Alaskan Cruise – College Fjord and Last Sea Day

Our Last Day has arrived…  *sigh*

On this…our last day of our Dream Alaskan Cruise, we could have slept in.  It was a sea day…until 6pm this evening when we would be in College Fjord.   In any other scenario, we WOULD have slept in….    However…because of our bout with seasickness last night, by 6am we were READY to get up;  we’d been sleeping for 12 hrs!  haha!

After early morning coffee and views at ‘our spot’ at the back of Horizon Court, we headed to the Main Dining Room for breakfast.  We LOVE Sea Day Brunch in the Main Dining Room.  On MOST cruises, we rarely if ever miss it, but on THIS cruise, there had just not been time.  There was today!

After we were seated, the Captain walked around the room, table to table, greeting people, and having short conversations with each table.  (one of the MANY reasons he’s so beloved in the Princess fleet) He came by our table and had a 30 second chat with us…but then the table next to us asked for that photo op…  When that happens, he politely grants their request then leaves that area.  That seems to be his tactic for not getting bombarded.   🙂  Sad….I wish there was a way to tell people NOT to do that and ruin the ‘meeting experience’ for others….  :/

Not long after that, members of the galley staff came by distributing printouts from the kitchen listing a few Princess recipes AND detailing the number of staff required to provide all this food – truly impressive – 360 from Executive Sous Chef down to buffet or galley stewards. This printout was something we’d never seen on previous cruises.  Way to Go Princess!!  🙂

After breakfast, we had a few errands to run – a stop at Passenger Services to get a new disembarkation time assignment (our scheduled time would REALLY rush us to meet our transport) and checking in with the Future cruise desk.  We just barely had time to take care of these ‘tasks’ before….

The Culinary Show began in the Princess Theater at 10:30.  This is a ‘not to be missed’ activity on all Princess Cruises!!  It’s humor, competition between the dining room staff, entertainment…and a bit of cooking thrown in for good measure (both serious…and comedy).   Everyone cheers for their dining room ….and there’s a ‘winner’ of sorts.  We look forward to this…as does MOST everyone else on the ship as there’s typically Standing Room Only by 10:15.  We arrived 30 min. early and got a pretty good seat…then spent that time purging photos from the camera….   After the Culinary Show (on most ships as far as I know…) they announce the Galley Tour – This is NOT advertised in the Princess Patters (just fyi).  It’s really more of a ‘walk through’ than tour of the kitchen, with minimal narration…but interesting none-the-less.

The Galley tour exited into the dining room where the Onboard Outlet sale was going on….  It was the typical madhouse!!!  There ARE bargains to be found at these Outlet sales – especially when cruising Alaska this late in the season, but it’s also wall-to-wall people and long lines to make purchases.

Our afternoon was spent packing, (bags needed to be outside our cabin door by dinner…and we would enter College Fjord at 6:00pm putting a bit of time crunch on us), enjoying the scenery going past us…and attending the last Naturalist presentation “Understanding Alaska’s Mighty Glaciers, Volcanoes and Rugged Fjords”.  In this presentation, the Naturalist told us that though the Captain was required to keep the ship at least 100 yds from the glacier, OUR CAPTAIN was known for pushing the envelope on that..…getting as close as he dared. That evening, I would have sworn he was MUCH closer than a ‘football field’…. but of course, judgement of distances can be greatly skewed when up against these massive glaciers…..

College Fjord

Our Cruise Itinerary said we would arrive in College Fjord at 6….the Princess Patters said 5:30… The Naturalist told us to be out there by 5….and that the first side to get a viewing would be port side (where our stateroom was). There was always information like this in every Naturalist presentation.  THAT’S one of many reasons I highly recommend attending these…even if you think you’re not interested in the topic.  The ‘extra’ information gained here makes attendance worth the time….  (though I don’t know how anyone could not EAT UP the information in these sessions. Her slides were incredible…and she made a point to NOT be boring!!!)  With this information in hand (port side viewing glaciers first) we decided to start our evening on our portside balcony.   I was really looking forward to a more relaxed viewing at College Fjord this evening…and I’d heard that views in College Fjord could be ‘better’ than Glacier Bay in many ways….

College Fjord

Hearing the narration over the stateroom TV while trying to see things going past from our balcony, once again left us ‘choosing’….either inside listening to the audio…or outside seeing the glaciers…we just went back and forth…

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Port side got a FULL hour to view – probably because we arrived 30 min. early and when the ship turned to give Starboard a view, we grabbed coats, hats, et al and headed up to Lido Deck.  Amazingly enough, there were a LOT of available window tables in the Horizon Court on Starboard side, so since it was nearing 7:30 and we hadn’t eaten yet, we grabbed a plate of food and had dinner in front of Harvard Glacier…  “Dinner With a View”  🙂 🙂

We fully intended to have our luggage out before entering College Fjord…but with the Naturalist presentation…and the time change to 5:00, it just didn’t happen.

Leaving College Fjord

When we left College Fjord at 8:30 that evening, we rushed back to our cabin, changed out of our ‘warm glacier viewing clothes’, used what we needed from suitcases before packing them and put them in the hallway.  Whatever you keep with you that night, YOU carry off the ship. We try to minimalize that as much as possible!!

After luggage was taken care of, we could have done many of the shipboard activities they offered.  There were a lot of them.  Princess Cruises had all the same types of activities on this cruise that they have on any other cruise….we just didn’t prioritize those things.  Tonight, we chose to spend those last bits of daylight on our balcony viewing….reminiscing…taking photos…dreaming of our next Alaskan cruise…  We chose quiet and reflective over ‘hype’….  Spending those last hours in peace, quiet and beauty was the PERFECT way to end our PERFECT Alaskan Cruise!!!  🙂

We also needed some time to come to terms with the inevitable…

I was fairly certain that tomorrow morning they were going to kick us off the ship!!

Alaska:

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