Thursday, May 31, 2018

Cruising Alaska on the Golden Princess - Ketchikan

Hello from Ketchikan!

We've done a lot in Ketchikan in the last 14 visits.

Totem Poles? Been to both Totem Bight Saxman Native Village.
Visit Creek Street? Yep. Totem Bight Park and Creek Street photos are here.
Salmon fishing? Yep. Salmon fishing photos can be found here.
See the salmon run? Yep. You can see the salmon run photos here.
Duck tour? Yep.
Take a photo of the rain gauge? Yep.
this one is from five years ago
 Take the Deadliest Catch tour? Yep.
 Watch bald eagles at work and at rest? Yep.

Lumberjack Show and sightseeing? Yep. You can see some of those photos here.
And even more views of the area can be found here.

Obviously Ketchikan is another port we've hit multiple times, so it became another port with no particular plans. While our gal from the Ruby did get her treats we took to her ship when we were docked Skagway (whew!) we decided not try that again (the word fiasco comes to mind), even though her ship is in port with us again today.

Since we're docked in one of the prime spots - we're in berth 2 - I took a little jaunt to the quilt shop in Salmon Landing. In Alaska I typically hit up the quilt shop in Skagway and the one in Ketchikan. I usually don't buy anything (have you seen my quilt stash here?) but I like to look. But when I got there I was totally bummed. The big shop with all the beautiful quilts hanging on the second floor of Salmon Landing is no more. Just the super small secondary store remains. With no beautiful quilts.

Usually Ketchikan is either the first stop or last stop on an Alaskan cruise, and with four ships in town everything is packed with people today. I don't need to buy anything, I don't need to eat, and clearly I don't need any additional pictures. So I left the empty space where the quilt shop used to be, did a quick walk around the block, and headed back to the ship. It's a beautiful day for sitting in the sunshine out by the pool.

It's also a nice day to write up in Skywalkers. I've been up here every day and it's almost always quiet. The window washing guy is cleaning the windows at this very moment making the view even prettier.

We'll also be up here later tonight as we have the Most Traveled Guest Cocktail Party. Depending on the food, I may or not take pictures. No matter the ship, the cocktail party food items typically seem not to change too much. If we do try something new I'll take a photo.

Tomorrow is our last sea day and packing day. Boo hoo.

Here is the link to today's Patter.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Cruising Alaska on the Golden Princess - Juneau

We had no particular plans for this port today, either. Other than trying to meet up with a crew member from yet another ship, the Grand Princess, who was is port with us today. Unfortunately, he too couldn't go out.

There are several reasons crew members can't leave the ship when in port. The most obvious one is that they are on duty during the port hours. Or if they do have a break, there might be a crew drill scheduled during their break time.

There are also a couple other reasons, like the gal from yesterday. The company assigns crew members to a ship for a contract of several months. Those contracts aren't always on the same ship. Our gal just joined the Ruby Princess this month. She's been on several other Princess ships over the course of her career, but since she is on a new ship she is given limited privileges for a while. One of those privileges is the ability to go out in port. Crew members are issued laminated ID badges that allow them to go on and off the ship. (Kind of like a passenger getting scanned on and off with their cruise card.) Without the laminex card they can't leave the ship. And she hasn't been on the ship long enough to get her card. She can't even step outside the ship without it.

Another reason crew members might not be able to leave the ship is because of IPM (In Port Manning) duty. Even when docked in port, the cruise ship is required to have enough crew onboard in case of emergency situations. Crew members rotate IPM days so some days they can't leave the ship.

Which leads us back to today. It was another day of so close, yet so far.
The Grand is ever-so-close

And since we slept away half the morning (late night with a crew member on this ship + inside cabin = sleeping in) we opted to stay on the ship. The weather was actually quite nice and we camped out by the outdoor pool that is still closed.

I watched the clouds rolls in.
Watched people ride up and down on the Mt. Roberts Tramway. I still can't believe I didn't realize it hung over the mountain when I rode it.
You can also see the view from Mt. Roberts Tramway here and see the tram from below here from my previous blog posts.

And I watched a crazy bird stealing french fries over and over again. He'd sometimes take them above the MUTS screen to eat them but mostly would drop them in the Jacuzzi and then retrieve them and eat them. Yuck, right? He was almost too fast for me to catch him on camera.

All aboard is a bit earlier today at 3:30. I still see quite a few folks walking this way so I'm guessing a 4:00 pm departure might not happen.
The view from Skywalkers, one of my go-to writing spots for this cruise.

Most of our Juneau adventures happened years ago so we weren't too worried about not going into town. Just last week we walked to Nugget Falls up at Mendenhall Glacier. You can find out about that beautiful walk here.  And here you can see some food and flowers.

It was  nice having a lazy day today. Tonight is formal night and the Captain's Circle Party (which we will again skip). Tomorrow is our last port, Ketchikan. And tomorrow night is the Most Traveled Guest Cocktail Party. Which we will not skip.

Here is the link to today's Patter.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Toothbrush and Toiletry Travel Kit Sewing Project - Tutorial Tuesday

We're always looking for new projects we can use when we travel. How about something that started out as just a toothbrush holder that became a toiletries project? Roll it up and you're good to go.
Easy Homemade Travel Toiletry Roll Up Organizer Sewing Project

For this project you will need:
Disclosure: Deb's Days is a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to affiliated sites. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you new sewing and crafting content.

You'll find the step-by-step how to directions for this quick and easy homemade travel toiletry roll up organizer right here:

Cruising Alaska on the Golden Princess - Skagway

Today's plan in Skagway was to meet up with a crew member from another ship. We blocked out our whole day to make sure we could make it happen. She's on the Ruby Princess and they are in port with us today. We were looking forward to treating her to lunch and delivering some of her favorite snacks to her. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to go off the ship today. We even tried to arrange for someone to take them to her but security frowns a bit upon that. Neither of us have sailed yet, so until one of our ships pulls away from the dock I'm still holding out hope we can get them to her.
(Update: After much waiting and patience and convincing, we were able to get a security supervisor to take it from us. Hope she gets it.)
The Ruby is so close yet so far

We've been to Skagway a lot so we weren't too worried about missing out on an excursion.

We've done the train ride.
We've done the Streetcar tour.
And just take a look at what we've done in Skagway since I started the blog:

While we were waiting to find out if our gal could join us, we stopped at the place with the best darn patty melt ever, The Sweet Tooth Cafe.
Just look at how the onions and meat and bread and cheese are all melted together. Oh, my.

And look at dessert!

Of course I stopped in at the the quilt shop. I always spy quilts I'd love to make but the price tag of the kits always gives me sticker shock. I liked these quilts the best.

We meandered back to the ship mid-afternoon and I'm hanging in Skywalkers doing some writing.
Nice view from up here.

On the way up I did see another leak on the ship. Technically, they aren't leaks I guess. They are drips from the ceiling. (I don't want you to think the ship has a hole in the hull and is leaking!)

Here is the link to today's Patter.

Off to Juneau tomorrow.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Cruising Alaska on the Golden Princess - Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay day is always special. And always spectacular. Rain or fog or sun, there is nothing like it. It is what I consider pretty much the best day of any Alaskan cruise.

There are some things to know when scenic cruising in Glacier Bay:
*Park rangers join the ship for the entire time. For us today, that was from around 9:00 am – 7:00 pm.
*Shops are closed for most of the day.
*The casino is closed until after the rangers leave the ship.
*Limited activities are happening around the ship during the day – the focus is on the park.
*No paper cups, straws, or napkins are allowed in any of the venues.
*Since it’s a National Park you can go to the makeshift ranger station onboard and get a National Park passport stamp. They also have a Junior Ranger program for the kiddos.

*Rangers give presentations during the day and also do commentary from the Bridge.
*There is a limit on how many ships can be in Glacier Bay on the same day. We were lucky enough to see the Coral sailing by us. We waved hello to our crew member buddy on the ship. (Not really, but I did send him the picture of his ship.) 

Today turned out to be a nice day for calving and a nice day for the sun.

Want more Glacier Bay pictures? I've done many posts about Glacier Bay over the last seven years of the blog.

A few other random thoughts about today…
Hubby had rock fish chowder from International Café for lunch. He said it was delicious.

For those wanting to know about the Escape Room, signups were this afternoon. When I mentioned it to hubby he gave me the no way look so I didn’t try and find out any more.

The laundry rooms here use a machine to dispense tokens. The only way to pay for them is through your cruise card.

Leak update – I ran across two more leaks today. And I’m not even purposely looking for them! One was on the starboard side between the entrance to the Princess Theater and the elevators. The other one was on outside the port side glass elevator on our deck (Caribe). That’s four leaks I’ve seen in three days. Some have towels and some have buckets collecting the water. Again, I’m not actively looking for them so I’m guessing yes, there looks to be a leaking water problem on the Golden.

Tomorrow is our first port, Skagway.

Here is the link to today's Patter.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Cruising Alaska on the Golden Princess - Yakutat Bay and Hubbard Glacier

Today was the day of the:
  • Drunk Walk. Hardly anyone could walk straight.
  • Privacy Sign City. Cabin after cabin on our deck had their privacy signs out a good chunk of the day. 
  • Ginger Ale Cafe. The most requested drink at the Piazza bar was ginger ale. 
  • Clothes Hanger Symphony. The clothes hangers, empty and full, danced and made music as they bounced along the clothes rod.
All the open decks were closed and seasickness bags placed in the restrooms. The waves were high and the winds strong. Last night the Captain had told us we would see a bit more chop in the seas, but at the noontime update he told us the storm was worse than expected. How much worse? We’ve been experiencing 70 mph winds.

My plan was to hang out in Skywalkers today to do some writing, but even I, the iron stomach girl, felt a little queasy. Our cabin at the back of the ship is not fun, so I imagine up on deck 17 to be even worse. So the Piazza it is. We snagged the coveted corner spot tucked behind the bar but next to the window. Out of everyone’s way and a great place to look at the wild waves.

Being down here gave me the opportunity to take a look at the coffee menu. Here is the link to the menu.

I also noticed the sugar/cream/stirrer station is not at the bar like usual, but in a separate spot away from the beverage line. Pretty smart.

I was able to be around for the fruit and vegetable carving. Look at that bald eagle.

Crab Shack was today – during the day. Other ships have it happening in one half of the Horizon Court in the evening, but here on this ship it is held in the Crown Grill from 12:00-1:30. Even though it is happening at lunch time it is still $29 each. We didn’t go.

Today was also Yakutat Bay and Hubbard Glacier scenic cruising day. We were delayed getting into the bay because of the weather, but once we got there the seas calmed down. We've had some amazing weather when cruising Yakutat Bay in the past and this afternoon wound up being okay after all. Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure, all taken through the windows of the Piazza.

The most exciting part of our viewing came as the ship was turning to leave. A huge, top to bottom face of the glacier dropped into the water. Unfortunately my camera was turned off when it happened. But it was huge.

Want more photos of Yakuata Bay? Check out the great views from a few years ago here.

Tonight is formal night and the Captain’s Welcome Aboard party. The champagne waterfall is set up and they are serving champagne, mimosas, and orange juice. We didn’t make it to the show last night and won’t make it tonight. We’re turning into boring cruisers.

Tomorrow is Glacier Bay. Crossing fingers for great weather.

Here is the link to today's Patter.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Cruising Alaska on the Golden Princess - Embarkation Day

In 2002 I took a picture when we were in Whittier of something that looked like a hotel. Here's that picture from 16 years ago.

On all of our subsequent trips to Whittier I've looked at that building and wondered about it. Wondered if it was a hotel or bed and breakfast or somebody's home. Well, it's a hotel. It's the hotel we stayed in last night, the Inn at Whittier. It was nice staying so close to port for a change. All we had to do is walk just a bit and we would be on the ship. 
Our room
The view at breakfast

Embarkation at Whittier should be super easy. Everyone has to come through the tunnel at Whittier to get here. All cars, coaches, and even the trains share the one lane, one way road. You can find my most recent picture of the inside of the tunnel here. It opens for traffic heading out of Whittier on the hour and to Whittier on the half hour. Just time your walk to coincide with no one coming into town and you should be good. Easy peasy if you beat the train passengers. And with no customs to go through (that'll happen after disembarking in Vancouver) it should have been even more easier peasier. But it wasn't. There were two dozen folding chairs in the waiting area for about a dozen of us independent travelers another 300 train passengers. It was a bit of a mess. We all stood in line for close to half an hour before they opened the check in line around 12:30. They really needed that line open before folks started piling off the train.

We headed to the buffet for a quick bite before going to the cabin. As reported by someone else, there is a dripping water issue. At least there was in the middle of the Horizon Court where they had a bucket near the pastry section. Not just a slow drip, either. That's the only drip I've seen so far but I haven't wandered far.

We are in an interior cabin on the Caribe deck, C737. We just booked this cruise a couple weeks back for a rock bottom price so we won't be complaining too much. Although I might be tempted to say something about that dirty Q-tip hubby found in the nightstand drawer. Yuck.

I left hubby to take a nap (after he washed his hands, of course) and I am camped out up in Skywalkers. Such a pretty view of Whittier from up here. The rain has stopped and the sun is out. 

Muster Drill is at 7:45 pm tonight and All Aboard is after that at 8:00 pm. Tomorrow is our first scenic cruising day with Yakutat Bay and Hubbard Glacier on the itinerary.