After a hot summer, it was a delight to head north. We flew into Vancouver the day before sailing , and were greeted by a warm and sunny day in this beautiful city. After checking into the Renaissance near the waterfront, we headed out to admire the view of the water, mountains and many seaplanes zipping in and out . A short walk away was the site of the Olympic Torch from the 2010 Winter Olympics - beautiful!
The next day we utilized the Big Bus for a nice 2-hr tour of the city and surrounding - another warm and sunny day - perfect for a quick overview of this lovely area . It was a good way to see everything in a short amount of time.
We arrived at the cruise port around 1:30, where we joined a long and slow-moving line. After clearing the Canadian Customs, we stepped into another room , where it was time to wait yet another 1.5 hrs to go thru US Customs. This was pretty ridiculout-there were 14 stations, and only 4 agents. The Canadian reps were busy apologizing and saying that under-scheduling and computer problems were the cause , but we think that government cut-backs were the real culprit. There weren't many genuine smiles by the time we made it to the embarkation photo-spot. Needless to say , we didn't purchase that one.
Starving , we headed to the Windjammer for a bite. Unfortunately it closed 10 minutes later so we grabbed what was left and ate quickly. It was time for the emergency briefing. That has been streamlined since we last sailed,with no life jackets required. Afterward, we finally got to check out the cabin . It was a good one-a large outside cabin near the Centrum . It was among a group of brand-new cabins added during the recent refurb , and the over sized porthole went from the top of the mattress to the ceiling- giving amazing views from everywhere ! There was plenty of closet space, drawers and shelves-
with everything done in lovely wood. We were very happy with the comfy bed, sitting area and other amenities.
We'd booked the MyTime dining , and that worked out very well. Service was very nice , quite consistent and we always had the table for 2 we'd requested.
The strength in the menu was definitely the entrees, and we were not disappointed. The apps and desserts weren't quite as good, but overall, the food was creative , fresh and served at the correct temperature.
The ship was lovely , and the staff very friendly and welcoming. The entertainment was skewed for a slightly older crowd, but we enjoyed the
live music anyway. The production shows aren't really our thing, but we gave them a chance - a few of the performers have remarkable voices and are very talented.
The highlight of our activities was a helicopter/dog sled day out of Juneau. We'd booked it on our own with Coastal Helicopters, and they were great. As it was another rainy day, we were worried they may have to cancel, but luck was with us , and we had a great time - so memorable ! Our musher , Eric Rogers had run the Iditarod 4 times, and completed the 1000-mile race 3 times. His energy , love for his dogs and the surroundings was so contagious . It was amazing - we'll never forget it .
The last day of the cruise was my birthday- we awoke to small icebergs in the water , and hurried to the top deck for the Hubbard Glacier. We were very lucky that the weather cleared just in time for our 2-hr visit at this incredible place , and were treated to quite a few "calving" events. We both had a great time with our camera gear and these photos are amazing! When the captain spun the ship, we simply moved with it and stayed in front of the expansive view the whole time -as an hobbyist photographer, I was in heaven!
When it was time to leave, the rain returned -perfect timing !
We took the Alaska Railroad to Anchorage from Seward - very scenic and relaxing . We did spot a few eagles along the way , and when we arrived at the airport were sad to head home . It was a great vacation !