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Alaska

Wow. What an amazing trip. I'm still in awe of all I experienced last week.

I just got home from a 7 day Alaskan cruise with 16 of my family members--including my immediate family and grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. My family has been extremely unique but very blessed in the fact that my grandparents love taking all of us on group vacations. I've seen places around the US that I would have never seen if my grandparents hadn't cared so much about traveling, and Alaska is no exception. We took a cruise out of Seattle, stopping in Juneau, Glacier Bay, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Victoria, British Colombia. We escaped the Texas heat and went into rainy/cloudy/windy conditions. Even with the clouds, though, Alaska was breathtakingly beautiful.

But let me back up. The cruise ship itself was 9 decks, with a gym, two pools, lots of walking space, a theater, a two-story dining hall, and a huge buffet area. Cruise ships are known for the amazing service they provide, and boy, did they live up to expectations! The cabin boys kept the room very neat and clean. Our assigned servers in the dining hall knew our names after the first time we introduced ourselves. The singers and dancers were all very impressive, even on a rocking ship. And the cruise director was full of energy and made everyone excited about life!

In Juneau, my family went zip lining through the forest. Alaska is so green! Our guides told us that Alaska gets as much rain as the Amazon rainforest. (I believe it!) Going over the tops of trees and over old mine fields was absolutely outstanding. And, I always remembered to brake but I never got stuck on the lines, woo!

Glacier Bay was unlike anything I've ever seen. The glaciers were so defined and blue. We got to see the glacier calve several times. The sound after it calved was like a gunshot. It was so loud! Watching the large chunks of ice fall into the cold bay was incredible, too.

In Sitka, my whole family went on a sea otter and wildlife excursion. I was blown away by the amount of wildlife we saw--about 100 eagles, several whales, many clumps of sea otters, and a couple of sea lions. How astounding that this wildlife is "normal" for Alaska!

In Ketchikan, we went on a float plane into the Misty Fjords. I can't even begin to describe the beauty. I couldn't take my eyes off the mountains, valleys, glaciers, and huge bodies of water. Although it was a bit cloudy, I still was breathless by the majesty of the Fjords.

We walked around in Victoria, enjoying the sights and sounds of a new city and a new country. In Seattle, we visited Pike's Place, the Space Needle, and the Experience Music Project.

There is nothing like an Alaskan cruise. I can honestly say this is one of the most unique vacations I've been on. I enjoyed every second of it, but it definitely feels good to be home. Like Dorothy says, there's no place like home!

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