It was 4 am and I was wide awake. This made no sense at all. There was no rhyme or reason that I should’ve been up at this hour of the day while this perfectly good ship was cruising through the water.
I had planned on having coffee and working on a book I’m writing for one of our grand-daughters, but since there was no coffee yet, I quietly brought my writing material back to the room and then went to the third deck outside for a walk around.
I met some early risers and had someone to talk to till I was able to go to the Lido Deck for coffee. My wife sent me a text at 6:30 am and instead of her being in the room, she informed me she was touring the ship on her own. I teased her about who the fellow was that she was meeting at that time of the day.
Breakfast was served at 7 am each morning, so when the time was right we had our breakfast and decided to walk about the ship taking pictures. It was raining that day, but we still went topside and walked about outside exploring the ship. Although we got a bit wet, we didn’t mind.
This was an adventure neither one of us had ever experienced so we were taking full advantage of it, come rain or shine.
After lunch, there was a talk in the main theater about the different excursions that were available in Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. We attended the meeting and afterwards went to the front desk to book some excursions that we were interested in. I had read the book by James Michener about Alaska, so I was excited to visit the three places mentioned above. It wouldn’t be till the next day that we would reach Juneau, but there was plenty to keep us busy on board the ship.
When my wife had booked the cruise, she informed them that we were celebrating our twentieth anniversary. When we had our meal in the dining room that second evening on the ship, we were given a large piece of cake with a candle in it, and four of the servers sang to us in Indonesian. Wow! What a surprise!
Since we already had our dinner plus dessert, the cake was taken back to the kitchen to be wrapped for us. When it was brought back, it was wrapped in tinfoil in the shape of a swan. Since we were going to the main theater to watch a Broadway-style show, I told my wife I would bring the cake to our room and come right back to pick her up. When I got to the room, our room stewards had made two swans out of towels and placed them on the back of our bed. There was also a bottle of wine and a tray of five chocolate dipped strawberries waiting for us.
Never in my life have I ever experienced this sort of thing.
After watching the show, we went to the Lido deck for some tea, and afterwards, since I had been up at 4 am, I was tired and just wanted to go to bed. That night the ocean was very rough and the ship rocked back and forth. I woke up and couldn’t sleep because of the motion of the ship, so I took my coat and went to deck three outside. Although it was dark, the lights from the ship showed the turbulence of the water. At about 1 am (that includes the hour we had to turn our clocks back for Alaska time), I went back to the room to try and get some more sleep. It will sure be nice to stay in bed till at least 8 am, I thought.
No matter how much sleep I lost because of the rough seas, at 4 am I was back up. This time when I took my writing material up to the Lido Deck, coffee was ready. Throughout the whole trip, I was always up every morning by either 3 or 4 am. Although I don’t mind that time of day because it is peaceful and quiet, and at home I am up between 4:30 and 5 every day, I am also in bed by 8:30 to 9 every night.
On a cruise it is different. There is so much to do in the evenings that you don’t get to bed early.
The ship docked in Juneau at 1:30 pm on day 3. We disembarked to do our land excursions, which consisted of whale watching, seeing Mendenhall Glacier, and taking in an outside Salmon Bake. We found out there had been an earthquake in the ocean during the night and that the whale watching had been cancelled because of rough waters. The water was still rough, but we ventured out and did see a couple whales in the distance. I believe that due to bad weather, the sightings were poor.
From Mendenhall Glacier, we went to the salmon bake. There was only four of us that had booked that part of the tour. It was getting late, but the cook treated us like royalty and cooked extra fish for us to eat.
That night the ship traveled towards Skagway while we slept. After docking in Skagway, my wife and I went on a two and a half hour train ride up the White Pass.
When we got back to Skagway from the train ride, my wife and I got off the train downtown so that we could have lunch before we took our bus tour of Skagway and the surrounding area. The Red Onion Saloon was a restaurant where the workers were dressed up in Gold Rush era style, and it was a pleasure to eat there. Our bus tour took us through parts of the town and then outside to the old cemetery, and then to a lookout above the town.
All in all, it was another awe inspired day regardless of the rain.
That evening we were going to see a movie after dinner, but discovered we have seen it three or four times already. By 8 pm, I was so tired that I told my wife I was going to go to bed, because if I didn’t, I would’ve fallen asleep sitting in a chair. Being an understanding woman, she told me to go ahead and she would find a way to entertain herself. Entertain she did. There is so much to do on these ships in the evening that my wife had no trouble being entertained. Of course, you add a few drinks into the mix and the entertainment becomes more entertaining. Hey, I have to turn her loose once in a while.
We hope you’re enjoying Dirk’s stories! The last one will be published this Friday. If you’d like to reach Dirk, he’d be happy to respond to any questions you may have about his cruise. Just leave a note in the comments section.