SEVEN-NIGHT NORTHBOUND ALASKA CRUISE–Part One

Cruise Days One and Two
14-15 September 2015

Our boarding went smoothly, unlike the boarding in Sydney, Australia that had been so hectic. That time we had been on Celebrity Solstice; this trip we were on Millennium. She is an older ship and not quite so luxurious, but very welcoming. We had a veranda stateroom again, but it was midship rather than on the stern as before. It seemed slightly larger and was better configured, with the seating area near the glass sliding door rather than in the middle of the cabin like last time.
stateroomstateroom2

We boarded early and had lunch in the Oceanview Cafe, then walked around while waiting for the announcement that the staterooms were ready to occupy. When we got there, our luggage had been delivered and all we had to do was settle in for seven days and nights of cruising. Our course would take us to Seward, Alaska via the Inside Passage with stops in Ketchikan; Juneau; Icy Point Strait; and Skagway followed by a four-hour sailing along the Hubbard Glacier.

Cruise Map

Cruise Map

Departing Vancouver was a beautiful sight, especially going under the Lion’s Gate Bridge that leads out to sea. The Lion’s Gate is a suspension bridge that spans the Burrard Inlet and connects the City of Vancouver to North and West Vancouver. It is similar in appearance and construction to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. In fact, one tour guide claimed that both had the same designer though online research proved differently—oh well, it’s a good tourist story.

Lion's Gate Bridge

Lion’s Gate Bridge

Lighthouse going out to sea

Lighthouse going out to sea

The term “Lions Gate” refers to The Lions, a pair of mountain peaks north of Vancouver. It is 5,890 feet in length (the GGB is roughly double that) and is painted green (the GGB is red). The history of its construction is really interesting—writing about that is not the purpose of the journal, but do suggest readers check it out in Wikipedia.

We spent the remainder of Friday and all day Saturday at sea. That gave us time to get settled and book some tours. We decided on::

– The” Historic Ketchikan Trolley” tour and the “Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show” in Ketchikan;

– “Alaska’s Wildest Kitchen,” a cooking demonstration, in Icy Point Strait;

– The Mendenhall Glacier and Glacier Gardens” bus tour in Juneau; and

– The White Pass Scenic Railway in Skagway.

Alaska is a diverse place with activites at all interests and levels available—from historical to hiking to fishing to ziplining to helicopter rides and more. So many tours are offered that it would take several more cruises to enjoy all of the those that interested us.

After setting our schedule for the next few days, we sat back; had a few drinks; and got all dressed up for that evening’s formal dinner that we enjoyed tremendously. (All the dinners in the Metropolitan Restaurant–main dining room–are either “Formal” or “Smart Casual;” there is no dress code in the cafeteria style Oceanview Cafe.) Afterwards, we sat out on our veranda (the evening was pleasantly cool) for a nightcap. We retired fairly early, looking forward to our stop in Ketchikan first thing in the morning.

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