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The Trailblazers- Sailing for Alaska!


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Hello again from the Nieuw Amsterdam - we are in Sitka today, and I could swear that beautiful weather is following this inaugural voyage to Alaska. We had partly cloudy skies and mid-sixties for Glacier Bay, a quick misty rain that passed after a few minutes in Icy Strait Point, and now clear sunny skies and upper sixties in Sitka.

 

This continues to be an amazing voyage - Glacier Bay was stunning, and we loved having a few hours in Icy Strait Point to hike and explore.

Below are a few more observations and answers to questions received from previous posts.

 

Additional observations for those booked on or considering an Alaska voyage this season:

- While QR codes are primarily used in the restaurants, printed menus are available upon request
- In-room dining menu is available through the TV, rather than a printed in-room menu.
- Beyond burgers, sausages, and “chicken” strips available at Dive In and MDR lunch as a meat free alternative - a very nice (maybe healthier?) addition to the menus.
- Culinary Council dinner was delicious 

- Sel de Mer pop up will be served on night 5 (Ketchikan).
- No Mariner Society lunch for this sailing; it may be brought back for later sailings. The captain reportedly hosted a 4 and 5 star Mariner reception on the first sea day.
- The EXC and Glacier Bay enrichment talks continue to be excellent, informative, and very well produced. The talks and MusicWalk go a long way towards making up for the cutbacks to main stage entertainment, in my opinion.
- Stopping in Icy Strait Point was a wonderful way to end the day in Glacier Bay. Three and a half hours was the perfect amount of time to explore, walk the nature trails, tour the cannery and dine on locally caught crab.
- We have the Serenade of the Seas with us in Sitka. The shuttle to town was a bit chaotic at first, with passengers mingled from both ships, but was smooth from mid morning onwards. Some of the Serenade passengers ignored the mask requirement on our shuttle bus, though most complied.
- Water and cold towel service next to the gangway appears to have been discontinued. There is still a tent with bench seating set up next to the gangway.

 

And the best news of all: so far there are no COVID cases on board, per a chat with the ship’s medical officer yesterday.

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Thanks for the update and nice pics.

 

Do you know the name of the Barista at the Explorations Cafe?  I have gotten to know quite a few of them over the past years and try to keep up where they are serving.

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@GoHoward WOW!  Your pictures are amazing!  Thank you for sharing them.  Also thanks for all your comments.  We are considering the August 28th sailing so I'm reading your reports earnestly.  Question-- Is the MDR menu the same each evening?  OR, does it change daily?  I'm thinking the lunch menu is a daily standard menu, like the breakfast menu always has been.  So both the lunch and breakfast look great to me, however dinner not so much especially if it is the same every day.

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53 minutes ago, Sharon in AZ said:

@GoHoward WOW!  Your pictures are amazing!  Thank you for sharing them.  Also thanks for all your comments.  We are considering the August 28th sailing so I'm reading your reports earnestly.  Question-- Is the MDR menu the same each evening?  OR, does it change daily?  I'm thinking the lunch menu is a daily standard menu, like the breakfast menu always has been.  So both the lunch and breakfast look great to me, however dinner not so much especially if it is the same every day.

I've been checking out the menus each day in the app.  There are a few appetizers and entrees that are the same each day (like there used to be) and a few that change, but there seems to be significantly less options overall.  A few of the menus have looked pretty good to me and some look very mediocre.  I've also seen the same lunch menu each day other than one day where there was an express lunch option where there were only 2 appetizer choices,  2 entree choices, and 2 dessert choices

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3 minutes ago, roxybear135 said:

I've been checking out the menus each day in the app.  There are a few appetizers and entrees that are the same each day (like there used to be) and a few that change, but there seems to be significantly less options overall.  A few of the menus have looked pretty good to me and some look very mediocre.  I've also seen the same lunch menu each day other than one day where there was an express lunch option where there were only 2 appetizer choices,  2 entree choices, and 2 dessert choices

Thanks so much!  Do you remember which day was the express lunch option?

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30 minutes ago, Sharon in AZ said:

Thanks so much!  Do you remember which day was the express lunch option?

I can't remember for sure but I want to say it was the day they went to Juneau.  It make sense to be that day since they were cruising in the morning and getting in to Juneau around 1pm or so.  I remember one of the appetizers was a tomato soup (can't remember the other), entrees were fish and chips or chicken caesar salad, and don't remember the desserts.

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8 minutes ago, roxybear135 said:

I can't remember for sure but I want to say it was the day they went to Juneau.  It make sense to be that day since they were cruising in the morning and getting in to Juneau around 1pm or so.  I remember one of the appetizers was a tomato soup (can't remember the other), entrees were fish and chips or chicken caesar salad, and don't remember the desserts.

Thanks again!

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4 hours ago, Sharon in AZ said:

@GoHoward WOW!  Your pictures are amazing!  Thank you for sharing them.  Also thanks for all your comments.  We are considering the August 28th sailing so I'm reading your reports earnestly.  Question-- Is the MDR menu the same each evening?  OR, does it change daily?  I'm thinking the lunch menu is a daily standard menu, like the breakfast menu always has been.  So both the lunch and breakfast look great to me, however dinner not so much especially if it is the same every day.


The menus change every day, with quite a few “always available” options that do not change, and entirely different menus for the two gala nights and the one “Culinary Council” evening when each dish is tied to a HAL Council chef.

 

For the normal evenings, you can expect that 2 to 3 appetizers and entrees each change among evenings. Several dishes - Caesar salad, caprese salad, salmon, strip steak - are offered as always available options. 
 

I will post all of the menus once the cruise ends; they should remain the same throughout the 2021 Alaska season.

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19 minutes ago, GoHoward said:


The menus change every day, with quite a few “always available” options that do not change, and entirely different menus for the two gala nights and the one “Culinary Council” evening when each dish is tied to a HAL Council chef.

 

For the normal evenings, you can expect that 2 to 3 appetizers and entrees each change among evenings. Several dishes - Caesar salad, caprese salad, salmon, strip steak - are offered as always available options. 
 

I will post all of the menus once the cruise ends; they should remain the same throughout the 2021 Alaska season.

Thank you so much for the updates! 

One question - On embarkation day was there entertainment other than the music walk? I know they used to do a single welcome aboard show but wondering if that still happened or if the comedian did a show. We are debating if will miss anything with a later dinner or if we should do it early. 

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7 hours ago, GoHoward said:


The menus change every day, with quite a few “always available” options that do not change, and entirely different menus for the two gala nights and the one “Culinary Council” evening when each dish is tied to a HAL Council chef.

 

For the normal evenings, you can expect that 2 to 3 appetizers and entrees each change among evenings. Several dishes - Caesar salad, caprese salad, salmon, strip steak - are offered as always available options. 
 

I will post all of the menus once the cruise ends; they should remain the same throughout the 2021 Alaska season.

I’m glad to hear Caesar salad and strip steak are still always available. I will miss chicken, however. Thanks for posting.

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Thanks for the great pictures and info! Wonderful to read through and dream ☺️

 

Just curious - I'm sure the earthquake didn't affect you but I wondered if the Captain came on and mentioned it. That would be a first for me!

 

https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/2021/07/28/gulf-of-alaska-coast-under-tsunami-warning-following-strong-earthquake/

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On 7/28/2021 at 5:41 PM, GoHoward said:

Here are a few photos from the last few days…as I said, magnificent weather and experiences.

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Beautiful! Thank you!

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