It sure looked comfortable when we looked out the dining room windows at breakfast. More often than not, we are in warm climates where it is hot and humid. You come to expect that heat hit you once you exit on deck three to take a walk. Not so today, even though the sun was mostly shining, there was a chill in the breeze. It never did plunge to 41 degrees as the forecast suggested, but perhaps it was in the 50's with the wind chill factor. It was best to put on the arctic jackets, which we thought we might not need. Talking with the staff, we learned that this stretch of the cruise has been rough and cold with rain ever since the ship repositioned to Alaska back in mid-May. So, we have been lucky and hope the luck lasts.
It took the rest of the morning to finish report #1 and get set up on the ship's internet. Getting online was spotty later in the morning, and once we got further out to sea and away from land, we lost the connection periodically.
We also followed up with some loose ends at the front desk, which was a busy place today. Then another stop at the Pinnacle Grill, took care of dinner reservations for this trip. One of the waitresses we know, Putrah, was available to book our evenings. Always nice to see a friendly and familiar face.
Taking a break, we went to the dining room for a light lunch. This was a good move, because halfway through our meal, we began seeing whales, their blows rising here and there alongside the ship. Of course, we finished our lunch, and headed up to the lower promenade deck. First we began our watch at the aft railing, actually standing in some sun. We did see many whales feeding on the surface, blowing their spouts, and doing shallow dives. Again, we got lucky.
Later on in the afternoon, we went out on deck six forward to watch for more wildlife sightings, but only saw a few birds scattered here and there. One happened to be a lone puffin, and some others floating on the surface of the water were ducks. It was too cold to stay out there too long, however, since the wind was almost penetrating.
Half of the day's activities were ship promotions such as a deck sale, shop sales, or wine tasting. We had an invite, complimentary ($19.95 charge), but we normally do not drink wine. So we didn't attend. The time was right, at 2pm, so we think the lower dining room was full of takers. There were beer sales, a precious stone presentation, and a Merbella party……more jewelry sales.
The only games happening include bridge, basketball, trivia, bingo, and lotto draw. No DAM dollars are involved at all. There were 5 Microsoft Digital Workshops, Explorations Central for shore excursion info, and the first series of the new America's Test Kitchen. Even though we did not personally check out the venue, we believe this is taking the place of the former Culinary Arts Center, which doubles for the Wajang Theater. Another new feature is the BBC Earth Experiences, which we have enjoyed watching the series on Alaska's bears on the TV.
In addition, there were two Happy Hour time slots in the Crow's Nest and Ocean Bar. The first one was at 4pm, and the second one at 10pm. You get that second drink for a mere $2.00.
As we usually do, we went to the seating area on deck five across from the Ocean Bar around 4:30pm. What a huge surprise we got when we saw friends Marilyn and Harry heading our way. They had been on the world cruise, and frequently visited with us at this same time. They had actually booked three back-to-back trips to Alaska starting with this one. Must have got a good last minute deal, because we don't think they had planned this back in April. Anyway, we picked up where we left off last April, sharing all the info we had. At 5pm, they headed off for dinner, which is beginning even earlier at 5pm in the open seating dining room.
This evening there was one Captain's Welcome Toast in the show lounge. But it was only for 15 minutes at 7:45pm for the entire guest population. The show this evening was the singers and dancers performing Bellissima, the same we saw on the world cruise. The first show was slated for 8pm, so it must have been a miracle to clear the room to begin that show on time.
Also this evening was the first Gala night. Everyone at our table dressed quite nicely, the ladies in formal wear and the fellows in suits or tuxes. We had a guest host, Victoria, the Port & Shopping Ambassador. She is young, British, but living in southern California, and very vivacious. One of our tablemates did not show up, so we asked for the extra chair to be removed, so we could spread out, and not leave that awkward gap in the seating. Good thing we did, because some of our guests ordered multiple entrees.
The meal lasted until close to 10:30pm. The sun had not even set yet, and we could see the remnants of a spectacular sunset on the horizon. While most everyone went to see the show, we headed outside to see what was left of the sunset. Yep, we missed a good one.
The clocks went back one hour tonight, always a good thing. Tomorrow we will be spending the day in Ketchikan, the first stop on this trip. Hope to see the salmon making their way up the creek, although it may be early in the season.
Happy 4th of July!
Bill & Mary Ann