Thank you for all your wishes and promptiing (for me to get back online and write this) and emails and get well wishes. It is now just over 2 months since I got back from my awesome trip to the USA and a Tim Holtz Cruise to Alaska with Scrapmap and Jim's team.
Oh boy where do I start.
Well on the morning of the cruise Jackie and I could not wait, we were up bright and early getting ourselves preened, 12 midday was the checkin time and boy were we there right on time, well other people had the same idea and there were already hundreds lined up to board...me and my 3 suitcases (yes it's unbelieveable but I already had 3 suitcases with me after 2 weeks in Seattle) most of it was gifts I'd brought from Australia (mainly Tim Tam Biscuits-I saw them selling at the airport for $56 for 12 packets) and of course I was given a lot at the Stamping Retreat run by www.pennywisearts.com.
The Norwegian Pearl is huge when you are walking alongside it, 13 floors high, made me dizzy just looking up at it. Of course there is the obligatory photoshoot as you come on board, you'll be walking happily along when a camera and mascot jumps in front of you and before you know it 'flash' and you're on candid camera courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line .
It was a blustery day so I was anxious to get inside. We wind our way through the instructions on how to get where and wait for our cabin to be ready, of course we took a peek at how big it was....it was tiny, just enough to walk in and out, although the bathroom was big by ship standards. Our cabin was located inside so there were no windows, well I found out very quickly that I am claustrophobic, for the first 3 days I could not stay in my cabin for long without getting all hot and sweaty, I needed to get in there and shut my eyes.
We toured the ship as best we could and got lost many a times, they had food galore for us as it was lunchtime which impressed me, I would have been quite happy to be moored at Seattle harbour for the whole week. The crew were from all over the world which was so lovely to see, most of them spoke English well and they were very polite and helpful. The band played by the poolside while we enjoyed our lunch and went back for more (already see myself putting on 3 kgs right here). On enquiring I found out there were 1100 crew from all parts of the world which was really impressive to me that NCL employs people from little countries unknown to most of us.
Then at around 4.30pm they put on a farewell party for us or was it the welcome aboard party LOL (can you tell I still haven't recovered!!). The crew started up a dance line beside the pool and everyone was welcome to join in. Then it was off to our welcome party from Scrapmap and Tim Holtz at 5pm.
Scrapmap had an open bar for us and nibblies. We were given a bag to hold all our goodies, a passport pouch that hung around our neck, the picture which was designed by Tim and consisted of his one off rubber stamp he had specially made for this inaugural stamp cruise.
There were 17 restaurants on the cruise ship and we didn't get to eat in all of them. Some charged a cover charge of $20 and others were free, we ate at the Teppanyaki one one night and at the free ones the rest of the time. We loved the garden cafe because the choices were so wide and varied for all meals and the atmosphere was friendly and every table had a view to the ocean.
Monday saw the first of our classes with Tim, they were 2 hour slots and ours was the first at 9am, by this time we had sailed or motored out to the big ocean in order to get back into the Alaskan passage, well the boat was rocking-n-rolling by this time and my eyes were rolling in my sockets and I dared not look out the window as my stomach was churning, I just barely got through the first class. By lunchtime I could not eat a morsel and at 2pm I rushed back to the cabin which still gave me claustrophobia, threw up, took a dramamine and went to bed, slept for 15 hours and woke up next morning in time for the next class.
The first class was the longest, from there on they were an hour and a half. Tim and his crew were very accommodating and Tim was very entertaining as well as amazing to say the least, I was blown away by his knowledge and the fact that he is out there with the manufacturers for us and knows what where and when we use products and what we want.
Each class we attended was awe inspiring, not to mention all the gifts he gave us, which was very impressive, whatever we used in class he gave to us, well most of it anyway.
I was not so impressed by the cities of Alaska that we stopped at as they were very touristy IMHO plus I don't like the cold too much even though I live in a cold city.
Juneau which was the capital was basically one strip of shops with a few side streets. Skagway I did not even see as each attempt to leave the ship was greeted with rain, rain and snow so we gave up. Glacier bay was great but very very blustery and cold which did not help my persistent cough that I had acquired before I left on the trip and came back again, much to my annoyance and everyone else?
Ketchikan was a quaint fishing town that I had a look around and got some goodies to bring home.
This trip has given me the urge to go on more cruises, I can't believe I have missed out on cruises all my life. I came home and went to a travel agent and got every brochure I could on cruises LOL.
For some reason that flu has really hit me which I got the day I disembarked the ship and stayed for the rest of the two weeks I spent in Phoenix Arizona. Phoenix as usual was very hot so it didn't help the body adjust to the changing climates of such varying degrees in temperature.
So in a nutshell that was my cruise, love the cruise itself. Alaska-ho hum. It was great to get bakc home.