Our Alaska Cruise

September 2006















The Cruise


Special Pages





Mermaids!


Dotti and Tammy had set off for the hydrapool on the Lido Deck. They had been regular visitors to the pool during the cruise, and they both loved it.

Since I was on a quest to see the ship in sunshine, my travels took me to Deck 9, where I passed right by the ladies as I was heading outside.

They looked like they were having a lot of fun!

Hi girls!




The Dutch and the Sea





The stacks stood well above me, but I couldn't help but remember that they were standing tall above the buildings of Juneau as well. Here they were close enough to touch, and the history implied by the symbol of a cruise ship behind a silhouetted sailing ship is a long and proud one.

For hundreds of years the Dutch—from whom Dotti is descended—have sailed the seas, in the tiny wooden boats pushed by the wind in their sails, to the gigantic steel cruise ships of today, the land created by dikes and pumps, as well as the people who lived there, has always been connected closely to the sea, from whence it was taken by man.

These stacks are for the mighty engines deep below, in the heart of the ship, but once ships had to rely on the wind to move them, and were crewed only by brave men, because it was a very risky venture putting out to sea. Passengers were few, and took great risk when then made a voyage. Many often died.

Today, thanks to the powerful engines, and the sturdy construction of the ships, cruises like this one, covering thousands of miles, can be planned right down to the hour and the minute, and it is so safe that almost anyone can come along for the ride without fear.




1996
10 Years Before



If you have gotten this far into our cruise you know that not only are Dotti and I celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary with this cruise, but so are Jim and Tammy.

Ten years ago, both couples were marking 20 years of successful marriage with a happy reunion after jobs had moved us to opposite sides of the country for a while.

Also, in 1996, Dotti and I made our first trip to Victoria. Click on the thumbnail above and read about our double 10 year anniversary that 2006 brought to us.

Port Call: Victoria, BC, Canada!


September 23, 2006

























After lunch, since the weather was so incredibly beautiful, I set off on a picture taking tour. (Many of the pictures you will see in the Ship's Tour were taken during this outing.) Dotti was tired and needed to catch a nap, so I went exploring on my own.

I started by stepping out on our verandah to take a few pictures. The chairs and table were completely dry and sun was hitting the deck, and even climbing up the wall. This was so very different from most of what we had seen during our voyage. It was a pleasant change of pace, especially since the air was still cool.

Perfect! The blue of the sky and sea, set against the colors of the ship make a wonder bouquet of color for your eyes. It is no surprise that most ads for cruises show these weather conditions in order to promote the whole cruising package. This setting stands high on the list of the world's most beautiful things. For a moment I forgot all about waterfalls and mountains, and other natural wonders.

With the Olympic Peninsula, and the Olympic National Park off in the distance—perhaps helping to keep alive the memory of the Greek gods like Poseidon and goddess like Aphrodite, who were thought to live on Mt. Olympus, and who kept popping up in the art onboard—a ship rapidly gains on us and looks to pass us to starboard. The sun is painting a band of white across the water, and I wondered how could things could possibly improve?

Zooming in a bit shows us a better view of the ship, with its bridge to the rear of the ship and the whole front portion of the ship dedicated to cargo storage. Its wake is now visible and so are some of the details on the Washington mountains in the distance.

I threw on a star filter for this picture, because I thought the light reflections from the water might look interesting with the filter in place.

At times like this it is difficult what it was exactly I liked about living on land. What a great setting, and what a great place to spend the day!

The filter is gone, but not the beauty of the sun shining across the water. It is so pretty is seems unreal.

Moving forward, I went out on the forward weather deck on Deck 5 for a view of where we were heading. On the left is Vancouver Island, and on the right is the Olympic Peninsula. The deck color and the white trim are so vivid that they are almost shocking.

Here we are looking across to the port side, and Vancouver Island. It is like looking at a different ship, seeing it in the sunshine this way. I was really having a good time taking this walk and shooting these pictures.

I had walked to the port side of the ship and then shot to starboard the reverse photograph to the previous one. Off in the distance is the Olympic Peninsula. Even the reflection in the window is bright with color.

Looking straight ahead shows that we will be making a turn to port before we could reach our final destination on Vancouver Island.


I looked up at the bridge windows, appearing dark even in all this sunshine, and was reminded that this is the command center of the ship, where the important decisions were made concerning ship's navigation, but we never got to visit it.

Stepping back inside, I found the passageway that ran past the doors to our staterooms to seem darker than usual. For most of the cruise I had come in from gray and rainy skies and this hall felt brighter. However, the sun was king today outside.

When I had stopped by the staterooms I found that Dotti and Tammy had set off for the hydrapool on the Lido Deck. They had been regular visitors to the pool during the cruise, and they both loved it. Since I was on a quest to see the ship in sunshine, I passed by the ladies on Deck 9 as I was heading outside. They looked like they were really having fun! Hi Dotti and Tammy!

I couldn't get over how bright all the white paint appeared in the sun. The spinning antennas where helping to keep the navigator informed on what was out there, both things moving and unmoving.

A variety of colors set against the blue sky gave this scene a feeling almost like a circus. The bright red box was a clown's nose and the white of the mast was his painted face, while off in the distance the trained seals have balls balanced on their noses.

The temperature was in the upper 60's, and with the wind created by the ship's movement it felt cool, but it was warmer than anything we had felt for days. It was invigorating!

Walking aft along the port side of Observation Deck, I passed the Retractable Dome Roof, which was open on a day like today. Looking down inside I saw a lady swimming in the Lido Pool and the dolphin statue appearing to play in the sun and shadow.

Looking forward past the retractable roof, the raised Deck 11 and the mast rising even above it, blocked my view straight ahead, but not to the side where sea and sky are separated only by a line of mist.

How bright the white paint appeared, and how vivid was the brown in the rail!

The stacks stood well above me, but I couldn't help but remember that they were standing tall above the buildings of Juneau as well. Here they were close enough to touch, and the history implied by the symbol of a cruise ship behind a silhouetted sailing ship is a long and proud one. For hundreds of years the Dutch have sailed the seas, in the tiny wooden boats pushed by the wind in their sails, to the gigantic steel cruise ships of today, the land created by dikes and pumps has always been connected closely to the sea, from whence it was taken by man.

The Sports Deck stands in the sunshine and waits patiently for someone to come and play. We are cruising to the southeast, and it is just after 3:30 p.m. The sun, past its zenith, is starting to dip towards the western horizon, putting the forward basket in perfect light for a game, but the aft basket would often force the sun into the eyes of the shooter.

This is as far back as you can go on the Lido Deck, and looking forward the empty pool, and empty deck chairs remind us that this is an Alaska Cruise and not a Caribbean cruise. The hot tub is in use, and often was during the cruise, but this outdoor pool was left pretty much alone during this cruise.

We were told by the crew that ms Westerdam was heading to the Caribbean after this cruise for the winter season. Dotti said she wanted to ride it down through the Panama Canal.

The churning wake, left behind by the turning propellers which pushed the ship along so quickly. Once ships had to rely on the wind to move them, and were crewed only by brave men, because it was a very risky venture putting out to sea. Passengers were few, and took great risk when then made a voyage. Many often died.

Today, thanks to the powerful engines, and the sturdy construction of the ships, they can plan cruises like this one, covering thousands of miles, right down to the hour and the minute, and it is so safe that almost anyone can come along for the ride without fear.

It was time to head back to our stateroom. Dinner would be early tonight—5:00 p.m.—because we were going ashore as soon as we tied up at the pier at around 6:30 p.m. Our last port call was nearly here.

Well this was it: the final evening meal onboard. Some people were going to wait to eat in Victoria, but we preferred the ms Westerdam food, because it was always delicious! Also, we had limited time ashore and we wanted to use it for other things than waiting in a restaurant.

Jim has on his Alaska shirt and looks like he is ready to have a fun evening, while Tammy is smiling at something that Dotti is saying.

Dotti is trapped in between wanting to drink her water and wanting to say something. Which one will win out?

Jim and Tammy are caught in anticipation of what is coming next. What will it be? We'll never know because...

At this time the serving crew broke out in song, singing Gelang Gelang, a tune from back home in Indonesia. Our waiter ended up right in the middle of the front row in the picture of the waiters clapping and singing as they came down the stairs.

Here are the words to Gelang Gelang, an Indonesian Farewell Song.

These two gentlemen served us every night at our table. This picture captures their two personalities pretty well. They both did a professional job, but the waiter seemed like he was really happy to be doing it. The busboy did all that was required of him and he was always polite, and never rude; but I always felt like he would rather be doing something else. Maybe one day he will be ship's captain...you never know.

This was the last time that we saw these two, and we said our goodbyes. They were both good guys and we would miss seeing them in the future.

Well, it was time. The ship was tied up at the pier, the gangway was opening and we were going ashore!




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