Three Months and Counting

Today, July 16th, marks exactly three months from the start of our trip. In fact, we’ll actually have been vacationing for almost 48 hours bey the time we set sail 3 months from this evening (Oct 16th). A lot has gone on in life since I last wrote anything, over a year ago.

I’ll be really honest…it’s hard for me to write about me. I’m not very patient with people who spend a lot of time navel gazing, as I call it. And there’s a part of me that says, “why would you presume to think anyone else would be interested in your thoughts and observations, and isn’t this all just a way of attention-seeking?” Be that as it may, I am going to trudge ahead. The last time I did anything similar was when I chronicled the move of our mobile home onto a permanent foundation and lot in 2003 (see that at

Trip Planning Status

I’m glad to say the trip is fully planned and paid for. This is a major achievement for us, as I mentioned early on in the process. I’ll be the first to say we’ve never been that good, as a couple, with handling money responsibly. But the discipline it has taken to setup and stick to a system that allowed us to put aside the money to pay for this entire trip in advance is something that feels good. We’re already planning to keep a component of that savings in place afterward, partly to develop a fund for future trips and partly to save for future expenses.

As of Thursday, the cruise, flights, hotels, all our excursions, and onboard meal plans are paid for. The one last thing to purchase is a nice-to-have, and if we are unable to do it (not for money reasons, but for availability reasons), our trip will not be any less full.

Our Itinerary

Afternoon of Friday Oct. 14: Cristi will take us to Kansas City (that way we don’t have to park a vehicle for a month)

Saturday Oct. 15: We’ll fly Alaska Airlines Kansas City to Seattle early in the day. We’ll be spending the day with friends who live in Seattle, and will stay the night at a hotel near the pier.

Sunday Oct. 16: We plan to board as early as possible. The Encore sails at 4pm PDT.

Photo credit: NCL website, used under Fair Use principles

Monday, Oct 17: Likely date for the Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle, probably in the morning. We’ll dine at Cagney’s, a specialty restaurant (steakhouse) aboard.

Cagney’s outdoor dining section. Image credit NCL website, used under Fair Use principles.

Tuesday Oct 18: JUNEAU, ALASKA – We’ve chosen the Mendenhall Glacier and Juneau Tram. Our favorite Juneau experience, 5-Glacier Flightseeing and Taku Lodge salmon bake, is closed for the season.

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Taku Glacier Lodge, Juneau – taken by author during our 2016 trip

Wednesday, Oct 19: SKAGWAY, ALASKA – We’d purchased the Eagle Preserve excursion only to have it be cancelled. Late-season staffing, I suspect. So we went with part of a trip we’ve done before, the Liarsville Gold Rush & Salmon Bake, which we purchased through Viator instead of NCL. NCL’s trip left too early in the day, this is a noon departure which puts the meal at a more appropriate time.

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Liarsville Salmon Bake, taken by author during our trip in 2016.

Thursday, Oct 20: CRUISE GLACIER BAY – This will be a new experience for us. Our previous trips, in 2016 and 2019, were southbound Skagway to Vancouver voyages, which stop at Hubbard Glacier.

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Hubbard Glacier, photo by author from our 2016 trip

We expect this to be mostly a day of rest. I’ll go up to the Observation Lounge early for the ranger talk and schedule/map, then we’ll probably enjoy most of it from our balcony. (Photo from room 8716, the mirror balcony room on the other side of the ship)

We’ll dine Thursday night in another specialty restaurant, Onda by Scarpetta – an Italian concept restaurant

Image credit: NCL website, used under Fair Use principles

Friday, Oct 21: KETCHIKAN, ALASKA – this will be our first stop at Ward Cove, and I’m not sure we’re going to like being so far from town. I’ve seen many comments on social media and Cruise Critic about the inconveniences of this berth’s distance from town. I really liked being right there in town previously. We’ve chosen the World Famous George Inlet Lodge Crab Feast this time.

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Photo from the end of the seawall in Ketchikan; NCL Jewel in the center of the image. Taken by author on our 2019 trip.

Saturday, Oct 22: AT SEA – we’ve left this day wide-open for rest and for shipboard activities. (oops…I was reminded we are stopping in VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA this evening for the required touch-the-dock-outside-the-US stop. We aren’t getting off, so I forgot to include that.)

Sunday, Oct 23: turnaround day in Seattle, as we’re staying on the ship for the continuation to Miami.

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