Travel Tuesday-Cruising

Travel Tuesday-Cruising

Cruising is not for everyone. I know a ton of people who love to cruise. I am not one of those people. Here are my main reasons:

First of all, I don’t like anything that starts off with ropes and long lines. This is why I’m not a huge fan of amusement parks. As a teenager I would be the one “mooing” in the line while being herded like cattle. Now, as an adult, I just “moo” and “baa” in my head.
After you make it to the end of the line, instead of a thrilling, adrenaline packed roller-coaster you get to fill out a questionnaire. The first question, “Have you experienced any vomiting or diarrhea in the last 24 hours?”

Secondly, I get motion sick. After discussing my bowel movements with complete strangers I then walk a plank onto a ship that has a constant sway. It’s not easy on my stomach and it’s very claustrophobic. To make it even worse the ships normally smell like a hospital (another thing I don’t care for). They’re drenched in bleach, disinfectant and sanitizer in an attempt to prevent norovirus. So if you’re feeling a bit woozy or uncomfortable, you better hide it. They can quarantine you if they think you’re contaminated.
Third, once you’re all checked in and settled into your room, it’s time to relax and enjoy the money you’ve spent, right? Wrong. The first day is crowded with people trying to sell you stuff; drink packages, specialty dining, specialty coffees and specialty ice cream because apparently the money you already forked out isn’t worthy of specialty.

Fourth, if there is anything I hate more than hospitals and herding, it’s buffets. Buffets make me realize why there are ropes in the first place, because people are idiots. I’ll be standing, politely and quietly in line hoping that no one gets the last piece of French Toast before I make it up there and then someone will cut right in front of me, skip the tongs and use their fingers and take my piece of toast. And this will happen over and over again until I sit down and all I have on my plate is an apple, a yogurt and some gray slop because these were the only things no one was crowding over like vultures. So unless you want to feel like you’re a part of the animal kingdom, skip the buffet.
Lastly, I just don’t like feeling like a tourist on a schedule. The basic principles of cruising don’t work for me. I don’t like having to scan a card to get on and off the ship. I don’t like feeling accounted for. I don’t want to go into the tourist towns that are bogged down by things made in China because I can find that right here in my local wal-mart (another place I don’t go). I prefer venturing out on my own, getting lost in the woods, finding waterfalls that hundreds of Americans didn’t pay an excursion desk to bring them to.
Basically, I want my vacation to be filled with adventure not people, secluded destinations not floating cities and cool local restaurants not buffets.

How do I still sell cruises? Some people are not nearly as snobby and uptight as I am 😉

Travel Tuesday-Alaska

Travel Tuesday-Alaska

I’m not sure where to begin. Alaska was the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. I am in love and in awe and I’m wishing I was still there. This is definitely my favorite destination so far. I found myself on more than one occasion wanting to bust out in Pocahontas songs because I have never felt so connected to nature.

Kenny and I decided we would try to see as much of the “real Alaska” as we could without paying money to take tours and be herded like cattle with 50-60 other people. We didn’t have much luck with this in Anchorage because we didn’t have a lot of time. We did find a cute little place to have breakfast.

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I would recommend this spot to anyone passing through. It’s called “The Sandwich Deck” on K Street.

We spent the next two days sailing through glaciers. This was incredible. We enjoyed most of the views from our own balcony. Anyone who is going to the coast of Alaska should take a glacier tour. We went to Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay National Park.
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(The good)

Our first port was Skagway where we ventured off on our own to take a hike. Hiking in Alaska is not the same as hiking in South Carolina or even New York for that matter. People kept saying “everything’s bigger in Alaska!” Well, that’s true; everything is bigger, including their hills and mountains. After the first mile and a half the trails stopped. Who needs a trail when you can tie an orange ribbon to a tree and watch people stumble over giant roots, climb over boulders and play hop scotch over creeks? It was rough and it was painful and there was no big “aaahh” moment at the end that made it all worth it. In reality, the most beautiful views were the ones we saw at the bottom. Here are some photos from bottom to top.

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(The Bad)
 (The ugly)

We went to Juneau the next day. Our plan was to take the city bus to Mendenhall Glacier for $2 and go hiking AGAIN! We were trying to do it the “local way” by not taking the $10 per person shuttle from the cruise ship up to the glacier. We got on the local city bus and tried to pay. She said “don’t pay me, we’re not going far” and then dropped us off two blocks up the road. We decided we sucked at being locals and didn’t want to hike again anyway. We hung out in downtown Juneau and did some shopping. We found an awesome restaurant called The Hangar on the Wharf where we watched planes land and had delicious crab meat sandwiches.
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Our last stop in Alaska was Ketchikan. I set up a tour through Southeast Sea Kayaks to go kayaking in Orcas Cove. I liked this company because they only took out 6 people at a time. Unfortunately you cannot control wildlife so we did not see any whales. We did however see a ton of starfish, bald eagles and jelly fish. I stopped myself from being disappointed by looking up. The views, at all times, are breathtaking. They also fed us the best smoked salmon that we had in Alaska. If you’re ever in Ketchikan look them up!
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After kayaking we went to Creek Street which is Ketchikan’s version of Venice. Here there’s a ton of cute little shops and a great place to get reindeer, moose and caribou sausage.
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Finally, we ended our trip in Vancouver. We wandered around most of the day. We ate a lot of food. We found a crepe place for breakfast, an Italian restaurant for lunch, and said “bon voyage” with a sushi cone.

I’m not going to lie, I still don’t consider myself a cruise person but I can see why everyone loves the Alaska cruise. I can not wait to go back and see more. Alaska and I are not finished yet.

Travel Tuesday – Jamaica

Out of all the places I traveled to last year, Jamaica was by far my favorite. Everyone was so laid back and happy (or maybe high 😉 ) and incredibly welcoming. I have a lot of couples come to me who want to go to St. Lucia but can’t afford it. I always recommend Jamaica. Their landscape is very similar to St. Lucia with mountainous regions, waterfalls and beautiful beaches. On top of that their music, food and attitude is simply irresistible.

A few of the fun things I learned while I was visiting;

There is a KFC in Jamaica and the locals call it “Keep From Cookin” or “Keep Fat Comin”.
Jamaicans really do say “Yeah Mon.”
According to everyone I asked, Scotchie’s (pronounced scotches) in Montego Bay has the best jerk chicken.
If you don’t want to be in a tourist destination then Port Antonio is the place to go. It’s also supposed to be the most beautiful location on the island (I didn’t get to go while I was there but I have every intention of going one day).

The Jamaican bobsled ride is a blast!
Do not judge Jamaica by it’s cruise port! Multiple people have told me that they don’t like Jamaica because the people are pushy and rude. Unfortunately, this is the way most sales people are when you’re stepping off a cruise ship and you should not judge an entire country/island by it’s port.

Here are a few of the photos I took during my visit.

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