An enlarged version of the blog posts for this northbound voyage, in a more readable format, has been posted at YourAlaskaCruise.com.
It’s Day 2 of my first Princess cruise to Alaska, and my first job as ship naturalist. I was up early this morning as always, and the Horizon Court was the source of coffee to get it started and to greet the sun just after 5. As I start writing this post, the community of Port Hardy, near the north end of Vancouver Island, can be seen through the porthole of my cabin. It’s sunny and 49°F, very different than what the weather forecast yesterday morning led me to expect.
I flew out of Whitehorse on Air Canada’s 06:55 flight, which would connect perfectly with early boarding of the ship.
The seat I got was over the wing so not prime, though it was a window so I shouldn’t complain. The forecast was for sun at each end of the 2.6-hour flight, and that’s what we got. The cloudy period was spent listening to good music and reading an excellent book on whales that I bought yesterday.
Patterns of morning valley cloud as we neared Vancouver.
The Lions Gate Bridge and Stanley Park.
The view up Howe Sound towards Squamish and Whistler as we banked to head out to Surrey for final approach.
There were 2 Princess reps waiting at the baggage pickup area. They offered to send me to Canada Place by taxi but I said I’d wait for the regular shuttle bus an hour later – it was a good opportunity to get a coffee and muffin to get me through what could be a lengthy boarding procedure. The driver of the shuttle bus gave a very good tour en route – I hope that his tips reflected the effort that he put into it, but from the number of “thank you”s I heard from him as we got off the bus, I don’t think it did. This photo is of False Creek, the southern edge of downtown Vancouver.
On the Coral Princess there’s a cabin specifically for the naturalist in the crew area on Deck 5 aft.
While not up to passenger cabin standards, it’s not bad at all, and it has windows! Having wireless access in my cabin is a huge plus for me.
My first impression of the ship was very positive – the decor is very attractive and the art collection particularly good. This is the 4-storey atrium in the lower center of the ship. The pianist whose sounds greeted me as I boarded definitely aided in that positive first impression.
The comfortable and well stocked library.
The lovely Lotus Pool area.
The view from our docked position at Canada Place.
The Lido Deck, with the huge MUTS screen (Movies Under The Stars) dominating. It was showing the World Cup games when we boarded, and I was very surprised at the image quality – impressive technology.
The Sanctuary is an interesting concept. Princess has taken the prime aft location on Decks 12 and 14 (there is no Deck 13) and turned it into a small no-kids private club. It costs $10 per half-day, $20 per day or $90 for the entire cruise. There are a couple of flies in the massage oil, though – if you want a drink there’s a $3 delivery fee, and the main tots play area is right below and highly visible.
A look at the type of art that graces every stairway.
The sailaway party on the Lido Deck was by far the best-attended I’ve seen. Great music and the place was packed.
A look at North Vancouver as we sailed away from Canada Place, starting this new adventure.
Johnstone Strait from my cabin at 04:46 this morning.
Horizon Court, the buffet on Deck 14 forward.
How’s this for a fine location for breakfast?
The sun popped up over the low cloud layer at 5:41 as I was on the Promenade Deck (Deck 7) heading back to my cabin to get to work.
I’ve got a busy day ahead, with 2 presentations in the main theatre – “Glaciers of Alaska” at 12:30 and the “The Gold Rush Trail” at 2:30. It’s now 8am, so time to make sure everything is in order for them, both on my computer and in my head!