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Published: Sunday, July 14, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Cruise to Alaska feeds the soul, and the waistline

By the time this column is printed I'll be home in Edmonds, but right now I'm writing from deck 14 of the Celebrity Solstice.

My family is finishing off a weeklong cruise to Alaska, courtesy of my grandma. (Sorry, but she won't adopt you.)

Travel of any type is enlightening, except for cruising, which is en-bulkening. This week taught me that creme brulee is the reason they put spandex in jeans.

My kids' favorite delicacy has been fresh chocolate croissants, which they eat in bed during breakfast No. 1. Then we head to the Oceanview Cafe for breakfast No. 2, which consists of anything and everything you can imagine.

By the time dinner rolls around, everyone has grown more selective. My daughter has been eating macaroni and cheese with french fries every single night.

My son orders off the adult menu and has sampled escargot, frog legs, caviar, lobster and seared duck.

The Celebrity Solstice chefs prepare almost 15,000 meals every day. My family has probably eaten half of them. But luckily for us, Alaska has provided ample opportunity to burn off calories.

In Ketchikan, my husband and son went kayaking and saw more eagles than they could count. I took my daughter on the duck tour. Then we attended the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show. Really, I think it should be called the Really Expensive Lumberjack Show, but at least it was entertaining.

In Juneau, we went whale watching and saw a gam of humpback whales bubble-net feed.

A gam is a group that works together. In this case, it meant they made a giant ring of bubbles in the water, confused the fish and then came up to eat. There were so many whales that I didn't know where to point my camera.

Skagway, a tourist trap staffed by Brigham Young students and Broadway hopefuls, is where we panned for gold. We also met a real-life Iditarod musher and held his puppies. I got dog hair all over my fleece, but it was totally worth it.

My favorite part of Alaska was Tracy Arm Fjord. At 5:15 in the morning the Solstice switched to a special, ecofriendly fuel and began exploring the Fjord. We sailed past icebergs, orcas and seals. There were mountains as beautiful as the Cascades and waterfalls better than anything I've seen in Yosemite.

The air was clean tasting, and everywhere you looked was beauty. It was something worth waking children up at 5:30 in the morning to come on deck to see.

At the end of Tracy Arm Fjord, we watched Sawyer Glacier calve into the water. Seeing a place so untouched by humans, and yet so affected by humanity, was humbling.

So I guess it doesn't matter what the bathroom scale says when I get home. This cruise to Alaska was enlightening after all.

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at

Story tags » Parenting

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