Dear Diary: Mama’s Week in Alaska, Part One

Pre-Alaska us in Vancouver. With a 6 a.m. flight, it was an early wake-up call.

Hi! For honesty’s sake, we were actually on a seven-day Alaskan cruise from Vancouver to Seward last week, but due to my husband’s foresight into safety (and lack of social-media-fulfillment needs), I waited until we got back to share.

Day One – Travel Day

Dear Diary,

Our Alaskan-cruise trip kicked off at 2:30 a.m., so it started with more of a whimper and a grunt than a bang. But, thankfully, with the exception of a broken baggage carousel in Vancouver (which ticked off all middle-aged men), our trip across the country and three time zones went exceedingly well. Both flights were on time, with one landing a touch early. When does that ever happen? Amazing.

Also, Diary, traveling without children is the shizznit (which, according to is the “modern-day equivalent of ‘the bees’ knees'”). I didn’t have to carry anyone (or a suitcase full of snacks), wipe anyone’s nose, wash anyone’s hands, or entertain anyone. I didn’t even have to hold my hand over the evil, red light on the automatic toilets so my 3-year-old could pee in peace. I watched two movies straight through, only pausing to be handed my Coke Zero and cookie, which I consumed all by myself. When the plane began to descend, I simply popped my ears and carried on my merry way. Of course, I am going to miss the little goobers, though. Thankfully, I’m leaving my babies in the very capable hands of my parents. (THANK YOU, Mom and Dad!)

Our ship, Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Sea, is perfectly adequate. I realize this sounds pretty snobby, but it’s clear this ship has seen fancier days. This trip is all about the Alaskan landscape and not about all the bells and whistles cruise ships can offer these days. Honestly, I’m not sure if we’d ice skate anyway, and it’s definitely too cold to enjoy a water slide. Maybe simple is best after all. My husband is most looking forward to the buffet.

There was a lot of this at sea. Spoiler Alert: I got my booty handed to me every game.

Day Two – Day at Sea

Hello, Diary,

Honestly, there’s not much to tell. We slept about 11 hours, which was glorious. We then got breakfast, napped for two hours, got lunch, read, played chess (I didn’t do too abismally!), read some more, the husband napped, then got fancy for dinner’s formal night and a show. Isn’t a day at sea supposed to look like that? I did hit the gym to pretend like I did something half-productive. FYI, it’s difficult to “run” (trot slowly) in a straight line on a treadmill when your gym is at sea.


Day Three – Ketchikan

Diary? You know what I’d forgotten about cruising? Cruises are essentially paradise for extroverts and a meadow full of landmines for introverts. In other news, it’s making my husband appreciate my extroverted, small-talk-loving self even more! Every meal, we’re seated with strangers. Even at breakfast this morning, when we were seated at a two-person table in the main dining room, the waiter seated another couple at the two-person table six inches away. They had an entire dining room full of empty tables. Thankfully, the couple included two, middle-aged gamers who could potentially represent our future (we’d seen them playing their Nintendo Switch in the ship’s library the day before…while we played chess), so conversation flowed nicely. Don’t look for us in the clubs or casinos, people.

Today, we arrived in Ketchikan, Alaska, a town apparently known as the place “where salmon and men go upstream to spawn.” Sexy. Thankfully, the red-light district is now a collection of ramshackle wooden buildings overlooking a river, though business apparently boomed about 70 years ago. Ew.

We wandered the tiny tourist town for about 3 hours before running out of things to see. The prospect of lounging in bed sans jacket, boots, and beanie outweight trudging around the chilly streets of small-town Alaska. We have excursions scheduled for the next three days, so it’ll be nice to have a plan.

As a special surprise at dinner, the 100-plus waiters sang the Italian love song, O Solo Mio, to the dining room. It’s not every day you get to hear 100-plus international (mostly Asian) men sing in Italian. And, actually, they did a pretty admirable job. While they were returning to their posts, the song Funiculi, Funicula came on, and I immediately recognized it as “that’s a Veggie Tales song!”, which made my classical-music-loving husband snicker.

I’ll add Part 2 and an insane number of scenery and wildlife pictures tomorrow. Spoiler! There will be pictures of whales…VERY CLOSE pictures of whales.

Also, see video of humpback whales bubble feeding on Instagram. It was pretty insane.

Are you taking any summer adventures? I’d love to hear about them!

For more Mama, follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

Published by Christine Boatwright

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