Links to Ketchikan photos and videos from cruise 

5-30-08

When we were researching the various ports of call, trying to determine what we would do in each, we found a cool website (that now is less cool, as it seems to charge a fee) listing how many ships were going to be in each port. We saw that we were going to be in Ketchikan along with the Diamond Princess, HAL Westerdam, and NCL Pearl, all giant ships. As we weren’t going to do any sort of excursion that would get us away from the madding crowds, we decided that we would stay on the ship in Ketchikan and pretend it was a sea day. But then, we needed some binoculars, and on embarkation had received a coupon book, and this coupon book said we could get binoculars at the Tongass Traders for 8 bucks – so off we went. It was busy along the waterfront, with all these ships in port, but not terrible. And we loved Tongass Traders. We went upstairs to the sporting goods section for the binoculars, which wasn’t too crowded, and a lovely man named Mike showed us all the binocular choices, and gave us a little tutorial on how to focus and use then. He spent loads of time with us and was very sweet.

I had left my knit cap in the room, and it was a little nippy and my ears were cold (but dry and mostly sunny – we’ve had spectacular weather so far); but, not to worry – there was a coupon for a knit cap with an Alaska logo on it for only 2 bucks. So we made our way to the Alaska souvenir section for the hat. As soon as we entered the souvenir area, we found ourselves crammed cheek by jowl with all the other cruise passengers, and it was a challenge to find the hats, and then another challenge to get close enough to them to grab one. But we managed, and then fled to the hardware section, where it immediately quieted down. There was a huge line at the check out in souvenirs, but no line in hardware, so that’s where we paid for our stuff.

While we were checking out, the lady asked us where we were from. We said Portland, Oregon. She said “You’re kidding! I’m from Portland! Southeast 52nd!” We said “We live on Southeast 45th, near Woodstock.” She said “You’re kidding! I lived near Woodstock!” We found that we live about 8 blocks from where she was from. At this point she started ringing things up wrong and getting all flustered, and kept saying “I’m sorry about that, I’m just so excited!” She was very cute, and we decided that we enjoyed our shore excursion to Tongass Traders as much as we would have enjoyed one to anywhere else.

We went back to the ship and had lunch, then went back to the room and spent our lazy sea day on the balcony. Again, we were in the sun, which was divine (I even got a bit of color in my face), plus the port side of the ship was facing away from town and looking out over the Tongass Narrows, so we got to watch cruise ships and fishing boats come and go (while we were there, the Pearl, Westerdam and Diamond sailed away, and the HAL Volendam arrived), float planes take off and land, plus the occasional bird fly by, including a couple bald eagles.

At around 2pm I went to the gym to ride the exercise bike, and Lis did yoga on the balcony. Then Lis went and got a massage, and I took a shower in the ladies locker room of the spa (across from the gym) and then went up on deck and sat in the Jacuzzi and took in the scenery. It was very lovely. Then back to the room, where we read until dinner. Another little note about exercise: since our cabin is located about halfway between the public rooms on decks 5, 6, 7 and decks 11 and 12, we decided that we would try to always take the stairs. And we’ve been pretty good about this so far and have only been in the elevators 1 or 2 times. This morning, we had to do something on 5 before going to breakfast on 11, and we were very stalwart and took the stairs. We thought that it would be getting easier by now, but our legs are sore and we continue to huff and puff and droop some on climbs of more than 3 floors. We figure that we’ll finally get used to it when it’s time to leave the ship.

We ate in Latitudes tonight, the Indochine fusion specialty restaurant. We had talked with the Maitre’d this morning about the menu (that was our errand on deck 5 before breakfast), and she had made arrangements with the chef and Lis was able to eat almost everything they offered. Not that there’s a lot of dairy in Asian cuisine anyway, but still, they were very solicitous. The food was really, really excellent, though the format is such that they basically bring you a bit of everything on the menu, so for the first time this cruise I ate to the point of discomfort, as I believe Lis did, too. We had just been congratulating ourselves on avoiding eating until stuffed – I guess we spoke too soon. The other interesting thing about the restaurant was that the staff were all female – the Maitre’d, the sommaliers, the servers, everybody. About halfway through there was a young man filling waters, but otherwise it was a female space, which we thought was fun.

There was another beautiful sunset tonight, but due to the position of the ship as it navigates the channel, the starboard folks got to enjoy it this time. I suppose it was their turn…