Friday, June 12, 2015
GAH HQ, Anchorage, Alaska to Seward, Alaska onto the Celebrity Millenium cruise ship
TRAVEL QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So thrown off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the tradewinds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
That is one of my favorite travel quotes of all time. I cast off that bowline as often as I can...
WHEW! What a day...hope I can remember it all....!
Woke up to outside voices and a generator and thought for a minute we had overslept our alarms. No, it was only 3:45AM....sigh. Tried to go back to sleep but not really; got up for good with alarms at 4:30. What a terrible hour to have to get up - how does it make sense on paper when you're planning a trip but in real life it becomes so STINKY!! At least it was light - LOL - sun comes up here now at 4AM! Got dressed, put the last of our stuff in the suitcases and walked out of the door (goodbye, sweet RV, I hardly got to know ya!) at 5:25AM to our waiting taxi. Nice guy, had a van which was good since we still have 4 big suitcases to lug! It was a quick 15 minute ride to the train depot in downtown Anchorage ($22 plus $3 tip). Lots of people already there - I didn't think there was anyone else in the world up but us! Gave our luggage with cruise tags already on them to a luggage guy who put it onto a Celebrity truck. We won't see it again until at our cabin (hopefully!) Got our tix and boarded 6:15, pulling out for Seward at 6:45. It was a mostly cloudy, cool but not cold morning. Our seats were 3A and B on the left side of the train; not as prime as the right side of the train for the direction of this journey but still great scenery. Comfortable train, narrated in parts; we were in Adventure class but had our own dome car too (hurray for dome cars!) It was mostly empty so we spent most of the ride up there. Saw no wildlife but eagles but did see good rivers and glaciers. Art had the PBJ I made this morning and some snacks; I ate 2 homemade apple cinnamon bars and a Coke I brought. Weather got sunnier as we neared Seward......
Pulled in at 11:00 to sun - hurray!! We had sun one day last time and rain another couple of days so sun here is no sure thing. Got off and walked about a mile to the cruise ship, Celebrity Millenium. Checked in easily, no wait. Lots of others on the train, but they went straight to excursions. On the ship by 11:45! Cabins weren't ready so we went by Shore Excursions and booked one for Ketchikan so that we could spend our onboard credit on it. Then wandered a bit and wound up on Deck 10 for the lunch buffet at 12. I was hungry! It was decent but not great choices for me so I went with pizza - always a good choice! This trip we had 3 perks that we don't usually get: 1) Classic Beverage Package which covers regular cocktails, sodas, water and juice and some wine; 2) no gratuities (they say that they pay them); and 3) $500 onboard credit ($300 from Celebrity and $200 from Crucon) to use for shore excursions, etc. Sweet! A Coke with lunch and no bill for it - I love it!
As we finished and headed to the cabin to see if it was ready, they announced all cabins were ready so we went and dumped off the backpacks quickly at 1:00. NICE CABIN! Balcony (thanks, Art!) cabin 8130. Love, love, love the balcony!! Looked around just briefly and then back off the ship. Took the free Seward shuttle from the dock through town to the library. Got there right in time for the 2:00 movie on the 1964 earthquake (paid $5 each and also got admission to their little museum there). Good little movie - way better than the one in Anchorage. Librarian also put a little movie on for us on a computer monitor about the Iditarod dog sled race; very interesting.
Left the library at 3:30. Still a nice day so we walked all the way back to the ship. Had a few drips but no real problem; it was mostly sunny. Stopped in a gift shop and got a couple things as we were heading back. We walked along the waterfront most of the way - great views. Even saw where we had camped on the waterfront with our RV last trip here. LOTS more RVs here than last time! Got back to the ship at 5:30, right as the train was pulling up with the last of the passengers so we were just ahead of them and walked right on. We had just enough time to put the bike suitcases under the bed (all our luggage arrived just fine from Anchorage - hurray!), and head to the dining room for our 6:15 reservation with Select Dining. Nice table for 2; Gedde is our waiter and was good. I had the shrimp Louis appetizer, onion soup, fresh Alaska salmon with hollandaise sauce and barely eaked in the creme brulee dessert before the mandatory lifeboat drill at 7:30. Oh, also got an Alaskan APA beer with dinner - I think I'm gonna really like this beverage package business!!! LOL!
Muster drill was the standard stuff, at least we were waiting in the lounge so not outside. Finished there and then back to the room for sailaway. We watched from our balcony - very, very nice time! Watched till well away from Seward and then got ready for bed. A long day for sure and I was really tired. Read just some of our many cruise papers and I turned in at 10:30 or so, Art a little later.