As promised, here's a little run down of the Stampin' Up! Incentive Trip to Alaska that I have just come back from. What an amazing experience. I am so grateful that I had this opportunity.
Overall around 400 demonstators from around the world went on the 7 night cruise. When you count family, friends and Stampin' Up! staff there were 1080 of us on the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas. We all gathered in Seattle to embark. Myself and my family arrived in Seattle a few days early (after some time in Santa Monica and San Franciso). A couple of days before the cruise, I caught up with one of my two team members who were also on the cruise, Kathryn Ruddick.
We went on a Seattle Locks cruise together with our husbands and my two boys. It was really interesting and I loved going through the locks and seeing the Seattle Skyline from the water. We also sailed past the boat houses, including the one used as Tom Hanks house in Sleepless in Seattle (bit of a movie tragic here!).
It was really exciting when we all jumped on buses to head to the ship on the Friday morning. We had also started to run into global demonstrator friends in restaurants and the hotel which was super fun. when we got onto the boat, we all had these magnetic trip souvenirs attached to our cabin doors.
The day we embarked and the first day were 'sea days' (and a bit rocky at that as we were out in the open sea). This is the time we head down to Stampers Base camp which is the hang out place for everyone. The event coordinators in Stampin' Up! that organise the trip are AMAZING! They always theme the event so well. The base camp had comfy seating, mountain themed cushions and lots of hiking / mountain / wilderness props. So fun. I caught up with my other team member Kylie Bertucci on the first day (seen here with myself and the lovely Rachel Tessman on the right).
On the second day (Saturday, at sea) there was a general session where we have stamping demonstrations, prize patrol, all attendee give aways, and even a gift for the 1st guest that came with us. My husband Paul loved his woodgrain water bottle. We also got the best gift of all - the new Holiday Catalogue! This is always super exciting.
Once we get the catalogue, lots of samples and product displays are put on display in the Stamper Base Camp for us to view and photograph. We also handed in our card swaps to the staff to get organised for collection later in the week. Lots of the South Pacific girls also did a 3x4" pocket scrapbooking card swap. More about the swaps and displays in Part 2 tomorrow.
Stampers Base Camp is also where we go to spin the wheel each day, and win a product prize which is lots of fun!
There was also a fun photography prop that was very popular. Here is a group shot of lots of the Australian and New Zealand demonstrators with Sara. It's one of my favourite photos of the trip. You will notice a couple of the girls are wearing light grey jackets in the front row. These were our pillow gifts on the first night. I will cover more about pillow gifts in part 2 tomorrow.
There was also candy everywhere in the Stampers Base Camp (which made my son very happy, and hyper!).
When we woke up on day 3 (Sunday) we were in the Alaskan inside package and much calmer water. We all had balcony suites, so were able to view the amazing scenery passing us by. It was just so serene and beautiful. Words and pictures can never do the experience justice.
The ship docked at our first port, Juneau, at midday on the Sunday. We went on a boat excursion out on the water past Mendenhall Glacier (my very first glacier sighting) and on to look for wildlife.
We were lucky enough to see a pod of 3 Orca whales, sea lions and some hump back whales on our cruise. Seeing these animals in the wild in this beautiful scenery was an experience I wont soon forget.
We left Juneau Sunday night to make our way to Skagway. The sunset leaving Juneau was spectacular.
At Skagway the next morning (Monday, day 4), the port was very deep (carved by glaciers), so the ship was able to dock right up against the edge of the steep cliffs. There was also another Royal Caribbean cruise ship in port that day and the ships were so huge in the small port.
Our excursion in Skagway was in two parts. First we visited a dog sled training farm by coach bus, where we heard about the great dog sled race the Iditarod. We also got to hold the 7 week old puppies which were very cute.
The bus continued a short distance over the border to Canada, where we borded the White Pass / Yukon Route historic train or the 2 hour scenic trip back to Skagway, The scenery was magnificent. We had such great weather while we were in Alaska - high 20's most days.
We left Skagway that night, and when we woke up the next morning (Tuesday, day 5), we were in Tracy Arm Fjord, right next to Sawyers Glacier. This glacier is active so there was lots of ice floating in the water. We all spent the morning at various vantage points on the boat viewing the scenery.
There were lots of pieces of ice floating (the deep blue ones have absorbed lots of water and flipped, which is why they look different), and waterfalls pouring down the mountain-side. It was a bit more chilly that the previous 2 days as well.
We left Tracy Arm Fjord about lunch time and that afternoon and the next day (Wednesday, day 6) were spent at sea. The fog really rolled in that evening, and the Captian had to sound the fog horn every 2 minutes for a few hours. Luckily we were at the other end of the ship.
The next day we were at Victoria, British Columbia in Canada.
My must see this day was the world famous Butchart Gardens which didn't disappoint. This photo is courtesy of Amy Koenders, as sadly some of my photos didn't turn out that day (only the ones in shade did, as I had accidentally knocked the camera dial to a wrong setting - oops!).
The hanging baskets of Fuschias and Begonias were so pretty.
I hope you have enjoyed the touristy part of my Incentive Trip recap. I'll be back tomorrow with Part 2, a bit ore about the swaps and gifts and people I caught up with.
Have a happy day.
(Disclaimer: less than 1% of Stampin' Up! Demonstrators make the Incentive Trip each year)