Alaska Cruise on the Norwegian Jewel: Day 1&2

I debated wrapping up the end of my trip with the second half of Seattle but I figured I might as well follow how my vacation went.

Day 3 of vacation was the morning blitz mode in Seattle that I wrote about HERE in the previous post.

Second half of that day was spending about an hour or so boarding the cruise ship.  During the first part of the line-up, I have to be honest that I freaked out just a little when I searched all my bags and I couldn’t find my passport.  Somehow I found it tucked somewhere or another.  It was just hidden.  Its been so many months that I can’t even remember where it finally popped up.  But that is generally how I am when I travel.  Good thing I pull out these documentation in advance. Imagine the stress of not finding it at the last minute and holding up the line, I can already feel the stress 😉

So, security checks and check-in for the cruise ship, getting our Norwegian Jewel card that is technically our access and payment for EVERYTHING for the 9 days on there.  I can tell you one thing, the perspective of life changes a little when money becomes this behind the scenes figure (kind of). I’ll talk about the entire cruise experience when I’ve finished with everything during a recap.  For now, lets get these rather uneventful Day 1 and 2 over with.

Day 1: Boarding ship and settling in!

Here’s our room, which is the first place we went after we boarded since we chose to carry our own luggages there. We didn’t bring a lot so it was light and easy.

Norwegian Jewel

Our room

There were no windows.  We were on the 8th floor.  It was a decent size and really tidy.  To be honest, I really just went back to rest here between activities or sleep at night or shower between workouts and meals.  I didn’t stay in there incredibly a lot so it didn’t really bother me much. It was really comfortable and the whole no windows thing made us kind of lose track of time in the mornings when we didn’t have to wake up for a tour because we couldn’t see when it was light out 😉 That’s vacation!

There was some Sailing Away activities in the afternoon as we inched closer to the 3pm time when we departed Seattle.

Norwegian Jewel

The Deck

Norwegian Cruise

View of Seattle from the Cruise Ship

When we sailed away, we walked around the ship to explore what there was and where it was all situated so we’d be able to get to wherever we wanted for whatever activities soon.  We peeked into the Workout room which I ended up spending a lot of time the next 9 days between trips and whatnot, starting the next day where I went two times or something since we were at sea. There were activities on the middle area with pools, sat down and enjoyed the sun a little, then found where the theatre for all the evening shows and we ended up finding the game room where we found a set of Mahjong complete with all the tiles.  Guess what? My mom and her friends wanted to kill some time doing that so we did until dinner time 🙂

Our first night at dinner was the restaurant we scouted out.  My mom and her friends had already been on various cruises before but its the first time they saw Asian cuisine as free dining on the cruise ship so of course, that was our first choice. Here’s what we had at this restaurant called Chin Chin.

The service was very nice.  The food was very westernized.  They called it Asian fusion, but its not.  Although, you will see that we did end up going back for lots of dumplings and possibly fried rice 😉

To wrap up the evening, we went for an evening walk on the deck where I discovered the Spinnaker Lounge which I will end up spending nights there checking out their game/theme nights and its kind of my way to have some alone time to relax and not be rushed from point A to point B. It was still relaxing but I do enjoy time to myself.

Norwegian Jewel

First Night on the Deck

There was also the Welcome Aboard Show at the Stardust Theatre to end off the night.

Day 2: At Sea

I was still experiencing jet lag on Day 2.  I’m telling you, as I get older, this jet lag business takes longer to settle especially those 3 hours time shifts.  So, guess what? I woke up at like 5 or 6 am or something and walked up to the deck and took some sunrise shots.

Norwegian Alaska Cruise

2nd day, sun rise!

Fresh air, ocean in front of the us and the dawn of a new day! That was an amazing and incredible feeling! 🙂

I had an early breakfast, headed to my first ever Zumba class then because the instructor was late and the class wasn’t long, I headed up to the gym to get in some jogging and rowing, before showering and heading down for lunch.  Sadly, it seems I didn’t take many pictures of the buffet portion of the trip, which I spent mostly for breakfast and lunch.  I can’t remember exactly what happened but I remember activities in the middle area with the pools slowly being opened and the hot tubs and whatnot.  There was the Mr. Alaska competition which was pretty entertaining, some music that followed.  We sat in the sun a little, booked our tours for the next few stops and just relaxed.

I’m telling you..I love relaxing but the first two days started getting so relaxing that I didn’t really know what to do so I walked around and explored by myself, especially after I went to do a second workout and lost my mom in the process on the ship.  I eventually found her right before dinner.  This night, we had already said to meet at one of the main dining halls called Azura.

Azura was very accommodating, especially for my food allergies.  The service was great and the food was delicious.  I can’t remember the name of the food at all but I have an idea of what it all is.

We ended the evening with a show at the Stardust Theatre called Back on the Road Show. I think it was a singing show.  I can’t remember anymore.  Then there was a game show called Battle of the Sexes which was really funny.

Its a calm two days and nothing much to really talk about so I put them together. We arrive at Ketchikan in Alaska for our first stop the next day! 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Way

In-between moments can be just as memorable as grand finales. This week, share a photo you took on the way to something else. – The Daily Post

I haven’t been able to get together any posts for vacation just yet but here are some shots from Seattle & Alaska. Hope you enjoy it! 🙂

IMG_8225

First leg of the flight to Toronto for layover to Seattle!

IMG_8228

Above the clouds on the flight to Seattle!

IMG_9128

The first night on cruise, at sea for the next day!

IMG_9134

Sunrise on the second day, officially at sea on the way to Ketchikan!

IMG_9887

Day 8: Heading into Glacier Bay National Park!

IMG_9968

Leaving Glacier Bay National Park, heading towards Icy Point Strait!

Being on a cruise is always about being on the way to the location! There’s always time to meet new people but also time to admire everything around not only the cruise ship but also the breathtaking calm and peaceful view. While life on the cruise ship is slow, there is so much to take in.  I’d be lying if I don’t miss that a little right now, even if I sometimes felt it was a little too slow. I don’t quite mind being on the way all the time because travelling and seeing new places is just awesome!!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird

For this week’s photo challenge, get up early and explore the morning light. – The Daily Post

Its been a while since I’ve done a Weekly Photo Challenge.  I’ll be doing some late posts to catch up on this probably but lets take a look at this week.  Its been mega busy at work so getting up early was not an option for me but I haven’t shared a lot of the sunrise pictures back in last year’s early December when I did a sunrise photo session with my friend.  So here’s a few of them!

Old Montreal

Old Montreal

Old Montreal

Old Montreal

I think we’re going to be planning a spring/summer sunrise photo session soon 🙂 If not events will slowly liven up the city and I’ll try to head out to capture some moments!

Photography 101: Mystery

Show us something uncertain, and manipulate light around you to enhance the mood of your image.

Some photos are significant not because of what’s depicted, but because of the mood they create.

To stretch yourself, manipulate the light available to you to create a particular effect — use it to cast shadows and highlights to create a moody image. Work with natural light, or find an artificial light source like the stage lights above. – The Daily Post

Yesterday’s Photography 101 was all about mystery.  Yet, it was hard to figure out just how to portray it.  The sporadic appearance of the sun and my limited lunch hour didn’t give me much time to play with it before work. So I decided to postpone it to today.  That gave me time last night after work to walk around and see what I could do.

The best shot came with this shot of the mysterious (and classy) Hotel St. James located at the corner of St. Pierre and St. Jacques in Old Montreal.

Old Montreal

Giving it another day also was because on Thursday evening, my friend and I decided to do a last minute sunrise shooting session.  I’ve never done one before and like I mentioned, the sun is being sporadic but this morning, after 3 hours of sleep, I got out of my warm bed and bundled up to catch that sunrise at 6:30ish back in Old Montreal.  What can I say? Old Montreal is absolutely picturesque.

These are taken with my Canon EOS Rebel T5i.

Sunrise Montreal

sunrise montreal

The dim lighting, the birds in the frame and the first sign of the sun lighting up the sky giving off some nice hues gives a mysterious moody feeling to me. This is just the first bit of the sun going up.

Once I finish going through the pictures, I’ll be posting up more nice shots in a separate post 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Golden Hour

This week’s photo challenge is The Golden Hour! Their description is this:

In photography, the “golden hour” is the first and last hour of sunlight of the day. Photographers venture out on sunrise hikes or sunset treks to capture a magical shot, due to the quality of the light during that time of day.”

The chances of me ever catching the first hour of sunlight is close to impossible since I love sitting in bed even if I wake up before the sun rises.  Another reason is that ever since I was little, my mom has injected thoughts that make me feel like I live in a horror movie and if I were to go out in those crazy hours, what happens to those morning joggers in Criminal Minds will possibly happen to me.  Well, better to be safe than sorry, right? One day, I’ll gather one or two friends and do the sunrise shots.  For now, the closest I get is capturing the 2nd to 3rd hour after sunrise when we head out to dragonboat festivals/races. Last Sunday, I did not participate but I did wake up early to catch the very first race which my team did their 2km final at 9am.

As we were driving there at 7:30am-ish, the sky had streams of light peaking through the clouds.

IMG_2390

Now, if we talk about the sunsets.  That last hour of sunlight before it gets all dark.  Well, I’ve done that before after a hike in Hong Kong last November on Lamma Island.  It possibly had one of the best shooting experiences of my life 🙂

Lamma Island

Lamma Island on the docks preparing to get on the ferry

Lamma Island

Leaving on the Lamma Island ferry to go back to Central

Lamma Island

The Lamma Island scenery from the ferry as the sun disappears behind the mountains…

As much as my morning shot wasn’t very golden, it did have golden streaks which aren’t very apparent in my shot but it does get a bit closer to “The Golden Hour” and having  a special quality of light in those sunsets shot! 🙂

A very special Weekly Photo Challenge this week! Check it out HERE and join in if you have some shots showing The Golden Hour!