that card" with gGoofy. The too cool tween syndrome.



The atrium is HORRIBLE for taking photos. At least with my camera. Crummy lighting and you can’t get it right with our without a flash. At least I couldn’t. Very well could be the operator. Supposedly this is Pluto’s Alaska outfit, a bandana. A little lame if you ask me. The stuffed pluto in the gift shop had a MUCH cooler AK outfit!



Eric is definitely in the cheesy photo phase



He had decorated his lanyard with one of our FE goodies, the most adorable little token you’ve ever seen. I believe they are for geocaching but since we don’t geocache, we put them to other uses. Mine's on my keychain,



While we were getting Eric’s picture taken, Evan noticed that Goofy was in his Alaska gear too. That changed his mind in a big way. They moved you through goofy VERY quickly and as a result, my pics are horrible. The lighting, if possible, is worse than the atrium!





Thankfully, the official one was MUCH better



So I bought it. It’s already framed and in Evan’s room.

Triton’s was on the agenda for our dinner rotation, it would be our first time there. I’d been looking forward to Triton’s, it being the “fanciest” and all. I have to admit, I was underwhelmed by the décor but service and food were quite good. Though it was the “fanciest” I confess that we all wore jeans this night. With heels for me, and dressy ones for both Jeff and I but…jeans. So did most everyone else we saw, it has after all been a long day outside for everyone and I think we all were just happy to be inside, warm and yep...causal. Jeff went for another rum and coke (having brought his mug to dinner lol) but I wanted wine so decided to take advantage of the fact that they would save a partial bottle and we could finish it another night. I was thrilled to see the Brancott Sauvingnon Blanc on their menu. Not only is it one of my favorite wines, it reminds me of Disney. The first time I’d had it was in 2004, at the New Zealand Kiosk, during the Food and Wine festival in WDW. I must have had fish (perhaps seabass?) and it paired perfectly. They took it at the end of the meal to save the rest for later. I really should have taken food notes and pictures, I bombed in that area (though made it up in seal pictures!).

We’d all been up early and tomorrow would be an earlier morning so we decided that the kids should just head to bed and we walked them back to say goodnight. It is possible that we refilled our drinks but I’m honestly not sure. I’d brought a bottle white with us and suspect I refilled my glass from dinner to have it for our evening outing but who really knows.

Back in the room, whatever towel animal we’d received, the boys really liked.



We stayed out for a little bit, hitting a musical comedy show with Marc Eddie. We arrived a bit late and so maybe only caught half of it. It was outstanding! We honestly hadn’t paid attention to the navigator and the marquee outside mentioned RockNCountry so we were pleasantly surprised by Marc Eddie and really wished we’d caught the whole show. The navigator calls it a cabaret show, which I’m not sure I agree with, and that labeling could have been what caused us not to notice it. Sadly he was followed by RockNCountry which was…what it sounds like. A bunch of very young CM’s dancing, trying to get others to line dance and well, overall rather lame, tired and dated in our opinion. We, and many many others, left in droves. It had been a long day with the early morning and while we checked out the other options (Cadillac lounge had seriously bad lounge piano and was deserted, Diversions equally empty) we decided our bed was calling our name.

Tomorrow would be an early port arrival and our first port, Skagway!
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:15 PM   #380
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You'd be amazed at what can happen in a minute.

marv knows all about that.

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Old 10-06-2011, 12:17 PM   #381
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Great pictures!!! How much did you have to zoom in to get those cool seal shots!

If you don't mind me asking, what were they charging for those mugs?


So far, your trip sounds so great, relaxing and fun. I need a cruise like that. Ours have mostly been short ones, so we're constantly on the move and don't get much down time. Must change that! Alaska sounds the perfect way to do it.
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:27 PM   #382
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all the pics were good, but i loved the seal pictures,

good thing you didnt see one of them get eaten while lounging, but it might have been kinda neat seeing nature live.


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We separated everything out floor by floor and they spent the next 2 hours running around, trying not to get caught.

i guess that afternoon alone time wasnt enough you sent them out for another 2 hours.
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:58 PM   #383
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Originally Posted by FauntleroyFAN07 View Post
marv knows all about that.



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Great pictures!!! How much did you have to zoom in to get those cool seal shots!
My "big" zoom only goes to 150 so these were taken at 150 and then cropped down. You can see that some cropped better than others before losing resolution. I could have used a bigger lens but as I don't know that I'd use it much otherwise, it just didn't make sense to invest in.


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If you don't mind me asking, what were they charging for those mugs?
Good question! Around $9 each. A slightly better deal if you got it with an actual coffee (non alcoholic) drink I think as then that was included. We filled ours with coke obviously.


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So far, your trip sounds so great, relaxing and fun. I need a cruise like that. Ours have mostly been short ones, so we're constantly on the move and don't get much down time. Must change that! Alaska sounds the perfect way to do it.
We were on the move in the sense that there wasn't a lot of lounging time per-se but it was generally pretty relaxed moving! Long days though for sure. It was wonderful.

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all the pics were good, but i loved the seal pictures,

good thing you didnt see one of them get eaten while lounging, but it might have been kinda neat seeing nature live.
I can only imagine, those whales do not have a food shortage there for sure.


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i guess that afternoon alone time wasnt enough you sent them out for another 2 hours.
They were in and out the entire time, they'd do 1-2 floors at a time. Too much to carry otherwise.
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:42 PM   #384
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Loved all teh pix !!! The seals were all over that ice !!!
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Old 10-07-2011, 05:40 AM   #385
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Super update- although as a JB purist, I must point out that I heard "Come Monday" and not "Boat Drinks" which would have been appropriate on so many levels given that it was written during a snowstorm in Boston and you were actually enjoying drinks on a boat.

I am able to get past that and say- AMAZING!!!

Fantastic views. The fjords are beautiful. There are so many interesting things you saw- the waterfalls, hidden caves, beautiful blue ice, goats, and SEALS!!! They are very cute. And plentiful.

But still no whales...

That is a great photo with Goofy. Disney has such terrific borders for their photos.
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Old 10-07-2011, 07:50 AM   #386
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Okay, that's it! I have to save our pennies for an Alaskan cruise! To respond to your last question, Cynthia, Charles said he was game for it, but when I told him what it would cost (including airfare into Seattle), he said we would have to wait until I was finished with my specialist degree. Let's just say, I finish Spring of 2013, so I have every intention of booking the cruise as soon as 2013 cruises come out. Can you tell I have a bee in my bonnet now?

But...it has to be a Disney cruise -- none of that Carnival Spirit stuff for me. I need pictures with Minnie and Goofy, and one of those great travel mugs! I hope you got more Alaskan specific souvenirs for me to lust over.

Those pictures of Tracy Arm are stunning! I love that color blue in the ice! Just gorgeous! Are the sound restrictions so that nothing triggers the glaciers to come crashing down?
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Old 10-07-2011, 08:29 AM   #387
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I didn't think I'd like an Alaskan cruise, but your report is starting to change my mind.

Really gorgeous pictures. That Carnival ship in the pictures actually helps get a perspective on just how big that glacier is.

So cool to see all of those seals lounging around....what a life they have!
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:18 AM   #388
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Stellar update even WITHOUT the pictures, but never fear, you will be my first stop when I get home this evening. I do like using my imagination and coming up with my own visuals, although I am sure they are no where as good as the real thing.

So - I'll be Back!
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Old 10-07-2011, 02:04 PM   #389
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Oh my goodness! All of your pictures are absolutely stunning!! I can't even get over that Fjord! WOW!

It sounds like a lovely, relaxing day!
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