I wanted to go on this Alaska cruise right from the start, for I had never been to such a faraway place. My mom picked Celebrity Cruise Lines because me, my mom and dad, and my two grandparents had been on the Horizon when I was only two, and they had enjoyed it.
I imagined the trip would be exciting, something new to experience (I did not remember the Horizon) and to enjoy. I imagined the ship very big, with lots of dining rooms and lots of art, pools and small rooms, lots of people and five-star service.
When we landed in Vancouver, I saw lots of tall buildings and a great view of the water. Our hotel was very nice and one night we went to Planet Hollywood.
When I saw the Galaxy, I was dazzled by its size. I saw 12 stories of windows and bright colors. We first went into our cabin, a comfortable little room with a bathroom and two sets of colorful bunk beds that fold. A great view of the water was at the back of the room. I thought, "Nice and comfortable!"
Then we explored the entire ship together. We visited every deck, from top to bottom. We went through every dining room and to every pool. I noticed lots of artwork and colorful rugs. There were at least 12 bars and lots of lobbies.
There was a Stratosphere Lounge for looking out and a big dining room called Orion restaurant with stars on the ceiling. The Oasis Cafe always had big buffets and Oasis Grill always had hot dogs, hamburgers and ice cream at lunch.
There was a place where grown-ups would try wines and pastries called Tastings, a library, a spa and a large casino. That was basically it except for the Celebrity Theater. My favorite places were the theater and the Oasis indoor pool. I also enjoyed running up and down the stairs, trying to beat my little brother to our destination.
Orion restaurant was extremely large, with bright carpeting. It was two stories high, and at dinner, you were assigned a table, so you got to know the waiters quite well. It was a very nice dining room from my perspective, very cozy and relaxing.
The menus were full of all sorts of food, with sections for every course. There was a menu for kids and a menu for adults. The kids' menu was full of everything kids love to eat, such as hot dogs, cheeseburgers and fish 'n' chips. It's a kids' paradise.
The adult menus were filled with all sorts of food and beverages from around the world. First you would get your appetizer and salad, not to mention lots of bread and your beverage. By the time you got your main course, you were stuffed! I ordered my appetizer and salad from the adult menu and my main course from whichever one sounded best. Usually I ordered dessert from the adult menu, but it was fun to have a choice. The food is really good and you get to try things you don't have at home.
The kids' program was full of kids of all ages. There was a kids' program so adults could do what they wanted to do. The groups went by age. The youngest kids were called the Shipmates and were always in the Fun Factory, a colorful room for them to hang out in. The Cadets were from ages 7�10 and met in the Teen Disco. The teens were all together too.
What I liked in the Cadets was playing video games in the Fun Factory and watching movies. I also liked to go on scavenger hunts all over the ship. What I didn't like was playing bingo. The counselors were nice people, always trying to help.
When we weren't eating, swimming or at the kids' program, we got to visit Alaska. One of my favorite thing to do was walking through all the towns and cities we stopped at, just to see how other people lived. Even the shops were interesting. I really like the totem poles and seeing how they are carved. We went to a totem pole park and the guide explained the history of each pole and what it represented.
My favorite excursion was when we took a narrow gauge train ride into the Klondike to see how the miners during the Gold Rush had to reach the gold fields. I liked looking at the landscapes with the big mountains. We even had a chance to pan for gold, listen to stories about the Gold Rush Days and taste some of the foods they used to eat.
One of the most unusual excursions we took was a helicopter ride onto the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. The tour guide explained how a glacier moves. We stood on top and looked down into very deep crevices.
The scenery, especially the mountains covered with snow, was really cool. When I was back in school, I had to pick a subject for a science report, and I chose the subject of glaciers because I was able to tell about it from experience.
There are lots of great reasons why kids love cruising. You get to go to exciting places you've never been to before and you remember them forever. You get to share your experiences with your family, and you have fun exploring such a big new place. If you go on a cruise once, believe me, you'll want to go again!
Matt was only 10 when he wrote this article, he is a much more mature 11 now.