Tag Archives: Cruise

Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage on the Grand Princess – Fifth Posting

We remained on-board for the remainder of the cruise. Our last day in Alaska was a cruise up the Tracy Arm Fjord to the Sawyer Island Glacier.

We spent a few hours at the glacier and then begin the two and a half day cruise back to San Francisco.

I have to tell you about my biggest complaint about the ship, Internet. They charge almost two-hundred dollars for ten hours of service. That is why there was no blog posting during the ten-day trip. Believe it or not, the cruise line charges the crew the same amount.

I was up at 5:30 a.m. We approached the glacier as I got topside. It was biting cold. The bay was clear of any other vessels.

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Glacier

I took these at 5:50 a.m. as we slowly neared the glacier. Crew members told us that sometimes the fog is so heavy that they can’t get close enough to see the glacier.

The ship rotated so that every passenger and stateroom had sufficient time to watch and photograph the glacier.

We had breakfast at the Horizon Buffet with a window seat. Enjoying breakfast, I forgot just how cold it was outside.

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We had a room service order for coffee at 6:00 a.m. The waiter was new to the crew and had never seen a glacier. Cathy invited him in. He was in awe of it. We got him to snap this photo of us with the glacier in the back ground. I prepared well for the weather, shorts and my ever-present Aloha shirt.

After we went topside, I remembered just how cold it was. We saw movement from the glacier. We watched a huge slab of ice break away. The splash was followed by a tremendous roar.

Camera crew

We heard a motorboat and then this zodiac boat came into view. It was a five member film crew. The man standing in the bow looks for ice. If spots a large piece he warns the boat operator, if small he has a long pole to push it away. They moved very slowly.

Film Crew

This iceberg was one hundred yards or so from the ship. With the zodiac at the right side you get an idea of how large it is.

Visiting Glacier Bay a dozen years ago, several cruise ships moved about. The Tracy Arm Fjord is much smaller. When the Grand Princess was rotating, there wasn’t much more than a hundred yards from either end to shore. Traversing the fjord out to the open sea, there were places where two ships could not have shared the passage.

The trip back out to the open sea remained cold, biting cold with snow-capped mountains on both side of the fjord.

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The mountain is about fifty yards from the right side of the ship. There isn’t much more room on the left. We turned and passed through the notch visible in the center of this picture.

This was a successful cruise. We enjoyed ourselves; saw some good shows and sights.

The Writer

I’m happy to report that during the cruise, I wrote over 15,000 words. Of those almost eleven thousand were for the new novel.

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Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage on the Grand Princess – Third Post

Wednesday, July 24th found us in Juneau, Alaska. Layered fog surrounded the town.

Layered Fog 2

We saw our first bald eagles as we came into the harbor. A pair sat on a jetty watching the surface of the water, fishing.

The Grand Princess was the third ship in, two others arrived later. The Princess was too large to tie up at the wharf so we anchored and went ashore by tender.

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Our goal, visit the Mendenhall Glacier, but not on one of the ships expensive tours. Princess tours run on a time-table that leaves one at the glacier for three hours. We found a local service that ran every half hour. We could spend as much or as little time as we wished.

Our driver was a vivacious fifty-something named Mariam. From Iowa she is a part-time teacher and a part-time school bus driver. “We live on my husband’s salary and play on mine. I found this summer job on Craig’s List. I love it here. My husband doesn’t so he visits.” Mariam gave us an interesting commentary about Juneau. Her enthusiasm was catching. She got tipped by everyone on the bus.

I don’t think the sourpuss who drove us back got a single tip.

Bear eating salmon

When we got off the bus, we walked out over to the Mendenhall Creek and watched this black bear feasting on a salmon.

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Mendenhall Glacier.

Juneau is landlocked and everything is brought in by plane or ship. The cruise ship crews get a few hours off to do their shopping. At the wharf half a dozen vans marked “Crew Service” sat. For a small fee crew members or anyone else can get a ride to Costco, Wal-Mart, or McDonalds. There are four fast food outlets in Juneau, one McDonalds, and three Subway Sandwich stores.

Beauty and the Beast

It drizzled most of the time as we wandered about the park. I used my National Parks Senior Pass to get us in for free.

When we returned to town, I was ready for a nap. As usual, Cathy was raring to go. I went back onboard. After a bag of popcorn and a diet soda pop I perked up and spent the afternoon reading Green Ice, by I.C. Enger.

Cathy took the tram and shot a few pictures.

At anchor

I especially like this one of our cruise ship the Grand Princess

Eagle at Tram

This shot of a Bald Eagle could be a post card.

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