Dramamine, a Glacier, and a Piano Bar

Trip Start Aug 14, 2011
Trip End Aug 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Celebrity Millennium

Flag of United States  , Alaska
Saturday, August 20, 2011

The next morning we awoke to significant rocking of the ship. And that's not a metaphor, so get your minds out of the gutter.  How significant it was depends on whom you ask.  Heath didn’t really feel much at all, or at least, it didn’t bother him.  Me, on the other hand…Well, suffice it to say that I tend to suffer from motion sickness now and again so I was a little uncomfortable.

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.  Notwithstanding my oogyness, I got a plateful of eggs Benedict and sat down.  And looked at my plate.  And then hollandaise sauce didn't look so appetizing anymore.  And then I decided that my stomach didn't really want brunch anymore.  Sigh.  Heath, on the other hand, had a huge plate of food which he gobbled down and said was delicious.  I went back to the room to lay down for a few minutes.

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. Logan in the Yukon. The cliff face we sailed along is over six miles wide, 300 to 400 feet from the top to sea level and 300 feet from sea level to the bottom.  It was named in 1890 for Gardiner G. Hubbard, Massachusetts lawyer and educator, and founder and first president of the National Geographic Society, which office he held from 1888 until his death.  OK, educational portion over. Wake up.

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.  We could actually hear it groaning and creaking, although we did not see any calving.  This glacier (and all of them, I guess) are a fantastic shade of blue, because of the way the light is absorbed through the density of the snow and ice, or something scientific like that (I told you the educational portion was over--look it up if you want specifics).  Anyway, it’s quite beautiful.  We therefore proceeded to take about 500 pictures of the big block of ice.  Happily, I narrowed them down to about 20 so as not to bore my family and friends to tears when they look at the photos.  Even more happily, I realized that I was feeling much better as the afternoon wore on.  Must have been the beauty of the scenery.  Or perhaps the Baileys.

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.  We had an assigned table, at which we would sit all week.  It turned out to be a table for eight, about which we were both excited and apprehensive.  Excited because we always like to meet new people.  Apprehensive because what if they were old and boring and had no sense of humor, and we were stuck with them for a week?  And, lest we forget, Heath and I are NOT in the average age range on this ship.  Once again, I should not have worried.

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. But, there's always tomorrow.

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.
Slideshow Report as Spam
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Otto on

Great stuff. You can write, fo sho. If only Robin knew how to swim...oh well...

"Well we're all in the mood for a melody
And you've got us feelin' all right..."

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