Today Thursday Sept. 10, 2015, we (Carol, Max and myself) head over to Vancouver …by ferry this time. Tomorrow we will be boarding the Celebrity Millenium cruise ship. I’ve never been on a Celebrity ship before. I’ll be able to tell you how it compares to others I have been on especially Oceania. I’ll also know how I like being at sea for a lot of days. We are staying at the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel. What a beautiful corner suite we have. We have a peek-a-boo view of the water of Coal Harbour as well as all the hotels and office buildings in the downtown area. Oh my! None of these were here when I lived here.
Day 1 of the cruise. Friday, Sept. 11. This morning we got up, went for a strole along the waterfront, had breaky over looking the water. We then walked down to see if we could see our ship. It was there hidden on the other side of the RCL Radiance of the Sea. That whole area around Canada Place is very lovely. I can see that it would most impress visitors to Vancouver. It really is a lovely city although we all agree that we are glad we don’t live here anymore. It’s all about the traffic! We went back to the hotel, checked out, got a cab and then started the three hour process before being able to get on board. Yuk! Not my favourite thing…..but we made it and whoohoo we are on our way….a half an hour late. We are all so excited. We were surprised that instead of heading northwest through the inside channel, we instead headed south past Victoria. It took along time to get past …..about 5 hours. I guess they have to travel at a slow speed but that seemed to be an inordinate amount of time. During our time waiting in the “cattle pen” we met a couple that were originally from Hong Kong but are now living Toronto. Their names were Sai (Cy) & Sheila. What a hoot he particularly was! I wouldn’t mind spending more time with them.
Day 2. Saturday Sept. 12. We wake up off and on all night. It is rocking and rolling. Not bad but….. The morning is cool (the captain said it was 17C. which isn’t bad) and foggy. We had breaky by room service. 3 people, 2 cups and 2 sets of utensils…..oops!!! Not much happening other than familiarizing ourselves with the ship’s layout. I signed up for an Internet package. $109 for 240 minutes. I am not going to spend a lot of time on it for sure. I’ll write this blog along with some pictures off-line but will not post everyday, check email or Facebook. When I do I will get on and get right off. The other two have learned that ît takes like 20 minutes just to get on. It’s just a little frustrating when you are used to high speed wifi.
Day 3. Sunday sept. 13. The cabin is very noisy at night probably because we leave the deck doors open to get fresh air. It causes a draft and so howling noises all night. Of course the one closest to the noise is the lightest sleeper. I’m adjusting probably because my ear plugs go in as soon as I lay down. One thing I will say is there are an extreme amount of oriental Asians….probably in excess of 2/3 if the passengers. It is sort of understandable seeing as I am sure many are returning to their home countries for a visit.
Today at 10 am we are almost half way to Dutch Harbour. The water depth is 7,000 meters. Wow! Incredible. Water and air temperature are both 13C. or 55F.
Day 4. Monday Sept. 14. Time changed last night for the first time. It was a little rockier overnight and expected to get even worse towards dinner time. The captain said that the waves were 4 metres or about 13 feet. Rocky but not all that bad. It did have an affect on the number of people in the dining room at breakfast though. I think the captain said that we have traveled 1200 nautical miles with 400 plus to go before arriving at our first stop….Dutch Harbour in the Aleutians. Somehow I did not expect it to be this cool. Neither did Max. She bought a jacket last evening cuz she didn’t bring any with her. At 6pm the captain comes on saying that the wind is reduced from 45 to 30 to 20 mph. today and the waves have also reduced in height. We will be arriving at 9 am tomorrow instead of 11 am.
This ship is quite a bit more glitzier than the last couple that I have been on but it is in need of maintenance. And …..probably because of the numbers of passengers (about 2200), it seems somewhat disorganized especially the buffet. I will NOT be going to eat there again. Too many people trying to get food, going all over the place and then not enough seats to sit down on. It felt like a free for all. The Oceania ships have just been a little more “civilized” if you get what I mean. The other thing that I noticed was that the passengers are allowed to serve themselves in the buffet. Not so on Oceania.
Day 5. Tuesday sept. 15. Today we arrived in Dutch Harbour in the Aleutians. We had been told by “Capt. Dave” of “The Deadliest Catch” fame that the weather could be variable or “terriable”! It was absolutely a beautiful day…sunny and a little breezy. Perfect for walking. We decided to walk into town to the Safeway which is the absolute hub of everything here. The girls bought t-shirts and Max bought a bottle of wine. I thought the crew would confiscate it upon returning to the ship but that was not to be the case. She said “Damn I should have bought 2”! Oh well! Live and learn. The topography here is not what I expected….not exactly sure what I did expect. It is very mountainous and totally without trees. In a way it kind of reminded me of Newfoundland in places. It really is quite beautiful. We stopped into the WW2 museum on our way into “town”. In one display, they had said the natives had been moved out of the area to protect them during the war. They were sent to a place that had trees. The natives hated it because they couldn’t get used to the trees getting in the way of them whenever they were walking….lol! The runway at the airport almost totally dissects the island. When a plane is coming in or going, the traffic lights stop all traffic because the aircraft could literally take the top of your head off. And it is very short. Strictly for helicopters or STOL aircraft. Our ship is the largest cruise ship ever to stop here. Apparently they do have plenty of small ones of less than 200 passengers during the summer but not 2300 ish and so they had paved the port dock area, put into use the 4 school buses and 2 other smaller ones and numerous vans for taxiing. Many of the residents were put into service to handle this influx of people. We and a ton of people went to a pub called the Norvegian Rat because they offer free wifi if you order food and/or drinks. These passengers have been deprived of connections to Internet of God forbid…….days. Actually we were warned not to use our phones or we could quite possibly bring down their whole communication system. Anyway there were far too many using the wifi that we couldn’t hardly get anything. So……… we all must be forgiven for not letting the rest of the world know what we have been up to. BTW, 14,000 plus steps today. I went up top for the sail away. I wanted to see how the captain did take us out of here. I was right….he just about almost totally pivoted out from the dock. (Yes, it was a dock…..unlike some other ports I have been to where everone has to be tendered in). Just as we left the harbour area going out to open seas, there were many and I mean many …….whales. I am not sure what they were because they were just sort of rolling close to the surface but probably humpbacks but if we had not left our cabin to go for dinner we would have seen the big display of breaching by these huge mammals. The waiters in the dining room were so excited because in all the times traveling in Alaska waters, they had not seen anything like this……and we missed it. We will be leaving here, crossing the Berring Sea in an easterly direction until near Attu Island, then we will head more south towards Japan.
Day 6. Wednesday Sept. 16/15. Another hour back during the night. Tomorrow will be really quite weird. We will totally lose a day so there will be no September the 17th here on board and we will gain another 2 hours this time. Coffee in our lovely stateroom again this morning. I don’t think I have talked about that. It is really quite large, especially the deck which is huge…..enough for 4 chairs, a table and 3 loungers. The stateroom has a Japanese style screen that separates 2 parts of the suite…..2 TVs….not that we are watching a lot. I have not been in the pools even once. It is too cold. I should try out the jacuzzis……maybe. We went to see an art auction. There were a couple of paintings that would have been nice but……. I went in search of a salad and consequently missed 2 parties that the drinks were free that Max and Carol went to. They didn’t know where to find me. I think that it might be a good idea to have walkie-talkies while on a ship in order to find your buddies. Even if we had our phones on with say a data plan, it would not work here…….because there is no “cell carriers”. Later there was a BIG celebration in the Centrum (3 floors open to a central area) with a dance band, balloons and general hoopla.
Day 7. Friday Sept. 18/15. Notice no Thursday. We crossed the international Dateline and lost 22 hours. Today we just be laying low….reading and maybe play a game or two of Skipbo.
Day 8, Saturday Sept. 19/15. We have gained another hour. I am not sure how many hours have been added and subtracted. It is all quite confusing, not only to our heads but also to our bodies. We keep wanting to nap. Nothing much happening just taking in different talks. One, the guy who had been the guest saxophonist a couple nights back, was a rock climber and had fallen and broken his leg. He tells of his struggle to get back to get help.
Day 9. Sunday Sept. 20/15. Another hour back. According to my Fitbit it is 4 pm on Saturday but here it is 10 am on Sunday. We still have 2 time changes to go before reaching Yokohama (Tokyo) in Japan. The captain says that the ocean is 17,000 feet below us…..the air temperature is 14C. but the ocean temp is 18C. We went out on the deck for a half hour walk and just about got blown away at times. It seems that this area must be fishing waters since we have seen quite a number of rather large fish boats….with sails in the front. They were getting tossed about quite a bit. The winds are 25 knots and gusting to 35. Apparently there is a cyclone to the south of us by 400+ nautical miles so it is not have any effect on us. This rocking and rolling does not have any affect on me but personally, I am looking forward to sunny days and getting to see something other than choppy grey seas and grey skies. I should update that to say that maybe we are being affected by it cuz it is is really difficult to walk without looking like a drunk.
Day 10. Monday Sept. 21/15. It is turning out to be a beautiful sunny day. I am laying out on our deck….in my bathing suit……..whoohoo! I’m going to send this now. I have not posted any picture and probably won’t because it is impossible. Sorry!