Written by Mariah Wesner
Grandma’s ninetieth birthday has come and gone. We are finally going to fulfill our promise to take her to Alaska. Let me introduce you to everyone; there’s my Dad, Mom, Great Grandma and me. We are going to board a plane on May 11, to Seattle Washington. After a night there, we will proceed to the Holland America ship; the Nieuw Amsterdam. This cruise will deliver us to Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, and Glacier Bay National Park. We have many activities planned in each place but also many things to see on the ship.
“Mom look, they have games on the seats,” I said as we boarded the plane. I always have been scared of flying, but I wanted this one to be better. Grandma is sitting at the window, I’m in the middle, dad is next to me, and mom is across the aisle on the end. The plane is taking off and I am playing scrabble with mom and dad. Now that we have reached the full altitude, it is a little rocky. They are bringing our drinks and snacks around now. I got a coke and some cookies. I’m now going to watch a movie until we land. “Please fasten your seatbelts.” said the flight attendant. Let’s get a wheelchair for you grandma, my dad said. We are loading up the bus to head to the hotel Fairfield Inn. Let’s eat at Dave’s Diner. “Look they have loaded french fries.” They have cheese, sour cream, and bacon on them. We are playing some pull tabs to win prizes. So far, we have won nothing. Now, we are heading back to the hotel where I’m going to go swimming, and tomorrow morning we are headed to the ship!
“It’s too early mom. I don’t want to get up yet.” Well, I had to get up so we could catch the bus. The bus fit about thirty people and we sat in the middle. I’m sitting next to Grandma and across the aisle is mom and dad. The driver is explaining some of the sights as we go by them.
“Mariah go to the ramp so we can board the ship,” my mom said. After about an hour in line, we finally got to a handicapped area where Grandma could move ahead of the line. Now we are boarding the ship and it is beautiful! The pillars are a dusty gold color and the floors are dark blue. We are getting on the elevator to go up to the fourth floor where our cabin is. Finally, we found it, cabin 4025. The room has a bathroom near the door, then a bed, a television and stand, and a bunk bed to pull down. Next there is a couch. Across from the couch is a desk and mini fridge. The last thing is a balcony with two chairs.
As the ship starts to pull away, we are waving to people from the balcony. We are going to head up to the lido deck and look at the pools, activities, and the buffet. When we got out of the elevator we walked through the spa. It smelled of eucalyptus and lavender. The pool is right in the middle of an enclosed deck with ping pong on the right side and tables alongside windows. There is a little “diner” that serves burgers, hot dogs, and french fries. We kept walking and found the Lido buffet, it has so many stations. There is one station just for dessert! If you keep walking you will find an outdoor pool with two hot tubs. If you walk up the stairs there’s a court for basketball but you can also play tennis. It has a net around it so the balls won’t bounce into the ocean.
It is now dinner time and we will be going to the grand dining hall. For the first night, we are going to a three-course meal. There is a show tonight with singers and dancers. The description says it is going to be themed in the woods so it should be interesting. The show is on the same floor as the dining hall so we grabbed some butter mints and walked to the show. After a short wait in line, we got in and decided to sit on the top floor of the theatre. They offered champagne for the adults and orange juice for minors.
The show lasted about thirty minutes, and we are now heading back to the room. The beds are already made. I will be in the bunk bed, mom and dad in the queen bed, and grandma is on the pull out bed on the couch. They folded our towels into fun animals and left four milk chocolates next to them.
Today, we are at sea all day heading to Juneau. We are heading up to the lido deck to eat breakfast. I am eating yogurt with strawberries and a plate of bacon. Today we are going to some of the shops on board the ship and maybe swim and play tennis. Right now we are going to play ping pong. It’s me against dad and my mom and grandma are watching. I won every match we played! Now we are just going to relax in the room until dinner time. Then tomorrow we will continue cruising to reach Juneau on Monday.
Last night there were some big waves that were rocking the ship. Today we are docking in Juneau where Mendenhall Glacier is. We plan to go to some shops but most importantly we are going out to the glacier. We are on a bus heading out to it now. There are a little gift shop and museum along the path we have to walk to get to the glacier. The glacier is bright blue in some places where air has been trapped inside of the ice. It is so cold out here we are going into the museum to look at the history of Mendenhall. They have a chunk of glacier inside on a cart and they are letting people hold it. Now we are heading back up to the shops. We have to reload on the ship soon too.
Today we are pulling into a port in Skagway. We are going to take a train ride through the mountains. There are some small creeks and waterfalls but there is a really tall one too. We are allowed to step out of the car and stand outside as long as we take turns with other travelers. Grandma, mom, and I are going to go get some pictures.
There is a bear and two cubs on the side of mountain. They look like little dots we are so far away from them. The train is approaching a bridge with a tunnel. There is no light in the tunnel, until you reach the end. The train turned around just before reaching Canada and now we are heading back to the ship and tomorrow will be a day at sea.
Today we are going to explore the ship, watch some shows, relax, and play some games. We have found a lookout deck where you can sit inside and see the ship or go out on the deck to the front of the ship. My dad and I are going to go walk outside while mom and grandma stay inside.
For lunch, we are heading up to the lido deck. Mom got a burger but the rest of us are eating at the buffet. I walked by the dessert table and they had a white cream with a strawberry in it. I grabbed it and took it to the table. I asked dad what it was and he said it was white chocolate mousse. It is so good, I’m going to get another one; maybe in chocolate this time.
We are going to play four rounds of bingo in the performance hall. Dad was so close to a bingo, but we lost all four rounds. There is a casino on the ship, dad and grandma are playing a slot machine right now.
Tonight is formal night and we are all dressed up going down to the dining hall. Grandma is too tired to go to the show tonight, but I wanted to go. They are doing a fifties style of music and dance. Afterwards, mom, dad, and I weren’t quite ready to go to bed; so we went up to the lido deck to sit by the pool. My mom decided to get a pina colada. My parents also got me a strawberry daiquiri; don’t worry, its non-alcoholic.
We are having another day at sea but, we will be cruising through Glacier Bay. We will see a glacier that is two miles wide. We will be cruising through there about noon. We are going to go to the lido deck to eat and watch outside the windows. Until then, we are just going to swim, play some tennis, and just hang out. “There’s nowhere to sit,” said dad. “I guess we’ll just have to watch from the balcony.” mom said. “I’m hungry though,” I said. We are heading back to the room as we approach Glacier Bay. We found a menu on the desk so we ordered room service. This couldn’t have gone any better, now we can eat and watch on the balcony. We are now bundled up in blankets and are approaching the biggest glacier.
Today we are in Ketchikan. We are going to be seeing a lumberjack show, which is supposed to be huge here. We are waiting in line and a lot of people from other ships are too. There are four lumberjacks. Two on each team, one is representing Canada, and the other is for the United States. They compete in a couple different competitions, but they get the crowd into cheering and it’s a lot of fun. After about forty-five minutes the show ends with the United States winning by one point. They are now taking pictures with people and we are going to head over there. Now, we will find a place to eat, do a little shopping, and then head back to the ship.
Today the cruise ship pulled back into port. We are walking off and getting to our bus. We will spend the night in Seattle, Washington and fly home tomorrow. I wish it didn’t have to end, but I enjoyed every minute of the trip. I hope you enjoyed our family vacation, call Classic Travel to book your own!