We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise to Alaska on the Regatta. We had taken advantage of the "third passenger travels free" promotion. We took my elderly disabled mother with us. Other than being a little crowded in a stateroom meant for two, the three of us managed just fine.
It was relatively easy to maneuver through the ship with the wheelchair. Staff would leap to help if thresholds or restaurant seating presented a problem. We were able to fold the wheelchair for storage in our stateroom so that was also not an issue. The only trouble spot in our room was the 5" step down from the bathroom to the bed area.
We had reserved tables in the the smaller restaurants four times but enjoyed eating in all locations on the ship.
Dinner one evening in the Polo Grill stays in my mind, especially because of the combination of exceptional service, fine view and one double martini. These perfectly prepared foods landed on our table -- crab cakes, escargot, Cobb salad, French onion soup, filet mignon, grilled asparagus, grilled tomatoes, creamed spinach, baked potato, potato au gratin, key lime pie. Neighbouring diners were celebrating an anniversary. The dining crew assembled around their table and sang, then two Filipino crew members and her husband serenaded the wife with a love song. That was fun.
Every stop in Alaska was shrouded in fog or rain clouds. This was not an issue for us because on this cruise we intended to spend time with my 91 year old mother who required a wheelchair and for whom most excursions would have been impossible or most inconvenient. We did feel sorry for people who expected to see the beauty of Alaska from the tram, hiking trail or helicopter. The rain was relentless.
Those who did go on the excusions did not complain in our presence. We were able to access all Alaska ports from the pier (except Hoonah which was accessible by tender). Due to rough water, Sitka was eliminated and Wrangell was added to the list of ports.
Hubbard Glacier early in the morning on August 18th was a highlight of the cruise.
We were early enough to find port side seats with a good view in the Horizon Room, a spot with many windows and comfy chairs on Deck 10. Just as we were getting settled, an argument erupted amongst the passengers along the front windows on the bow. Seems someone was saving three seats which would remain unoccupied for the half hour prior to our arrival in the bay nearest the huge tidewater glacier. A tall robust woman with a long cane seated behind the saved seats took issue with the male passenger's effort to save good empty seats and in the end she got her way. Drama!
The sun came out only after we reached Victoria and it stayed out until disembarkation in San Francisco. We had a great time poking around Victoria, BC and Astoria, OR on our own.
We attended most of the shows which featured either the band and the comedian, Tom Drake or the band backing the four singer/dancers. We laughed hard at the Celebrity Liars' Club in the Regatta Lounge on Tuesday evening. Four "celebrities" ( like the ship's doctor) made-up hilarious definitions of weird words like "Wiliwili", "Williwas", "Bablitrice" and "Flagatation". Only one celebrity had the correct definition in each round. The audience had to vote for the most likely definition. Lots of laughs.
We went to a culinary demonstration complete with samples of the food. Like most presentations on the ship, this happened in the Regatta Lounge. We had some trouble understanding the thick French accents of the two chefs but no trouble with the samples. We learned a few new cooking tricks. It was interesting and fun.
We attended numerous lectures. One afternoon we heard Dr. Paula Smith speak on the topic, "And you thought Prince Charles had problems" which sounds like a history lesson on the scandals of Royals in history. It should have been good for a laugh. After 45 minutes and wasted potential for humour, the speaker had only progressed from William the Conqueror to royal scoundrels in the 15th century. We left the theatre and went to the Horizons lounge for high tea, an improved use of our time.
We appreciated the fact that lectures were taped and broadcast later on the ship's system as we could catch up on those we missed. The best presentation was that of the captain who explained modern piracy and methods of combatting it.
We played our first ever bingo game (Cost $35 for five games and we won $25). We tried the slot machines. We didn't swim, play ping pong or shuffleboard this time.
High tea with the chamber music was our mother's favorite activity.