Dramamine, a Glacier, and a Piano Bar
Trip Start Aug 14, 2011
13Trip End Aug 26, 2011
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But…we were on vacation, so I tried to make the best of it. And tried NOT to envision feeling like this for a whole week!
The first day at sea there is a fantastic brunch in the dining room—and those of you that know me are aware that brunch is definitely my favorite meal. So we go. And it’s amazing. There are omelet stations, French toast, pancakes, English breakfast, lunch stations, eggs Benedict (my all-time favorite), and tables and tables and tables of desserts
An hour and a Dramamine later, I actually started to feel better. Or, better enough to make my way to the casino, where there was a slot tournament I wanted to enter. I entered, but sadly, did not win. I did, however, get a mimosa while I was there, which made me feel surprisingly better.
In the meantime, the ship was making its way toward Disenchantment Bay and the Hubbard Glacier. Heath noted that once we got out of the open ocean waters I would feel much better, which turned out to be true. So we made our way to the pool deck to camp out in some chaise lounges to await arrival at the glacier. Which brings me to the educational part of today’s report:
Hubbard Glacier is the longest tidewater glacier in Alaska, extending 76 miles from its source on Mt
I have to say that the crew on this ship thinks of everything. It was about 55 degrees on deck, and getting colder as we approached, and beginning to rain as well. Not only do they provide warm wool blankets for everyone sitting out there, but also mugs of hot chocolate laced with Baileys. Which, of course, can be conveniently charged to your account (just the drink—the blankets, blissfully, were free).
There was an eeriness as we made our way slowly towards the glacier, which eventually became visible in the distance. We started to see ice chunks in the water below, first just a few, and then the whole surface of the water became covered with them. You could hear cracking and knocking as the ship slid through the water littered with ice. (Anyone else flashing back to Titanic right about now?) The glacier itself was quite impressive, and apparently we got as close as the ship was able to get (about a quarter mile away), so we had a great view
Later, still on the pool deck, the Activities Director announced that they were looking for volunteers to take part in what was billed as a "Polar Plunge," which apparently entailed jumping into the outdoor pool, in a big group, for fun (and a certificate of accomplishment). Heath signed up immediately. I declined--remember it was 55 degrees and pouring rain. Turns out, the pool is heated so….there really was nothing polar about it. But it made for some fun video.
That evening we had our first dinner in the main dining room
Our table was made up of four Canadians, a couple from India, and us. They were all great fun, very talkative and interesting. Our waiter, who would also remain our waiter throughout the trip, was named Carleton, and was from Jamaica. He was, I must say, probably the best waiter I have ever had at any restaurant in my life, ever. He was quite witty, and willing to please, and seemed truly interested in whether we liked everything or not. Also, he called all the women, “m’lady.” Um, you had me at hello. I currently am trying to figure out how I can get everyone at work to call me that. I will say that the presentation of silverware was daunting, although I did secretly hope to be able to use every spoon and fork with which I was provided. Not surprisingly, our dinner was fabulous. The only negative thing I can say about the food is that I didn’t have enough room to try everything on the menu, and therefore, did not live the dream of using 17 pieces of flatware in one meal
After dinner we checked out the piano bar on board. Since it had been billed as “Billy Joel Tribute Night,” I figured, how could we go wrong? Well, when we got there, we heard the final bars of “Pianoman.” This worried me, since every piano bar I have ever been in has used that as a closing song. Turns out, apparently the “tribute” was only the first set, because we never heard another Billy Joel song. This didn’t stop us from enjoying ourselves, however. The audience was rowdy enough to make it fun (remember we are on a ship where the average age is 60+, so you may need to re-evaluate your interpretation of “rowdy” for this bit). But even 60+-year-olds singing “Sweet Caroline” in a bar is pretty entertaining. One odd thing, which continued throughout the trip: There was a woman in the audience, sitting right in front of the piano….knitting. Through the entire set. Every now and again she would look up, smile, maybe laugh…and then go back to her knitting. I think the first night she completely finished a blue scarf.
Since this was about halfway through the trip, a slideshow of the pictures taken thus far is attached, Be forewarned, it's about 20 minutes long. So....get some snacks.