I woke up refreshed after having slept on a real bed! The rocking has calmed somewhat, it’s now very mild only to remind you that we are on a boat. Which I love. My kids say that the do not even notice the gentle rocking. We have gained an hour overnight, as the ship set clocks back to Juneau time overnight.
We have our standard buffet breakfast in the Windjammer. There are omelets made-to-order in the back. Fruit Loops are offered today, very exciting for the kids (I don’t usually let them eat sugary cereal at home). We are at sea for the morning, docking in Juneau after lunch, where we will enjoy our planned excursion of Juneau and Mendenhall Glacier. My sister-in-law says there was a Geography Trivia event in the late morning. This is my dear son’s area of specialty and he is even wearing his National Geographic State Geo Bee Participant tee shirt from earlier this year. The cousins and my sister-in-law will enjoy watching and supporting him.
The Geography Trivia event is a gathering in a small lounge/bar area called the Tavern. Through the decorative port hole windows, we can see the lush green land as we approach the Port of Juneau. The crew member hosting this trivia event is standing behind the grand piano. There are some families, but mostly adults playing. There can be teams of up to 6. My husband and I are sitting near our son, but he is the one playing. My son is a 4-time School Geography Bee Champion, and 3 time State Geography Bee Participant, finishing 12th, 8th, and then 4th earlier this year. The questions are a little different that the sample questions he is used to, for example: How many times can the state of Rhode Island fit into the whole of the state of Alaska? (This is the only question he missed. He guessed 420 and someone else had guessed 500 and the answer was like 480.) And, Drive from Nebraska to California in only four states. This one we had to talk out our answer. Does Nebraska border one of the Four Corners states? Which one? Colorado? Okay, Colorado meets Arizona at the Four Corners, Arizona borders California. Boom. My son won the contest, to much applause, and a few shouts of “Ringer!” His prize: 6 Royal Caribbean Highlighter Pens. My son said it was the Highlight of the cruise.
After lunch in the buffet, we make our way off the boat and onto the Pier. There is much confusion as the person in charge did not have paperwork nor a telephone number, nor even any information about the time start and meeting location. We had to pay for a shuttle to take us a mile away to the meeting point. We enjoy a chartered bus with a friendly driver, who entertains us with such comments as “And the Juneau State Capital Building, voted the 50th most beautiful capital building in the United States!” We always enjoy when the tour guides include humor 🙂 He points out all this awesome wildlife so casually: “OH there’s another bald eagle for you, anyway as I was saying…” I can hardly get my camera ready fast enough to capture the image. Here is a pic that my godson took.
My godson also made a video of our trip, I think I will share that after my entry of the 8th day (with his permission).
The Mendenhall Glacier is a beautiful cotton candy blue. We have only one hour here, and the guide recommends a 45 minute medium hike to the waterfalls. But he stresses that there will not be enough time to visit the Center if you do that. Most of our party hike to the Falls, but my daughter and mother-in-law and I decide to do our own thing, check out the Visitor Center, Gift Shop, and enjoy a shorter hike. I am so happy to share this with my young daughter, as I recall visiting my first glacier in Alaska when I was about her age. We enjoy a short walk to the beach and take numerous photos, also talking with the other visitors, as you do. We even use our binoculars to try to spot our family members walking to the falls. It doesn’t work. They look like ants.
Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau
Our tour guide drives us to another lookout point at Douglas. He takes our family photo with our ship in the background. Can you say Christmas Card?
As we return to our meeting point, our party divides. My husband, sister-in-law, and the boys decide to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens with me. So we stay in town a bit longer. The grandparents take the girls back to the ship and will dress for fancy dinner. I’m glad they can enjoy this special time together. I’m glad to have an opportunity to watch this fabulous movie again! We are looking for a drugstore in town, as we’ve discovered our ship does not have self-service laundry. The one drugstore does not, so hubby takes advice from the pharmacist and walks a mile further to a grocery store. This is like the Road Block in The Amazing Race in which only one team member can participate and fulfill the task. Sis-in-law heads back to the shuttle. I take the boys to Alaska Fudge store, as we wait for my hubby. I pick up a cute tee shirt for my daughter along the way. As we wait on the benches near the shuttle, I find myself without a book, phone (hubby took it because Apple Maps are better than whatever he has on his phone), nor tablet. I didn’t bring a book or tablet because I’d wanted to lighten the load that is my backpack for the excursion. I thought, there’s always e-books on my phone! But here I am without a phone. And with two teenage boys who each have their own phones, and they don’t really want to be talking to their forty-something mom/aunt. It is like pulling teeth, but I get some very interesting conversation from them.
Hubby returns and he’s all energized from walking. We decide not to wait for the shuttle, and begin the walk to the pier. It sounds great, but everyone is taller than me with longer legs, and I can’t keep up. Hubby teases me and asks if I will be doing the “band walk” as he calls it. If you squat a little, your legs will cover more ground. Yes, this is a thing I remember from marching band, when you have only four counts to get to your next mark. There’s a moderately steep incline and it now begins to more than sprinkle, I’d call it a light rain. I’ve stopped counting the busses that pass us, I don’t want to notice if it is the one that we could have taken. The walks takes longer than we thought, and now we do not have time to eat before the movie. (Who said that you don’t get any exercise on a cruise? I logged over 15,000 steps today!)
“You can do it, Honey!”
We go straight into the theater where SIL is waiting. Luckily, I have some yummy cherry bars in my backpack. Afterwards, we go back to the buffet, before we return to the grandparents’ room to collect our daughters.
My daughter is dancing deliriously and clearly having a grand old time. We walk by the karaoke singalong to check it out, but it looks lame. The bartenders are singing, begging for singers. But I am not singing the Commodores. She’s a Brick….HOUSE. Ow.
Tomorrow we will be in Skagway, for the Fourth of July! There will be gold panning, 40-Below chamber and PUPPIES!