Day 2 - Day at Sea - Sailing Towards Ketchikan
I awakened at 6:00 AM to a dreary and foggy looking morning. The sun was working on coming up and trying to break through the fog. Eventually, it was successful.
Room service breakfast arrived promptly at 7:00 AM and I enjoyed a quiet and leisurely breakfast while I reviewed the On Location and picked out what I wanted to see and do today.
I was the arranger and host of our Cruise Critic Meet & Greet, held up in the Crow’s Nest at 10:00 AM. I had passed out reminder invites last night to everyone’s cabin, and this morning I filled out the name tags in preparation for our meeting. I am thrilled to say that we had 100% turnout! There were 37 of us in attendance. HAL put out a very nice spread of coffee and teas, and cookies. We had a good mix of cruisers with us - one woman has over 600 days at sea, and one couple were enjoying their first cruise ever. Most had been to Alaska at least once, if not twice, before.
Last night I wandered around the ship for awhile and noticed these things:
The wait staff in the dining room and the Lido are wearing khaki pants with white shirts now. The jury’s still out, but I’m leaning towards not liking this uniform change. I keep thinking I’m in Staples or someplace, not a HAL ship. We have our first Gala night tonight - I sure hope those khakis are gone and are replaced with something more appropriate.
The library and internet area includes also the Coffee bar, so it’s not quite as quiet as in the past, but there are lots of comfy seats to be had. I did notice that there is no “book trade” shelf on this ship. Poo. I like that. I bring a few books with me and I like to leave them behind and trade for others I find to be of interest.
Our Captain is Arno Jutten. Hotel Director is Paul Kerr. The Cruise Director is Carlos Mendoza. The Catholic priest is James Hall, from El Paso, Texas. The location guide is Jeanette.
The Lido food stations seem smaller than on other ships that I’ve been on of the same class - but everything is laid out efficiently and last night, at least, it was pretty quiet in the Lido. The Canaletto was empty when I walked by, but that was a little early, shortly after 6 PM. I didn’t venture to the dining room for dinner - I enjoyed delicious salmon filet, twice baked potatoes and sautéed green beans for dinner at the Lido. Tonight, though, I’m heading for the dining room since it’s Gala night! I have open seating, and as is usually the case, the first night of sitting down with a group of strangers is a little daunting, but I usually get into the groove of all of that pretty quickly.
In the afternoon, I attended a port lecture by our port specialist. Her name is Jeanette and was born and raised in Anchorage. She now lives in Wasilla, outside of Anchorage, when not on board HAL, working. She assured us that you cannot see Russia from your backyard in Wasilla….. She was engaging and funny and clearly knows her Alaska.
At 2:00, I went to a wine tasting and ended up sitting with Bettie and Jerry, from our roll call. We had a good time sampling the wines from the wine package that HAL offers on board. I wish they’d give you a sample of all of the wines from the package, but alas, they do not. Of the 4 we tasted, I really only liked the Pinot Grigio offering.
At 3:00, there was a lumberjack and axe throwing competition in the show lounge. That was good fun! The lumberjack, Ray, was hitching a ride up from the lower 48 and gave a nice talk about axe throwing and life in general in this field. He then brought up two teams from the audience to try their hand at throwing the axe. We cheered and booed and hissed our respective teams and a good time was had by all!
Tonight was our first gala night and the best dressed people on board were the children! I saw two little boys, about 3 and 6, and they both had on tuxedos. So cute! Everyone generally dressed up, not too fancy, but there were enough sparkle tops and nice dark suits that made it feel like it really was dress-up night. I know in recent years the passengers aren’t going all out and there’s been lots of comments on that here on CC, both pro and con, but you know, it is what it is. I had no complaints.
I shared a table at the aft of the dining room and we had a nice view of the wake of the ship. There were 6 of us and I enjoyed the company and the meal. No prime rib, no lobster, but the shrimp offerings were nice and for those that enjoy it - escargot - that was an offering as well. The beef choice was only a pepper steak. It was small, but tender.
I went to the 8:00 PM show. The theatre is small on the Madam, and it was packed. We had the requisite champagne toast with the captain and were introduced to the senior officers, then the show began. It was called Atlantic Crossing and was performed by the Madam singers and dancers. It was all British songs starting with the Beatles and ending with Coldplay. It was pretty good. I think I’d seen it before on another cruise, but the people performing were different, and it had been awhile, so I liked it. Besides, I love the music choices.
I’m an early riser, which means you won’t find me cutting it up on the dance floor or playing late night trivia. After the show, I went back to my cabin and within an hour I was sawing logs.
Tomorrow - Ketchikan!