Monthly Archives: May 2013

North To Alaska Part 5

Teddy and Glacier

TEDDY’s RATING: 

Cruising through Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve was like being on another planet. It’s 3.3 million acres of mountains, glaciers, fjords and even temperate rainforest and is the highlight of Alaska’s Inside Passage. And while there are no roads through this National Park, more than 430,000 people visit it each year, many on cruise ships like us.

Margerie Glacier          Vista

It was a beautiful, silent, clear, bright day. The cruise ship was able to get very close to the glaciers, one of which was the Margerie Glacier. Margerie Glacier is one of Alaska’s most photographed features and one of the most active glaciers in the park. The silence was broken by the sounds of “calving,” when large chunks of ice break off the glacier into the water.

Vista with Ship          Vista with ship

Ship and Gull          Vista

More than 240 species of birds make their homes in Glacier Bay National Park. Other wildlife includes humpback whales, sea lions, harbor seals and sometimes black bears and grizzly bears. Although we didn’t see any bears, there were quite a few sea lions bobbing around and a lot of humpback whale spouts were visible.

Teddy and Glacier          Margerie Glacier

Vista          Vista

Because this is a preserved area, the National Park Service allows only two cruise ships per day inside Glacier Bay. This was a great way to see the area. We ordered room service and watched the calving glaciers from our balcony.

Dates of Visit:  June 2011

http://www.nps.gov/glba/index.htm
http://www.glacierbay.org/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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Breakfast at Blueberry’s

Teddy at Blueberrys

TEDDY’s RATING: 

Had it not been for the fact that we couldn’t find Peace, Love and Little Donuts that morning, we probably wouldn’t have gone to Blueberry’s. But even though we didn’t get donuts that day, we had a nice breakfast here.

Pigs in a blanketThis restaurant kind of reminded me of Joey’s Pancakes in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. It’s not a chain restaurant and tries to come across as being “homey.” The breakfast was very good, but not as good as Joey’s. (If you read my post about Joey’s you’ll understand why.) At Joey’s you feel at home. You get your food quickly, but you’re never rushed and the wait staff is extremely friendly. I didn’t find that at Blueberry’s. The service was a bit slow and yet they tried to rush you out.

I had pigs in a blanket, three pancakes with sausages. The pancakes were light and the Pancakes with eggssausage not spicy. There is an extensive menu. In addition to several types of pancakes, they have crepes, waffles, Eggs Benedict, French toast, breakfast sandwiches, skillets and, of course, eggs any way you like them.

For lunch they have sandwiches, salads, chicken grillers, wraps, and burgers and Reubens. The dinner menu includes chicken pot pie, pot roast, meatloaf, pasta dishes, steak, ribs and some all-day breakfast items.

Their website boasts that they were voted “Best Breakfast” in 2012. But they don’t say by whom or where.

Blueberry’s is open 7 days a week, from 7am, but not for dinner on Sunday.

Dates of Visit:  January 2013

www.blueberrys-restaurant.com

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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Naples Depot Museum

Naples Depot Museum

TEDDY’s RATING: 

The history of Naples and the railway industry in Florida is in full display at the Naples Depot Museum in downtown Naples, Florida. Train enthusiasts and history buffs alike will enjoy the interactive exhibits and artifacts at this small, but entertaining museum.

Interior          Interior

The museum is set inside the restored Seaboard Air Line Railway passenger station which originally opened in 1927. But more than just trains are showcased here. The museum tells the story of Naples and Southwest Florida and “how trade and travel transformed Naples from a small village of 300 into the Gulf Coast resort city it is now.”

Interior          Interior

The museum is free, but donations are welcomed. On Saturdays, kids can ride the miniature train around the property.

Kid's train          Interior train car

The Naples Depot Museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of a group of five museums in Southwest Florida. The others are the Collier County Museum in Naples, the Marco Island Historical Museum on Marco Island, the Museum of the Everglades in Everglades City and the Immokalee Pioneer Museum in Immokalee.

Dates of Visit:  January 2013

http://www.colliermuseums.com/locations/naples_depot.php

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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North To Alaska Part 4

Denali Express

This day we boarded the Denali Express train taking us from Denali National Park down to the cruise ship port in Whittier.

You would think that a 10 hour train ride would be boring and uncomfortable. But this one wasn’t. The seats were very plush. Everyone had a great view of everything with the glass-domed observation railcars. And there was a Princess Cruise Line “guide” of sorts who told us a lot about the area. His name was Paul. And as it turned out, he was celebrating his 48th wedding anniversary that day. His wife, Doris, was a cruise line employee as well.

Train Interior          Teddy on train

I saw probably the most moose I’ve ever seen in my life while riding on the train. Besides the moose, there was quite a lot of beautiful scenery traveling the almost 300 miles from Denali to Whittier.

Train around bend          Train-scenery

The train had a nice dining car where I tried another unusual meal: macaroni and cheese with reindeer kielbasa. It was quite yummy.

There are two different itineraries for cruise-tours on Princess (and I’m sure other cruise lines do the same thing) where you can either cruise before or after your land portion. We choose after so that we could relax on the latter half of our vacation. The land portion did tend to be hectic, changing hotels every night. So we were glad to be able to have the last seven days be onboard the Island Princess.

Island Princess

TEDDY’s RATING: 

 http://www.princess.com/

At this point, I have to say that I wasn’t all that happy or impressed with Princess Cruise Lines. I had been on a Princess ship way back in the early 1990s on a cruise of the Mediterranean. But since I’ve sailed on Royal Caribbean, I much prefer that line. But Princess had more offerings in Alaska, so we went with them. There were just a lot of little things about Princess that annoyed me, things that I wouldn’t have encountered on a Royal Caribbean ship.

Ship-Atrium          Ship-Pool

The first was that embarkation was unbelievably slow. We got on the ship much later than expected, which meant we got to dinner much later and in turn missed the first stage show that night. Then when they had the mandatory muster (drill in case of emergency, wearing your life jackets, etc.), the audio didn’t work where we were so we had to wait until it got fixed and then listen to the entire presentation again, all while standing cluttered with about 100 other passengers in a hallway.

Teddy-desk          Teddy-balcony

But anyway, we were onboard the ship looking forward to seven days of cruising to Glacier Bay and the three ports: Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan.

Dates of Visit:  June 2011

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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