Saturday, August 30, 2014

Alaskan Crab: yum

We have been on the hunt for the best Alaskan King Crab on this trip. I tried some at Tracy's King Crab Shack in Juneau and again in Skagway at the Skagway Fish Company. Today I tried it right here on Radiance of the Seas. Rita's Cantina previously Mexican fare has been transformed into a Crab Shack for the Alaskan season. They serve king crab legs, chowder in a bread bowl, fish and chips and other variations. It is a la carte but it not too expensive, worth a try though.
I think the best crab legs were those at Tracy's Crab Shack. The venue is pretty rustic and can be cold to dine there but the food is great. 
The crab is served hot and comes with condiments but I like it plain. It was so delicious!

Seward Alaska

We have reached the most northern port on our Alaskan cruise. Most passengers are disembarking today. We are staying for the return cruise to Vancouver.
This morning we will be changing over our sea pass cards and being 'cleared' to commence the next cruise. Later today the ship will be full again with a new group of passengers. 
Here are some photos from our balcony this morning. It is very cold here. The snow on the mountains is proof!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Excursion in Skagway: The White Pass Railway and Historic City Sights

In Skagway we went on a ship organised excursion where we headed up the mountains in our coach and then boarded the White Pass Railway to descend the mountain. This railway has historic significance as it was built during the gold rush by 35,000 men in the early 1900s. It took just over 2 years to build and it was considered at the time an impossible venture to build a railway in these treaturous mountains. Many died during its construction. The conditions were also deadly through the Alaskan winters. Rock was blasted off the mountain face with explosives until a roadway could be made to lay the track.
The train was authentic and the carriages were as they were in the old days. 
The excursion was really good with narrated commentary throughout the trip.
We left the ship at 8.00 am and returned to town at 12.00. We had the choice to take the train back to the ship or get off in town which is what we did. We had a look around before heading back to the ship on foot, not far at all.
On the way to the ship, near the wharf, we stopped at the Skageay Seafood Company for lunch. I had to have king crab legs! Trevor had fish and chips. The king crab is awesome. The legs are huge! 
Here are some photos.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Juneau Excursion: 'Discover the Mendenhall Glacier'

I am sitting in our tour bus as we leave the Mendenhall Glacier site. It was drizzly and cold but that didn't stop us. What a wonderful natural marvel.
Here are some photos:

This was a short ship organised excursion where you get taken to the site in a coach and then you have 1.5 hours of free time at the site to explore and take photos.
Now we are heading back into town.
I would recommend this excursion.

Juneau - Alaska's capital city

This morning we were greeted by a cloudy foggy day. Rain is forecast but we are headed off on an excursion to see the Mendenhall glacier.
This is the view from our balcony this morning.

There are two other cruise ships in town today. I suspect it will be a busy town today with potentially over 7,000 people arriving by ship!

Monday, August 25, 2014

We have arrived in Alaska.....first port.....Ketchikan!

Our first port in Alaska is Ketchikan. This was Alaska's first city and is the salmon capital of the world!
After breakfast we went ashore to the meeting place for our excursion 'Historic Ketchikan Trolley'. This was a tour around the city sights and to a totem pole village. We then teturned to town and went for a walk through the streets before making our way back to the ship.
This town is very unique. The construction of the homes is mainly timber and as the town is built on a mountain side, the homes are often high up.
The weather was cool, forecast was for 15 degrees. This is typical summer weather in Alaska! It rains most of the year but for a few hours we had clear skies and then it started to rain very slightly. 
There are three ships in port today, our ship the Radiance of the Seas,  the Celebrity Solstice and the Pacific Princess. 
Here are some photos.
The view from our balcony as we had just docked in the port.

This is the Trolley car we went in for our excursion.

We are now back on the ship and relaxing prior to sailing away to the next port this afternoon.

Today we boarded our cruise on Radiance of the Seas to Alaska!

We arrived in Vancouver yesterday afternoon from Los Angeles.  We checked in to our hotel, the Hyatt Regency which was really nice. We then went off to dinner at Pacifico Pizzeria and Ristorante. I had found this place on Yelp and made a reservation before we left Australia. Dinner was really nice and then we headed back to the hotel to get some sleep.
Today we boarded our cruise ship. It took  ages to get through customs at the port as there were two ships embarking at the same time. We eventually got in the ship and we are now enjoying our lovely Grand Suite. This will be our home fir the next 14 nights. Very nice.....
Our cabin is 1554 and is on the hump of the ship.
My preordered Evian water was here waiting for us along with a welcome back gift from Royal Caribbiean for being a loyal return guest. 
This should be a good trip with visits to Ketchiken, Juneau, Skagway, the Hubbard Glacier and we hope to see some great sights...,.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Our stay at Disneyland

We arrived at our accommodation the Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel after a long day at Universal Studios.
We had booked a transfer through our travel agent and they arrived promptly. The driver was terrible, we thought we would not arrive in one piece. After an hour and a half we were there.

This hotel was one of the cheaper ones to select on the Disney website when I booked our package stay. It was not great and the restaurant was not very good. One day we wandered down to breakfast as you do at a hotel only to be told that there was a 40 minute wait for a table. Never seen that before at a hotel! I should have booked the Grand Californian which was nicer but more expensive. Oh well.....
We had two days at the the parks so we decided to go there in the mornings and evenings and return to our hotel for a rest in the afternoons. That was a good idea because we were so tired. 
Michael enjoyed Cars land at the Grand  California Adventure Park and went on some rides and saw his favourite places in Radiator Springs. Even though he is ten years old and says he doesn't like Cars anymore, he was still very excited to  be in Radiator Springs!

On the first night we returned to the park to watch the World of Colour water show. 
We had secured a 'fast pass' earlier in the day and returned at the designated time to get our spot for the show. We lined up for over an hour even with the fast pass and then found a spot. After another hour the show started.and it was really good. 

After the show we headed back to our hotel to sleep. 

On the second day we looked around Disneylsnd. I preferred this park to the first one. We want on lots of rides and checked out various attractions. It was a good day.

We had dinner at Naples Restauramt in the Dowmtown Disney District. I would recommend this restaurant if you go to Disneyland. The pizza is excellent and authentic.
The downtown Disney district is really cool for shopping. It's a hive of activity and it's not even in the park!. 

Universal Studios!

Today we visited Universal Studios with a front of line pass. We took the studio tour which was really good. So hot though .... We spent a better part of the day doing the usual theme park things before heading back to our hotel. We are having a refreshing drink before we head off to Anaheim to spend the next two days at Disneyland.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Arrival in the US

We arrived in the US on Sunday the 17th of August, same day we left Australia, just 2 hours later. How weird? The flights were ok, lots of turbulence and very very long lines at customs on LA. We had our fingerprints taken and even our photograph! We checked in at our hotel, the Loews Hollywood. It was centrally located with all the Hollywood attractions just down the street. We checked out the walk of fame which was extremely crowded. Here is a photo of Robin Williams star which was adorned with flowers.

We went to dinner at Trastevere in the Highland Center. We had a nice Italian meal and then went back to the hotel for an early night, we were very tired by this point!