31 August 2009

Alaska Video!

I finally finished it!

Please view it in full screen mode. To do this, click the four arrows in the bottom right corner - it's the icon to the left of the Vimeo logo - next to the blue bars.

Also, don't forget to turn your speakers on. The sound didn't synch up quite like I'd hoped, but, I spent a lot of time picking out the tunes. Hope you like it!

END OF POST (there is no "Read more . . .")

30 August 2009

The Cruise Ship Experience

If you'd asked me ten years ago, "would you like to go on a cruise?" I would have said, "hello no!" Followed by, "... wait, is it free?"

In all seriousness - I've never had any interest in experiencing McMexico or McCaribbean. Giving up quality time in a country in exchange for a boat full of Americans (and their ill-behaved children) sounds like torture.

Alaska is a different story...

The most beautiful parts of the 49th state can only be seen by boat. There's really nothing like seeing a glacier that's a quarter-mile wide filling your range of vision. Sure, you can cruise glacier bay on a smaller boat, but there's no afternoon tea on those boats.

So, with it being a recession year and all (I got a balcony cabin for almost half-price) I figured, why not? I hope after viewing my Alaska video (about 11 min) you'll see why its worth braving the hordes of "newlywed, overfed, and almost dead."

To be completely honest, the cruise experience wasn't as bad as I expected. The food was great, the scenery was amazing and it was nice to see so many things and only unpack once.

So, perhaps you're wondering:

Megan, you get motion sick watching iMAX movies, how can you go on a cruise?

Well, the answer is drugs. Yes, my friends, sometimes drugs are the answer. In this case I took 1/2 a Bonine every day. I tried going off it one day but started feeling pukey-y so I took a Triptone (which can make you feel better even if you're already sick) and had a nice, long nap.

Here are some cruise ship myths I've debunked:

MYTH: Cruise ships are full of old people.

It's 85% old people.

MYTH: You have to get dressed up every night.
You can eat on the Lido deck and not dress up.
That said: all meals are included, so, why eat at the buffet when you can have a three course meal in the dining room? Even I'll put on a sweater and a necklace for that.

MYTH: Don't try to bring your own booze, they'll take it away.
Holland America allows passengers to bring wine and champagne in your luggage. After you're underway it's a different story. If you buy booze in port, they take it away when you get back on board and give it back at the end of the trip.

Here are some interesting things I learned:
  • The horn is really loud. It's a bad idea to be at the bow when they blow that thing.
  • There's a mandatory lifeboat drill for all passengers on the first day.
  • Our cabin steward worked 11 hours/day with no days off.
  • The guys who run the gym love Roxette's greatest hits.
  • The cruise ship people don't mess around when it comes to hand-washing.

Seriously, the captain gave us regular reminders over the PA. There were also burly guys posted at the bottom of the gangway next to a Purell dispenser. These guys - in-no-uncertain-terms - wanted every passenger to sanitize their hands before boarding the ship after being in port.

view of glacier from Volendam Holland America cruise ship

25 August 2009


I'm back from Alaska... still working on a round-up of all the photos and a well-worded recap. I'm also working on a video. It's challenging to capture the amazing scenery of Alaska in just photos and videos, but it's better than another rant about misbehaving kids, eh?

It was a great trip overall. The highlights were
  • Glacier Bay
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Visiting a dive shop in Ketchikan
As for the cruise itself: my travel buddy described the cruise ship as, "a floating restaurant with scheduled activities." Which I think is accurate.

They were also really really fanatical about hand-washing. There was a Purell dispenser every time you turned around - two in front of every entrance to the dining room. The captain would get on the PA and remind people to "vash your handz."

We started making jokes, "If zu do not vash your handz, ve do not bring out zee vhales OR ZEE FOOD!"

Really though, it was a fun trip. I never thought I'd take a cruise, but it's the only way to see some of the most spectacular scenery mother nature has to offer.

Coming Soon...

A video recap
Photos of scenic stuff
Photos of whales
Pix from the lumberjack show