The first port of call was Ketchikan, AK and our scheduled excursion was a hike through the Tongass National Forest. The Tongass is a temperate rainforest, so we came prepared with rain gear and insect repellent wipes. Neither of us wanted to spend the rest of our vacation covered in itchy bug bites. The hike was guided, which was a blessing and a curse. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about all the plants in the forest, but he went on and on (and on) about Sasquatches. Fortunately, the scenery was beautiful enough that I just focused on taking pictures while he was rambling.
Except that the restaurant was out of salmon. Yep. Out of salmon. And while I know it’s not salmon season yet, with a sign like that you can understand my disappointment.
Ketchikan had several souvenir stores near the dock which we wandered around after our salmon-less lunch. I foolishly (though I didn’t know this at the time) only purchased my standard ornament souvenir. I figured that there would be plenty more shops with the same stuff at the next port like most touristy areas. Unfortunately, I was wrong and I’m a little sad I missed out on a couple things I wanted. Oh well, lesson learned for next time!
With the souvenir hunting complete, we returned to the ship for our deep tissue massages. My left shoulder sounded like rice crispies as my masseuse worked it and it made me miss the monthly massages I used to get before we bought a house. I always feel more limber and less scrunched up after a massage. By the time we finished, my tummy was growling like crazy. The daily leaflet recommended the roasted milk-fed veal in the main dining hall that evening, so we decided to check it out. It was hands down the best dinner of the entire cruise for me. I had scallop crudo, the veal, and an itty bitty little chocolate lava cake for dessert. Every dish was just perfect; the crudo was light and bright, the veal rich and savory, and the lava cake was chocolaty with just a hint of sweetness.
By this point, we'd established a post-dinner routine. We went for a walk around the ship, to aid the digestion of our three course dinner and ultimately ended up in the casino. Eric played either blackjack or craps (I can't remember anymore) while I wandered off to pick up a ginger tea at the cafe. I was definitely utilizing my beverage package! Once Eric gave up on the casino, we headed back to our stateroom, where I proceeded to fall asleep instantly. There was just something about the gentle rocking of the boat and the engine vibrations in the aft that knocked me out cold.