Sean and Toni

Our Honeymoon

July 5, 2005 12:00 pm

Quote:

The happy couple will be sailing out of Seattle on a seven day cruise to Alaska for their honeymoon. The newly weds will then spend a few nights in Seattle, and return in time for the Fourth of July parties.

The honeymoon was fabulous!

Sean & Toni's Honeymoon (Anna's Conception)

I kept a log of our trip. It’s rather long, but includes most of our experiences from the cruise.

-Toni
Day One

Day One

Sunday June 19, 2005

(no log entry)

Day Two

Day Two

Monday June 20, 2005

(no log entry)

Day Three

Day Three

Tuesday June 21, 2005 7:00 am

We’re in Ketchikan, our first stop since we set out two days ago. It’s a cute little town, from what we can see from the ship. We’re about to go down and check it out. Getting used to this time zone might take a while, since we’re three hours before Texas time.

It’s amazing staring out at the water thinking about how vast the ocean is. We saw several dolphins yesterday, and Sean saw a whale.

Yesterday, when we were waiting in line to get a seat at the Pacific Moon Dining Room, we saw a woman grab the arm of a man in front of us who wasn’t her husband. It was hilarious, especially when his wife turned around. She apologized, and then joined her real husband. She was pretty embarrassed, but it was the funniest thing we’ve seen so far.

Sean’s watching pontoon planes land and take off. It has been a great trip so far. We keep thinking back to Saturday and how incredible it was. And how many people were there that we wish we could have spent more time with.

Dad told us that the higher on the ship you are, the less sea sick you’ll feel. Luckily, we are staying on the highest level that has state rooms. It is so neat having a balcony and being able to see everything from the comfort of our own room. We’re on the same level as the bridge, and it’s only about seven rooms down.

Tiffany got me a denim hat that says “Just Married” and so far it’s gotten us two free glasses of champagne on the airplane from Austin to Dallas and made us several new friends.

So far, the meals have been excellent. The food is delicious, the wait staff is fantastic, and it has been so much better than I was expecting. I’ve always heard the food on cruises is great, but it never really sunk in until we had dinner Sunday and I couldn’t believe how good it was. We signed up for Anytime Dining, which was a great idea since we never know when we’ll be hungry (especially because the time change has us all screwed up).

Sunday night, the moon was out and cast a beautiful reflection on the water. Sean took a picture as another passing cruise ship sailed across the reflection.

It’s strange, I thought I’d get more sea sick than I have. There’s been a couple times I felt slightly nauseous, but I haven’t had to use the patches yet.

It is nice to have a break from the outside world, although several times I have wanted to call my parents to tell them the cool things we’ve seen.

One embarrassing thing that happened to me was when I was standing by a door leading outside, talking to Sean about “congeal,” which is a funny word he uses, and I made a “poychk” sound and squished my hands together. Then I heard him say “Toni” and when I turned around, a woman had been standing behind me the whole time waiting to get outside. It doesn’t seem as funny as I’m writing it, but I was a little embarrassed.

We had formal night last night and got all dressed up. Sean looked so handsome, I got pictures so everyone could see him looking good 🙂

We took a ballroom swing dance lesson yesterday. It was so much fun, but with lots of kicking involved. It looks cool, but could be dangerous because you have to kick pretty fast between each other’s legs.

Going ashore now, more later.

Tuesday June 21, 2005 1:30 pm

The scenery here is beautiful. Trees everywhere, snow on the tips of some mountains. We went through several little shops today in town. There are jewelry stores EVERYWHERE. We saw a bunch of bald eagles (they’re everywhere too) and I even saw a bald eagle chick flying with its mother.

The zip line challenge was awesome. On the bus over there, we saw that Ketchikan has a Walmart, and gas prices are about $2.45. The challenges we had once we got there were an inclined log, rope loop thingies, rope swing walk, balance beam, swinging log, three zip lines, and two rope walks (one with a hand rope and one without). We did the whole course in two phases, and then Sean and I raced each other a third time. It was awesome, they gave us a Ketchikan button for a souvenir.

When we were going down the elevators to get off the ship, three ladies joined us in the elevator and told us that they saw us at the ballroom dancing lessons yesterday and that we were really great dancers, that we were “the stars.” It was very flattering, I didn’t realize people were watching us 🙂

Being on the ship reminds me of the Titanic. Everything seems so elegant and high class. It’s neat pretending we’re upper class for a while, but I’m sure I’ll be ready to come back down to reality in a week.

One thing they’re very worried about here is gastrointestinal disease. I never realized why until I noticed that I put my hands on every hand rail, as well as the spoons at the buffet. Very high rate of transmission of germs, I’m sure. They made us sign a form before we boarded Sunday that says we do not have any gastrointestinal disorders and they have touch-less hand sanitizer stations all over the ship, especially at the buffet. Better safe than sorry, I suppose.

Tuesday June 21, 2005 4:38 pm

We’re off again. We took one last shore excursion to Creek Street, which is the historic part of Ketchikan. They had some neat, quaint shops (with great deals) and we got a little history lesson from one of the locals. The daily high tide and low tide are 22 feet apart! A bunch of kids kept coming up to us and saying, “I’ll jump in for a dollar.” I told them I’ll push them in if they give me a dollar. No takers. The local we were talking to said those kids will make about fifty bucks a day from tourists. Not this tourist. But if I were a kid, I’d probably be doing the same thing.

Our departure was delayed by about 20 minutes because a few people were unaccounted for apparently. But I guess they found them because we’re at sea once again and all’s well.

Day Four

Day Four

Wednesday June 22, 2005 9:17 am

It’s already Wednesday, it’s hard to believe. Every time I watch the bridge cam channel, I wonder if Dad is watching it too (you can see it from the Sapphire Princess website). They make commentaries on the channel and we learned today that blue icebergs come from the compressed ice on the bottom of glaciers, and white icebergs come from the top. There is ice floating everywhere, and beautiful waterfalls coming off the mountains. We are in Tracy Arm right now, and so far this morning we have seen a couple bald eagles and several harbor seals hanging out on the ice. The commentary said there will probably not be any whales, because all the icebergs confuse their echo-location system.

We’re about to pass the Diamond Princess. The first officer just announced that we’ll have a cheering contest with her. Last time Sapphire won, so he’s expecting great (loud) things from us.

It’s really neat seeing the clouds so close just hugging the mountains. It should make for great pictures. The scenery is unbelievable, especially the two glaciers we saw. The temperature is so cold, though, I didn’t come fully prepared. I think a lot of it has to do with the glaciers, so hopefully it will be a little warmer in Juneau. Gotta go cheer now.

Okay I think we won. They’re traveling into the fjord as we’re traveling out, so we yelled at them, “It’s a dead end!” The ship looks just like ours, except ours is better 🙂

Every day our stewardess visits our room twice. In the morning, she replaces shampoos and stuff and makes the bed, and in the evening she turns down the sheets for us and leaves a little candy on each pillow. I think I’m going to gain about ten pounds this week.

The toilets on the ship are a little scary. At the very end of their flush, they make a loud noise like they’re about to attack you. I took a video of it with Sean’s digital camera. Simple minds are easily amused.

Wednesday June 22, 2005 1:33 pm

We’re landing in Juneau now. We have a sky tram excursion here and we can see it from the ship. Can’t wait!

We had a Mason get together today and met another couple from Bandera, and a guy from Long Island.

There was another ballroom dance lesson today, the Cha Cha. It’s just like salsa dancing, but there are 3 small cha cha cha steps between moves. It was pretty easy, maybe we can show Omi and Opa a thing or two. We saw the lady from yesterday there, the one who called us “the stars.” We also saw the weird couple from yesterday’s rope and zip line challenge. The husband said yesterday, “I thought this was going to be in the woods. Well, I guess it is.” I looked around and was wondering what he was smoking, because we WERE in the middle of the Tongass National Rain Forest. And the woman only did half the course yesterday, waste of $130 if you ask me. Oh well.

The Tongass National Rain Forest is a temperate (clearly not tropical) rain forest, and apparently it rains 355 days out of the year. It didn’t rain yesterday in Ketchikan, but the tour guide said they were in a drought because it was their 10th day without rain. That’s worse than Seattle. But Sean wants to get a house there and fly a pontoon plane. Oh boy.

Day Five

Day Five

 

Thursday June 23, 2005 7:45 am

We landed in Skagway about 1 hour 45 minutes ago. The tide seems to be going down because our ship is listing (leaning to one side) about 5º. Our balcony is about 2 feet higher than our front door. We’re about to go ashore to get back on level ground. It looks like there’s a big moose and bear down at the ramp to greet us. Can’t wait.

Thursday June 23, 2005 4:50 pm

Whew, didn’t think we’d make it back in time to board, but here we are. The tour we went on lasted later than planned. And Sean called me crazy for worrying about cutting it close!

We went on a bus tour of the town and we saw a Texas license plate. They had longhorn decals on their window, so they may have been from Austin.

Then we drove up into the mountains and saw the waterfalls and snow melt pools. We even went across the Canadian border and took pictures in front of the Welcome to Alaska sign. We didn’t see any bears though 🙁 Really no wild life at all up there.

Before lunch we spent the morning shopping in Skagway and I called mom from a payphone to make her day. We went on a walking tour (free) of town, put on by the National Park people. Our guide was dressed in attire that women wore at the beginning of the 1900s. She taught us a lot about the history of the town. This is where people came to begin their trek to find gold in the Yukon in 1898. There were 20,000 people here back then. Now there are 700 full time residents, but the population increases to about 2000 during tourist season, since seasonal employees are needed.

On our bus tour, we learned that there was a couple in the late 1800s that came to Alaska for their honeymoon. He was 25 and she was 19. They were attacked and killed by some Native Americans seeking revenge. The tour guide told us that the young couple shouldn’t have strayed from their group. So from then on, Sean and I stayed very tight with our group 🙂 There was another couple with us who we met at the Honeymooner’s Get Together the other night (Tuesday).

Well we are still not used to this time zone. I don’t think we ever will be. We get up around 4 or 5 (7 or 8 Texas time) and go to bed around 8 or 9 (11 or 12 Texas time). Of course, the sun is up the whole time, because it rises at 3:45 am and sets at 10:45 pm. But it never really gets dark, just twilightish. I did see the sunset on Monday night, but it’s only because I woke up “in the middle of the night” (Texas time, that is).

We met another couple last night at dinner who are from Brenham. It’s amazing we’ve met so many Texans. There’s a couple we met at the Mason’s Get Together yesterday that are from Bandera, and Sean is waving at them from our balcony (they’re a few balconies aft). He looks like a nut, but what can I say, that’s my husband.

It has been very strange getting used to calling him that, and vice versa. Both of us have slipped with ‘fiancé.’ Sometimes we’ll have to think about it for a few seconds before we finally introduce the other with a spouse title.

Oh boy, they’re paging people now to contact the passenger desk. We’re 15 minutes late for departure. We’ll spend all day tomorrow at sea. It will be nice to have a break from shore excursions, since we’ve been busy walking around so much.

I think that’s all for now. Time for dinner!

Day Six

Day Six

 

Friday June 24, 2005 8:26 am

Our time zone has changed back to PST now, so we’re all screwed up again. I’m glad we’ll have some extra days to recover when we get back to Texas.

The waves this morning are HUGE! If the ship keeps rocking like this, I may have to bust out the nausea patch. Oy!

Last night we had dinner next to a couple from San Antonio. A couple minutes after we sat down, the couple who we shared a table with Monday night at the same dining room (Savoy Dining Room) sat next to us. We’ve actually seen them a lot since then. After dinner we met the San Antonio couple in the Skywalker Bar to watch the final championship game between San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons.  San Antonio won, it was pretty exciting. They bought us a couple drinks to celebrate our marriage (and the game, of course). A few minutes after the game was over, the officer on watch came over the speaker to tell us that there was a pod of orcas on the port side (which was right below where we were sitting). It was so great, several of them were breaching, including a mother and a calf! I think they were all just showing off. Several of them were also swimming in the wake trying to keep up with the ship. We saw at least 30 orcas, so it must have been a good size pod. Now I just need to see a whale. I still didn’t see a bear, but it might be too late for that.

After the orcas passed, the couple from San Antonio started asking us questions about how we met, how he proposed, all those mushy love stories. Sean kept going on and on with stories, and I figured they’d be getting bored, be he’s an author, and both of them were very curious about the details. So we gave them the not-so-short (but not quite the full length) version, and told them all the intricate details are on our website. They said they’d check it out and maybe write a story about us. That’s pretty cool!

We’re rocking really hard right now. I’m going to lay back down.

Friday June 24, 2005 1:00 pm

Every time I write, I ask Sean if there’s anything he wants to add. There never is, but at lunch he thought of a couple things. Of course, they’re somewhat embarrassing stories about me, but that’s not unusual.

At breakfast yesterday, Sean got oatmeal, and I don’t like oatmeal, so I kept looking at it, looking all nasty. Apparently I was sneering at it, because Sean saw me and said “Quit making faces at my oatmeal.” I think you had to be there, but it was funny to us.

Also yesterday, we were walking along deck 14 when we came to a door that lead outside. I grabbed the handle, turned, and pulled. It didn’t open. I tried it again, only with a harder pull, and it still didn’t work. So I came to the conclusion that it must be locked. Until Sean stepped forward, turned the handle and pushed, and it opened. So I’m a genius, what can I say? It would have never happened if he had stepped forward to open the door for me in the first place. What a gentleman 😐

The ship is still rocking, I did have to break out the patch. I’m glad it wasn’t like this early in the week, though. All this writing is making me a little nauseous. Time to lay down.

Day Seven

Day Seven

Saturday June 25, 2005 8:30 am

It has been a week since we got married. How the time flies when you’re on a cruise ship.

After dinner last night, we went to a show called Piano Man. It was a musical based on the works of Billy Joel, Elton John, Liberace, Barry Manilow, and Neil Sedaka. It was great, I loved the songs.

Then we went to the Explorer’s Lounge for a not-so-newlywed game. They had three couples, and they had to answer as they think their spouses would answer. Then they brought the spouses back to see if their answers matched up. It was hilarious, the couples were married 16 years, 23 years, and 50 years. Personally, I think they should have chosen a brand newly wed couple as well. I think the funniest questions was ‘Where is the one place that you got iggy jiggy wiggy with Mister biggy that no one else would know or think of?’ The 16 year couple answered the slip-n-slide. It was hilarious. The British host didn’t know what that was, but the couple got that one right. Sean and I played from our seats, and we got most of them right.

We had fajitas last night at dinner. They were okay, but not like in Texas. They didn’t bring them out sizzling and they didn’t serve any rice or beans with it. Oh well, you can’t win ‘em all.

Saturday June 25, 2005 3:50 pm

Almost to Victoria now. It’s been a pretty lazy day. We took a backstage tour of the theater and got to see the audio/video people, the dressing room, and the props. Then we went to the last ballroom dance lesson and we learned the Merengue. It was fun, the instructor even gave us a handout so we wouldn’t forget how to dance what we’ve learned.

It’s a beautiful, sunny day, but it’s still a little chilly. I’ve never been to Canada (except Thursday on our shore excursion) and I am looking forward to our Ghosts and Graveyards excursion. We paid off our bill this afternoon. The grand total was $645.06 for all the souvenirs and drinks we bought on board, shore excursions, gratuity, etc. Not too bad, I suppose, for a honeymoon.

The water out here is so blue it’s unbelievable. I wish I could bring it back to Texas and fill the Gulf with it.

Not much else has happened since this morning, so I’ll check back later.

Day Eight

Day Eight

 

Saturday June 25, 2005 3:50 pm

We’re back in Seattle today, waiting to disembark. Yesterday’s shore excursion (Victoria’s Ghosts and Graveyards) was really neat. We learned about several important Victorians. One resident (I know he was important to the community, but I can’t remember why) slammed his fingers in the door of the first automobile in Victoria in the 1800s. Since antibiotics weren’t invented yet, his fingers got infected and he died.

Another story our guide told us was about a cemetery that would be submerged under water during storms (since it was very near shore) and when the ground got saturated, the coffins would float to the top and were carried off to sea.

We stopped at a Chinese cemetery as well. Their tradition was to exhume the dead body after seven years, put the bones in a clay pot, then ship them back to China.

Time to disembark, more to come.

Day Nine 

Day Nine

Sunday June 26, 2005 8 am

Disembarkation was pretty smooth and quick, but now we’re at the rental car place that doesn’t open for an hour, so we’re just sitting around waiting. This was my first time to ride in a taxi cab. It was everything I hoped it would be.

Okay, back to the ghost and graveyard stories… There was a widow who used to sell incomplete sets of dishes to people. When she died, she didn’t leave a will, so the government auctioned off her possessions. When they walked into her house, they found stacks and stacks of dishes, all mismatched. So the story was that if you leave a single setting out in the house, it will disappear. As it turned out, our tour guide wanted to check out the rumor. So he asked the couple who lived there if they would mind. He brought lots of beer and told them he was a tour guide trying to verify a story. So all night they were drinking and having a great time, and sure enough when they put out single dishes or single place settings, they would disappear. He ended up spending the night, because he was too drunk to drive home. When the husband left for work, the guide decided he would test again (to make sure the couple wasn’t pulling a fast one on him) and make the wife breakfast in bed. He set out a place setting and began cooking an omelet. When he turned around, the place setting was gone (and the wife was still in bed). As it turns out, that dish was a piece of a set that belonged to her great grandmother. She was very angry, and not only was he never allowed to come back, but they told the tour company that they didn’t want anyone stopping in front of their house. So instead, we sloooooooowly drove by so people could get pictures.

There was another story about a man who mistreated his wife. He would never bring her out in public, and when people would ask why, he said because she was ugly. He ended up dying of constipation. Our tour guide said, “What a way to go, or not to go, as the case may be.”

Sunday June 26, 2005 7:50 pm

We did get a car, and the people were nice enough to get us out of there by 8:45 am. We came straight to the hotel, but no rooms were available yet because they had a full house and no one had checked out. So we left our bags in a security room and parked the car, then walked to the Space Needle. We got a deal for half price when you buy 5 other tours half price. So basically, it’s called a City Pass and there are six tickets for Space Needle, Pacific Science Center (which includes an IMAX ticket as well), the Woodland Park Zoo, Museum of Flight, Seattle Aquarium, and a one hour Harbor cruise tour, all for half price. Most of those places we wanted to go see anyway, so it worked out great.

After Space Needle, we went to have lunch at a little Irish Pub & Grill. It was okay, but it was our first meal in a week that wasn’t cruise food. We were getting quite accustomed to being spoiled (especially since the food was free). On board, we ate dessert at every meal, but now that it costs money, we’ll probably cut back on desserts and might even lose the weight I’m sure we gained on the ship.

We went to the Pacific Science Center next. It is the most amazing science place I have ever seen. If I was a grade school teacher, I would want to take my students there every year. They had hands on exhibits such as how zippers work (they had an enormous zipper), a bed of nails you could lay on, optical illusions, I could go on and on. I think my favorite was the exhibit that described gravity on different planets. They had four coke cans, one that was the weight of a full can on Earth (which we’re all used to), the weight of the same can on Jupiter, the sun, and the moon. There were many more exhibits, but too many to name.

Then we went over to the zoo. I love zoos, and the one is Seattle is great. It’s comparable to the Houston Zoo. What I loved about this zoo is that they had SO many interactive exhibits, and they had multiple viewing areas for the large exhibits. This not only helps give more chances to spot an animal, but also relieves crowding the area.

We have had a tougher time finding places to park while we’re here. The hotel (which is costing a pretty penny) doesn’t include continental breakfast, or free parking in the garage. I guess that might be normal, I’m not sure because I rarely stay at hotels, but it seemed a little outrageous to me. One really cool thing, though, is that we can go upstairs to the roof if we want. It’s pretty convenient, too, since we’re downtown. Time for bed, we have to get up early to move the car (because we’re cheap!) 🙂

Day Ten

Day Ten

 

Tuesday June 28, 2005 1:30 pm

We’re on the plane waiting to leave Seattle. Last night we went to dinner at a place called Ivar’s. On the menu there was a plate called Seared Halibut Cheeks. It’s still cracking us up today.

This morning we went to Pioneer Square near downtown Seattle. The entire street sidewalk level is one story higher than it used to be. Sean gave me a brief history about it, it’s pretty neat. We were going to take the tour, but we didn’t have enough time. On our way to the square we saw a little traffic jam where an impatient woman honked at a man trying to get over, and they ended up rolling down their windows and screaming and cursing at each other. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, it was actually kind of funny.

We started off yesterday at the Museum of Flight. It was really spectacular and had everything from kites to NASA space stuff. They even had a tower (like one at an airport) where you could learn what they actually do up there. Sean was like a little kid bouncing around looking at all the exhibits.

We flew around in a flight simulator. Sean piloted and I was the gunman. That was exciting, but I felt a little queasy when we did barrel rolls.

We also took an hour long cruise that was neat. I didn’t learn much, because our guide was so monotone and boring that I had to tune him out.

Oh! We’re above the clouds now but we can see Mount Ranier poking through the top. It looks so incredible, we took several pictures.

Anyway, after the mini-cruise, we had an ice cream cone and went to the Aquarium. Of course, that was my playground. We got to touch some invertebrates, and they had a manmade salmon stream, some seals, sea otters, and tons more. It was so cool.

American Airlines apparently has these new ‘snack packs’ for $3. What is this world coming to, with no free in-flight meals? Oy!

Tuesday June 28, 2005 9:10 pm

We should be in Austin right now, but unfortunately we’re stuck in the DFW airport. We arrived on time to find out that our flight (at Gate C7) had been delayed (we suspect it’s because the flight isn’t full). We were supposed to leave at 8:17 pm, the new time is 9:03 pm. At 8:40 pm, they announced that our gate has been changed to C 14. So we trample down the airport to find out that they are about to start loading for Seattle (8:45 pm) and our flight won’t leave until 9:30 pm. About ten minutes ago, the Seattle plane is still sitting on the ground, and they announced that we need to go to Gate C 15 now. So here we are, one hour from Austin, wondering when we’re going to get home. We could have rented a car and been home by about 10 pm. But now, who knows? The worst part is not once during their announcements did they apologize for any inconvenience.

Tuesday June 28, 2005 9:40 pm

I’m sitting on the plane right now. If all goes well, we should be in Buda by 11 pm. What a pain.

Tuesday June 28, 2005 9:55 pm

We’re backing out of the gate now. The captain announced that it’s a 27 minute flight, and Sean brought it to my attention that the flight will take less time than it did for us to switch gates three times. I told him we could have been to Austin and back to DFW by now. The captain said the delay was due to weather, but we think that’s crap because there was a plane ready to go at 8:17 pm (our original departure time) at Gate C 7 (our original departure gate). Oh well, I’m just happy to be on our way to see my boys!! And my family too 🙂

Tuesday June 28, 2005 10:20 pm

We didn’t even stabilize at altitude, we basically just ascended, and now we’re descending. But thus ends our honeymoon saga. Toni out.

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