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 we were ill last night, 6 am found us READY to get up;  we’d been in bed/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.

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….  :/

Later, while we were enjoying our peaceful breakfast, members of the galley staff walked around distributing printouts from the kitchen listing a few recipes from the Kitchen AND detailing the number of staff required to provide us with 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.  It’s all just fun…but something we try to never miss on a cruise!!  We needed to arrive early as seating is at a premium at this “standing room only” event.  We arrived 30 min. early and got a pretty good seat…then spent that time purging photos from the camera….   After the Culinary Show we took the Galley Tour – a tour that is announced at the Culinary Show…but not advertised in the Princess Patters.  It’s really just a ‘walk through’ 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!!!   We waded through the masses spotting a few bargains…but weren’t willing to stand in the lines to purchase them.  Yes…there ARE bargains to be found at these Outlet sales – especially when cruising Alaska this late in the season.

Our afternoon was spent packing, (bags needed to be outside our cabin door by dinner…and we would be in 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 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 to EVERYone to attend 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.  She was SO interesting!!!)  Knowing this, 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…


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 when the time changed to 5:00, it messed with our carefully laid plans.

Leaving College Fjord

When we left College Fjord at 8:30 that evening, we changed out of our ‘warm glacier viewing clothes’, used a few things from the suitcases so we could pack them, then put them in the hallway.  Whatever you keep in the cabin with you that night, YOU have to 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 (there was a lot going on…)  Instead, we chose to spend the last bits of daylight out on our balcony viewing….reminiscing…taking photos…dreaming of our next Alaskan cruise…  We just chose quiet and reflective over ‘hype’….  Princess Cruises had all the same types of activities on this cruise as they have on any other cruise…we just didn’t prioritize those things.  We were too busy seeing Alaska…experiencing Alaska…soaking in and trying to remember every detail of Alaska.    And spending those last hours in ‘peace’…quiet….was the PERFECT way to end our PERFECT Alaskan Cruise!!!  (imho) 🙂

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!!