Thursday, 29 July 2004 – Ketchikan and Sea Day

We got up early this morning, around 6 so we could eat before the rush to get offshore for our shore excursion to see the Great Alaska Lumberjack Show at 8:30. The Diamond Princess is next to us on the dock and the Coral Princess is off our starboard side, tendering in. We ate in the Lido and then disembarked around 7:45. As you disembark the ship, there’s a nice store off to the left, so we looked around in there a little. Then we asked one of the guides hanging around outside where we were to meet for the excursion. She explained that we should just walk there, and showed us the way on the map. Ketchikan is a pretty town, but full of the typical shops. We walked over to the Great Alaska Lumberjack show, just a little ways from the ship, next to the water and on the way to Creek Street, our next destination. This is a great and fun show and the mistress of ceremonies really got the crowd worked into a frenzy. We were on the American side (Timber Beasts, Spruce Mill) and Brad Christensen’s (the friend I ran into while glacier watching – did I mention his parents bought the cruise for him and all his brothers and sisters and their spouses – 14 in all?) family was on the Canadian’s Dawson Creek (Wood Bulls). We won most of the competitions but they won the match because of the 3 point relay at the end. For the relay they pick one volunteer from each viewing section. On our side, an old man named Mike, really hammed it up on the way down to the front, using a cane and pretending to need a walker. Then he got up and threw an ax right into the bull’s eye!

After the show we look around the adjacent shop, lots of cute stuff and then walked to Creek Street and toured Molly’s House and bought some copper bracelets and a very sturdy ice cream paddle. Molly’s House is a former brothel. The hostesses hang around out front in their slink turn of the century dresses and garters, looking like ‘working girls’ from a hundred years ago. Creek Street is quite charming and the shops there are more interesting than those in town. We walked back through the town, peeking into various shops, mailing some postcards and gawking at the enormous cruise ships towering over the little buildings. We arrived back at the ship around 11:30 to beat the rush for boarding and lunch. For once we got a windowside view table in the Lido – then E & I went to read in the Ocean Bar. While we were in the bar, the ship set sail for Victoria and another HAL ship was right behind us to take our place. An RCI ship passed us to take the place of the Diamond Princess, which had left just a few moments before.

I decided I wanted a HAL fleece so we went to the ship’s shopping arcade to see if we could find one. I didn’t find exactly what I wanted so we just bought an Alaska Calendar for E’s parents. At 3 K & I went running on the promenade 3 miles plus 1 mile walk to cool down then headed up the gym to do upper body workout on the Cybex and abdominals. I love taking advantage of the gym. Brent, from the Mikes was in the gym and told us there would be a bonus show tomorrow at 2:30. Showtime is early tonight, before dinner, since we lose an hour going back to Pacific time. We saw “Escape” which was a lot of fun, with good singing and dancing, beautiful sets and lavish costumes. We visited with companions Bill & Adam from Fort Lauderdale and San Diego, who cruise 4 or 5 times a year and seem to be groupies of the show performers, especially of “The Mikes”. Bill doesn’t like the Vista class ships as much as the smaller ones, think the food and service and entertainment are not as good and says that the O is the biggest money maker for HAL, especially from the bars and casino. I ran into Jason, the Cruise Directory, after the show, and told him I didn’t think they needed to move up the show, but he assured me that on this night, because of the time change, if they didn’t, they’d only have 35 people in the audience for the late show.

Since the show got out at 7:15 we hung out in the piano bar and had hors d’oeuvres and nuts listening to the pianist while waiting for dinner time. At dinner, our new table mates showed up – we didn’t know we had any. It turns out after the New Yorkers left to get their own table, this family was assigned to join us but ate in the buffet all week because of their kids. We’re sorry they didn’t join us earlier because we got along really well with them and would have enjoyed their company. They’re both from Houston but she was originally from Mexico City and he from Lebanon. They had an 11 year old girl and 14 year old son who were both polite and interesting. He wants to hire me as a freelance programmer to do his website for his diamond business and invited us to see them in Houston after our Holiday cruise out of Galveston next year. We failed, however, to exchange numbers or e-mail.
I ate “melon medley” sprinkled with port wine (couldn’t taste the wine) and escargots bourguignons, cream of green asparagus soup, two lobster tails (and they will plate stuff up on demand – no rice as I asked and two tails instead of filet mignon and tail). No dessert.

Went to the shop and bought a nice HAL logo sweatshirt at ½ price and Jeffrey bought a stuffed moose which he named Chocolate. E bought some silver jewelry, also half price. We then spent a few minutes listening to the ensemble in the Ocean Bar. Set clocks forward 1 hour tonight. In our mail slot we found an invitation to a suite brunch with Captain Mercer and the Hotel Manager Pells in the Crow’s Nest at 12:30 tomorrow.

- Bryan Walton
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- Bryan

Disney Magic - Oct 2000 Eastern Caribbean (rt Port Canaveral 7N)
Disney Magic - Jun 2002 Western Caribbean (rt Port Canaveral 7N)
HAL Oosterdam - Jul 2004 Alaska (rt Seattle 7N)
Celebrity Mercury - Feb 2005 Mexican Riviera (rt San Diego 10N)
Celebrity Millennium - Apr 2009 Hawaii (Honolulu-Vancouver 12N)
Diamond Princess - Apr 2010 Asia (Bangkok-Beijing 16N)
Celebrity Solstice - Sep 2013 Hawaii (Ensenada-Honolulu 11N)