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Review and Journal: Sapphire Northbound Voyage of the Glaciers 8/10/2013


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So begins the review/summary of our Northbound Voyage of the Glaciers from Vancouver to Whittier on the beautiful Sapphire Princess. Every so often someone on this Board asks the question: “Which is your favorite Princess ship?”, and Sapphire gets more than her fair share of votes. This was our first voyage on the perennial favorite, and we have been won over. A little over one year past her makeover in drydock and she is as beautiful as she is functional. So here goes the first installment of our trip, and I hope to have the rest of the installments done as soon as I can get through the task of downloading and sorting through the hundreds of photos that we took. Don’t worry. I won’t post all of them here. But I will try to add as many as I can to tell the story and keep it interesting. So without further ado….


Who? Me, my wife and our 15 year old daughter.


When? The cruise set sail on 8/10/13 and ended on 8/17/13. We flew in (to Seattle) a day and a half early.


Where? We flew in to Seattle; set sail from Vancouver; and flew home from Anchorage.


Why? Need you ask? We crossed so many things off of our bucket lists on this trip that it wasn’t even funny. But you’ll have to wait for each installment to see exactly what those were.


A note before I begin. “Out of the mouths of babes…” is an oft-used phrase, but I found that on this trip, our teenager gave us more than a handful of insightful and humorous gems. I tried to write down as many as I could and will try to incorporate them as appropriate. It’s always great to get the impressions of the younger generation, especially when they are so funny.


Pre-Cruise Day 1: Flew direct from JFK to Seattle on American. I was using frequent flier miles for two of our three tickets and couldn’t make Vancouver work. No how. No way. So we opted to fly into Seattle on Thursday night with a scheduled arrival at 9:30 p.m. or so. Some weather delays conspired to have us arrive closer to 11:30. Thankfully, we had booked a room at the Holiday Inn Express nearby the airport and headed straight there after collecting our luggage. The hotel was clean and convenient. The elevators were slow as molasses and there were lots of cruisers there with loads of luggage, so trying to use the elevators was a bit of a prelude to what life is like on a cruise ship. But our room was on the third floor, so once we lugged our luggage up to our room, we used the stairs exclusively until check-out.


Pre-Cruise Day 2: Seattle to Vancouver. We rented a car with National for the one-way drive to Vancouver. I took the airport shuttle back to the airport, and then boarded the consolidated rental car facility bus to the rental center and was back at the hotel by 9:30. After a late breakfast, we headed to the local Walmart to stock up on the last of our supplies. Some bottled water, soft drinks, an air freshener (for our closet….a week’s worth of shoes and clothes calls out for an Airwick Solid!), and last but not least, a pair of nice wine glasses. Yes, I know that the ship will supply glasses, but they aren’t really to our liking. And as we bring a nice bottle of wine to dinner with us each evening, it gets a bit stale having the server spy the bottle and say: “Let me get you some nicer glasses to go with that wine.” It is a wonderful gesture, but it often takes 20 minutes for them to return with a pair of Riedel Sauvignon Blanc glasses. Decent stems, no doubt, but we prefer something bigger for the Cabernet and Pinot Noir that we bring along. I don’t begrudge Princess for not having bigger stems. So we usually hunt down a reasonably priced pair and leave them on board when we are done. At Walmart, we found a pair of very acceptable glasses on the discount shelf for, get this, $0.98 per stem. No, I’m no genius, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. So those stems went into the cart and away we went.


The drive from Seattle to Vancouver is very pretty. It took us about two and a half hours to make the drive to the point where we were 10 miles outside of Vancouver, and that included a 20 minute stop at the border to clear customs. Vancouver was so close we could taste it. And then the traffic hit. There are really only two good ways to get to the city and one involves a tunnel and the other involves a bridge. Unfortunately, a truck jack-knifed toward the entrance of the tunnel and a motorcycle wiped out just before the bridge. Gridlock. Nothing to do but crawl along. Whereas it took us about two and a half hours to get to this point, it took us another two hours to travel the final 15 miles. Ugh. We to our hotel (the Westin Grand on Robson) just in time to change for dinner to meet our friends who live in Vancouver for dinner. We had a lovely (but pricey) dinner at L’Abattoir in the quaint Gastown District. Back to the hotel to re-pack some our bags so that we would have a complete change of clothes and all of our toiletries in our carry-ons, (we try to board with everything we will need to get ready for dinner on day one in case our bags take a while to arrive), and then we hit the sack. The Westin Grand is a very nice hotel centrally located. It is not walking distance from the pier, but given where our cab driver was able to get us the next morning, who cares? My only complaint with the hotels was the elevators woefully slow and inadequate for a hotel. I had read about this on Trip Advisor, but I figured, Hey!, how bad could it be? Bad! Who-da-thunk that the best elevators we had on the trip would be on the ship!


Cruise Day 1. Time to get on the ship! I returned the rental car to the Sandman Hotel in the morning. Total cost was $90. Less than three people paying for a Princess shuttle, and we had the freedom to go shopping before the cruise. After a quick walk back to the Westin, we went next door to Tim Horton’s for breakfast. I had never been to a Tim Horton’s before and needed to remedy that. It was fine, but I can’t really see what the fuss is about. In a blind tasting, they would be even-up with Dunkin’ Donuts.


After breakfast we took a cab to the pier, arriving around 11:30. No lines. No waiting. The cab literally drove up to the very front drop-off area without ever hitting the brakes. A porter was at the ready to take our luggage. Before we knew it, we were through security and in the holding pen awaiting boarding. A note about security. And as always…your experience may vary. We carry on our wine in a separate rolling carrier that is a “ballistic” case which looks like the type of case photographers and rock bands use to transport their equipment. Very obvious. I placed the carrier on the belt expecting to hear: “WINE COMING THROUGH!!” Instead…crickets. No ushering me to a special table. No stickers or stamps to put on the bottles. I just collected my bag along with the others and wheeled it to my seat where we filled out our “Have you sneezed today” form and awaited the word to board. We were escorted to rows of seats n orderly fashion, first come, first seated. (Suites/Platinums/Elites had their own area out of our sight. Or perhaps, we were out of theirs!) At 12:05, boarding began and we were the third row to board. The way they had the obligatory ‘photo-in-front-of-the-fake-background” set up, it was a bit awkward to by-pass it, so we stood for the picture and moved along. No one was passing anyone else, and we were so early in boarding that it didn’t matter.


We went straight to our cabin to drop off our bags. Dolphin Mini-Suite, Port Side, about half-way between the Center and Forward elevator banks. Time for lunch. I polled the team to see if they wanted the buffet, the MDR or Alfredo’s. “PIZZA!!” OK. Alfredo’s it is. We arrived to an almost empty restaurant. Only one other couple was there, and it was now about 12:30. Lunch was excellent and fast. In the short time that we waited for our food, I walked over to the International Café Bar to get a coffee card. We would be wanting espressos after lunch. No crowd anywhere. After lunch, we went to our cabin and lo and behold, our luggage was already there. Wow. That was fast. My wife wanted to unpack and iron some of our formal clothes, and my daughter and I wanted to get out of her hair, so I took her up to Remix to register for the Teen Center. There were 118 teens in the 13-17 age group, so that was promising. After dropping off her registration form, it was time for some photos! (I know that you have been waiting for this part.) The rest of the afternoon was spend touring the ship, taking some photos, and hanging out by the pool until muster time. An announcement was made that muster would be a half hour late due to numerous late arrivals. After muster, we went up top for more photos from the over-the-bridge observation area and the sailaway party on Lido and Sun decks.



















We had dinner at Pacific Moon. I’m not a huge fan of the first night menu, but decided that I would use the opportunity to try the Pacific Moon specialty dish—a shrimp stir-fry. It was fine and was chased by a Love Boat Dream. Wine for night one was a 2009 Sojourn “Ridgetop” Pinot Noir. A nice wine to start off the cruise. We opted to sit through the first night “show” which is really just an advertisement for things to come. I knew that. But I had forgotten just how unentertaining this is. Won’t do that again. Afterwards, we caught a glimpse of a beautiful sunset and, as my daughter said, “Dreamworks Moon”. A fitting end to a great day.




To be continued…

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Cruise Day 2: Sunday. Sea Day. Or to be more exact, Channel Day. All pre-cruise research told me that today would be a good time to see sea mammals (orcas, porpoises, maybe some seals), but I would have to be up before the sun. No biggie. I was still on east coast time, so I woke up in plenty of time to throw on a sweatshirt and some sweats to take my camera to the Promenade and Sun decks to see what I could see. So I snuck out of the room trying not to wake the ladies. However, as I got out on to the Sun deck, (the Promenade was still closed at that hour), I was confronted with pea soup fog. It was trying to lift, leading to some interesting photos that could either be considered artistic or a bust. I’m still not sure. You be the judge.










Tired. Wet. Cold. Disheartened. I thought that I would never see any wildlife. But I was determined to take a photo of some sea life, so a lonely seagull would have to do!




And how about some sea turtles, even if they were only sculpted.



I figured that as long as I was awake, I might as take some interior shots before the crowds ascended on the ship, as seen in the next post.

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And still a few more:

Club Fusion




Wake View Bar





I went back outside to take a last look around and see if any sea life was around. I found some interesting clouds and light, but so far, no orcas or porpoises.














Just as I was about to give up on my hunt for sea life, BAM! There it was. Or should I say, there they were. Quick. Get the lens cap off. Fire off some shots and pray!

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Feeling proud of myself, I snapped off a couple more scenery shots and went back to the cabin to crawl into bed. Lunch was in the International Dining Room. I tried the Chicken Korma. It was one of the best things I had to eat the whole trip. Very well done.










After lunch we scored some lounge chairs on the Promenade and vegged for an hour and a half, the trials of cross-country travel having caught up with us. We were finally escaping. Completely. Mid-Afternoon, my daughter headed up to the teen center. This proved to be a constant theme. While she admits to not actually spending that much time in the center itself, since teens have come-and-go-as-you-please privileges, she would go there to meet up with new friends and then they would head to pools, ping-pong tables, empty lounges like the Wake View or Skywalkers, etc. She made many new friends and was never bored. Anyway, while she took off on her own, my wife and I attended the Naturalist lecture hosted by Sandra Schempp. We found her to be enthusiastic, knowledgeable and tireless. She was never off duty and would stay and answer questions with gusto until every last person was satisfied. We really enjoyed having her on board.


Afterwards, we hung out at the International Café for a while listening to some very pleasing jazz. Then, it was time to get ready for formal night. Having a teen who loves formal night….priceless!









Dinner was at Savoy and we enjoyed it very much. Afterwards we attended a game show in Explorer’s Lounge and called it a night.


To be continued…

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Wow, orca sighting on your first full day. I've been on three Alaskan cruises, am an early riser and spent hours on deck and never saw an orca. Whales, yes; orca, no.


Love the Sapphire and am enjoying your review and pictures.


ORCA, I'm so jazzed for you. ORCA! Wow.



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Jimmy- great start! Nice crisp writing and stellar photographs. I did the same itinerary a year ago on the Diamond (my favorite ship to date).


I am sailing vicariously through you so keep it coming!


Thanks for taking the time to share with us.



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Before I continue with the “Journal” portion of our program, I thought I would backtrack a bit and provide more of a “Review” of our first few days. It’s a bit stream of conscious, but I am just jotting things done as they come to me.


Boarding: As noted earlier, we arrived early and it was smooth as silk. Our previous cruise, (and you will see that I say that a lot as it was our first Princess cruise with our daughter and the easiest one to make “apples to apples” comparison across the board) was on Crown out of FLL. We arrived then at what we thought was an early hour only to have to wait in a huge line outside the terminal in sweltering heat and humidity. My daughter commented this time that she knew that she was going to have “cruise hair” the entire trip, but she didn’t want it to begin before she even boarded the ship like last year. So could we please arrive earlier so that we wouldn’t have to do the boarding death march while her hair and makeup melted? So we did. We breezed through security, customs and check-in without any wait. Not being in any preferred category, we still had to wait a while in our chairs to board the ship. But we were seated and comfortable. And we had a great people watching spot to checkout our soon-to-be cruise mates. At 12:05, general boarding began and we were within the first 100 or so people to board after the preferred room got their chance.


Officer Staff:

Captain: Nick Carlton. I hesitate “rating” captains. They are supposed to get you from Point A to Point B safely and efficiently. I’ve never had one who I thought was “bad”, thank goodness. Captain Carlton did his job and he had a very pleasant voice on the loudspeaker. So I guess all was good.


Hotel Manager: Ivano Calandri. We never needed to have any complaints or issues addressed, so we didn’t get a chance (thankfully) to call on his expertise. The only time we saw him was at the crew talent show on the last night, and he plays a mean electric guitar!


Cruise Director: Billy Hygate. Our first cruise with Billy and we really liked his style. He was professional, courteous, present without being in your face, and tasteful. But perhaps the CDs biggest job is to manage the entertainment staff and I thought that he did a wonderful job here. Most of the public events were hosted by Callie and Mark, and they were a bright and talented mix of typical cruise ship banter and more “modern” (for lack of a better word) fun. I could see where some might find their shtick to be a bit bawdry, but we enjoyed them and they kept the cruise fresh.


Executive Chef: Antonio Cosantino.

Maitre d’Hotel: Francisco Patricio. Together these gentleman ran fine kitchens and restaurants. Dining was very smooth. We had Anytime dining and never waited as much as a minute for a table for three, usually dining between 7:30 and 7:45. The food was very good with only minor exceptions and the staff was professional.


Naturalist: I already mentioned that we had Sandra Schempp on board and she was a terrific asset to the cruise. Smart and professional, and she took her job seriously, always working to make sure that all questions were answered. And if she didn’t have a quick answer, she would do research and get back to you.


Dining: I guess this is a good segue into dining for the moment. When we boarded the ship and got to our cabin, I called the DINE line to secure our two preferred night for dinner at Sabatini’s, nights three and seven. Why night three? Well, this was the result of one of my daughter’s gems. I had printed out pdf’s of the anticipated menus from this site and we looked at them on the flight out. My daughter saw the menu for the third night, “Italian Night” and said: “If we are going to eat Italian, let’s EAT ITALIAN!” She enjoyed Sabatini’s on the Crown very much and asked if we could do that again, so it made sense to go there and have a better class of Italian food. (Reviews of the meals will be posted here as the occur, more or less, so, sorry, you will have to wait a bit for our recap of Sabatini’s.) We elected to dine there on the last night because none of us is thrilled by the Landfall menu. Turkey with all the “fixins” and meatloaf just don’t seem like the right way to finish off a vacation. But to each his own.


Other than our Sabatini dinners, we called and made reservations on three other evenings, both of the Formal Nights and one other evening. We noticed that the entrance to each restaurant had two sides—one for “Reservations” and one for “Walk-Ups”. I didn’t remember that on the Crown. So I figured that on Sapphire, they anticipated and perhaps even encouraged reservations, so I tried to oblige. Every time we called the DINE line, we got right through. On the first Formal Night, I knew that we wouldn’t make it to dinner before 7:45 or 8:00. And I realized that this might be just the time when people from the Piazza Champagne Tower display must be descending on the MDRs. But I didn’t realize this until around 1:30 as we were having our espresso at the IC. (I walked past the room where they had the Champagne glasses stored, and Champagne on ice, and it hit me.) Fearing that I was late to the game, I picked up the house phone next to Savoy and asked if we could reserve a table. The woman on the line suggested Pacific Moon or Santa Fe, but we really wanted Savoy, as it is a more “formal” setting for Formal Night. She said she would see what she could do and offered 7:45. BINGO! (Only I didn’t shout that, because people might have thought that I had won the progressive pot.) Easy peasy. All of my other calls were made around 8:30 a.m., and we always got right through and got what we wanted.


Alfredo’s: This was our first experience on a ship with this feature and we used it twice. Once upon boarding and once on our Glacier Bay day while heading out of the Bay. The first day, we walked right in. The second time, we had about a 15-20 minute wait for a table. The length of the line was deceiving. We thought we were about three groups deep into the line when we joined it, but as it so happens, every person in front of us was a “single” person acting as a placeholder for tables of two, three, four, or in one instance, seven. The rest of these parties were hanging out at the IC. Nothing wrong with this, per se, but it did give us false hope. So keep that in mind when you see a line there.


Buffet: Only used it to eat “brunch” on our Juneau day, as our excursion would take us through lunch and we wanted to load up before heading out. My wife and daughter abhor buffets. I am not that strident, but I am not going to complain, as they certainly are not my favorite way to dine. Review of buffet will appear later.


International Café: Our preferred spot for breakfast food and coffee drinks. Beverage service was prompt but a bit inconsistent. I remembered from our previous cruise that asking for an espresso almost always netted what I would consider to be a “double”. So no need to ask for a double and use up two punches. That seemed to be the case with some baristas, but with others, a single was a single. In fact, on one occasion, what I received in my cup was no more than the drippings from someone else’s previous cup. Or so it seemed. But he didn’t punch my card for that cup, so I guess it was OK. In the end, we wound up asking for doubles and getting good sized cups, but were never “punched” more than once per order. Service at the “food” portion of the IC was understaffed. Waits were frustrating sometimes, especially in the afternoon. The quality of the food was very good.


Entertainment: Here is a list of some of the entertainers on board:

Band that appeared at sailaway and in Club Fusion most nights-Pryme Tyme. They are very good and covered the whole range from classic rock to country night to 70’s night.

Piano Singer: Bert Stratton. We didn’t get to hear too much of him, but his venues were usually crowded.

Magician/Comedian: Lorenzo Clark. I like his show a lot, but I wish it were longer. Common complaint nowadays.

Movies: Some of the features on MUTS were: “Now You See Me”; Oblivion”; “Oz-The Great and Powerful”; “Iron Man 3”.


A word about the entertainment venues. It seems as if there are too many. With large spaces such as Wheelhouse, Club Fusion, Skywalkers, Crooners, and a theater, each place other than the theater seemed under-utilized. It was a bit unfortunate for the live performers. Sometimes we were alone or almost alone in Club fusion when the band was playing. And despite the ivitation each night to head up to Skywalkers from “11:00-onward”, no one ever did. Skywalkers is really an under used space. But we enjoyed late afternoons there as you will see later.



Cabin: No surprises. Just what we expected. The cabin balcony came equipped with two chairs and we ask our steward Greg(ario) for a third and he said it would be no problem. By mid-afternoon on day one, we had our third chair that matched the other two. On our previous cruise on Crown, which was shortly after the “Dreaded New Furniture Fiasco”, we started out with two chairs and asked for a third, and you would have thought we had asked for an audience with the Queen. It took over two days of “I don’t think I can do that” to finally secure a third chair, which was an old holdover chair. (Which was actually a good thing). This time, our request was met with a “No problem”, and we were all seated on our balcony together.


Our bathroom was in fine shape and our shower pressure was admirable. Wish mine at home was that good. The only negative was that the pool towels (all of them, not just ours), were threadbare and in need of replacement.


Pools: Hot tubs were in constant use. Pools, always seemed o be able to find prime lounge chairs. No obvious hogging. And this was despite the fact that we had off-the-charts weather. Well into the 80’s on some days, and always over 70 except for the College Fjord day.


Well, that wraps up a lot of my initial impressions. Now we will start to get into a few specifics.

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Great review and beautiful pictures!! Your daughter is beautiful and sounds like she is a great traveler. Looking forward to reading more, cruising in Alaska is the best! We have done both, a B2B out of Vancouver and round trip out of Seattle. Both awesome trips.

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OK. On to some specifics. Food, to be precise. I’ll tell you what we ordered. We tend to share our food, so it doesn’t really matter who ordered what. If something was terrible or great, I will let you know. If there is no mention either way, it is safe to assume that we found it to be perfectly fine. We don’t cruise for the culinary aspect and don’t expect three-star (or even one-star) Michelin food served in a mass setting. But we don’t expect to be insulted by the kitchen either. And sorry, but there are no food pictures. My daughter won't stand for photography at the table.


As noted above, upon boarding we headed to Alfredo’s. We still had Tim Horton’s milling about our gullets, so two pizzas shared among three people would suffice. Our general rule was…if that’s not enough food, order again, or head up to the buffet. You won’t and shouldn’t go hungry. We tried the Capricciosa and Sapphire Princess pies (which I am going to assume changes its name depending on the vessel, but not the ingredients.) We are pizza snobs, living so close to New Haven. My daughter has Pepe’s apizza (pronounced “A-Beetz”) running through her veins. We were more than satisfied with the offerings here. But I would have swapped out the proscuitto from the Capricciosa for the Parma ham on the Sapphire. The Capriicciosa has a lot going on, and the Proscuitto deserves more of a starring role. Nevertheless, this was certainly good enough to draw us back a second time.


One more thing to note about lunch. While we were seated, numerous people approached the podium and asked what the lunch options were. (And many more asked: “Where’s the buffet?) To the credit of the staff at Alfredo’s, they were open and honest about the International Dining Room being open for lunch. Some other crew members, when asked the same question, offered up only the buffet.


Dinner (Anytime) was at Pacific Moon. We brought our bottle of 2009 Sojourn “Ridgetop” Pinot Noir and Walmart glasses, and were charge the $15 corkage fee. We had a Red Snapper Mojito, Crispy Vegetable Spring Rolls, Caesar Salad, Fettuccine Alfredo as a main, the Specialty of the House Stir Fry and Grilled Salmon. The only weak choice was the Spring Rolls. Not bad. Just not exciting. We split two desserts among the three of us. A Love Boat Dream and a Crème Brulee. This night, the Crème Brulee was very good. On another occasion, it was not nearly smooth enough, the eggs having cooked too quickly.


Day two consisted of breakfast on our balcony of pastries, coffee and hot chocolate obtained (by me) from the International Café. This has become our tradition and we do it as often as we can. If you’ve seen me gripe about the new balcony size on Royal, it is simply because if I can’t have breakfast outside with all three of us together, then I just don’t want to go. Childish? Sure. But this, to me, is living.


We were disappointed that there was no Pub Lunch on our Sea Day. We thought that there might be. But we made do with a sit-down lunch in the International Dining Room. OK. Note to Princess. With the International Café being such a big feature on the ship, do you think you could come up with a different name for the dining room? I know that the dining room came first. But let’s face it. That name has been usurped. In any event, lunch consisted of a burger, fries, the Chicken Korma and some sort of salad that my wife ordered. The Chicken Korma was the runaway winner, along with the fries. Nothing else was noteworthy, but it all go eaten.


The first Formal Dinner was taken in the Savoy Dining Room. We arrived at our reservation time and were seated promptly. We brought a 2007 Sea Smoke “Southing” Pinot Noir and our trusty glasses. No mention of a corkage fee was made, and none was charged. The Captain’s Welcome Dinner is not nearly as exciting as Formal Night #2. We had a Shrimp cocktail Appetizer, Fettuccine Alfredo as a starter, a Mixed Greens Salad, an order of the Farfalle with Veal and Morels as a main course, …(if you can find a morel mushroom in there, more power to you. We found that many different dishes advertised all sorts of mushrooms, all of which were button or the kind that you can’t spell on a bulletin board that ends with itake)…, the Sauteed Garlic Shrimp and the Stuffed Chicken Breast. It was all good, except I found the Shrimp cocktail to be wimpy. Dessert was a cobble, the less than perfect Crème Brulee and a Cheese Cake.


So now you are all caught up on the dining portion of the adventure. To be continued…

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Day 3: Ketchikan

Daughter’s Quote of the Day (Number One): “Nothing says “Alaska” like Caribbean jewelry, Tanzanite and Diamonds International!”


Quite often, people ask here which side is better for this itinerary, port of starboard. Well, we were on port, largely because Starboard had sold out of Mini-Suites on Dolphin near mid-ship before we booked. So apparently the consensus is that starboard is better. But I will try to let you know where it makes a difference, and if so, which side wins. So far, there was no meaningful difference. As you could see from the sailaway photos, Vancouver will be in your rearview mirror, so neither side wins there. If you absolutely refused to leave your cabin for sailaway, and I was forced to choose, I would pick starboard. On our “channel” day, in the morning, I found the port side to be far superior for photo lighting. The sun is rising on the starboard side and the mountains on that side cast a tough shadow if you are trying to take pictures. Conversely, what sun does glow though illuminates the port side much better. The orcas above were on the port side, but that has to be the luck of the draw.


Pulling into Ketchikan into berth 4, you will have the city off of your starboard to reveal this.







And the islands and water off of the port like this.





Either view is acceptable, depending on what you like, though since you will be pulling out of port early, and pretty much due north, the port side will have the glow of the afternoon sun. If the weather is cold, perhaps the warmth of that sun will be important. The starboard side will be completely shaded. On the day that we were there, it was one of the 60 days of the year that it did not rain and the temperature was a heavenly mid-70’s.


We had room service breakfast early so that we could meet our excursion guide at 8:45. Ketchikan is an early day, as sailaway is at 2:00. You have to be an early bird to get the most out of the day. We booked a kayak adventure independently with South Seas Kayaks. Sorry for the lack of photos, but I did not take my camera equipment with me on the kayak and all we had was a point and shoot. Haven’t gotten those downloaded yet. But our trip pretty much took us out to the area shown in the second photo above, across the channel and to the islands you see out there. We saw lots of jumping salmon and several bald eagles, both juvenile and mature. The scenery was terrific, as was the weather, and the company we went with could not have been better. We had been kayaking in the Florida Keys, so I though kayaking in Alaska would be a great bookend.


Daughter’s Quote of the Day (Number 2): “That is the first exercise I’ve gotten this trip that didn’t involve me moving a fork from the table to my mouth.” So if nothing else, a kayak trip will help get the wiggles out. We aren’t really “Lumberjack Show” kind of people, and we knew that we would have plenty of time to shop after the excursion ended around 11:15. Photos of the our walking portion of our adventure can be found in the next few posts.

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Ketchikan sort of sprouted, (or more accurately, rose like a phoenix from its ashes) when the cruise ships started to call. So expect to see lots of gems and jewelry that are really nonsequiturs in Alaska. The only real shopping that we wanted to do was secure a rain/wind shell for or daughter. We had heard that the Tongass Trading Post was a great place to score a $19.99 jacket. She also wanted to buy her one-per-trip “luxury” souvenir—i.e., something that is commemorative and substantial. On this trip, she wanted a real, hand-carved (in Alaska) totem. I told her it had to be under 6 feet tall. She settled on one that was about 10 inches tall. All of this shopping was easy to do in Ketchikan. And we scored some fudge at Ketchi-Candy to boot.


Here are some of our photos from the day.


Can’t miss this guy as you walk from the ship to the town.





These give you a decent idea of what the town looks like close to the berths.







Gotta get a shot of “the sign”





And the Rain Gauge.







I thought that this statue was very well done. And it was our meeting place for our kayak trip.



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What is a review without a shot of the ship, right?






Here is a closer of view of the area where we kayaked. If you figuratively turn your back on the city, it is really quite different. “Real” Alaska, or so it seems.





Walking toward Creek Street, you will find this guy:





And some beautiful flowers in the surrounding garden. I guess all that rain is good for something!







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Creek Street is probably the highlight of any trip to Ketchikan. Look closely in the second photo and you can see a Dish Network satellite on one of the buildings that used to be a “boarding house”. I guess if the men paid for a full hour, they needed something to do with the other 55 minutes, so it was a good thing that they had the NFL Package!









Remember earlier in the thread we saw a picture of the “Dreamworks Moon”? Well, my daughter spied the “Dreamworks Fishing Boy” under the bridge, so we had to grab a shot.




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