Sunday, June 9, 2013

June 7th Sea Day

Had a good sleep but my voice is completely gone – go figure! 

We relax in bed and we both head up to Horizon Court for a small meal as we know we have our Most Travelled Luncheon today and it is always good and lots of food.

For the Luncheon we are number 11 of the most travelled.  We get the pic with the Captain and head to our seat.  For today’s luncheon we are sat at a table that is meant for 6 people but there are 8 of us!  We are squished in.  Bernie pushes his seat out and sits away from the table as there is no way he can push his chair up to the table because of the arms.  I am sitting beside the Chief Engineer Michele from Italy but he is squished in too.  And he basically has an obstacle course to go over to get to his seat.  Not sure what happened but boy it was not comfortable.

Because I am not feeling 100% I opt for no wine and stick with water.  The appetizer was a lovely seafood dish, and I had the halibut for my entrée.  Dessert was little cakes and then bon bons with tea/coffee. 

Overall it was a nice luncheon but not comfortable.  Two women at our table barely said a word even though we tried to ask them questions and get them talking but gave up.  But this experience today reconfirms why I prefer the cocktail party with great finger foods over the luncheon any day.

We spend the afternoon relaxing by reading, doing Suduko, saying goodbye to so many of our new friends and crew.  We meet up with Mark the naturalist and then Alberto to share some of the pictures I took with them.

Bernie does the packing – I learned from another friend’s blog that it is much safer for only one person to do the packing.  I have taken her advice and since Bernie is certainly capable of packing and we are only taking a bus home and no flight I appreciate him taking care of it. 

For dinner we are heading to the Savoy again to dine with Peter.  We have a lovely dinner with him and then we head to the Wheelhouse for after dinner drinks.   We are in bed just after midnight.

Another great voyage has come to an end.  Even though this was a last minute trip and was planned to surprise our Peter for his birthday it ended up being a great vacation.  We saw lots of great places, especially enjoyed all the hikes.  It was truly lovely to see so many friends on board and to meet so many new people too.

I asked Bernie on the last day if he would be open to doing another Alaskan cruise like this and he quickly responded “yes, but I prefer warm weather cruises”.  So who knows we may sail to Alaska again.

Ketchikan June 6th

We dock at 10 am and we are awake around 8 am for the picturesque views coming down the channel.  We turn the tv on and put it on 49 where they show the bridge cam so we can listen to Mark the naturalist discuss sights as we arrive.  We stare out our cabin window with binoculars close by to watch the eagles and the fish jumping.

Not sure what we are going to do today.  It is raining out, it is cold and wet (reminds me of home).  Bernie heads up to the Horizon Court and when he comes back he tells me it is an absolute zoo up there.  I told him it would be.  With docking at 10 am everyone is still on board for breakfast.  He tells me there is a woman he sat with who was complaining about the discounted price she had heard others had gotten.  When he tells her yes, they were selling this off for cheaply.  He informs her that that price was for an inside cabin guarantee.  Oh no not an inside she says.  Well that is what you get for that price, for a bit more we got an oceanview.  But for a balcony it was a lot more even last minute.

I head up to the Hozion Court a little later after the ship has docked and many have started getting off.  I am not that hungry but want something.  I am tired today, feel run down and think today is going to be a day of pure relaxation.

We give our steward the time to clean the cabin by sitting in Explorer’s Lounge for awhile doing Suduko and Bernie reads and then participates in the Trivia.  Trivia is popular this voyage but even though Bernie loves the trivia he doesn’t like to take it too seriously and so many others do so he makes sure to join others who are also there to just have fun.

Back in the cabin around noon and I change into more comfortable clothes and crash for like three hours.  Guess my body needed it.

When we wake the cabin comes on in the cabin – kind of odd as normally when the Captain is sailing away they don’t announce in the cabin, but this voyage we have found they have often made announcements in the cabin when they really should be.  Like early one morning (I believe it was Skagway) they did the bing bing bing in the cabin to say the ship had clearance for people to go ashore.

The Captain warns us that we are heading out into open waters for a bit and the weather may cause a bit more movement than what we are use to.  Finally I think, have to say for the past two weeks I have not felt like I have been at sea at all.  So very smooth and I kind of miss the rocking.

We head to Calypso to see Ali and finally Michael her boyfriend has proposed!  Finally!  We met Michael and Ali last year on the Star and after talking with Michael at the beginning of this voyage he told us he was going to finally propose.  We have been waiting since then for the ring to show up.  Finally today Ali is sporting a lovey diamond ring!  We had bought a card earlier in the voyage for them to congratulate them and finally we can give it to them.  We know we are not true family but we want them to know how much we love them and that we are happy for them.  Congratulations to a lovely couple.  Heck we hope we get an invite to the wedding.

We head to Wheelhouse to have a drink with Peter and a few friends pop by.  We will miss Peter and not sure when we will see him again, but somehow I bet we will see him again.

Dinner tonight is in Savoy dining room again with Na and Sandudee.  It is the Chef’s dinner and I love this menu but want to switch some things up.  I order the standard shrimp cocktail but for my entrée I see that they have in the always available section an Oscar burger which is a standard burger but with asparagus and crab with Bernaisse sauce. I have to try it.  It looks lovely when it comes but both my fries and Bernie’s fries are cold.  We order a side of fresh/hot fries.  I remove the bun and just eat the meat and it is so good.  We opt for no dessert tonight but instead have some fudge from the cabin that we bought in Skagway.

Tonight is the last night for the cast of the Diamond Princess and the show is Born to Be Wild.  We get seats up close so I can get more pictures and we LOVE it.  We notice a few little fun bits the cast is obviously having a great time and they are so excited to be going home.

I am so tired after the show, my throat is rough and I need a hot drink and bed – too much singing along I guess.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

June 5th Juneau

Bernie thowing Larry out of the Red Dog Saloon 

We are docking early today (6 am) but we have plans only at 8 am.  Our friend Larry from Orlando Florida is in town today for the start of his adventure.  But his is independent and not on a cruise ship.  Although we met Larry and his lovely wife Amy on a cruise ship many years ago we have kept in touch and sailed with them once more and have had them to our home when they sailed to Alaska.  Also last January they came to Fort Lauderdale to see us when we were on the Emerald.

We arranged to meet Larry at the pier and walk into town for breakfast and the Sandpiper.  It was a very yummy breakfast, but truly we just wanted to catch up with Larry.

After breakfast we walked around a bit, heading back towards to the pier.  It is wet with intermittent showers and cold because of the dampness.  So glad we did the Glacier hike last week as it would not of been fun today.

Larry drops off us off at the gangway around 11 am and we get back on and decide to stay on board for the remainder of our stay.  We leave at 3:30 and we are both tired.  Bernie heads back to the cabin and I head to the Atrium to find a quiet spot to read and enjoy a cup of tea to warm up.  But it is busy with activity as the gangway is here. 

I wander to the wheelhouse bar and curl up on a couch by a window.  I have the whole place to myself…. For about five minutes, when this couple come in and where do they sit?  But right beside me and then the women proceeds to get on her cell phone and phone friends and family.  And of course she can’t have a normal volume while talking!  I try to give that look, you know the look, but nope she didn’t get it.  After about five minutes I give up and wander out.

I meet up with Bernie and we head up to the Horizon Court for a light lunch and then I head to see Libby Riddles talk.  I know I have seen most of it, but it was a good show again, and make sure you check it out if you head up here. 

Mark is doing a lecture on whales but it is happening close to when we sail away and I want to see the sail away, so we pop in near the back of the Princess Theater until we set sail and then we head out to the Promenade Deck. 

The Golden has come into port – docked around noon.  I take a few pics of her and then watch as we set sail away from Juneau.

As we pass the hatchery on the port side we see a few eagles in the trees.  I am looking for sheep as this is a good spot for them, near Sheep Creek but nope didn’t see any.  Good chance to catch some whales too this evening but I am afraid we will be in a dinner then.

Tonight is also the Captain Circle Party – they are only have one party!  Wow some sailings we get two parties for two nights!  Tonight is also a formal night and Irma insists we head to the International Dining room to eat and Bernie just loves Irma so I guess we are going there after the party. 

No production show tonight but there is an illusionist performing that we had on the last voyage.  Not sure if we will be going or not.  Also Brett is doing his tv theme trivia tonight too, not sure if it is the same as last voyage or not.  With so many back to back travellers I would be surprised if it is.

Skagway June 4th

Last week this is the lookout we walked to

We dock early and we are at the same pier with the Celebrity ship behind us, a Holland America ship is with the Star Princess at the other pier.  It is overcast and looks like we might get some sprinkles too.  

Bernie heads to the coffee bar to get me my latte and his tea and he placed the coffee card with a  dollar tip on the bar for Sanoi to punch and take and then he saw Mark the naturalist and walked over to say hi for a few minutes.  When he came back he got his drinks and left realizing he had left his card he went back but Sanoi had said that there was no card there just the dollar tip.  Looks like another passengers decided they needed the coffee card more than us and walked off with it.  Thankfully we had used up most of the card except for about five punches.  

Sanoi was a sweetie and offered to take care of us but it isn’t her fault but our own stupidity.  We have two other cards in the cabin so we will survive.  But we learned a lesson. 

Don’t know if I had mentioned but last cruise Bernie had a man ask to take his photo and the man had put his binoculars down and when he came back for them someone had taken them.  Wonder what is wrong with people that they would take what is not theirs.

We head up to the Horizon Court and get a good breakfast in to fuel up for our hike. 

We are off the ship and I am dressed in layers, yoga pants, short sleeve top, my fleece and a wind breaker but I soon have to pack away the fleece as it is too warm for it as I start the hike.  We head towards town and right when you get to 2nd street turn left and cross the railroad tracks.  A short distance away is the entrance to Lower Dewey Lake Trail and also Upper Dewey Lake Trail.  Our goal is to do the Upper trail.

But even going up the Lower Trail is a moderate hike and is about a mile long.  At the junction sign follow the trail north across several wooden footbridges to the Upper Dewey Lake Trail.  The trail climbs steeply through a series of switchbacks.  This is an all day hike with a climb of about 3,100 feet plus the amount to get to the start of the trail so around 3,500 feet.  You definitely want to wear appropriate footwear.  Runners could pass if very dry climates but hiking shoes are certainly better as you need the traction on the variety of surfaces you will climb. 

The trail is very strenuous and depending on the time of year can be very wet.  We encountered snow at the top end of the trail and very muddy sections.  We made it very close to the top but had to turn around about a half a mile from the lake as it was just too wet and hard to get around.  We did make it to the top of the tree line so we can say we did that! 

picture taken from ship, we walked to the top of the tree line and over to the meadow

In all it took us about five hours to climb up and back down with a short stop for a break.  Coming down was harder than going up as we had to continually look down to see where we could put our feet safely and I often required Bernie’s hand to assist me with big steps down.

We did it but I can say at the end we were  so tired!!!   We walked back into town as Bernie wanted more fudge from the Alaskan Fudge Company and I promised Michelle from the cruise staff a cupcake from Sugar Mammas as she is stuck on the ship today.  We had one each too as we figured we earned it!

My knees are killing me as we hobble back on board.  We head upstairs to grab a burger and some salad and then I am back in the cabin for a shower and I crawl into bed and I warn my man that Vickie needs a nap or she will not be a happy cruisers. 

We end up eating dinner late in the Savoy dining room in Na’s section with Sandudee.  It is quiet in here tonight as we didn’t leave Skagway till late (suppose to leave at 8 but due to late passengers we left only at 8:45, lucky passengers as it is a short trip to Juneau). 

Tonight’s Production show is I Got the Music and we meet up with Mark and we sit together and watch the show.  I get a few more shots of the performance…. Remember you can take pics of the show but no flash and definitely no video.

The dancers and singers get off in Vancouver soon and they are excited to be going home but are very busy getting things ready for the hand over. 

Even after the show finishes we sit and chat with Mark and once again we are not in bed until midnight.

Evening June 3rd

We meet up with Alberto and Peter in the Sterling Steakhouse where we are sat at a window seat.  Jasper loves meeting Alberto.

I know from last night that I definitely want the papaya quesadilla and it is very good especially the tomato with the wasabi on top.  For my entrée I have the 8oz filet mignon, but couldn’t finish it, wish they had a 5oz so I didn’t have to waste it.  It was cooked perfectly, even better than last night.  We enjoyed two bottles of Nobilo wine courtesy of Peter.  Dessert again was the peach tart but I also got some cheese to finish off my wine with.

After dinner we were so full but decided to head to the Wheelhouse to meet up with others and share in the day we all had.  It is after midnight that we get to sleep!  Oh I am going to suffer tomorrow in Skagway.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Glacier Bay June 3rd

We wake and we are travelling towards Glacier Bay.  We are here a bit later this time and when Bernie wakes he dresses and heads out to the Promenade to watch for wildlife.  I lounge for a bit longer and look out the window.  I see a whale in the distance breeching and smashing his tail down about twenty times.  He is close to the shore so I am sure he is rubbing his belly along the rocks.  It is beautiful, and I giggle as the captain comes on the tv to announce the whale, but I been watching it for about five minutes already.



Grand Princess in the distance

Grand, at first the ranger said the Island and so many knowledgeable passengers were saying NO!  The Grand - and this is way before we could make out the name at the bow

Bernie comes back and asks if I saw the whale, yup I say.  Then he says “did you see the puffins” sadly no and that is one thing I haven’t seen yet and want to.  But he got a great picture of some.  I am happy to report though that about an hour later I did see some Puffins with my own eyes.  We also see otters, sea lions, eagles, other birds, and a mountain goat. 

We head up for some breakfast in Horizon Court and it is busy in there.  We offer to share our table with a lovely couple from Australia who are on a big trip from LA to Alaska then across Canada then down to New York and then home.  We chat about travel and share ideas/thoughts/tips.  Such a nice couple and this is one great thing about cruising  -- all the lovely people you meet.

We bundle up to head out on deck to watch for wildlife and watch as we approach the glaciers.  For me it is long pants, a long sleeve top, a fleece and then my jacket.  Today I didn’t need gloves or a scarf as we are here around noon. 

Now for the best place to view the glaciers and spot wildlife – best tip I can give you is head out to the Promenade deck – deck 7.  Stand on either side of the Promenade and scan the water left to right then to the left.  Trust me you will see so much more from here than from the upper decks, plus the upper decks are way busier.  We probably have spent 90% of our time this voyage on the Promenade deck and we have spotted pretty much everything from here.  A good set of binoculars is also handy and keep your camera ready. 

see all the crowds on the upper deck
For taking pictures at the glacier make sure you turn on your flash as the glacier is very bright and your camera thinks it doesn’t need the flash but if you pose in front of it you will come out dark.  So turn on your flash, or force your flash and then retake.  Here is an example of the pic with the flash.  For the flash shot I actually changed the setting to over compensate the flash and I changed my ISO settings to a very low setting – I have it set at 200 ISO.

few people on deck seven and you are so much closer to the water

not as pretty but much bigger - Grand Bay Glacier

Today for lunch they are serving an Alaskan Buffet in the enclosed pool area.  I try to take a few shots of it but I don’t indulge in any of it as the line is long and I don’t care for some of the items and opt for the Horizon Court instead.  Mark Harris the naturalist joins us and we chat about all we have seen.  Bernie provides some written narrative he can use for sailing out of Vancouver on some of the sights he can use when talking at sailaway.

Now some information with regards to sailing into Glacier Bay.  The park rangers will board and then they take over discussing about the park and the glaciers.  A ranger will give a talk in the Princess Theater at some point about the park.  There is also a ranger that will in the enclosed pool area to answer any questions you have.  As we sail up the channel they will come over the loud speaker explaining what we are looking at too.  They also attend the kids area to give them a special presentation.

One key thing is there are some rules the passengers and the ship have to adhere to while travelling in Glacier Bay.  No paper cups or garbage like napkins should be on the open decks.  You are to be careful with food and leaving it out on the decks.  We don’t want food to fall in the water or for the birds to eat it.  If this happens the wildlife get to learn that when a ship comes in they will get food and they will suffer at the end of the season when no ships come in.  The shops, casino and crew activities will be limited when going into the park.   When we pull up to the glaciers the Captain will position the ship for one side to get a good view then after about a half hour the Captain will spin the ship for the other side to get a good view too.  Trust me you will all get a great shot of the glacier. 

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We are back in the cabin relaxing.  Peter has just called and him and his partner Alberto want us to dine with them tonight in the Sterling Steakhouse.  So we have agree and will be heading back there tonight.  But I already know what I will eat and not eat and can’t wait to have a great meal with them.

Evening – June 2nd

We wanted to eat at Sterling Steakhouse tonight but getting a reservation was not easy.  When we boarded in Whittier the dine line was closed and I tried going up to the Sterling Steakhouse but it was not open tonight.  I was told to call the number first thing today, which I did.  I made a reservation for 6 pm for us and was informed that there is a $20 cover charge and that it is formal night.

So we head up to Skywalkers for a drink and to watch out at the view.  The place is busy, lots of people here but many are not platinum or elite and just here to check out the view and with no one checking names there isn’t much they can do.  We don’t stay long as we have the 6 pm reservations.

When we show up at the Sterling Steakhouse they don’t have our reservation.  Gee I just made it this morning!  But they have room and they sit us right by the window at a lovely table.  Peter joins us for dinner so we can celebrate his birthday with a special meal.

We bring a bottle of wine that we brought on board with us from British Columbia and we were charged the corkage.  No problem in fact as soon as we put the bottle down we handed them our cruise card and said “for the corkage”.

I ordered the shrimp cocktail, Bernie and Peter ordered the papaya quesadilla.  I didn’t like my shrimp cocktail at all, in fact it tasted odd, but thankfully Peter shared his quesadilla.  I then had a Caesar salad and it was exactly like the one we get in the dining room.  Again a big disappointment.  For my entrée I had the Sirloin Strip served with Bernaisse sauce, baked potato.  Peter had a fillet mignon and Bernie had the halibut.  We all really loved our entrees.  Oh and we also got the chicken to share and that was to die for, very moist and flavourful.  Then for the dessert I had this peach tart type thing, gee I wish I could remember exactly what it was called but just remember the peach dessert. 

In all we enjoyed the Sterling Steakhouse, but it is not as good as the Crown Grill.  It is good and definitely try  it plus the views from there are so nice.  Service was good and efficient.  The head waiter was very apologetic about the reservation having gone missing.  He later reported that for some reason the reservation was made for the Savoy dining room – odd I thought since she specifically mentioned the cover charge.  No big deal but it would have been a disappointment if we could not have gotten in.

In all this ship needs to update and put in a Crown Grill, the Sterling Steakhouse is missing the atmosphere of the Crown Grill, and the menu selection.  It is not easy to understand it for first time cruisers as it is not a set location during the day and only appears at night.  Service is good and I have to say I much prefer the views from here than the Crown Grill where we watch people run by on the Promenade.

After dinner we headed to the Wheelhouse Bar and it was very busy.  The band Retrospect was playing and we really enjoyed them and obviously others do too as it was hard to get a seat.  We later attended the 10 pm Production Show of Do You Wanna Dance and I would estimate the show was about a third full.  We sat up front so the dancers/singers can see us.  We love seeing Brent and Andrew and all the dancers too.  They put so much into it and we appreciate it. 

Jasper enjoying the production show

But after the show we are beat and a little drunk and bed is calling.  I crash and am fast asleep.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Ins and Outs of Bringing Wine Onboard Princess now

Thought I would update what the wine policy is now and how it works.  I had a chance to sit down yesterday with an officer on board the Diamond to clear up all possible questions about bringing wine on board at the ports and the day of embarkation.

Policy clearly states now that you can bring one bottle of wine or champagne per person per voyage.  This wine must be brought on in your carry on bags.
When you arrive at the port on embarkation day when they scan your bag at security if they see a bottle of wine or other hard liquor they will ask you to go to the table at the side close to the security station.

Here they will ask you to show them the wine/champagne.  They will ask for your cabin number and will document how many bottles you have brought on.  If you have brought on more than the allotted one per person they will charge you the $15 corkage fee and they will put a stamp on your bottle showing you have paid the corkage for that bottle. 

We brought on three bottles in Vancouver we were charged the $15 corkage fee and the bottle that was stamped we brought to Sabatinis one night and we were not charged the corkage.  Now if we would of brought either of the other two bottles we would have been charged the $15 corkage fee.

If you bring the wine on in your suitcase when they xray the bag they will see the bottle and hold your bag and call you to the desk to show the bottle.  If you have already brought your allotted one bottle of wine you will be charged the corkage.  If you have not already brought on your one bottle you will be fine.

If you bring out other types of liquor they will confiscate that liquor and they dispose of it.  It is not allowed period.  Which is understandable they are a business.  You don’t bring your own beer to a restaurant at home and try to drink it do you?

Now with regards to brining wine on at the ports.

If you bring wine on at the ports they will flag your bag at security and you will be directed to the table beside the security.  Here they will check your account to see if you have already brought wine on and if you are in excess of your one bottle per person per cabin you will be charged corkage on that bottle.  So for example you brought on the three bottles at embarkation, you were charged the $15 corkage initially.  Then in port you brought on two more bottles you will be charged an extra $30 (2 x $15 corkage).

I hope this helps clear up some questions but if you have a question post below.

addition:  Sept 2014 - Here is a podcast that I did all about bringing wine on board


June 2nd Hubbard Glacier

I am so happy when I can wake up when my body wakes up and today was just such a day.  Since we are at sea making our way down south to Yakutat Bay to see Hubbard Glacier I get to sleep in.  Everyone should be happy Vickie is rested.  I wake and get dressed and sneak out to get my latte and Bernie’s tea and we enjoy it in bed watching Brett and Andy on the morning show.  

I quickly shower as the International Dining room is serving breakfast only until 9:30 and we make it there by 9:15.  But my experience on this ship has been that seating in any of the dining rooms for every meal is really poorly done.  We often experience long waits to even see the hostess/head waiter or we are shuffled to a different dining venue.  At night we have been told to go to Vivaldi or Pacific Moon as they are less busy even though we can see that there are tables available.  At lunch in International we have been told “Horizon Court is also available” which is a bit put offing since we are obviously wanting sit down meal in a dining room as this is where we have gone and we are within the timeline.  Not sure why this happens here but I do feel like I am bothering them. 

Anyways we are sat at a lovely table (after about 10 minutes of waiting) with two other couples who just joined yesterday.  We love hearing about their experiences in Denali and Anchorage and we share what we have seen and done on the first leg. 

We want a relaxing morning and many of the activities are similar to what we had last voyage and similar to most cruises so we just grab our books and look for a quiet place.  Which ends up being a lot harder to do than we thought.

The Atrium is hosting the fruit/vegetable carving demo with Devon hosting – poor kid he is new and he is having a hard time, he just doesn’t seem to be in his element, not sure if assistant cruise staff is his thing. 

The Atrium on all levels is having sales from the boutiques.  The shopping show is about to start in the Princess theater.  Wheelhouse is hosting a lecture from the spa.   Explorer’s is doing an Art preview.  Sabatinis has arts and crafts.  Club Fusion has zumba then bingo.  I make my way up to Skywalkers and sit by the window and read but can’t help buy overhear conversations around me. 

There are a lot of first time cruisers on board and many are questioning things or saying things I know they don’t know the answer to or the wrong answer and I have to bite my tongue to not clarify the issue.  One couple was going on and on how they thought the Captain was Filipino – which he isn’t he is Italian.  Another was saying the ship was built in China – which it isn’t it was built in Italy.  Another was talking about having to back track towards Whittier heading north tomorrow to visit Glacier Bay – which is not true we head south towards Glacier Bay.  

Another couple questioned the loyalty program and how to move up and that it should happen at the beginning of the cruise – but they don’t know that you move up after you have completed your fifth cruise not at the beginning of your fifth cruise.  We have learned to just keep our mouth shut unless someone specifically asks us a question.  Trust me.

I head back to the cabin and we call room service to change out our mini bar.  We switch all the hard stuff for vodka and all the pop or soda as my American friends call it to Perrier.  And the answer is yes you can switch out your mini bar for a bottle of wine or two coffee cards by calling room service.

Tonight we have made reservations at the Sterling Steakhouse for 6 pm for us.  Should be lovely travelling along bay while having dinner. 

Oh we also found out that Peter John our Captain Circle friend who was suppose to be getting off in Juneau to head to the Dawn has had a change and is now staying on the Diamond as planned.  These things happen on board ships and he goes with the flow.

June 1st Whittier

We are docked and I wake around 1;30 and look out and see them loading things on board and it sure looks weird to look out my window and see dock workers. 

We sleep in until around 7 – it is always hard to sleep in when so many around us are slaming doors, drawers, and the likes.  Bernie heads out to get the coffees and I get dressed and wander around a bit and then decide to head ashore to see about getting tickets for the 26 Bay Glacier Tour.

Now the ship sells this tour for $199 per person but we didn’t want to book this tour and then it not be a nice day and not be able to see much so we waited till the day off.  I knew we could go ashore and book it directly with the company.  As soon as you get off turn right and the office and catamaran is right there.  The price to book directly with them is $139 per person and it includes lunch.

Since they don’t start boarding the tour for another hour or so we wander into the bustling city of Whittier – after five minutes we have seen it all. 
We are assigned a table on the top at the front with a lovely couple who are on their honeymoon.
The catamaran is not full and it looks like all the princess cruise tour passengers are on the bottom deck.  There are numerous places to view the wildlife inside and out.  The rangers on board are very helpful, the crew are also great too.  The explain so much to us and we see lots of different animals, seals, otters, birds, a mountain goat and black dolphins. 

We see numerous glaciers but pull up close to Surprise Glacier and see lots of calfing and ice in the water.  We love it! 

I should add the tour included lunch and we got fish and chips but trust me they are not worth it, if you want choose one of their other options.  But the warm cookie they serve at the end is very good.  Oh and the drinks are good too, even had a margarita made with glacier ice.

Back on board around 6 pm, we don’t leave until 8 pm.  Muster drill is 7:45 but we don’t have to attend and we decide to head to dinner instead which was nice and quiet.  We had the spring roll, Caesar salad, the pasta dish with the cheese plate for dessert.  We then sit and chat with Mark the naturalist for a bit and then attend the Welcome Aboard Show.

Oh I should add I did go to the casino tonight and put in some money and then the system crashed, all slots went down.  They had to come around and write out receipts for the value.  When we got out of the show the slots were still down, but they are working on it.