In 2016, I set a goal to work towards the Stampin' Up! incentive trip which had been announced would be a cruise to Alaska. My husband, Nicholas, and I were turning 40 and Alaska had always been a destination to which he wanted to travel. That began a year where I worked each day to approach my hobby more like a business. Over the year, we accumulate "flex points" for sales and recruiting and then can redeem those flex points on various incentives. Instead of spending them along the way like I normally did, I saved them to try to reach 160,000 points, the amount needed to earn the trip for free for myself and one guest, airfare included! After a year of hard work, I crossed the threshold about 2 days before the deadline! Then began the year of waiting until departure!
On Friday, July 20th, 2018, Nicholas and I headed to Seattle where the Royal Caribbean ship, Explorer of the Seas was set to debark at 4pm. Of course I had to wear my KD Supersonics shirt, since I have long been in love with Seattle and was there 10 years ago (at the same time when KD, my former student, was named Rookie of the Year). We boarded the ship with 400 other demonstrators, their 400 guests, and 200 other guests of achievers (who paid their own way). So we totaled 1000 people on a ship that holds about 3100.
We found our room which greeted me with a cute Alaska sign on the door and our luggage had already arrived! I was so thankful for a balcony in our room where I spent much time each morning drinking coffee and finishing a 700 page book. After lunch in the Windjammer buffet, we explored the ship and found Base Camp, a room SU had reserved on the ship for us to come hang out, eat candy, see displays, and win prizes. Each day we could spin the wheel to win some product and my first prize was a pack of neutrals designer series paper. Before dinner, SU held an appetizer reception for us.
We had 8:00 dinner time in the Sapphire Dining Room (which was 11:00pm our time!), where we had the best seat in the house next to the window and even caught a glimpse of a whale jumping that first night! We dined with Tracy Penn and her husband from Australia, who both love tennis and attend the Australian Open every year, our next destination on our bucket list. After dinner, I discovered my first "pillow gift." SU spoils us with a gift each night on our bed. We received a much needed jacket, plus an embossing folder from the upcoming Holiday Catalog. For someone who goes to bed around 8pm each night, I don't think I ever slept so soundly...