In the summer of 2008,
we enjoyed a wonderful cruise with Michael's family to celebrate his
parents' 50th wedding anniversary. It started with a day at Mt. Rainier
near Seattle, followed by a bus trip to Vancouver (Canada), the cruise to
Seward, and then by bus/train to Fairbanks before flying back to Seattle.
After the cruise, Michael and Andrew
visited friends in Colorado and
Ohio, before joining Vivian at the
We took hundreds of photos with seven cameras, so it's
taken months to sort them and pick a handful of photos for this website. But hopefully the
pictures on these four pages will give you a glimpse of how wonderful this
family reunion/celebration was.
Cruise (July 2009): 7/11 Vancouver, 7/13 Ketchikan, 7/14 Haines & Skagway,
7/15 Juneau & whale cruise (Mendenhall Glacier), 7/16 Sitka, 7/17 Hubbard Glacier/Glacier
Natl Park, 7/18 Seward
& Kenai Fjords, 7/19 Anchorage, 7/20-21 Denali, 7/22-23 Fairbanks/Paddleboat/Dredge, 7/24 fly to Seattle.
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One of the highlights of the cruise was a "Renewal of
Wedding Vows" ceremony, conducted by the ship's captain (shown here), and
complete with music and refreshments. These high school sweethearts have
now been married over 50 years!
Our ship was the
Holland-America Veendam, though it was more like a floating city than a
ship. See it here in comparison to the town (actually Fort Seward) behind
it. Most of us had a cabin in the lower "black" floors of the ship, while Mom and Dad had
a nicer room a few floors above us. I think the public elevators stopped
on 12 floors.
|(Above left) Here's two more
shots of the Renewal of Vows ceremony. That's Michael's niece playing the
flute. (Above right) All eleven of us pause for a family photo. Michael's
brother and sister-in-law are to his left; his sister and family are to
the right of his dad and mom. Before we left Kunming, a friend tailor-made formal Chinese outfits
to wear at the
"formal meals" on board, and we got many great comments about these beautiful
clothes. (Below) Food was included in the cost of the cruise, so we always
seemed to be eating! The dining room staff (mostly from Malaysia and
Indonesia) was always kind and friendly, and sometimes even entertaining
(you see them juggling in one of the following photos). On the left, they
have brought Mom and Dad an anniversary cake (unfortunately, Mom wasn't
feeling well that night--though we were rarely seasick). One night,
everyone was supposed to wear chef hats. The last photo is around the
breakfast table; in China we don't get western breakfast things like
waffles, muffins and omelets, so the vast breakfast choices were a real
Meals were delicious and food was ever-present during the
voyage. Meal service was slow, so we had lots of time to talk together as
a family (we were all off in different directions at other
times--especially the kids, who had activities on board with other young
At each port we had lots of activities to choose from (for
extra costs, of course). Sometimes we split up to shop or look around, but
we also spent a lot of time together. This is near the end of the trip
(near Fairbanks), where we were panning for real gold; no one got rich,
but we learned some things and made some happy memories.
Now don't these
people look like they are having a great time? From left to right: Dad
with his grandsons shipside; Amy proving that "happiness is a warm puppy";
beautiful Fran with a beautiful new coat in beautiful Denali National
Park; Kevin wondering how the moose who lost this could hold TWO of these
heavy things above its head!
involved several forms of transportation, in addition to all the time
spent on the Veendam (cruise ship). [Left] We spent about two days in this
domed train car; it was hard to get good photos with our
cameras (most of the photos are
blurry), but we enjoyed the ride and the scenery. [Center] We were on
several small boats to view whales and glaciers--this photo shows how big
the glaciers are--and we got pretty close, too! (click
here for a wide shot of this glacier, and
here for whales). [Right] There were also
trips over the summer. In China you are not allowed to take photos from a
plane, but America has no such prohibition. This is Mt. Rainier in
Washington (Michael worked there during college, and we spent a beautiful
day visiting this National Park before the cruise; we hope to post those photos someday!)
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