We got to Seward at 3:30, checked in, and then took a shuttle bus to the small boat dock. We went into a couple of shops and then walked a mile downtown. The weather was rather rainy and we couldn't find much to do, so we caught a shuttle bus to the dock and boarded the Sun Princess. We were taken to our room, A502, on Aloha deck 11 on the port side. It was an outside double with private balcony. As soon as we entered our cabin, our steward, Alex, came by to say hello. We went to the Horizon Court for a buffet dinner. After camping, it was a bit intimidating to get used to where/when dining takes place, and we felt a bit overwhelmed at first. After dinner we walked around the ship, and then at 8:15 we needed to meet at our muster stations for safety training. We set sail at 10 pm, and it was remarkably anticlimactic. There was supposed to be music on deck, etc, but mostly just everyone wandered around looking for the party. The most exciting thing was a couple of flashbulbs going off in the nearby RV park. We went to the piano bar for a while and then ordered terry cloth robes and went to the hot tub. It was cold and rainy and pretty much deserted, but later on a man from Illinois joined us and we chatted with him. The hot tub was exhilirating, as the rain was icy cold and the wind swept across the deck, yet the water was incredibly warm. There was little going on late at night, so we got a couple drinks at the disco (the place was pretty dead, but it was neat because the dance floor had TV screens embedded in it) and then got desserts from the buffet at 1:30. We ate them in the room and fell asleep at around 2 am.
We were seated with six other people who were very nice. We were next to a window, and the ocean was rather choppy. I had crab quiche and yogurt tamarind soup. Craig had duck and lobster bisque. We both got tournedoes of beef with carrots, squash, and potato croquettes. It was delicious! For dessert we had petit fours. Craig had cheesecake and I had the Love Boat mousse with Godiva liquer. The mousse was heart-shaped and had a candy with the Princess logo. It was a man at our table's birthday, so they sang to him and we all shared a small birthday cake.
After dinner we went to the theatre to see the Words and Music show, which had various showtunes and dancing. It was an hour long and it was very entertaining. It was impressive that they could dance so well with the ship rocking as much as it was (this was one of the at sea days). We picked up our first batch of photos (which we had developed onboard), viewed them in the room, dropped off more film, and watched a guitarist in the Rendezvouz lounge. We then went to the Wheelhouse Bar to watch Pele & Company serve up some 50's-70's style rock and roll. We got hungry and went to Verdi's Pizzeria, which is open until 12:30. Around 11 o'clock we had pepperoni and bell pepper pizza. We went back to the room and were in bed by 1. We hung a sign on our door requesting room service breakfast between 9 and 9:30 the next morning.
We went to the Taste of Alaska Buffet lunch at 11:30. We had caribou (which tasted like tender beef), salmon croquettes, pasta, beef ghoulash, etc. We went to the shops and then back to the room to view Margerie Glacier. We sat near it for half an hour, and we watched it from our balcony. Then the boat swung around for half an hour of viewing on the other side. We went to deck 7, where it was less crowded than 14. It was gorgeous, and the sun came out. The glacier calved several times while we were watching, and the thunderous noise which preceded it was unreal. We went back to our room and hung out for a while, and then went up to deck 12. The sun was shining and the weather was nice. We got showered and dressed for dinner and went to the Sterling Steakhouse on Deck 14. It is an "alternative dining" place where you have to pay an $8 surcharge per person for dinner. We had made a reservation earlier that day, and Fernando had squeezed us in at 6 pm, when they open, when he found out that it was our anniversary. When we showed up, he showed us to a nice window table for two. We had a blooming onion, jalapeno poppers, steak, baked potato, and bread with tomato, mozzarella, and olive oil. They sang a happy anniversary song to us, and brought us a tiramisu-style cake with dark chocolate around the edges and orange gelatine on top. The dark chocolate said "Princess Cruises Happy Anniversary" in gold leaf. There was a candle and a chocolate rose. They gave us an anniversary card from the captain, and then took our picture.
We picked up our photos and looked at them, and then headed to the Wheelhouse Bar for the '50's party. Pele & Company were playing '50's tunes. Members of the cruise staff were there, one dressed as a greaser, one dressed as a nerd, girls in capri pants and silk jackets, etc. The greaser (James) asked me to dance to "Johnny B.Goode", which was a lot of fun. Craig got roped into a hula hoop contest, much to his chagrine. But luckily none of the men were good at hula hooping, so he didn't really stand out. The party lasted about an hour, but James stuck around and talked to us a bit afterwards. We hung out in the bar people-watching as Pele continued to play. We went back to the room at 12:30.
The train dropped us in downtown Skagway, with its boardwalk sidewalks and historic buildings. We ate lunch at the Golden North Hotel, with beer from the Skagway Brewing Company. Craig had a beer sampler, including Spruce Tip Ale. The stampeders often got scruvy, so they started to brew beer with spruce tips in order to get the necessary vitamins. I got a BLT and Craig got a chicken sandwich. We went into some shops and met on the dock at 2 pm for our excursion with Chilkoot Horseback Adventures. Carrie drove us in a van to Dyea (about a 30 minute ride) where we met our horses. Craig rode Jonathan and I rode Doc. We rode through a wooded trail. At first Doc was a bit hard for me to control, and I was kind of nervous. He kept wanting to eat the vegetation along the path. At one point we had to cross a small pond, and the horses all decided to stop for a drink. The trail emerged in a nice meadow with a gorgeous view of the mountains. We stopped for a while to let the horses graze and get some photos. Then we headed back. I felt much more confident on the ride back. Doc was playful and burst into a trot at some points, which I found to be a lot of fun. When we got back, we were given lemonade and salmon pate and crackers. Carrie drove us back to town.
After a bit more shopping we returned to the ship, showered, and went to dinner at 8:00. We were seated with a couple from California and a couple from Kent. The man from Kent was hysterical. We talked about our trip to England, and he had us in stitches. He had requested a special curry for dinner, and they had made it for him, although it was not on the menu. He let us try it, although he said it was more salty than would be usual. It was a great night of conversation, and we scarcely wanted to leave after the meal was over! I had prosciutto with canteloupe, minestrone, beef, and tiramisu. Craig had squid, mussels, and shrimp, minestrone, swordfish, and tiramisu.
We then went to "Pub Night" with the cruise staff. James (the greaser from last night) picked me out of the crowd as part of the Battle of the Sexes. We had to run a relay race with a balloon between our knees, and pop it by jumping onto one of the cruise staff's (the nerd from the night before) lap. The man had to do the same with one of the female cruise staff. The women won, and as a result, we had to do an Old MacDonald song. We were lining up and James held me back. He whispered that when they asked for an animal, he wanted me to say "a**." "It'll get a big laugh." I agreed to do it. They asked each person in succession for an animal and then made them do the noise. The best was when one woman said "Old MacDonald had a sick wife." The guy asked what kind of noise the wife would make, and the woman replied, "With an oy vey here and an oy vey there..." (pointing to her hips). The crowd went wild, but the British cruise staff (at least the emcee) didn't get it. He asked for an explanation, but everyone was laughing so hard that they couldn't explain. So, it got to be my turn, and I was nervous. I was supposed to say "a**", and then give the noise it makes. What were they planning? Whoopee cushions? But it went off well, the emcee acted surprised, the crowd laughed, I made a screeching hee-haw noise, and it was over. But it was good fun, and I got a bottle of wine for my efforts. Craig was just glad it was me up on stage rather than him! Afterwards, we went to the hot tub, and got to bed at around 1:30.
We got back to Juneau at noon. We mailed postcards and called home. We bought some fudge and beer, and browsed in some shops. We went back to the ship for the 2:15 lecture by Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the Iditarod in 1985. We got to speak with her before her presentation. She was very nice. We told her what we had done on this trip so far, and how we would like to come back for Adventure Alaska's Iditarod trip. She encouraged us to mush dogs, saying that we could even enter the race someday! She pointed out that Joe Redington started running the race at an older age. She was a very inspirational speaker. She had an "If I can do it so could you" kind of attitude. We bought her book and she signed it for us. She gave a nice speech and showed a documentary about her Iditarod success. We talked to her again afterwards, and we got our photo taken with her.
We showered and went to the dining room for a 5:30 dinner with a couple from Texas and three women. We had asparagas with puff pastry, salad, king crab legs, and cheesecake. It was delicious! The crab legs were already cracked in half, so that they were easy to eat. After dinner we picked up photos and went to the Rhythms of the City show, with great songs and energetic dancing. After that we came back to the room and then went up for pepperoni and bell pepper pizza. We went back to the room and the foghorn blared. We went out onto the balcony. It was very surreal as the moon was close to full and was reflecting through the fog onto the water. As we watched, the moon disappeared completely as the fog took over and made visibility very short. The foghorn kept blaring every minute. We went to bed around 11:30.
We were back at the dock at 11. We ate a buffet lunch onboard, and then walked up to the Blueberry Arts Festival. There were local artisans, music, food etc. We had heard about it beforehand, and I envisioned a festival on the town common. But instead it was held within a parking garage. It seemed too crowded and claustrophobic to me after all of our adventures, so we didn't stick around long. But I think that it was a great civic event for the locals of Ketchikan (which is a much bigger city than I expected). We went to the local brewery and internet cafe, where we checked email one more time. I had some hot chocolate. We did some shopping, and at 3:00 we went to the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, right next to the cruise ship dock. It was cute. I thought it got a little cloying though. They had long set ups for corny jokes. The lumberjack competitions were very interesting, but I think the 80 minute show would have been more fun for adults and kids if it had been a little heavier on lumberjacking, and a little lighter on long winded jokes. At $30 per adult admission price, I expected a bit more.
When we got back to the ship, we ate burgers and fries from the Terrace Grill. We went to the stateroom and got dressed up for formal night. We got our formal portrait taken, and then went to the Captain's Circle reception in the Vista Lounge. We talked to the cruise staff and got complimentary munchies and screwdrivers. They had an awards ceremony for the passengers who had taken the most cruises. The winners hadover 580 days at sea, which was 28 more days than our captain!
After the reception, we went to dinner. We ate with a couple from L.A. and three people from outside of Memphis. I had fruit, chilled strawberry soup, beef Wellington, and white and dark chocolate mousses. Craig had shrimp cocktail, salad, lobster tail, and the chocolate mousses. After dinner we went to see the Newlywed game. It was a riot! That lasted until 11:15. We made our way to the atrium for the champagne waterfall. We were on deck 7 (the highest deck in the atrium) and watched from the railing. James gave us streamers to throw. The waterfall consisted of 647 glasses, I believe. It was quite a sight. The maitre d' started the waterfall, and passengers were allowed to go up and pour champagne onto it, while getting their pictures taken. After that, I went to bed (12:45). Craig went out for another beer, and went to bed around 2:20.
We had been given a tip from a fellow passenger about chateau briand, which is not on the menu, but can be served up for special occasions. We requested one for our anniversary the previous day (as they said they needed 24 hours notice). After much checking, they agreed to do it. We made a dinner reservation for 5:30, and when we arrived we got a table for two. As it was the last night of the cruise, the dining room was decorated with red, white, and blue balloons, and the waiters were dressed in blue vests with white stars. I thought it was funny, because for the first time in the trip we were actually in Canada. Because of our special occasion, they were even more attentive to us than usual. They wanted everything to be perfect. I had chilled pumpkin curry soup. Craig had a popover filled with sweetbreads and chicken and a salad. The head waiter, Luigi, brought over the chateau briand on a bed of fresh vegetables. He carved it at our table. It was crusted in garlic and pepper, and was so tender you could have cut it with a fork. It was so delicious! For dessert we had baked Alaska. Craig thinks it is the best meal of his entire life.
After dinner we went to see Greg Bonham, an Vegas-style entertainer who sings and plays the trumpet. The show was good; he was an excellent trumpet player. He could play very high clear notes and sustain them from a long time. After that, we went to C'est Magnifique, a French revue. It had great costumes and singing and dancing. We went to our room as we had to put our bags (except for the carry-ons) out by 10pm. After that we went to the passenger talent show. The Vista Lounge was standing room only. Unfortunately, not many people signed up and it only lasted about 20 minutes. We went to the Wheelhouse Bar and watched Pele & Company. When they took a break, we went for a pizza. Then we went back to see one more Pele set. By 12:45, everything onboard was closed, so we went to bed.
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