Thursday, September 19, 2019

Another Alaskan Adventure! ... Day 2

Another Alaskan Adventure!
Day 2
Saturday, August 17

I woke up feeling not-so-rested. Around midnight, people in the room above mine began moving furniture and dancing jigs. Okay, I don't know what they were doing, exactly, but whatever it was, it was very loud.

By 9:30am, I was packed and ready to go. I dragged myself and my luggage the mile or so to the Egan Center, the meeting place for the Princess Cruise shuttle. (There are roughly three ways to get from Anchorage to Whittier... car, bus, or train. I chose to purchase transfers through Princess when I booked the cruise. Let them worry about that, at least. And so... I got to ride a bus.)

At the Egan Center, everyone was super friendly. I turned over my suitcase to be checked (I would see it again that evening, outside my stateroom on the ship). Then I sat down in a folding chair at one of the tables and just relaxed for the next hour and a half. Some of the other passengers dropped off their luggage and then went off to explore downtown Anchorage. My feet wouldn't allow this, and so I sat. The room began to fill up. 

Around noon, our bus arrived. (Actually, there were 2 buses, but as I'd gotten to the Center so early, I snagged a ticket for the first bus.) I got a window seat on the left side. We departed. The bus driver played tour guide and gave out information as we drove along.

The views were stunning... rocks, waterfalls, waterways, glaciers, mountains. I was glad I didn't fall asleep and miss anything.

Between Anchorage and Whittier there is a single-lane tunnel that used to only allow trains. Now, cars and buses can travel through it, but only in one direction at a time. By some luck, our bus was the first of any vehicle to get to travel through when it opened for traffic going our way. So we led the pack. The whole system of coordinating the train schedule as well as two directions of traffic is quite fascinating. You can read more about it on this Wikipedia page, in the section labeled "Anton Anderson Memorial Highway."

After about an hour and a half's drive (and some waiting at the entrance to the tunnel), we arrived in Whittier. 

The bus took us directly to the port. (Well, I would hope so!) 

Check-in was fast. I was on the ship in roughly 10 minutes. 

When I first boarded, the ship felt very empty. It was a little weird. (I would later learn that this wasn't my imagination, and there was an actual reason it felt empty.)

My stateroom -- #732, inside, port, aft -- was ready when I boarded, so I headed right there. I was very impressed by it at first glance. Its layout was my favorite of all the staterooms I've stayed in before. 

The bed was comfy, and the room was in a great location!

The only downside was the outlet situation. There were two plugs by the desk, but they were positioned so close together, I could only plug in one of my USB adapters at a time. 

There were no outlets by the bed. There was one outlet in the bathroom, but a label by it said "razors only," and I wasn't sure if that was just a deterrent against people plugging in hair dryers, or if something terrible would happen if I plugged in anything besides a razor. I never did find out.

On this day there was really annoying elevator music being piped into the hallways and I could hear it in my room. (Luckily, that didn't last the whole cruise -- it was just something they did that day and on at least one of the sea days.)

But despite these minor annoyances, I couldn't help feeling grateful that I least I HAD a room. ;)

One of my first on-board visits was to the International Cafe, where I got a panini and hot cocoa. (The food there is free; the drinks cost -- but they're pretty cheap.)

Then I went up to check out the buffet. After downing some treats, I wandered around a bit....

At some point I took a shower, had a short nap, and then went back upstairs for more food. 

Mmmm... baked potato, roasted veggies, cheese, a small bran muffin, and a feta & watermelon salad.

Our muster drill was in the evening. During the drill, they told us that a whole train full of 600 passengers were delayed -- their train was over an hour away, but as it was a Princess transfer, we were waiting for them. (Well, no wonder the ship had felt empty! That was like 25% of the passengers!) The latecomers would have to do their muster very late that evening. I felt bad for those people -- they were probably super hungry by the time they boarded, but no... have a safety drill, won't you?

At 9pm I went to trivia. There were many versions of trivia throughout the cruise. This one was in the style of "Jeopardy."

I had been craving a sparkling water, particularly strawberry-flavored. I ended up getting a non-alcoholic drink called Sunshine Daquiri, but it wasn't quite what I was after. 

After trivia, I walked around the promenade deck. It was still light out, because Alaska.

I saw that the delayed train had arrived at last, and those 600 people were boarding the ship. 

I got a snack and some tea. I picked out two books from the ship's library. 

Back at my stateroom, I saw that my host had been by. He put my stuffed bear on the bed next to some chocolate!

One of my goals for this cruise was to get up and photograph at least one sunrise. I figured I might as well get it over with the next day.

Would it actually happen? (Me getting up, I mean... you can safely assume the sun will rise.)

Find out next time....

Day 3: Hubbard Glacier

Coming Soon...

No comments: