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kmerlin14

2019 Trip Report: Queen Elizabeth round trip from Vancouver June 10-20

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We just got back from our wonderful trip on the Queen Elizabeth and I thought I'd do a trip report since i haven't seen one for this itinerary. Internet was very limited so I couldn't really do it live, so here is the replay.

We chose the queen Elizabeth because it was a round trip that began and ended in Vancouver and the ten day itinerary allowed us to visit more ports. We also love to dance, so I wanted a ship with a good dance floor. We have now decided that this ship was a good fit for us because we had a wonderful time.

Our trip started with us flying in on the 8th of June because we don't like the stress of flying in the day of. This gave us the chance to explore Stanley Park and my husband finally got to see the Vancouver aquarium. We stayed at the Hotel Marriott Residence Inn. It was quite convenient, but I found that the bed was very soft and I woke up in pain on the second day. Luckily I was able to work out the kinks doing yoga in their gym. My husband says his side of the bed was fairly firm, so it may have just been a one off. We also decided it would be better if I didn't use the safe after I accidentally pressed two buttons by mistake and programmed it with a combination that we didn't know after I locked our passports inside. I suspect I wasn't the first person to do it, because they called someone to unlock it for us.

 

The morning of our cruise we had a good breakfast and checked out and decided to drop off our luggage at the port. It was about 10:30, but the port was too busy so they wouldn't' let us down and the driver had to drop us off in front of the hotel with all our luggage. It was on wheels so I figured we may as well walk around Canada Place for a bit. Around 11 o'clock we found an elevator that took us down to the luggage drop off  and we eventually found the place where we could drop it off. After that we headed to the checkin because the train and airport transfers hadn't arrived yet. That part got slightly confusing because everything I'd read on the departure ports said that check in was after security for the port of Vancouver. However, this time it was before security and we missed a turn in the maze and ended up in security before we'd received our id cards, so they sent us back to get them. It was still quiet and we got through the next two steps fairly painlessly and reached the place of the chairs where we were to wait for the boarding call. The person I sat beside seemed a little cranky about the wait, but it seemed reasonable to me and there were plenty of chairs for everyone to sit on, so it seemed quite civilized. They gave the boarding call before I even had a chance to haul out my book. Our cabins weren't ready yet, so they invited everyone up to the lido restaurant where they fed us. Before we were finished eating, they announced that the cabins were ready, so we headed down to unpack before muster drill. We were quite pleased with our cabin and enjoyed it for the entire trip. It was right across the hall from the laundry room which meant I could put in a load of clothes and then go out on the balcony to watch the dolphins until it was time to shift the laundry. (I set the time on my phone so I wouldn't' trigger any laundry room drama.) We were also on deck 5 and the captain opened the bow for scenic viewing several times during the voyage. Sometimes we took advantage of it, sometimes we just watched from the balcony in our cabin. The laundry room closes to passengers at 9pm so there wasn't any noise during sleeping hours. I wouldn't hesitate to chose that cabin again. We were also able to sit on the sofa and still see the scenery. At night we would leave the drapes open so we could watch Alaska go by. 

 

Our muster station was in the theater and they had us carry our life jackets there and made sure everyone knew how to put them on. On the Allure we watched a cartoon detective movie that seemed more concerned about hand washing than what we should do in an emergency.

 

After that, it was time to dress for dinner and meet our table mates because the early dining had been moved from 6 pm to 5:30 pm. That was a bit of a scramble on some nights but our table mates were very interesting and congenial and they helped to make our trip special. Two of the couples at our table liked to dance as well and they were great for moral support. This particular cruise had a number of very good dancers on it, so we were too intimidated to dance in the Queens Ball room for a number of nights because we are just social dancers. the first night we went to the show in the theater. 

 

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June 11-Cruising the inside passage

When we woke up this morning, the view from our balcony looked like this so I decided it would be perfectly acceptable to go line dancing instead of looking at the scenery. 

Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor, water and nature

There were a lot of people on the floor, but I was able to hold my own more line dancing even though the dances were all new to me. Once I figured out which steps and what order to do them in without adding any extra steps, I was even able to start pointing which direction we were supposed to be going , so I actually made a friend or two on the dance floor. After that, my husband joined me for the group waltz lesson and we picked up a couple of tips for our waltz. After all that exercise, I was starving, so we headed to the Lido for lunch. We ate there for lunch most days because the food was very good and it allowed me to vegetable load for the day. (Boy did that strategy backfire on the day that they held the chocolate buffet)

 

This was also our first formal night and the black and white ball. We were still too intimidated to actual dance at the ball, so we headed up to yacht club and danced there instead because there was no one on the floor. It was rolling quite badly by then so it made for some interesting dance moves. Many nights we would have dinner, go to the show, and then head to the yacht club to dance before grabbing a snack at the late night buffet. 

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Day 3: June 12 Ketchikan

The weather met my expectations in Ketchikan--it poured. Our cabin faced the town, so we had a nice view from the balcony. This was the only port where I'd planned a private excursion because were had a fairly long time in port and they did guarantee the ship return. I also liked the sound of the hike from the description and reviews on the internet. We went with Tracy from Wild Wolf Tours. Embarkation was easy and then we waited by the gang plank for her like she said in her email. She'd warned us we might have to wait a bit and we did. I wore my waterproof hiking shoes and hiking pants from Eddie Bauer that are water repellent, quick drying, breathable, and stretchy (just perfect) and a tmax type long-sleeved shirt with a puffy jacket and lined rain jacket and poncho. Most of the clothes I brought were spot on, but the one regret I did have was that I brought a lined waterproof jacket instead of the unlined waterproof one that I had bought for the trip and then left behind. Turns out that the lined jacket wasn't as waterproof as I thought so it was a bit clammy by the end of the hike where my sleeves stuck out of my rain poncho. Memo to self--if you buy something specially for a trip, maybe you should actually bring it on said trip instead of leaving it behind. 

 

However the hike was awesome. Turns out my line dancing friend was on it was well and there were only 9 of us, so it was easy to hear the guide when she stopped to tell us things. She grew up in Alaska so she was able to give us some insights into life here. I was fascinated when she told us how the grade seven students go camping for their school closing trip. then in grade 8, they have to live off the land for three days. Her daughter had to eat sea cucumbers even though she didn't really like them. 

Tracy took us to one of the totem museums first before all the bus tours got there and led us around and told us the story of how raven brought sun to the world and what it was like to live in the clan house long ago.

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Everyone would have lived and slept here, but there wouldn't have been a railing in front of the fire pit.

After that, she drove us to the end of the road so we could go on the lunch creek falls trail.

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All that rain made the falls spectacular 

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When we got back to the van, she had a snack of salmon dip and crackers for us and it was absolutely delicious. After our hike,we explored the town of Ketchikan and did a little bit of shopping. A number of people have mentioned that ulu knives make a great souvenir, so I looked for some and found one that came with a cookbook. It had been made in Alaska as opposed to China and I thought I'd look at the cook book and decide if I wanted to get more as presents. By that time we were cold and wet , so we returned to the ship because it would be leaving anyway. Innocently, I put my backpack through the scanner, only to have everyone get all excited and pull me aside. Turns out we aren't allowed to bring an ulu knife on board the ship. They confiscated it and told me I could have it back when I disembarked. I didn't get to read the recipe book and I figured I'd better not buy any others after that reaction. My husband also took great delight in texting my daughter about how her mother was now on the naughty list. Then we changed into dry clothes and headed up to the lido for tea because we were discovering the joys of afternoon tea. (Another clothing note since many people are wondering about clothes for Alaska--I made sure to always have a dry set of clothes  to change into whenever we went out in the rain. One of my fleece sweaters was only worn inside or on dry days so that it would always be dry when I wanted it.) I will write more soon.

 

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Would love to hear more of your trip, we are considering taking this cruise next July but not sure if the QE will be too formal for us? Any photos of formal night would help as we would be flying from the UK so will have weight restrictions were ballgowns worn? Any other info you can provide would be appreciated really do like the look of the itinerary also time in ports, sorry for all the questions.

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8 hours ago, acruiseb4 said:

Would love to hear more of your trip, we are considering taking this cruise next July but not sure if the QE will be too formal for us? Any photos of formal night would help as we would be flying from the UK so will have weight restrictions were ballgowns worn? Any other info you can provide would be appreciated really do like the look of the itinerary also time in ports, sorry for all the questions.

I didn't think anyone was actually reading it so I stopped posting. However, I will try to add some more soon. For now, I can talk about packing. It was quite formal. My husband had planned to wear his kilt for formal night. Then after I'd gotten everything dry cleaned and pressed, he changed his mind and just brought his grey suit and another jacket for the non-formal nights. He did say he then felt underdressed. We actually just bought him a tuxedo for our next trip (Queen Mary eastern seaboard) While we were at the shop the salesman talked us into a carry on that will fit all his formal wear. It's a cylinder roll that fits two pairs of shoes inside and then the tuxedo and extra jacket, tuxedo shirts, and pants are rolled around the shoe tube. That way, I will have more room in the suit case for my formal stuff which actually takes up less room. It also has a spot for bow ties and cufflinks etc. He forgot his, so he used twist ties on the first night and now owns a lovely pair of Cunard cufflinks which were rather pricey, so I hope he remembers them next time.

I will attach pics of our table for the twenties ball (image2141) and another one showing what I wore another night. I saved a bit of space by buying a black swishy dancing skirt with gold trim and then pairing it with a white lace top for the black and white ball and a red top for the Cunard ball that wasn't actually on our cruise (image 2086). I bought a pair of sparkly gold sandals to go with the skirt, but then I realized I probably should bring shoes that hadn't been broken in yet so I went with my silver sparkly sandals that have plenty of miles on them. 

My shore excursion "uniform" consisted of waterproof hiking sneakers and my quick dry, water repellent hiking pants that have a bit of give in them. I usually topped this with a quick dry golf shirt and warm sweater or jacket. It is very important to dress for rain and this is where I made my mistake. I'd bought a purple waterproof jacket for the trip, but then my daughter gave me this cute little collapsible water bottle that matched my shoes, hat, and another jacket that I thought was waterproof. It was not.  And yeah--I regretted it. Next time, I'll bring the purple one. (They also have disposable rain jackets on your bed when you get there and they hand them out as you leave the ship for shore excursions.) My shore excursion "uniform" is now my hiking outfit and running errands in the rain outfit, so it gets a lot of use at home too.

I also brought a "packable" down jacket (image 2053) that could be stuffed into a tiny pocket so that it didn't take up much space. It was only water resistant, but it kept us warm near the glacier and was easy to pack in my knapsack in case I wanted it. We brought hat and mitts too. If you have a balcony, the ship does do two complete turns by the glacier, so we were quite happy watching from either inside our cabin through the window or outside on the balcony. We even made a cup of tea while we were watching. (They handed out hot drinks on the viewing deck as well.) the bow on 5 was opened up. We brought bug jackets and hats for the woods, but didn't really need them. 

I'd brought long tunics and dress pants for the non-formal nights, but I might bring a few more dresses next time.

I also made sure I always had a dry outfit to change into once I got back to the cabin from shore excursions. 

Now I will try to upload the pictures. Let me know if you have any other questions. Will try to do some more of the review when I get a chance.

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The next day we did scenic cruising in the morning. I thought we were supposed to be cruising Tracey Arm, but the Captain seemed to indicate that we were in Frederick Straight. They opened the bow of deck five for people to go and see. However, we found that we could see quite well from our balcony. We'd each brought a pair of binoculars (got my husband a new pair for the Christmas before), so we didn't have to fight over them. If you put on the bridge cam on the television, you can hear the onboard naturalist's narration. And you can make yourself a cup of tea. I also took the opportunity to do a wash because we were right across from the laundry room, so I could set the alarm on my iphone and then run over to switch my laundry over before popping back to watch the sea otters from the balcony.

There was line dancing that day, so I popped down and took that class plus the cha cha. After that I was ravenous again, so we went to the buffet for lunch because it was fast. The view is also fantastic from up there and we often got a table close to the window. I found it was a great way to meet people form other countries when you shared a table or pointed things out in the water to one another.

We got into Juneau at about 2 pm. There were two or three ships in port that day, so we booked the Cunard shore excursion to the Mendenhall Glacier because I was worried about how hard it would be to get on the shuttle if there were a lot of ships in port. Our driver was from California and was very pleasant and full of corny jokes, but we didn't get as much insight into the area as we got from our guide at Wild Wolf tours. We enjoyed our time though. We hiked down to Nugget Falls as soon as we got there and enjoyed the plants along the way. The trail was more like a highway through the wilderness but we did see a porcupine up a tree. we also saw our first "iceberg" Then we headed to the photopoint trail which gave a good overview of the glacier. You can see how far Nugget falls is from today's glacier. It used to be just beside the glacier. I wanted to see it while we still could so that is why I chose this excursion. I had wanted to try part of the trail of time, but there was no one on the trail and this sign at the entrance, so we figured we'd better not. We explored the museum until it was time for pickup instead. The bus driver gave us the option of stopping in town or the ship and we got off in town so we could eat because it was way past our dining time and I was starving again. We had fish and chips at the Hanger. They were good, but I've had better. We sailed out at about 8pm, but I can't remember where we watched from. It might have been from our balcony with a glass of wine. I think we went to the Yacht club to dance again too.

 

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This is lovely kmerlin14, please do keep adding to it. I have made a note for my trip next July to take some specifically dry clothes! Had not thought of that! How long did the walk (there and back) take to Nugget Falls?

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I'm sorry I've only just stumbled across this, it's great to read such a detailed description of Queen Elizabeth in Alaska. Would you mind if I posted a link on the Cunard board ?

(Or moved the whole thread)

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Don't move the thread! Lot's of us aren't on the Queen Elizabeth (and don't do ballroom dancing) but are still finding this report fascinating.

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13 hours ago, kmerlin14 said:

I didn't think anyone was actually reading it so I stopped posting. However, I will try to add some more soon. For now, I can talk about packing. It was quite formal. My husband had planned to wear his kilt for formal night. Then after I'd gotten everything dry cleaned and pressed, he changed his mind and just brought his grey suit and another jacket for the non-formal nights. He did say he then felt underdressed. We actually just bought him a tuxedo for our next trip (Queen Mary eastern seaboard) While we were at the shop the salesman talked us into a carry on that will fit all his formal wear. It's a cylinder roll that fits two pairs of shoes inside and then the tuxedo and extra jacket, tuxedo shirts, and pants are rolled around the shoe tube. That way, I will have more room in the suit case for my formal stuff which actually takes up less room. It also has a spot for bow ties and cufflinks etc. He forgot his, so he used twist ties on the first night and now owns a lovely pair of Cunard cufflinks which were rather pricey, so I hope he remembers them next time.

I will attach pics of our table for the twenties ball (image2141) and another one showing what I wore another night. I saved a bit of space by buying a black swishy dancing skirt with gold trim and then pairing it with a white lace top for the black and white ball and a red top for the Cunard ball that wasn't actually on our cruise (image 2086). I bought a pair of sparkly gold sandals to go with the skirt, but then I realized I probably should bring shoes that hadn't been broken in yet so I went with my silver sparkly sandals that have plenty of miles on them. 

My shore excursion "uniform" consisted of waterproof hiking sneakers and my quick dry, water repellent hiking pants that have a bit of give in them. I usually topped this with a quick dry golf shirt and warm sweater or jacket. It is very important to dress for rain and this is where I made my mistake. I'd bought a purple waterproof jacket for the trip, but then my daughter gave me this cute little collapsible water bottle that matched my shoes, hat, and another jacket that I thought was waterproof. It was not.  And yeah--I regretted it. Next time, I'll bring the purple one. (They also have disposable rain jackets on your bed when you get there and they hand them out as you leave the ship for shore excursions.) My shore excursion "uniform" is now my hiking outfit and running errands in the rain outfit, so it gets a lot of use at home too.

I also brought a "packable" down jacket (image 2053) that could be stuffed into a tiny pocket so that it didn't take up much space. It was only water resistant, but it kept us warm near the glacier and was easy to pack in my knapsack in case I wanted it. We brought hat and mitts too. If you have a balcony, the ship does do two complete turns by the glacier, so we were quite happy watching from either inside our cabin through the window or outside on the balcony. We even made a cup of tea while we were watching. (They handed out hot drinks on the viewing deck as well.) the bow on 5 was opened up. We brought bug jackets and hats for the woods, but didn't really need them. 

I'd brought long tunics and dress pants for the non-formal nights, but I might bring a few more dresses next time.

I also made sure I always had a dry outfit to change into once I got back to the cabin from shore excursions. 

Now I will try to upload the pictures. Let me know if you have any other questions. Will try to do some more of the review when I get a chance.

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Yes, please keep going, thank you for the information.

I will be following along.

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12 hours ago, worldtraveller99 said:

This is lovely kmerlin14, please do keep adding to it. I have made a note for my trip next July to take some specifically dry clothes! Had not thought of that! How long did the walk (there and back) take to Nugget Falls?

Let's just say I found out the hard way during stormy Scout camps and a weekend getaway to St. Andrews where the heavens open so fast that the road turned into a river with whitecaps.

 

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12 hours ago, worldtraveller99 said:

This is lovely kmerlin14, please do keep adding to it. I have made a note for my trip next July to take some specifically dry clothes! Had not thought of that! How long did the walk (there and back) take to Nugget Falls?

You could probably do it in about half an hour, but we dilly dallied and took pictures etc. because I'd booked the tour that gave us about two hours at the site. I wanted the salmon bake combo, but I was worried it wouldn't give us as much time at the glacier. We did the long trail first and then the short one and then the museum so that we would be close to the buses as we got close to departure time. The buses are constantly dropping people off and picking them up in a big turnaround loop so you really need to know your bus number to get back on the right bus. There were about 8-10 buses there at pick up time. Snap a picture of your driver if you are worried about getting on the wrong one.

 

The path down is tailings and about 4 feet wide so it is very easy to navigate. You will be taking it with about 50-100 of your closest friends.

 

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10 hours ago, Host Hattie said:

I'm sorry I've only just stumbled across this, it's great to read such a detailed description of Queen Elizabeth in Alaska. Would you mind if I posted a link on the Cunard board ?

(Or moved the whole thread)

I tried to post it in trip reports for Alaska when I started because it was an inaugural season for the ship here, but I think I did something wrong and I'm not exactly sure where it did end up. I can only find it again by clicking on notifications when someone replies.

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10 hours ago, worldtraveller99 said:

Don't move the thread! Lot's of us aren't on the Queen Elizabeth (and don't do ballroom dancing) but are still finding this report fascinating.

I will keep posting then. You'll have to put up with the dancing part though because that is what I wanted to know when I was doing my research and there wasn't as much info on it.

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14 hours ago, kmerlin14 said:

I tried to post it in trip reports for Alaska when I started because it was an inaugural season for the ship here, but I think I did something wrong and I'm not exactly sure where it did end up. I can only find it again by clicking on notifications when someone replies.

It's on the Alaska board, as Queen Elizabeth is going back to Alaska I'm sure there would be lots of interest on the Cunard board from people interested in a new itinerary, the ship and the dancing.

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June 14, Skagway

My deadlines have all been met and it’s a rainy Thanksgiving weekend, so I will try to do another post about our trip. This was our big spurge shore excursion. Yukon Trail was one of the first computer games my kids ever played and I vividly remember the frustration of trying to get a Windows 3.11 game up and running on our brand new Windows 95 computer and telling the girls that NO, they could not call their friends at 7 am on Christmas day to see if they could help. They did eventually get the game up and running and had a lot of fun playing it. So naturally, we had to do the Bennett Lake train/bus excursion. In the game, players have to chose between taking the Whitehorse pass route and having the option of using a packhorse for their stuff or taking the Chilkoot Trail and having to take everything on their back. This excursion would let us take the train up the Whitehorse Pass and the bus back down the Chilkoot trail, so we just had to take it. We took the ships shore excursion because I was worried about getting off the ship and to the train on time if something went wrong.

 

I needn’t have worried about that. The shore excursion people gathered in the Queen’s room to check in for their tours and get one of those little coloured stickers that make you feel like a preschooler on a daycare excursion. Meanwhile the private shore excursion people were getting off the ship and walking down to the station. Once our sticker shape colour was called, we made our way to the tour loading zone to find our bus and bus driver. She introduced herself and drove us to the train station. As she dropped us off, she told us to look for the bus with the mandala on it when we got to Carcross.

 

We enjoyed the train ride up. My husband sat in the carriage and I flitted between the carriage and the platform where I enjoyed feeling the wind on my face. I tried to take pictures, but there were a lot of people with fancy cameras on the scenic side, so I mostly looked the other way since I just had my iphone and I was a little worried about dropping it. I figured we’d just get the DVD, book, and hat combo for our pictures instead. The hat was cute, the book wasn’t the best printing job, but it did have a nice section on Alaskan plants to look for, and you guessed it—we’ve never looked at the DVD.

 

We did have to show our passports either just before or just after the Canadian border–It’s too cold to have people stationed on the actual border.

 

Bennett Lake was absolutely awesome. It was a beautiful day, so we explored the site and headed up to the end of the Chilkoot trail. We would have hiked down it a bit, but no one else was and there was another one of those bear signs again that made us think twice. Even though there was a trainload of people at the site, it still seemed very peaceful. The place would have been wall to wall tents for a wide area as they all spent the winter there and made their boats to float down to the goldfields in the spring though. The area is still recovering from it ecologically.

 

After that we explored the area close to the station. There was a sample boat like the ones the prospectors would have built during the winter could use it to float down to the gold fields in the spring.  In the museum, they had a display that showed all the supplies that they had to have before the RCMP would let them across the border. If they were packing it on their backs, they usually had to make several trips.  We also took a selfie in the Parks Canada chairs before we boarded the train to Carcross. Lunch was included and it was quite good—chunks of turkey on homemade bread and I can’t remember what else. We were able to get Canadian cell phone coverage as we got closer to Carcross so I was able to check in on the kids and the business without blasting through my Roam like Home cap. Just outside Carcross we saw a small grizzly in a tree and someone from Carcross later told my husband that they were trying to encourage it to move along because it was too close to the town.

 

Once we were in Carcross, we found our bus driver in a parking lot and she told us when to be back on the bus. I’d been hoping to see some of the sites from the Carcross episode of the Still Standing tv show, but evidently all those places were much further down the road. This area was mostly shops, so we bought some souvenirs with Canadian dollars.
When the time came to leave, one passenger was still missing. His hat was on his seat, but we didn’t have the head that went under it. So, our tour guide waited 30 seconds, made a phone call, and left. . . In her defence, she might have been informed that he’d already left on that phone call because when we got back to the border, they wanted her to confirm that we were missing someone from our party before we crossed back into the States.  The Captain also announced that everyone was on board before we sailed, which reassured me because I had been freaking out at the thought of leaving someone behind, especially since we’d crossed the border to get there.

 

The ride down was pleasant, but it could have been a lot more interesting with a better guide that came from the area and a smaller vehicle. There were a few instances of, “There was a bear back there, but I couldn’t stop” etc. We were also astounded to learn that the Yukon is a territory within the province of British Columbia that she thought extended down as far as Victoria (an island)—not exactly the way we learnt it in school. If I was doing it again, I think I would go for a smaller bus and a local guide and possibly give up the train trip if I had to.

 

They opened the forward deck five deck again for sailaway, but we spent part of it eating dinner in the Britannia. At first, I’d been disappointed that our assigned table wasn’t near a window, but it was actually possible to see out all the windows since we were in the centre of the dining room, so it all worked out. We were definitely pleased with our table mates and waiters. Being in the centre of the room sometimes felt like being on the fulcrum of a teeter totter when the ship started rolling though.

All in all, it was a grand day and I’d love to go back with my girls.

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2 hours ago, worldtraveller99 said:

What beautiful weather kmerlin14! Looks like a lovely day. Thank you re the Canadian $, I have noted that!

They are perfectly happy to take and actually expect American dollars there. I just wanted to pay with Canadian since we were in Canada and I didn't want to get dinged by the exchange rate. It was also rather neat to go back to your own country via a shore excursion from another one.

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Very nice report. I enjoyed reading about ballroom dancing, even if it’s not something I will (or can) do. 

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Saturday, June 15-Icy Straight Point

Originally, my husband was going to go fly fishing while I went whale watching for this port. However, he changed his mind and cancelled his trip because there weren’t going to be many fish species running while we were there. So, he had a lazy morning while I headed to the ballroom at 7 am to get my sticker for this shore excursion. We were the only ship in port that day, so we docked and didn’t tender like they had mentioned on our itinerary.

The ship shore excursion was on one of the larger boats (possibly Allan Marine because they came over form Juno) We could sit inside and still see quite well. We also were able to go out on the bow when the ship got to the active whale and eagle watching area. The tour guide was pleasant and gave a couple of short talks while we were going out and back. She’s also brought a few props like a baleen rib and polar bear fur. My seat mate had brought a plush hat to keep her head warm and we started to get a giggle out of the number of people who picked it up thinking it was one of the props. I’m pretty sure they also provided binoculars, but I just used my own because they were quicker to focus and search with because I’m used to them.

For clothing I wore my packable down jacket and hat and mitts and I was quite comfortable because I could just unzip the jacket if I got too hot. The water was a little choppy, so I’d taken the precaution of taking a meclizine capsule before I got on the boat and I was fine. (I probably didn’t need it though.) We used to be able to get Bonamine in Canada, but I haven’t found it for years. However, I did find a specialty pharmacist that makes up capsules of meclizine (the active ingredient in
Bonamine) on request. That is my go to for seasickness, but the lemon ginger tea helps as well and we usually brought a couple of packets down to our cabin so we could make it there if we didn’t feel like heading up to the Lido restaurant for it.

I enjoyed the feel of the wind on my cheeks and racing over the water in the boat. We did see some whales, sea otters, seals, and eagles. I didn’t take too many pictures because I wanted to see all around instead of just through a camera lens. Figured I should take a few though and I’m attaching a fluke picture. What do you mean you can’t see the fluke??—Look a little closer. It’s there.

After the tour, I went back to the ship to find my husband and we set out to explore the point. (I switched to my lighter jacket as well) He’d seen quite a few whales form our balcony including 5 humpbacks that had followed our boat that we never noticed, and he still insists he saw more than I did.

Breakfast had been very early, so I was hungry again, so we stopped at the Cookhouse for fish and chips. I felt these ones were better than the ones at the Hanger in Juno. We found that Icy straight was quite pleasant to just explore on our own with no shore excursion. There’s a very short nature trail (maybe 5 minute walk), but it is through a lovely part of the woods, so it is well worth doing. It also looked like there was some trial building going on, so they could be extending it or maybe putting in a Tree go or something like that.

The shops and museum were interesting as well. I bought some salves made from the local plants. Since we were in a local canning factory, I bought a tin of salmon that you will hear more about later. My plan had been to buy more Ulu knives here if I liked the first one, but I figured that would not be a good idea after the reaction the first one got.

There’s a trail to Hoonah from Icy Straight so we walked part of the way along it until it was time to turn around and head back to the ship because all aboard was at 4:30. They opened up the bow part of deck five again for the sailaway. Our dining time was at 5:30, so we just changed and watched the scenery go by from our balcony.

All in all, it was a very relaxing day. My husband was quite happy without a shore excursion. If I ever go back, I’ll probably do the walk to Hoonah or a hiking shore excursion.

phots attached are my fluke picture, the cook house, nature trail, can you find the ship in the picture, and my whale watching boat heading back to Juno.

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Hubbard Glacier:

I figure this is a good time to do a few more posts about our trip because our living room is still covered in dustsheets until our painter feels well enough to finish the job. Our next “port” was our visit to the Hubbard Glacier, but it was more like a sea day with awesome scenery. The day dawned wet and drizzly, but my husband went to the viewing deck while I stayed behind and took a picture of him on the bridge cam. I found it was much pleasanter to watch from our balcony because it was sheltered from the wind and rain and we could make a cup of tea while we were watching. I loved the sound of the ice cracking as we entered the bay. It sounded just like the water scene from the Titanic movie.  But we couldn’t here it as much once we got closer to the glacier.

 

And our Captain got us very close to the glacier—even the naturalist on board was impressed. Once she was there, she rotated the ship twice so that everyone got a great view. I found it was interesting to see out the bay when we weren’t facing the glacier, so I was just as happy watching everything from our balcony as I would have been on the viewing deck. We also got to see some glacier calvings, but I don’t know if I can upload videos or not.

 

The weather had cleared up by the time we were due to leave the face of the glacier, so we went for a stroll on the promenade deck as the scenery drifted past. (I’d skipped two dance classes to watch the glacier, so I needed the exercise.)

Then we headed for the Lido for lunch, but the place was jammed because it was the seafood buffet. We couldn’t find a seat either there or in the Garden lounge, so we decided to go to the main restaurant. At supper, a couple of our table mates later told us that they had taken their lunches back to their room, so we’ll know what to do next time.

 

It wasn’t a formal night, but I decided to wear my swishy skirt and a fancy top because it was a sea day and I didn’t feel out of place at all. Usually after supper, we always headed back to our cabin to get freshened up. It was always fun to read The Canadian (a news digest) and the Daily Program before going out to the show in the theatre. For some reason, we took too long this night and realized we were going to be late for the show. Since we didn’t want to walk in late, we decided to skip it and go to the Queens Room to see how crowded it was for the recorded ball room music. And we finally got brave enough to dance, so I got to dance on the big dance floor wearing my swishy skirt.  We even caught the late show in the theatre, so all in all it was a great night.

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Really enjoying your review. Keep up the writing, I'm enjoying your Alaskan dream this year as I get ready for my return there next year.

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Sitka: (Monday, June 17) 

Kitchen Reno is finished and the living room has been painted, so I’ll try go get some more of this review done 

 

The next port was Sitka and we didn’t have any excursions planned for this one since it looked like it was a good port to walk around. We really enjoyed our day. The ship docked a fair distance from the main downtown, but there were shuttles provided to take us into the main part of town. They dropped us off at a tourist info/shore excursion station that had a museum that told the story of the town from the Tlingit, Russian, and American points of view. We picked up a map of Sitka and started to navigate our way to St. Michael’s Cathedral which had some wonderful icons. (but was it ever crowded) We found our way to the blockhouse which was a little eerie because there was no way in, but it sounded like there were footsteps inside it. I couldn’t help wondering if maybe it was haunted.  

 

Then I dragged hubby through the mud and into the graveyard. It was wild and different. At this point, my husband wanted to head back to the ship, but I managed to persuade him to walk along the harbour to the salmon museum. (I didn’t actually want to go to this museum, but I did want to see the Sitka National Historic Park—I just didn’t’ think this was a good time to tell him that.) Once we got there, I did persuade him to stroll through the woods and it was almost magical.  There are totem poles throughout the woods, and we got as far as the clearing where the last Tlingit/Russian battle took place.  

 

There were still a few places I wanted to check out, but I did let him talk me into going back to the ship after that, partly because I’d seen the weather reports and knew the heavens were about to open up. On the way back to the shuttle bus stop, we saw the house where I think they filmed The Proposal which is just behind the Celebrity ship anchored in the bay. Someone had told us that the film had been shot in Sitka, so we'd tried to watch it before we left on our trip. After paying to rent it on demand from our cable company, after we couldn't' find it on Netflix, it was one of the movies offered on our flight to Vancouver.

 

We took advantage of our early return to have tea in the Queen’s room and was it ever good. The scones seemed fluffier than the ones in the Lido and the clotted cream they served with them wasn’t sweet. (I have to watch my sugar intake, so I appreciated being able to have some this time.) I probably made up for it by having the chocolate treat, but was it ever good. That was the only time we got to tea in the Queen’s room, but I really enjoyed it and want to do it again on another voyage. 

 

There was a great acrobat show in the theatre that night and then we headed to the Queen’s Room for Big Band night. We even got up the nerve to dance again because there were lots of numbers we could jive, chacha, mambo or hustle to. They played the recorded ballroom music in the Yacht club, so many of the serious dancers went there instead. 

 

Some of our table mates took an excursion to Fortress of the Bear and really enjoyed it. The pictures are of ravens (very important in their culture), the blockhouse, the graveyard, the site where the battle took place, the house where the Proposal was shot I think (no ship sorry), sign at the high school that we saw on the bus shuttle, and the Queen's room tea.)IMG_2117.thumb.JPG.b29f8d8257cbb07a43c51ed570c0b1a8.JPG

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