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Kaua’i

Oct 18, 2022 – South Shore, Kaua’i, Hawai’i, USA

2022 Hawai’i cruise

My excursion to the Allerton and McBryde Tropical Gardens doesn’t leave until 9:00AM, so it’s an easy start to the day. I get up around 7:30AM and go down to the Grand Dutch Cafe for a breakfast of smoked salmon, raisin bun, blueberry muffin and a cappuccino. I show up in the pier building ashore around 8:45AM and we are quickly organized into a line. Once the last two people arrive, we’re off in the excursion shuttle, but not before one man refuses to wear a mask, so our guide reads the riot act to him and he eventually puts a mask on. Our guide reveals that the ship let them know that there is some sickness onboard, so they are requiring masks for our group when in their shuttles.

Once that is sorted out, we drive to the gardens site, which takes the better part of an hour since the road into the property is quite rough, requiring slow going. It’s a beautiful area of the south shore of Kaua’i which I haven’t experienced before. The number of plants in the McBryde Garden is endless: 6,000 rare and endangered plant species collected from throughout the Pacific Basin and the world. The Allerton Garden is architecturally designed with outside ‘rooms’ which the Allertons originally used for entertaining guests – some rich and famous like Jackie Kennedy-Onassis. We have a nice lunch at the snack bar consisting of shredded chicken or shrimp with focaccia bread, potato salad, and soft drinks or bottled water. 

Spouting Horn blowhole, Koloa, Kaua'i, Hawaii
Spouting Horn blowhole, Koloa, Kaua’i, Hawaii

After lunch, we visit the waterfall in the McBryde property by driving deeper into the upper Lawai Valley, and then leave to return to the ship. We encounter a firetruck and ambulance doing a rescue on the way out of the Allerton and McBryde property, which delays us a bit while our guide sorts out passing the emergency vehicles on the narrow road. We make a quick stop at the Spouting Horn blowhole, which is putting on a good show today. All Aboard is 2:30PM, and we are the last to board with only five minutes to spare!

I go up to the Sun Deck to enjoy the sail away from Nawiliwili Harbour, and I have a beer with some friends while watching our ship maneuver out the narrow passage, taking a time lapse video handheld. Once the ship is in open water heading for Vancouver, I return to my stateroom to get cleaned up, and then I have a quick dinner in the Lido this evening: Beef Sukiyaki over fried rice, which is quite filling and delicious.

Sailaway from Kaua'i - Koningsdam departs
Sailaway from Kaua’i – Koningsdam departs

At 8PM I attend The Step One Dance Company Presents: Humanity Reprise. I thought it would be a different show than the one I already attended on our sea days to Hawaii, but it is exactly the same, which was disappointing. Our cruise director takes the stage ahead of the performance to make some announcements about upcoming events and activities, and to let us know that the ship’s time will change overnight (clock moves forward an hour). Some crank of a man yells at him from the audience as he is leaving the stage that he should be letting everyone know there is COVID-19 aboard the ship. He briefly stops, but he doesn’t respond and vanishes backstage.

I walk the Promenade Deck this evening for a circuit and a half, enjoying the warm, tropical air and the sound of the ship. I then go up to the Crow’s Nest Lounge for my nightcap of a Tanqueray 10 classic martini as I annotate today’s photos. I remove the Jethro Mobile SIM from my iPhone, which I’ve been using for voice calling and data in Hawai’i, since I won’t need that mobile service again. It worked very well, was reasonably priced at CA$35 prepaid on Amazon for 4Gb and unlimited calling for 30 days. I would buy service from them again when I travel to the USA in future. 

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Oahu North Shore

Oct 17, 2022 – East & North Shore, Oahu, Hawai’i, USA

2022 Hawai’i cruise

The Holland America Grand Circle Island excursion is listed for US$149.95, but I got $20 off from my Have-It-All package, and then another $20 off since the the tour operator is no longer including lunch in the tour. As it turns out, this excursion doesn’t much resemble the description given at all. First, we drive around the island in the opposite direction, and secondly, we miss many of the stops, so it ends up being mainly a day of driving with only limited opportunities to get off the bus to either shop or see the sights on our own.

Joe at Halona Blow Hole with Wawanalu Beach behind, south shore of Oahu
Joe at Halona Blow Hole with Wawanalu Beach behind, south shore of Oahu

We do not stop at Hanauma Bay Marine Preserve since it remains closed to visitors since COVID-19, so I have no opportunity to take photos, even from the top of the cliff. The lack of humans during the pandemic has allowed the ecosystem to recover, so only visitors with permits are allowed in now. We stop at the Halona Blow Hole so I have time for a selfie before we hit the road again. I appreciate the 20 minutes we have at the Byodo-In Temple, although it is full of visitors, so it’s very crowded.

We drive north along the beautiful east coast, passing by both the Polynesian Cultural Center (where we were originally to stop for lunch) and the Kualoa Ranch. We stop at a macademia nut farm to shop, but it is packed with people from other tourist buses. We are stuck in multiple construction zones along the way, which is certainly frustrating for all of us. We only drive by the famous north shore beaches: Makapu’u Point, Sandy Beach,  Sunset Point Beach, and others – no stops.

A surfer girl with her surfboard on the Hale‘iwa strip
A surfer girl with her surfboard on the Hale‘iwa strip

Our lunch stop is in the surfing town of Hale‘iwa on the North Shore, where we have 1.5 hours to eat, shop, or do what we wish. I have an exceedingly expensive cappuccino and then wander along the main street that is lined with surf shops, restaurants, and shave ice places. I find some very nice Men’s Holoholo shorts in the Kahala shop, and buy a pair despite the US$88 price! I forgot to pack shorts for this trip for some reason…

We visit the Dole Pineapple Pavilion, which I detest, but at least we have 20 minutes off the bus. We are running late, so we miss the Nuuanu Pali Lookout (which would have redeemed this excursion for me), and drive directly back to the ship on the freeway. Needless to say, I’m frustrated and tired after this ordeal. I should have stuck to my original plan for today: take a taxi to the Bishop Museum.

After showering and putting on fresh clothes, I have a vegetarian pizza and a beer for dinner on the Panorama deck. There is a beautiful sunset over Honolulu, and later the ship departs Honolulu harbour around 10PM, bound for Kaua’i.

Sunset over Honolulu harbour with the ship's stack and an aircraft climbing out
Sunset over Honolulu harbour with the ship’s stack and an aircraft climbing out
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Honolulu

Oct 16, 2022 – Honolulu, Oahu, Hawai’i, USA

King Kamehameha statue in front of the Hawaii Supreme Court, Honolulu
King Kamehameha statue in front of the Hawaii Supreme Court, Honolulu

2022 Hawai’i cruise

The ship arrives in Honolulu harbour very early in the morning. When I peek out the drawn curtains of my stateroom around 6:30AM, we are docked. I’m off the ship by 9:30am, cross Ala Moana Blvd, and walk the few blocks to old Honolulu. I try to cover some new ground, but also end up at the usual sights: Hawaii State Capital, Iolani Palace (closed), the Mission Houses (closed), and there’s a Hawaiian ceremony happening in the gardens outside the Kawaiahao Church (see banner image above).

Joe on the Lido deck by the Sea View pool drinking a well-deserved Heineken beer
Joe on the Lido deck by the Sea View pool drinking a well-deserved Heineken beer

I’m back on board the ship in just under two hours, having covered 4.7 kms. After a quick clean up in my stateroom, I head up to the Lido Bar to have a beer in the shade and hydrate a bit, given the heat of the morning. I also have a swim in the Seaview Pool, so I’m feeling much better, especially after having a shower and some roast pork for lunch in the Lido. Treating the ship as a resort is a wonderful benefit when we are docked overnight!

I have an afternoon nap, and then go for an early light supper in the Grand Dutch Cafe: grilled ham and cheese sandwich with fries and a Newcastle Brown Ale. I go to the World Stage at 6:45pm to get a good seat, since there is only one performance at 8PM of Drums of Polynesia, a local troupe. After waiting all that time, it is obvious to me that after they perform the first two numbers this is a dreadful, unskilled rendition of what should have been a spectacular cultural event. I walk out, retreating to the quiet of the Crow’s Nest Lounge and have my usual Tanqueray 10 Gin martini, while working on my photos taken today on my walk.

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Hilo & Volcano

Oct 15, 2022 – Hilo & Volcano, Big Island of Hawai’i, USA

2022 Hawai’i cruise

The ship arrives in Hilo harbour this morning in the rain, not unexpected on this wet, tropical side of the Big Island of Hawai’i. Once we are docked and I have breakfast in the Grand Dutch Cafe (cappuccino, smoked salmon, raisin bun, fruit parfait), I call my friend to let her know we are docked.

The Koningsdam docked in Hilo harbour as we approach
The Koningsdam docked in Hilo harbour as we approach

She drives from her home in Waimea to Hilo Harbour to pick me up around 11AM. We catch up with each other’s lives while she drives, and then have some lunch with her 90 year old friend, who lives in the little community of Volcano, near Volcano National Park. Cafe Ono is part of Volcano Garden Arts – a lovely tropical garden, gift shop offering original art, and a popular restaurant. I have a delightful day ashore with a good friend.

I fasten my GoPro camera to the rail on my verandah and take a time lapse video as the ship leaves the dock at 5:45PM, swings around in the tight harbour area, and heads out of Hilo Bay at sunset.

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West Maui

Oct 14, 2022 – Kahalui & Olowalu Bay, Maui, Hawai’i, USA

2022 Hawai’i cruise

Storm clouds over the West Maui mountains behind Kahalui and harbour
Storm clouds over the West Maui mountains behind Kahalui and harbour

The ship is docked in Kahalui harbour by the time I get up this morning. There is no rush, since my snorkelling excursion doesn’t leave until Noon. After breakfast, I spend the morning taking photos of the north shore of Maui, Kahalui and the harbour, and the storm clouds over the West Maui mountains from the top decks of the ship.

PacWhale Eco-Adventures’ Catamaran hosts the Turtle Snorkel Adventure excursion today. We leave the harbour terminal at 12:15PM by bus to Maalaea Bay boat basin, and board a large power catamaran just before 1PM. The captain chooses Olowalu Bay on the west side of Maui as our snorkelling location, which is the same bay I snorkelled at back in 2017 when I took an excursion from Lahaina. We have lots of time for snorkelling, and they provide beer, wine, other mixed drinks, along with a BBQ lunch afterwards. I’m glad this is a Holland America excursion, since the tour boat has some engine problems just before we dock, so it is a slow process to maneuver alongside and disembark our rather large group. We arrive about a half hour late to the ship, but they wait for us.

As the ship is about to leave port at 6PM, the storm clouds over the West Maui mountains behind the city and harbour become even more dramatic looking than in the morning, as they are now backlit by the setting sun. Likewise, the slopes of Haleakala are reflecting the light from the setting Sun, creating an intense red hue as we sail out of the port this evening on our way to Honolulu.

The slopes of Haleakela reflecting the light from the setting Sun
The slopes of Haleakela reflecting the light from the setting Sun
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Ketchikan

June 3, 2022 – Ketchikan, Alaska, USA

2022 Yukon & Double Denali Alaska land/cruise

Ketchikan is our last port-of-call before our cruise ends in Vancouver the day after tomorrow. This morning after having breakfast in the main dining room before going on a photo safari tour excursion, which gets me out of the city. The historic Creek district of the city is our first stop. We visit the outside of the Totem Heritage Center next, mainly to see the Fog Woman totem pole. We then go to the library for a scenic view before driving to the Totem Bight State Historical Parknorth of the city. This is a recreation of an aboriginal village, featuring a clan house, totems, and other decorated buildings, along with a gift shop. The excursion was fine, but it was certainly the most underwhelming of any of the activities I’ve experienced on this trip.

Calamari starter – Canaletto restaurant

After I return to the ship, I post my White Pass and Yukon railway videos from a couple of days ago since I now have sufficient bandwidth with the roaming mobile service I’m using today. I get dressed for a 7pm Italian dinner at the Canaletto restaurant up on the Lido deck. While I’m enjoying a pre-dinner martini in the Ocean Bar, I dictate my journal for today using speech recognition on my iPhone. I enjoy a Calamari starter, Veal Florentine Cannelloni main course, and Tiramisu for dessert. I’m finding it so decadent to indulge in such gourmet food accompanied with cocktails and wine! 

I attend BBC Earth Presents : Planet Earth II with the Lincoln Center Stage performers on the Main Stage this evening. The performance is well done, with the live performers doing a great job of syncing with the media being played, adding a welcome dimension to the work. I also stop in to enjoy the evening entertainers at the BB King’s Blues Club.

BBC Earth Presents : Planet Earth II with Lincoln Center Stage performers at the Main Stage
BBC Earth Presents : Planet Earth II with Lincoln Center Stage performers at the Main Stage

It has been a relaxing cruise, but the land portion was more active and stressful, mainly from the required COVID-19 testing, since failing a test would mean quarantine, the end of the planned travel, disruption and extra expense. Now that I have an ArriveCAN receipt, I’m clear to enter Canada in Vancouver without further testing. Traveling without a smartphone and connectivity would prove to be very awkward, since using apps and online form filling are required to travel right now during the pandemic.

As is usual with cruises, the older people are hacking and coughing in the common areas of the ship. I am hopeful that they do not have the COVID-19 virus. It was a cloudy day today but we had some sunny periods and no rain, which was much better than the forecast indicated.

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Juneau

June 2, 2022 – Juneau, Alaska, USA

2022 Yukon & Double Denali Alaska land/cruise

The ship arrives in Juneau at 8AM and my floatplane excursion doesn’t leave until Noon, so I have plenty of time to have breakfast and look around the city. Juneau is the state capital of Alaska, so in addition to tourism, the city has the government and some industry to base their economy on. There are nice plazas, a developed waterfront, the shops are plentiful and appear to be prospering. Before returning to the ship, I check out where Wings Airways dispatches their seaplanes from, which is only a 5-minute walk from where the ship is docked.

Five Glacier Seaplane Exploration

The pilot selects me to sit in the co-pilot’s seat, so that’s a real bonus, allowing me to see out the front of the aircraft as well as having a side window. We soar over the lush wilderness of the Tongass National Forest, catching our first glimpse of five distinctly different and majestic glaciers making up a section of the 1,500-square-mile Juneau Ice Field. We fly over the deep crevasses and azure blue meltwater pools of the Norris, Hole-In-The-Wall, East and West Twin Glaciers and lake, plus the impressive five-mile-wide Taku Glacier. Of the 36 named glaciers comprising the Juneau Ice Field, the Taku Glacier is the largest. The Annex Creek power station is visible as we fly along the Taku Inlet. There is a verdant valley between the foot of Norris and Taku glaciers and Taku Inlet.

We end the flight by overflying the harbour and city before landing on a southerly heading, returning to the dock. I buy a souvenir t-shirt and ball cap combo from the seaplane office before returning to the ship. I have lots of photos and video taken with my iPhone 13 Pro on this spectacular flight in clear and sunny weather – well worth the expense for this excursion.

I have a pizza and a beer from NY Pizza aboard the ship, sitting in the shade beside the Sea View pool on the stern, overlooking the city and harbour. It’s a lovely warm and sunny day. In fact, Juneau breaks a record today set back in 1946 for the hottest day:  28ºC (82ºF). Our Belgian cruise director complains about getting a bit of a sunburn today!

Since I have the drinks package, I’m making a point of ordering cappuccino and alcoholic drinks anytime I want one. Today I had two cappuccinos with breakfast, the beer with lunch. I also have another cappuccino in the late afternoon at the Explorations Cafe, where Maria, the young barista thanks me for leaving a complimentary comment using the Navigator app a couple of days ago. 

I skip dinner or even a snack this evening, since the personal-sized pizza I had this afternoon was 6 slices, which filled me up. I attend the 7pm Step One Dance Company Presents: Humanity and send a comment through Navigator app: “This is my first MainStage show viewed on this voyage, which I thoroughly enjoyed! Please pass on my congratulations to the performers. I know it must be tough to play to a mostly empty house, but their enthusiasm and professionalism shone through.”

I spot my first small Humpback whale at 9:30PM this evening from my verandah as we pass through Frederick Sound. The ship is making 20 knots to Ketchikan, so there is only time to grab binoculars, not my camera.

Juneau
35 photos, 1 video
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Skagway

June 1, 2022 – the White Pass & Yukon Railway – Skagway, Alaska, USA

2022 Yukon & Double Denali Alaska land/cruise

I have a leisurely breakfast in the main dining room this morning: vegetable scramble (eggs) with a cappuccino. There is no rush, since my excursion doesn’t leave until 12:10PM. I have lots of time to wander around Skagway, which looks a lot like Dawson City, since the storefronts are all historic looking, but mostly modern buildings inside. The first few blocks of State Street (the main street) has all the tourist shops and services, but walk further up the street a few blocks, or divert a block or two either side, and the real town reveals itself. Dominating the town are the deep sea docks for cruise ships, which once were also used for ore loading, and the multiple railway tracks of the White Pass and Yukon railway, which run from the docks along the eastern side of town.

I tick off a long-standing bucket list item today: riding on the White Pass and Yukon railway from Skagway to the White Pass Summit. The breathtaking scenery is a counterpoint to realizing the Klondike gold miners had to struggle up this steep mountain pass mainly on foot. When they got to the top, they had to go back down and up multiple times to haul their one ton stake to the summit before the North West Mounted Police would let them into Canada to seek their fortune in Dawson City, some 500 miles further! I think the excursion description is a great summary of my experience:

“Experience an unforgettable journey along the eastern side of White Pass aboard the world-famous narrow-gauge White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, built more than 100 years ago. You’ll pass through some of the North’s most rugged terrain on board a comfortable rail car as you retrace the original route through breathtaking scenery to the summit of White Pass at 2,865 feet. Relax on the 40-mile roundtrip journey along steep grades and cliff-hanging turns as your train agent shares stories from the past.

Back in Skagway, board a motor coach and travel the historic streets of downtown Skagway, part of the Klondike National Historical Park. Visit The Lookout, a photographer’s delight offering a panoramic view of the Skagway Valley, glacier-clad mountains, Lynn Canal and your cruise ship.

Stop at historic Liarsville, a gold rush trail camp nestled beside a waterfall at the foot of White Pass. Liarsville is named for the journalists sent here to report on the Klondike Gold Rush, whose articles included tall tales of the prospectors’ exploits. Browse the authentic camp exhibits, including antiques and garments left behind by the prospectors and those who profited from them. A cast of ‘sourdoughs’ and dance hall girls will entertain you with a hilarious melodrama and a poem by Robert Service, the Bard of the North. 

You’ll also have a chance to try your hand at the art of gold panning in the Liarsville gold fields, where you are guaranteed to find some gold to keep. Enjoy a snack, shop for souvenirs or have your photo taken with a dance hall girl.”

White Pass & Yukon Railway – Skagway to White Pass Summit route map

Would-be gold miners had a choice of two routes: the shorter but steeper Chilkoot Trail, or the White Pass trail, which promised a less steep but longer route. Both were punishing routes which lead to the interior lake region where the stampeders could begin their 550 mile journey to the promised gold to be found in the creeks and rivers of Dawson City. The White Pass and Yukon railway was built a few years later by an Irish-Canadian named “Big” Mike Henry, who built the 110 mile route over just 26 months for $15 million. He is quoted “give me enough dynamite, and snoose, and I’ll build you a railroad to hell.” 

In 1982 world metal prices plummeted, so the ore from the mines the railway transported to ships dried up. The railway suspended operations until 1988, when they reinvented themselves as a narrow guage tourist excursion train between Skagway and the White Pass Summit. The active line was later extended to Bennett Lake (1990s) and Carcross, Yukon (2007). Due to pandemic border restrictions, currently only trips to White Pass Summit are offered.

After returning to the ship, I have dinner in the main dining room with a couple from south Texas. I start with crabmeat corn fritters, panko-crusted hake for the main course, and strawberry pavlova for dessert. The hake is really nice – a new fish for me. I see the Belt of Venus and the Earth’s shadow in front of us after sunset, as the ship makes its way slowly south down the Lynn Canal to tomorrow’s port of call, Juneau.

Skagway
47 photos, 2 videos
Sunset panorama looking west to north from my verandah
Sunset panorama looking west to north from my verandah
After sunset looking north up the Lynn Canal from my verandah
After sunset looking north up the Lynn Canal from my verandah
"We Love Alaska" sign on the bow of the Nieuw Amsterdam
“We Love Alaska” sign on the bow of the Nieuw Amsterdam
White Pass & Yukon Route train station and other shops in downtown Skagway
White Pass & Yukon Route train station and other shops in downtown Skagway
Shops in downtown Skagway
Shops in downtown Skagway
Shops in downtown Skagway
Shops in downtown Skagway
Parks Canada and US National Parks Klondike information center
Parks Canada and US National Parks Klondike information center
Historic Skagway Inn's Back garden
Historic Skagway Inn’s Back garden
Historic Y.M.C.A. Gymnasium
Historic Y.M.C.A. Gymnasium
Cute house with white picket fence, flag and snow-capped mountains behind
Cute house with white picket fence, flag and snow-capped mountains behind
5 electric vehicle charging points
5 electric vehicle charging points
Snowmobiles stored on top of a container box
Snowmobiles stored on top of a container box
Looking down Broadway to the valley from the stern of the ship
Looking down Broadway to the valley from the stern of the ship
Vintage steam engine and rotary snowplow
Vintage steam engine and rotary snowplow
A new engine pullling a White Pass & Yukon train from the Ore Dock
A new engine pullling a White Pass & Yukon train from the Ore Dock
Boarding the train
Boarding the train
Railway equpment on a siding
Railway equpment on a siding
Our train waits on a bridge over a moutain stream for hikers to board
Our train waits on a bridge over a moutain stream for hikers to board
Stove to heat the car in the winter
Stove to heat the car in the winter
Railway maintenace yard
Railway maintenace yard
Looking down the valley towards Skagway from Rocky Point
Looking down the valley towards Skagway from Rocky Point
The highway across the valley
The highway across the valley
Inside our train car
Inside our train car
The front of the train and a siding
The front of the train and a siding
The railway grade above us
The railway grade above us
The railway grade above us with wooden trestle and tunnel
The railway grade above us with wooden trestle and tunnel
Picking up hikers
Picking up hikers
Snow-covered mountain peaks
Snow-covered mountain peaks
View down the valley to Skagway and the Lynn Canal
View down the valley to Skagway and the Lynn Canal
Train passes over a bridge, through a tunnel and another train passes at the summit
Train passes over a bridge, through a tunnel and another train passes at the summit
Our train entering the tunnel to the summit
Our train entering the tunnel to the summit
The trail of '98 where miners struggled up this gulley to the White Pass summit
The trail of ’98 where miners struggled up this gulley to the White Pass summit
The simple sign marking the trail of '98 where miners struggled up this gulley to the White Pass summit
The simple sign marking the trail of ’98 where miners struggled up this gulley to the White Pass summit
Canada-USA border marker
Canada-USA border marker
North West Mounted Police NWMP replica cabin at the summit
North West Mounted Police NWMP replica cabin at the summit
A stream running through the snowy White Pass summit
A stream running through the snowy White Pass summit
The snowy White Pass summit
The snowy White Pass summit
Our train looping back at the White Pass summit
Our train looping back at the White Pass summit
Liarsville welcome sign with camp behind
Liarsville welcome sign with camp behind
Saloon tent
Saloon tent
Shopping list for 1 Ton of goods at Madam Jan's Fancy Goods
Shopping list for 1 Ton of goods at Madam Jan’s Fancy Goods
Laundry tent
Laundry tent
Robert Service skit
Robert Service skit
Robert Service skit
Robert Service skit
Blacksmith and hardware tent
Blacksmith and hardware tent
Panning for gold
Panning for gold
Press tent
Press tent
Overlooking Skagway and the cruise ships
Overlooking Skagway and the cruise ships
Venus' Belt as we head south after departing Skagway with a cruise ship ahead of us
Venus’ Belt as we head south after departing Skagway with a cruise ship ahead of us
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Glacier Bay

May 31, 2022 – Glacier Bay National Park, Gustavus, Alaska, USA

2022 Yukon & Double Denali Alaska land/cruise

I ordered breakfast from room service last night (continental, bagel and lox, coffee), so I don’t have to contend with the inevitable crowds that will be up at the Lido this morning. By 9AM we are into the Glacier Bay channel, heading north to the glacier viewing area. The bow is opened up on my deck 5, so lots of people are going by my door to access that forward view. I’ll go up there later, but I’m quite happy observing all the beautiful scenery from my verandah. It’s great to be able to duck into my stateroom to warm up, work on my journal, consult the maps to determine where the ship is located, and sip cappuccino. I’m so glad I decided to go for a verandah stateroom!

Our Timing (port side)

  • Northbound – proceeding NW, facing SE
    • Geikie Glacier (snow-covered) – 9:45AM
    • Gilbert Peninsula – 10:45AM
    • Reid Glacier (snow-covered) – 11:10AM
    • Lamplugh Glacier (blue) – 11:30AM
    • Johns Hopkins (blue) – 11:45AM
    • Margerie (blue) & Grand Pacific Glaciers (dark) – 1:00PM – 2:45PM
  • Southbound – proceeding SE, facing NE
    • Rendu & Queen Inlets (Rendu & Carroll Glaciers both snow-covered & dark) – 3:45PM
    • Muir Inlet – 4:45PM
    • Bartlett Cove

I go up to the Explorations Cafe mid-morning to get a cappuccino, and end up being given some Dutch Pea soup as well, which is a very good mid-morning nourishment break. I won’t bother with lunch! It is crowded and noisy in the Crow’s Nest, since the park rangers have setup there, and believe it or not some people are playing board games as well.

Cruise ship route map in Glacier Bay
Cruise ship route map in Glacier Bay – Glacier Bay National Park

Our ship slows to give way to kayakers, who are paddling from the Safari Endeavour excursion boat by Lamplugh Glacier. We then enter the narrow Johns Hopkins Inlet to view the beautiful glacier by the same name. I go to the bow viewing area on my deck and take a few people photos and a couple of selfies, but quickly retreat back to my stateroom, since I have great views from there without the crowds.

As we round the corner and head into Tarr Inlet, the National Geographic Quest excursion boat is heading south out of the inlet, and the Seabourn Osyssey cruise ship is at the head of the inlet giving their passengers a closeup view of Margerie and Grand Pacific Glaciers. I take some photos of Grand Pacific Glacier, which is already visible in the distance on our Port quarter. Since Grand Pacific Glacier is quite dirty-looking, the star of the show is Margerie Glacier, which still has lots of blue-coloured ice on a distinct wall close to the shoreline. There is also a significant ice field above with dramatic chunks of ice sticking up. Mt. Fairweather is visible behind the glacier – the tallest peak in British Columbia, my home province!

The ship stays in position for at least an hour with the port side facing Margerie Glacier where my stateroom is located. The ship then turns to give the starboard side staterooms a view of Margerie Glacier for another hour before sailing SE down Tarr Inlet away from the glaciers at about 2:45PM. I take the opportunity to grab another cappuccino from the Explorations Cafe. By 3:45PM we are offshore from Rendu & Queen Inlets. The toe of Carroll Glacier in Queen Inlet comes into view first, then the viewing angle for Rendu Glacier is favourable about 10 minutes later.

This is the end of the glacier show, as we sail SE to Bartlett Cove, where the park rangers disembark to return to their headquarters. The US Parks Service only allow two cruise ships per day to visit Glacier Bay, with Holland America and Princess having priority since they have cruised Alaska the longest. Obviously Seabourn and some other ships also gets some slots.

Cellist in the Lincoln Center Stage - aboard Nieuw Amsterdam
Cellist in the Lincoln Center Stage – aboard Nieuw Amsterdam

The view from my west-facing verandah on the northbound route through Glacier Bay is nothing short of spectacular, however the east-facing southbound view isn’t too exciting. We make our way eastward through Icy Strait and then turn north at Point Couverden into the Lynn Canal, on our way to Skagway tomorrow.

After having an early dinner in the main dining room, I go to the first performance in the Lincoln Center Stage. There are three performers: a cellist, a violinist, and a pianist. The cellist plays an innovative piece, while both the violinist and pianist play more traditional chamber music.

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Hubbard Glacier

May 30, 2022 – Turner and Hubbard Glaciers, Alaska, USA

2022 Yukon & Double Denali Alaska land/cruise

Early this morning, I am a bit worried about not seeing the Hubbard Glacier later today, since when I’m out on the stern deck, there is a lot of fog. The ship sails past the very impressive St. Elias mountain range eastward through the Gulf of Alaska to Hubbard Glacier this morning, while another cruise ship is sailing westward. I attend the Mariner Society Welcome Reception at 11AM, where I meet some of the officers and chat with my fellow passengers with 3, 4, and 5 star Mariner status as we sip wine and snack on peanuts.

This afternoon, it clears up nicely as the ship turns into Yakutat Bay, with beautiful Mt. Cook visible. As we turn into Disenchantment Bay, I spot both Turner and Hubbard Glaciers, taking photos as we proceed. The ship eventually gets very close to the ice pack in front of the glacier face, slowly turning to allow all passengers to get views of this magnificent area.

Daniel E. Lawson – map of the Hubbard Glacier area

There is commentary from the Explorations Lounge on Deck 11, which can also be heard on outside decks. I go down to the Promenade Deck to have a look, but quickly realize I will see everything from my verandah, with the added benefit of being able to duck inside my stateroom to warm up. This is the coldest day of the trip so far, with a cold wind coming at us from the glaciers, so I wear my toque, scarf and winter coat.

Filet mignon main course in Pinnacle Grill

As the ship starts pulling out of Disenchantment Bay, I get dressed in a suit and tie for my dinner reservation in the Pinnacle Grill. I have a lovely Tanqueray 10 Gin martini to start, then crab cakes, filet mignon with sautéed mushrooms and loaded baked potato, finishing off with creme brûlée. I have a sparkling French rose with my main course. Despite the daily program saying attire is “dressy” this evening, it’s obvious that HAL no longer enforces a dress code, since I see people seated in the Pinnacle Grill who are wearing winter coats and jeans, and all manner of dress that is certainly not even close to being dressy.