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Star Princess North to Alaska! Sept 10 2016


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Hi Norris -- trying to catch up as work & life caused me to fall behind on the trip. A comment you made WAY back in post 532 about how big Alaska is made me remember this image. I was working with an Alaskan company at the time and my contact sent it to me to give me a sense of just how big it is. I thought it was very helpful.

 

Jenn

 

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The coffee station is set up at Tradewinds Bar

 

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The plan for today is to have breakfast in the MDR then attend the Culinary Show in the Princess Theater where the Executive Chef and the Maitre 'd cook and banter. As both are Italian but from different regions we can expect some rivalry and local pride.

 

After that there is always a galley tour offered (free) but having done a few there's no need for us to attend.

 

Sadly we have packing to do today and whatever we are wearing once the packing is finished is what we will be wearing when we leave the ship tomorrow and what we will be wearing when we step off the plane in Chicago at 5 a.m on Sunday, September 18th.

 

But first breakfast at 8.55 in Portofino dining room.

 

There are a number of diners with the same schedule and the restaurant is very busy. Some were seated as they were willing to share but we wanted "two only".

Alas there were no two tops but our buddy the Head Waiter Paulitzio sat us and found us a table for eight. Once we were inside he ordered the doors closed.

 

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Papaya fruit bowl which was supposed to be served in a hollowed-out papaya but they had run out of those

 

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Mine, all mine!

 

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Carol's Lox 'n Bagel

 

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The joint was jumping and the noise level a rude awakening to the day.



 

[YOUTUBE]KbmrM07p2_c[/YOUTUBE]

 

Off to the show

 

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More later...

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Hi Norris -- trying to catch up as work & life caused me to fall behind on the trip. A comment you made WAY back in post 532 about how big Alaska is made me remember this image. I was working with an Alaskan company at the time and my contact sent it to me to give me a sense of just how big it is. I thought it was very helpful.

 

Jenn

 

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Jenn-Thank you! What a great graphic. It's easy to forget all those islands scattered across the Bering Sea.

 

Norris

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A working kitchen with overhead camera feed is set up so you can see what is being cooked. Neil Roberts the CD will introduce the Executive Chef and then the Maitre' d and they'll do some aromatic cooking (usually something garlic and there's nothing wrong with that). You may pick up some tips on cooking pasta or making dessert. Even if you don't it's a fun Princess tradition and you'll have a few laughs as they tease and banter with each other for half an hour.

 

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I have the wrong lens to get past the glare of the stage lights and white uniforms and focus on the people but the zoom would look ridiculous and be distracting to those around me. It's not a must-see event so I don't lose sleep over it.

 

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The Galley tour you should take if you have never been in an industrial kitchen before. They have to be meticulous about cleanliness and organization and of course the cooking pots and soup vats are huge. You'll see the bakers at work as they work around the clock. That all the galleys combined cook something like 15,000 meals a day is a tremendous feat of organization and the fact that-in my experience-all the meals are worthy is even more astounding. It's not Haute Cuisine and there aren't any Michelin Stars displayed but I am very happy with my meals for the week-with one exception but that can wait until later.

 

Back to the cabin and if you are a wheelchair user this will stop you in your tracks...

 

Housekeeping carts in the corridors

 

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Often the Room Steward may not be present to move it as he has gone to get extra towels or such. The cabin doors are recessed but only enough for a walking person to pass by the carts. On Celebrity the cabin doors are deeply recessed and allow for the carts to be pulled out of the corridor lane.

 

Today there is no Pub Lunch offered. (huh? what?) You heard. They are always held on sea days and the last time I looked we were at sea. Bummer!

 

So upon my suggestion we will instead dine in the MDR and have a leisurely lunch. Then maybe a nap and some packing. After that there are some glaciers in College Fjord at 6.30 which is 6 hours before we tie up the ship in Whittier.

We won't be rocked to sleep tonight.

 

The Northbound Voyage of the Glaciers as this is called, leaves the glaciers until last, whereas on the Southbound from Whittier they come first and the ports follow. I think we prefer the Northbound as we get the icing on the cake last, as a highlight. We also like that sail away from Vancouver.

 

For the Southbound trip see my Coral Princess review, which was our introduction to Princess and Carol's introduction to cruising after many fireside chats where her interest slowly grew. It was her idea to cruise Alaska, not mine, as I didn't think it was even an option on the table. She got hooked on Princess cruising and on Alaska on our first day. We sailed out of Whittier as the light faded at 8.30 pm, with drizzle falling and the mountains shrouded in mist but it didn't dampen her spirits at all. If you are looking for sunny days there's no guarantee you'll see them on an Alaskan cruise but to us the drizzle and mist just adds to the magic of the state. We had 5 days of soft drizzle and cool weather on the Coral but that didn't matter. Alaska is unique and even though this was our third AK cruise, to the same ports, there will be a fourth.... and a fifth and....?

 

Norris

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You didn't happen to see anyone from Sweden with Asian features in the front row begging to be allowed up on the stage, did you? (If that goes over anyone's head, just check out the Celebrity Board and look for the locked thread re: "Top Chef".)

 

 

Back to the cabin and if you are a wheelchair user this will stop you in your tracks...

 

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Now picture what this would look like with a tray of dirty dishes left outside in the hallway!

 

 

I think we prefer the Northbound as we get the icing on the cake last, as a highlight. We also like that sail away from Vancouver.

 

I'm with you on this one. For us, the Northbound journey is best because the trip just keeps getting better each day. Juneau is better than Ketchikan...and then Skagway is better than Juneau...and then Glacier Bay is better than Skagway...and when you get off the ship, you are deep into Alaska ready for new adventures. For us, Northbound is a constant crescendo whereas Southbound is a constant decrescendo.

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You didn't happen to see anyone from Sweden with Asian features in the front row begging to be allowed up on the stage, did you? (If that goes over anyone's head, just check out the Celebrity Board and look for the locked thread re: "Top Chef".)

 

 

Now picture what this would look like with a tray of dirty dishes left outside in the hallway!

 

 

I'm with you on this one. For us, the Northbound journey is best because the trip just keeps getting better each day. Juneau is better than Ketchikan...and then Skagway is better than Juneau...and then Glacier Bay is better than Skagway...and when you get off the ship, you are deep into Alaska ready for new adventures. For us, Northbound is a constant crescendo whereas Southbound is a constant decrescendo.

 

Ha Jimmy!- I read the Disappointed Chef thread from day one. Poor man came all the way from Sweden to be a contestant (the cruise possibly a means to an end) and didn't get chosen to cook in a "competition" about as serious as the Culinary Show. I thought it was a "wind-up" at first.

 

The dirty Room Service tray and a Steward's cart in the corridor constitutes a slalom.

 

Northbound vs Southbound? Agreed. That's my reason in a nutshell.

 

Cheers!

 

Norris

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Stunning sunrise pics Norris. I think that is the thing I like most when cruising; the sunsets and sunrises.

 

And stunning pics of Glacier Bay. I could sit here and stare all afternoon.

 

Speaking of afternoon, I left my lunch on the kitchen counter, so no lunch today, and then I looked at your food pics. Deeeelicious. Not a good thing on an empty stomach.

 

I think I saw our table on your MDR pics. We had the best waiters on the Star.

 

I agree with the Windjammer hours on RC; you couldn't even get an iced tea or a snack between meals. They need to re-think that one.

 

Last day at sea; sad words indeed.

 

Can't wait to see more glacier pics!!! Thanks again Norris!

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Stunning sunrise pics Norris. I think that is the thing I like most when cruising; the sunsets and sunrises.

 

And stunning pics of Glacier Bay. I could sit here and stare all afternoon.

 

Speaking of afternoon, I left my lunch on the kitchen counter, so no lunch today, and then I looked at your food pics. Deeeelicious. Not a good thing on an empty stomach.

 

I think I saw our table on your MDR pics. We had the best waiters on the Star.

 

I agree with the Windjammer hours on RC; you couldn't even get an iced tea or a snack between meals. They need to re-think that one.

 

Last day at sea; sad words indeed.

 

Can't wait to see more glacier pics!!! Thanks again Norris!

 

Hi again! I loaded up 95 pics of College Fjord yesterday and will unleash them soon. I saw some calving shots among them.

 

Sunrises were rare on our cruise as it was usually a solid blanket of low cloud above. There's a sunset over the glacier coming up ahead.

 

The Windjammer sounds like it does need a re-think as I haven't seen anyone cheer the shorter hours. Princess is more practical in serving the needs of its guests.

 

Thanks for following along! I'm glad you enjoy the photos so much.

 

Norris

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Ha Jimmy!- I read the Disappointed Chef thread from day one. Poor man came all the way from Sweden to be a contestant (the cruise possibly a means to an end) and didn't get chosen to cook in a "competition" about as serious as the Culinary Show. I thought it was a "wind-up" at first.

....................................

Norris

 

Careful there Bimmer, that he is a she. And, she let it be known in no uncertain teams to a couple of respondents to the thread.

 

BTW, As far as culinary subjects go, would I be correct to assume that Princess has replaced hash browns with, what looks like, Potato Cake looking things like you would get at Arby's?

 

Enjoying all of the pictures. Our next Alaska cruise is already booked :), but, it is more than 600 days away. :mad:

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Although MDR lunch on port days is a thing of the past on sea days it is a treat.

 

It's just nice to sit down at a table with a white tablecloth (take note Carnival) and flowers and be served.

It's even nicer when the food is coming from a good kitchen. We were impressed by the food on the Star. I put on 3lbs extra weight (and my weight has been the same for the past 20 years or so) and might have added more if I didn't walk around the ship so much each day.

 

We ate at 1.15 pm when Carol returned from a Naturalist Lecture.

 

I had some delicious soup which doesn't appear in Carol's notes

 

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Carol was very happy with her spaghetti and meatballs.

 

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I enjoyed my cheeseburger and fries

 

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Some yummy mystery pie that I can't recall the name of



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We both love a good hamburger and although this was a thinnish patty and was cooked "well" it was a nice change of pace. We have a 5 Guys experience once a week when we drive down to our Michigan home. There's no ordering "medium" there either but we love their burgers and stellar fries and the ability to choose your toppings (as few as possible for me as I don't like a sloppy messy burger)

 

The food will lead Carol to the gym and me to a nap and once awake there will be packing to do. Sigh.

 

The week had gone so fast like a warm wave that washes on shore and then recedes, never to return. 6 months of anticipation gone in 7 days. The good news is that everyone on board is probably feeling the same-when I open our door I can hear people sobbing. Some have put down their banjos in favor of the darker sound of the cello.

 

Not everyone though- my smoking buddy Kevin from Pennsylvania is going on a cruise tour after this on the train that will be waiting in Whittier. Waiting to taunt us as for us the dream is over... actually not just yet as we have glaciers this evening and tomorrow when we are unceremoniously booted off the ship we have a 6 hour excursion where we will get up close to things like this...

 

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Norris

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Careful there Bimmer, that he is a she. And, she let it be known in no uncertain teams to a couple of respondents to the thread.

 

BTW, As far as culinary subjects go, would I be correct to assume that Princess has replaced hash browns with, what looks like, Potato Cake looking things like you would get at Arby's?

 

Enjoying all of the pictures. Our next Alaska cruise is already booked :), but, it is more than 600 days away. :mad:

 

ar, thanks for the revelation of the sex of Disappointed Chef whose panties were in a bunch.

 

I like the shredded potato hash browns (well done, burn them if you like) moreso than the patty type but it's potato and so I'll eat it anyway.

 

I have never been to an Arbys but I have no reason not to. I'll give them a try.

How are their french fries? Ever eaten the 5 Guys fries?

 

600 days away? Yikes! Mind you we have an opera week in San Francisco booked that far out but in the meantime there's a Caribbean Cruise in January and a Norway one in the planning stages for next August-so much to look forward to!

 

Cheers,

 

Norris, soon to unleash the new glacier pictures.

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In the late afternoon we have left the open sea once again to visit College Fjord.

 

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We're going' up around the bend to see an old friend...

 

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MY LORDS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN....

 

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I'll jump to a later in the day shot where even using a 10 mm Ultra Wide Lens I can't get it all in the frame. It's 1.5 miles wide and covers 120,000 acres to a depth of 300 feet. 30 miles in length, about the same distance from here to somewhere 30 miles away.

 

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Ok, now I'll show the pics in the order taken and they will mainly be close-ups of the craggy face.

 

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It's a jagged mess and totally unsuitable for ice skating hence the lack of Canadians seen doing triple axles in this shot

 

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I'm on Promenade deck starboard as we are getting the first 45 minutes while port twiddles its thumbs

 

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Verdant mountainsides

 

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Such a dirty face

 

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The light will keep changing as clouds come and go but later we'll get some sun

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..................

I have never been to an Arbys but I have no reason not to. I'll give them a try.

How are their french fries? Ever eaten the 5 Guys fries?

.....................

 

I have not eaten at 5 Guys, however, Mrs. ar1950 has and says no comparison on the fries.

 

If you try Arby's once maybe then you will have a good reason not to eat there. ;)

 

Sorry to see the review getting close to the end.

 

We're going' up around the bend to see an old friend...

I don't recall the "to see an old friend" part, but JOHN FOGERTY "Up Around The Bend" ?

Edited by ar1950
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I have not eaten at 5 Guys, however, Mrs. ar1950 has and says no comparison on the fries.

 

If you try Arby's once maybe then you will have a good reason not to eat there. ;)

 

Sorry to see the review getting close to the end.

 

We're going' up around the bend to see an old friend...

I don't recall the "to see an old friend" part, but JOHN FOGERTY "Up Around The Bend" ?

 

Hmm, now I'm on the fence about Arby's after your ringing endorsement.

 

Up around the bend is correct.

 

Yes the review is inching its way to the Finish Line. I have been trying to keep to a schedule as we are going on a driving trip next week and will be away for 4 days.

 

Thanks for reading every page.

 

Norris

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Looking at all of your great photos just makes me want to go back to Alaska again.

Thank You,

Tony

 

Tony, it's my pleasure to share these photos with you.

 

We certainly haven't crossed Alaska off our list yet. It's reliably amazing for us and is relatively close to home.

 

Thanks for continuing to read and comment.

 

Norris

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