Thursday, July 29

Alaska bound (a satellite blog update)

We’re off! Fifteen months after booking an Alaskan cruise, it’s finally underway. The ship cast off shortly after 6.00pm local time and steamed out of Vancouver harbour under a brilliant blue sky. The skyline literally glowed in the late afternoon sun as we sailed past Stanley Park, under the city's iconic Lions Gate Bridge and into the lower reaches of the Inside Passage.

If the first few hours are anything to go by, our cruise will be a magical experience. We were greeted on arrival with a obligatory champagne, followed by a leisurely late lunch on the pool deck. Then, before casting off, the entire ship participated in a legally mandated lifeboat drill. This was where we were told that the ship had 503 guests aboard, considerably less than the full complement of 700. As a result, we’ve noticed plenty of empty tables at every venue and few queue for anything.

However, I think we’ll be spending plenty of time on our stateroom’s balcony. We’ve intentionally booked a cabin facing east to ensure the best scenic views all the way to Seward, Alaska. This evening’s coastal scenery has been truly magnificent. We sat on our balcony watching layer upon layer of haze-drenched coastal mountain glide by – washed down by a chilled bottle of champagne waiting in our cabin upon arrival.

Casting off in Vancouver

We’ve booked several excursions over the next week, all but one is complimentary. In Ketchikan we’re taking a seaplane flight to Prince of Wales Island to watch wild bears fish for salmon. In Juneau, Alaska’s state capital, an excursion will take us to the foot of Mendenhall Glacier before sailing around the surrounding bay in search of whales. We’ve been told there are several Killer Whale pods currently resident in the area. Then finally, we’re off in search of sea otters while docked in Sitka.

Stay tuned for regular blog updates and photos – if our satellite internet access permits.

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