Category Archives: Alaska Cruise

The When & Where

And since we couldn’t be everywhere, at all times, here’s everything we could have done. (In PDF format)

May 20, 2017 – Seattle
May 21, 2017 – At Sea
May 22, 2017 – Juneau
May 23, 2017 – Glacier Bay
May 24, 2017 – Sitka
May 25, 2017 – Ketchikan
May 26, 2017 – Victoria

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Victoria and disembarkation Seattle

Another sunny day — we’ve been so lucky this cruise, as the weather forecast was rain, rain and more rain.  But other than the first sea day and Juneau, it’s been dry and often sunny.  Hardly warm (mid 50s to low 60s) but that suits us Pacific Northwesterners … we start melting when it approaches 80. 🙂  So it was perfect day to sit in the cabana, have a Bloody Mary and pizza for lunch and just take in the sun.

A final Bloody Mary in our cabana, complete with heart. Guess we made a friend of the bartender!

Karin went to a matinee performance of the Lincoln Center Stage playing only classical music (Brahms) while I simply read on the veranda, sipping coffee and sweets from the Neptune Lounge.

Tea time goodies in the Neptune Lounge.

Karin did her initial packing, and then off to a final evening of cocktails and dinner as we sailed into Victoria.

Wine Country Collins – I rather like this one, but it’s too sweet for Karin.

Pilot boat in a hurry

Tug boat interception

Rather than open seating for dinner (there is no fixed seating since we arrived in Victoria at 6:00 pm), we opted for another meal at the Tamarind, where the food is delicious and the views outstanding.

Satay sampler

Rice pudding and caramelized pineapple.

Watching the Black Ball Ferry arrive . We’ve ridden on her before but much prefer the Eurodam 😀

The view of Victoria from the Tamarind

Getting back to our cabin, one more good piece of news – I’m now a 4-star Mariner.

Thanks Karin, for drinking enough cocktails with me to push me over the limit 🙂

I threw my clothes into the suitcase and Karin wheeled our bags out to the hallway, where we’ll be reunited with them in Seattle. (Speaking of Seattle, disembarkation was a mess. With both the Eurodam and the Ruby Princess offloading passengers, there were 5,100 passengers milling through Pier 91. To top it all off, the escalator was out of order, so it was either stairs or elevator. So the elevator got a thorough workout … and by the time I finally got downstairs about 10 minutes later (I was tempted to throw the rollator over the railing and take the stairs, but figured that was probably akin to cutting off your nose to spite your face), the lines to clear customs were huge. There was an officer from the Eurodam with 4 stripes on his sleeve (Karin says possibly the Hotel Director) in the midst of the mayhem looking rather grim and barking into his comm unit. I’m thinking the pier officials may be getting an earful!

And Victoria night’s dinner menu:

Ketchikan Roundup

Made it off the ship in Ketchikan — shopping can be a powerful motivator!  We were in Berth 1, so it was an easy trip.  Of course, I brought the rollator, because it makes for such a convenient way to cart purchases!

off the ship in Ketchikan

Peeking at the arrival of the Neiuw Amsterdam between the Eurodam and the Coral Princess.

We had to visit our favorite store, the Arctic Spirit Gallery, to add to our respective collections of Alaskan Native art. For me, it’s the birds of Alaska.  For Karin, it’s a little bit of everything.  Then over to  visit Maida Kelley, a wonderful watercolor artist, and add another print to my collection.  She captures the colors and feel of Alaska and her art reminds us of our trips.

And of course, no stop in Ketchikan would be complete without popping in to Blasphemous Bills or Sam Magees for Alaska goodies for my hubby and mom.  And well, a jar of the Kahiltna Birch syrup and caramel topping for me.  It’s fantastic over cobbler, ice cream, on a scone or frankly, just spooned out of the jar.

The Eurodam looks huge from the shore!

Short stay in Ketchikan, but the afternoon was bright and sunny and the views just keep coming.

Leaving Ketchikan

Off to listen to the Lincoln Center Stage and the fabulous quintet, then music and drinks in the Ocean Bar, met some friends for cocktails in the Pinnacle Bar, and finally, to the Tamarind for dinner.

Tropical Cable Car in the Ocean Bar

Floral arrangement in the Tamarind Bar

The Tamarind Bar. The few times we’ve been by, it’s always been empty, which is surprising. The view is fantastic.

Peking duck with chinese crepes

Vietnamese lamb and mint. Super spicy (well, I did ask for extra spicy), but delicious.  Honestly, I think I finally met my match in the spice-o-meter.  

Mango, passion fruit and yazu sorbet.

And the 2nd Gala Dinner menu:

Sel de Mer

I think I hit my all-time best for delicious food consumed.  Sel de Mer was fantastic.  It was a leisurely dinner, well paced, and with excellent dishes and service.  I’d write more but I’m too full to think of superlatives.

Photos will have to do.

Whimsical plates

Bread, butter (with chives and sea salt on top) to go along with the tappas.

The amuse bouche. A scallop with a black truffle atop a delicately crunchy seaweed salad. This was the only piece that was a bit off – I found it a touch overly salty

Karin’s appetizer – seafood tower

Seafood tower, ready to eat

Bouillebase chock full of shrimp, mussels, halibut, lobster, clams. Delicious!

Rack of lamb, cooked to perfection (i.e. medium rare, the way I like it)

Karin opted for the catch of the day – halibut brought on board here in Sitka.

Chocolates with our coffee

 

Souffle with a mixed berry compote at the bottom. Big enough to share and oh so very very good.

And the menu

A day aboard ship in Sitka

We spent today aboard a ship nearly devoid of passengers, as most of them went ashore to spend the (overcast but dry) day in Sitka.  There is something to be said for roaming about with a ship nearly entirely to ourselves – quiet, peaceful and lots to see.

Early morning

We saw no whales from the ship, but there were several seals, heads periodically bobbing above the water.  If they managed to catch themselves something to eat, down would swoop the seagulls, hoping for a scrap to scavenge.  Also swooping in for a piece of the (salmon) pie, were eagles.  One poor seal had to fight off 3 seagulls and 2 eagles to keep his breakfast.

Eagles moving in for a piece of a seal’s breakfast

A never-ending parade of boats — fishing boats heading in and back with their catch, tour boats picking up and returning passengers, personal boats with owners and the occasional dog running into town with errands — we saw it all from the Sea View pool (best vista on the ship!).

Fishing boat heading back

Fishing boat surrounded by its nets, hard at work

Docked in Sitka

All tied up. The geometry of the lines appeals to me.

Almost felt guilty eating lunch with all the activity in the water around us.  Almost but not quite!

Pizza from New York Pizza – we’d each had a piece before I remembered to take a picture.

Burger and fries from the Dive In

And my drink today

Apple Cosmo

Then back to the cabin to relax for a bit (because we’d worked so hard today) before changing for dinner.  We’ll be checking out the new Sel de Mer.

Tonight’s Dining Room menu

Out of Glacier Bay, Heading to Sitka

A fairly lazy afternoon, giving our sun-reddened cheeks a bit of a breather. Yes, I at least, have a bit of glow. Karin, the sensible one, put on sunscreen.

The 10 foot seas arrived as we left Glacier Bay, accompanied by wind gusts up to 50 knots which gave the Eurodam a decided list.

More than a few white caps out there

Since we were walking a bit sideways anyway, we headed for the Pinnacle Bar. The Pinnacle Bar is our favorite this cruise; Tony knows we want appetizers; Alvin makes our drinks fairly potent (or do we just have too many of them?).

A French 75 (champagne, brandy, simply syrup and lemon juice). Our version anyway, which Alvin made for us.

I’ve discovered I really like a Peach Bellini Manhattan.

Off to dinner, and the food was delightful.

Smoked salmon deviled eggs.

Beef Clod Tenderloin. I never knew beef had clods 😉

Orichette with eggplant and pork ragout

I think “clod” should have been applied to one of the other dinner guests, who (for reasons unknown and which really don’t matter) got up and dumped a glass of water into the bread basket of the next table. On purpose. While the 2 ladies who were eating at the table were in the powder room. And before you ask, yes alcohol was involved as he fell asleep over dessert. What a putz.

We went to the late show of the BBC Earth/HAL program on Alaska, which is accompanied by both the Lincoln Center Stage quintet and the members of the Band. A fun way to do a documentary.

Alaska show

Then to the last show of the night for the Duelling Pianos, before heading for bed.

Tonight’s dinner menu:

Glacier Bay

Our day in Glacier Bay doesn’t need words — and since the Captain says we’re headed for 10 foot seas and 30-40 knot winds on our way to Sitka, I figure to post just some of the 350+ photos I took today.

 

Overlooking the Cabana Retreat

Looking toward the Queen Inlet — glaciers have carved out this landscape

Rounding Composite Island

Reid Glacier

Heading up the Tarr Inlet the water changes to a silty gray turquoise, due to glacial silt

Split pea soup – and mimosa. Holland America tradition, with a twist.

Margerie Glacier

The base of Margerie Glacier

Grand Pacific Glacier, the one that carved out all of Glacier Bay.

Lamplugh Glacier

Johns Hopkins Glacier as we round Jaw Point. As close as we get due to seal calving.

Ice and snow reflecting the bright bright sun

A glimpse of the serenity here in Glacier Bay

Looking down the bay

South Marble Island (I think….)

Seal face off!

Seals hauled out on South Marble Island

Entering Glacier Bay, AK

Not even 7:30 and here’s the view. Words can’t do it justice.

Picking up the ranger, native interpreter.

Juneau

There were so many things to see and do in Juneau but we opted to stay on the ship, explore it and perhaps indulge a bit much.  To whit:

Breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill. Mushroom and spinach eggs benedict. Yum!

Blue skies on the way to Juneau.

 

Running the gauntlet of eagles as we dock in Juneau

The exodus from the ship. Notice the rain that simply reinforced our desire to stay on the ship.

Abandon ship? No – a full out Coast Guard inspection that required the presence of virtually every crew member, who were grilled on safety protocols.

Quintessential Juneau

The Gallery Bar. Interesting light fixtures.

The Ocean Bar — doing research, don’t you know!

The Band at the Ocean Bar — Styles27, they were there 🙂

The Pinnacle Bar – our favorite so far. Not pictured – the killer French 75s they make. Would bring a tear to Karin’s husband’s eye.

The Tamarind Bar

Dinner at the Tamarind – Indonesian style Laksa soup with quail eggs. Over the top good!

Sushi beautiful prepared and presented

Dessert – chocolate mouse with a teeny bit of kick from ginger and jalapeno juice. To die for.

A rainbow with dessert

The Nieuw Amsterdam leaving Juneau. We’ll be leaving in about 30 minutes.

 

Edited to add the menus:

Pinnacle breakfast menu for suite guests.

dinner menu

At Sea on the way to Juneau

Up a little after 7 (drat those internal alarm clocks!) and opened the curtains to a gray and foggy morning.  Which was the perfect excuse (as if one were needed) to throw some clothes and grab some coffee.  Love the cappuchinos the espresso maker in the Neptune Lounge makes.  It was so good it deserved another.  By the time room service arrived about 9:15, there were five empty coffee cups.  I’m thinking a bit of restraint may be in order tomorrow.

Where are we this morning? We’re the blue arrow just swinging past the end of Vancouver Island.

Nothing says indulgent vacation quite like room service.  And we were not disappointed.  Breakfast looked lovely and was hot and tasty.  My salmon eggs benedict were cooked to perfect – with the egg yolks soft and runny but not raw.  Oh what a delightful way to start our day.

Room service breakfast – and how did that Bloody Mary and Mimosa get on the tray?

Our stateroom. Cabin doesn’t seem applicable to something this size!

Our stateroom as I was sitting on the bed.

Listening to the announcements from Clinton the Entertainment Director, we decided not to ruin such a leisurely start to our day, so after a shower (gloriously hot) and dressing, we headed for our cabana.  By 11:30 the fog had dissipated, and we saw blue sky and sunshine.

Another Bloody Mary showed up at our cabana. I think those things are following me around 😉

Sushi goes surprising well with a Bloody Mary.

The sad part is it didn’t last long before the clouds moved in.  On the other hand, no rain, so all in all, a win.  You could get very spoiled being in a cabana – between the ever-so-wonderful attendant and the view, there really isn’t much reason to leave.  So we had lunch (the Lido menu is available for cabana guests and the Asian section today featured Indonesian food, so it is pretty obvious what we opted for), some beverages and just relaxed until the fog started rolling back in and the swells picked up.

Coming up on the Queen Charlotte Islands

Heading back to our cabin, we stopped by the Neptune Lounge for another cappuchino (had to warm up!) and then we checked out the Lincoln Center Stage.  Oh goodness is it ever an improvement over the Adagio (quartet, trio, duo, or whatever iteration).  Or perhaps it’s just the fresh approach to classical music.  And not just classical in the traditional sense, though there is that to.  The set we listened to took modern music (with songs ranging from Edith Piaf, Coldplay, Billy Joel, Led Zepplin and Queen) and gave it a classic music twist.  Amazing what an innovative arrangement and 5 outstanding musicians (pianist, 2 violinists, a cellist, and a viola player — pretty sure viola-ist isn’t a word so viola player it is) can do with a piece of music.

The Lincoln Center Stage

Tonight is gala-night, but since we perhaps ate too much Indonesian food for lunch,  we opted for soup and salad.  Besides, the Gala night menu just didn’t appeal – it’s very staid, boring and stuck in the 1960s/70s.  Of course soup and salad is no hardship since soup was French Onion Soup and salad was a Caesar salad with anchovies (naturally!).  Yes, even on Gala night the Always Available menu items, though not listed, are … wait for it … always available. 😉

Must resist the urge to say “Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice” when I see this dining room decoration.

We sat in on a set of the BB King All Stars, and they are very good, a great mix of faster and louder and slower and melodic songs.  And they weren’t as loud as on other cruises. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that they’re quiet or low energy, just that the volume was appropriate to the style of music.)  Loved their rendition of Ed Sheeran’s Dreaming Out Loud.

BB King All Stars are terrific

Continuing on our after-dinner music walk, we stopped for a bit at the Dueling Pianos.  It was British Invasion night and when they solicited song choices, some wise-acre shouted out “Def Leppard”  — and the pianists, without missing a beat, did a great rendition of “Pour Some Sugar on Me”.  So all in all, it was a day of fascinating musical choices and renditions.

Turning in a bit early tonight, despite the clocks going back an hour, because we want to be up by 6:30 as we’re expected to pick up the pilot at 6:45, and it’s always fun to watch them clamber aboard.  And of course, we’ll be entering prime whale watching territory.  Going to spend lots of tomorrow morning out on deck before we get to Juneau at 1:00.

A blue eyed crab guarding a box of chocolates.

Tonight’s dinner menu:

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