Last day of Alaskan cruise...Final expenses for cruise and extras...Minnesota, here we come in the morning...


Snow on mountain peaks.  Ships at the Port.
Please note: We're finalizing the head count for the "Meet & Greet" for our readers in Minneapolis on June 9th from 5 pm to 8 pm at Grizzly's Wood Fired Grill at this location in Plymouth, Minnesota:
220 Carlson Pkwy N, Plymouth, MN 55447

Please RSVP if you plan to attend and haven't already done so.  Hope to see you then!


The scenery in Alaska hasn't disappointed.
Here we are, the final full day aboard a ship since April 22nd when we left Sydney, with the exception of the two nights we spent in Vancouver at the hotel. 

We've cruised a total of 33 nights since leaving Sydney and look forward to getting settled in Minneapolis after our flight from Seattle with an early evening arrival.  It will feel good to unpack, get organized and prepare for a whirlwind next six weeks.


Tender delivering passengers to the shore.
At the moment we have packing to tackle but this morning while Tom showered, I folded all my clothing from the closet, drawers, and cabinets placing them in piles ready to be neatly stacked into my one large suitcase.  Tom will pack later.

We're out to sea at the moment heading to Victoria, British Columbia, our final port of call on this nine-night Alaskan cruise, arriving around noon.  We're booked with a private tour at 12:00 pm to visit Butchart Gardens in Victoria on Vancouver Island, a world-renowned garden.


Busy port in Skagway.
Tom booked us for this tour some time ago through an offering posted in CruiseCritic.  We seldom attend ship sponsored tours due to the crowds and long lines.  This smaller private group tour will suit our needs.

Besides, for years, I've wanted to visit this world famous garden and Tom surprised me with this booking awhile back.  That's not to say that he loves visiting botanical gardens but he's always been more than willing to visit the many we've toured throughout our travels.  His keen eye makes him first to point out ideal photo op

Church near the shore in Skagway.
Usually, we post stories and photos while we're still on location whether living in a specific country or on a cruise.  In this case, with Butchart Gardens, we'll be adding the many photos we'll have taken today over the course of the next several weeks while we're in Minnesota.

What stories will we tell while in Minnesota when most of our time will be spent with family and friends?  We're not inclined to post lots of family related information here in our posts. 

Boats and ocean front property in Juneau.
Let's face it, most people quickly tire of hearing about other's grandchildren and family members other than a few shots and quips here and there.  Such will be the case for us. 

We'll post of few photos of family members and friends with their permission but will not focus on turning our site into a family album.  Most readers have their own family albums and don't care to spend weeks looking at ours. 

Cruise ships in the port of Ketchikan.
Instead, we plan to share photos of places we'll visit, magical and interesting moments we experience and the beauty of Minnesota.  With so much to do and people to see in Minneapolis, its unlikely we'll be traveling far from town.  If we do, we'll certainly incorporate those photos into the daily posts.

We have no doubt, we'll have plenty of photos to share and stories to tell during these upcoming six weeks including dining in restaurants, visiting parks and lakes and sharing morsels about the hotel where we'll be staying which is located in a lovely area.

A tiny portion of Tongass National Park/Forest which is the largest national forest in the United States with 17 million acres.

We've decided to share the final expenses for the cruise today rather than tomorrow which will be a very busy travel day in getting off the cruise, taking a taxi to the airport, flying to Minnesota, picking up the rental car and driving to our hotel.  

Here are the total expenses for the nine-night Alaskan cruise on Celebrity Solstice:
Expense US Dollar
Cruise Fare  $                  4,416.38
Airfare  $                               -  
Taxi   $                          8.41
Cabin Credit  $                   (500.00)
Wi-Fi
 included 
Gratuities  $                     243.00
Tours  $                        77.00
Additional Gratuities  $                        80.00
Cruise Bill for Purchaes  $                     496.00
Total  $                  4,820.79
Avg Daily Cost - 9 days  $                     535.64




Hand carved the statue of the popular and commonly seen bald eagle in Alaska.  For more details on Alaska bald eagles, please click here.
This morning, I attempted to get a copy of our bill in order to itemize how we spent the $500 cabin credit. The line at guest services would have required an hour wait or more. 

Instead, here's an overview from memory of roughly how we spent the non-refundable cabin credit; gifts for family, hats, gloves and a scarf for cold days in Alaska, a few cosmetic and toiletry items and one zip sweatshirt.  No beverages were charged to our account. 



Ketchikan Duck Tours, a popular open air bus for tourists.
We received all the bottled water we wanted from the Captain's Club free happy hour from 5:00 to 7:00 pm each evening.  Tom only consumed alcoholic beverages during the two-hour event each evening while I drank complimentary hot tea and water.  Neither of us ever drank a soda.
Stunning views in Sitka.
The tour expense listed at $77 is for today's Butchart Gardens tour. The additional gratuities are for our cabin steward and the restaurant hostess.  We didn't include a tip for the dining room assistant for my meals when many times, my meals were not prepared correctly or served on time. There was no airfare associated with this cruise since we arrived by cruise ship.

Tomorrow, we'll prepare and upload a post while waiting to get off the ship and, while waiting for our 1:15 pm flight at Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle.  Most likely, it will be available at the usual time.
 Read here for an interesting story about the building of this tunnel in downtown Ketchikan.
We'll be thinking of all of you and the photos you may enjoy while we tour the fabulous Butchart Gardens which appears to be taking place on a sunny day on beautiful Vancouver Island!

Happy day!
______________________________________
Photo from one year ago today, May 25, 2016:


In Bali on the prior day's pst post, we shared a photo of two buffalos wandering by during dinner and here were four buffalos on a hike from the river seen that evening.  For more details, please click here.

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