Alaska Cruise, Ketchikan (Day 3)

The third day of our cruise, Sunday (May 24th), we had a port stop in Ketchikan, Alaska.   We were scheduled to arrive in Ketchikan at around 9am, so we got to see some awesome scenery as we pulled into town.  (All pictures from this day are available on picasaweb.)

Alaska Cruise, Ketchikan (Day 3)

The first picture is what was outside of our window when I woke up.   Again, I was an early riser, so I headed up to the gym (I didn’t even bother with the track, although it was probably better as we were in protected waters).  After my workout, I went back to the room to wake up Cortny.   We did the buffet for breakfast (or maybe this was one of our AquaSpa breakfast days).   Either way, we ate and then went outside on deck 4 (the promenade deck) to watch the ship pull into town.   

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What we woke up to on the way into Ketchikan.

 
The town of Ketchikan is actually rather small. It probably isn’t hard for the population to double when there are a lot of ships in port.

It was a beautiful day in Ketchikan.  It was bright and sunny, and in the low 60s all day.  Luck for us, Cortny is always prepared with sunscreen.   

The shops near the pier look like the set from a western, and most of the close shops are all jewelry stores.  I am amazed at how many people go on vacation to show for jewelry, oh well, that is not what we were there.

 
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Alaska Cruise Day 2 (At Sea)

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Making Waves

Day two of our trip was entirely at sea. I woke up pretty early, I think around 6am. There was bright sunlight streaming in through the window and I still had a case beginning vacation excitement! So what did I do?  I decided to go for a run.  There is a jogging track on Deck 11 of the Infinity.   I got about 3 laps in before the wend was too much for me.   No worries, I just went down one floor to the gym.   That early on the first full day, the gym wasn’t crowded at all.

There wasn’t much scenery to view on the second day, some mountain views here and there, but mostly water.   We sailed about 15 miles west of Vancouver Island on the way up to Alaska.   It seemed like we were maintaining a pretty good speed the whole time, and had bright sunny weather on the way!

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Alaska Cruise, Seattle (Day 1)

This is the first in a series of blog posts about our Alaskan cruse.  We traveled with Celebrity Cruises on the Celebrity Infinity, round trip from Seattle.  The cruise took us to to port stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Victoria BC.   We also had 3 days of cruising, in the Pacific Ocean, up to Hubbard Glacier, and through the Canadian inside passage (east of Vancouver Island).

Alaskan Cruise 2009, Seattle, Days 1 and 2.

We departed on May 22nd, from Seattle.  This is the first Seattle round trip cruise of the year for the Infinity.  Since we followed the repositioning cruise, we actually were not scheduled to depart Seattle until 11:59pm.  Our cruise documents said not to arrive at the port until 7pm.  Because of bus schedules and us being ready way ahead of time, we arrived at the pier around 7pm.  The ship actually wasn’t there yet! (Not that I was surprised).   So we dropped off our luggage and filled out our health forms and got the boarding information.  Since the ship wasn’t going to board until 8:30 or 9:00 and we had a high boarding number (#29), we decided to get dinner elsewhere.  (All of the pictures from day 1 are available at http://picasaweb.google.com/mike.helmick/AlaskaCruise2009SeatteDays12.)

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Back from Alaska

We are back from our wonderful week in Alaska.  Everything was amazing.   I have already sorted through about 900 pictures, and am in the process of uploading them now.   I am going to try and do 1 blog post per day of our trip, and include a select few pictures and stories from our travels.

To give you something to look at… We booked our next trip (while on board).   We will be going to the Galapagos Islands in fall 2010.  Here is the fun advertising video for the Celebrity Xpedition.

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Heading North

Sometime this evening, we will be boarding the Celebrity Infinity for our cruise to Alaska!

Cruise Route

Cruise Route

Our cruise will take us to Ketchikan, Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, through the Inside Passage, and to Victoria BC.   In Ketchikan we will be going on a 3 1/2 hour rainforest canopy adventure, with 8 ziplines!

The Hubbard Glacier day should be fun.   How close we get to the glacier really depends on conditions.  Also on this day, we have reservations for the SS United States Restaurant.  The SS United States is one of Celebrity’s “specialty restaurants” that advertise a higher level of service and a special menu (samples on the above link).  Our experience with the specialty restaurant on the Disney Wonder was positive, so we are looking forward to this one as well.

In Juneau, we are going to visit a training camp for sled dogs, where we get to ride on a dog sled! and meet the puppies (awww…. puppies).

For the day in Victoria, we are planning on just enjoying the ship while a good portion of the passengers are ashore.  We have been to Victoria twice already, and will likely get there again in the future since it is so close to Seattle.

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New Video Camera

I’ve resisted the flash-based video camera for a while, but we have one now.  Actually, we pre-ordered it about a month ago, but it just showed up today.

Of course, we purchased the camera so that we can take videos in Alaska.  I am hoping to get some good zipline and Hubbard Glacier videos.   I can’t really comment on how awesome the camera is… because we haven’t used it.  I managed to record 15 seconds of Tilly, but the batteries need a full charge before we can do anything useful.    We will report back after the trip!

The camera is a Kodak Zx1 HD camera, and we have a 16GB memory card, so we should be able to get several hours of video.

Packing For Alaska

Packing for Alaska is quite difficult. We need such a variety of things. For instance:

  • Nice suit for formal nights
  • Casual suit for “smart casual” nights
    • I got a GREAT DEAL on this suit (got both for $179, normally jacket is $250 and pants are $130)
  • Another pair of pants for “smart casual” nights, because I don’t want to wear the previous suit 4 times
  • Different clothes for during the day (because I’m not a get dressed up all day kind of person)
  • Outdoor suitable gear for our excursions (ziplining in the rainforest and visiting sled dogs, riding on a sled)
  • And I can’t forget swimsuits, as our cruise ship has an indoor salt water pool

Basically – I’m packing more clothes for a 7 nite cruise than I did for our 10 and 15 day trips to Europe.   Oh well, that is cruising I guess.  At lease we don’t have to fly anywhere.   Pier 66 in Seattle is about 5 miles due south of our house, and a short bus ride to get there.    The new pier (91 – Celebrity doesn’t leave from there) is actually visible from our street.  Not our house, but if you go down the street 200 yards, you can see 2 ships docked there a few times a week.   Quite an unusual site.

So anyways, soon we will be on the Celebrity Infinity headed to Alaska!

For both before and during (and after I guess) – you can track our progress on this Web page:  http://www.sailwx.info/shiptrack/shipposition.phtml?call=9HJD9

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The Big Green Egg

Last weekend, we finally got a new grill, the Big Green Egg (medium size).   We haven’t had one since we moved here, so it will be nice to cook outside this summer.

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The Big Green Egg

This is a big change from what I’m used to.  It turns out that cooking with hardwood charcoal is much better and even easier than cooking with propane.   In fact…. I may never go back to gas.

The grill is so versatile.   I’ve used high temperatures (600 degrees) to sear steaks, and low temperatures (250 degrees) with indirect cooking and hickory chips to smoke pork for dinner.

The Big Green Egg is a big ceramic egg, painted egg.   There are inner components that hold natural lump charcoal.   This is much better than charcoal brickets that you may be used to.  The lump charcoal lights quickly (and without lighter fluid), and the grill easily reaches 500 degrees in about 10 minutes.    Plus – it has the smell of a campfire when you are cooking!

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At The Zoo

We’re at the Woodland Park Zoo this morning for a coffee and chocolate event (rough, I now).   Cortny is doing her Seattle Ideal Bite representative thing, signing up people for their newsletter.

After things get going, I am going to walk around the zoo a bite (I mean a bit), and visit the animals.

The event goes until 3, so I am probably going to go pick some stuff up (like the new pair of jeans that I really need).

Going to the Olympics in 2010!

It was kind of a pain dealing with the Web site, but I was able to get tickets to one of the Ice Dancing competition sessions for next February.

So, we now have tickets to 2 events for the Olympics (previously purchased curling tickets).

It will be very exciting to be at the Olympics. We still need to plan a strategy, drive up and back twice, or pay way too much for a hotel room. Unfortunately, we probably need to decide that soon.