April 12th
Cruising the Gulf of Alaska

After a wonderful night’s sleep, I awoke at 7:15.  I stepped out to see what the weather felt like.  There was bright sunshine, a gorgeous deep blue sky; & it was in the low 40’s.  I got back in bed with the computer, waiting for the morning show to come on.  I was able to answer the question about Nat King Cole’s birth state (AL).  The prize was my choice of photo from the gallery.

Capt. Glenn announced that we are way ahead of schedule; & have cut back to just 2 engines.  He will bring the ship a little closer to land so that we can enjoy the scenery as we sail in the Gulf of Alaska today.  The winds are 13 knots; & it’s 43*.  His thought for today was a long one.....”Do not live in the past, for it is gone.  Do not be troubled by the future, for it is not yet here. Live in the present; & make it so beautiful, that it will be worth remembering.”

I went up to the Bistro at 9:15; & had coffee, juice, fruit & cheese. I saw none of my friends.  I’m guessing everyone went on the BOTH tour earlier rather than later.  This morning members of the entertainment staff were leading small groups of the WC Pax on a ‘back of the house’ tour.  I was really looking forward to this.  We were to meet at the entrance to the bridge no later than 10 am.  I was in the last group; & there were only 5 of us.  I think that turned out to be a good thing; because we took our time, asked a lot of questions & weren’t rushed along too fast.

I was giddy just being able to stand on the bridge.  Everything is so blue....carpet, desk, ceiling, metal filing cabinets, poles, curtains.  Capt. Glenn & Vice Capt. Ragnar Larsen were wandering around, answering any & all questions.  There are so many panels equipped with levers, screens, joysticks, trackballs, & one tiny black steering wheel about the size of a go cart’s.

Capt. Larsen explained some things on the electronic navigational charts. I got to spend a few mins. with Capt. Glenn on the port side bridge wing admiring the birdseye view of the full length of the beautiful Serenity.  I looked down & realized I was standing on the ‘glass’ window in the floor; & he explained the importance of the ‘window’ when docking.

There are only two chairs up there; about 8’ apart, quite a distance from any control panels.  They look like barber chairs, blue leather of course. The only thing you can control from those seats of honor......a portable walkie talkie!  (I kept picturing Capt. Jean Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise sitting in his captain’s chair, giving orders....”make it so, #1”.)

Once we left the bridge we were wandering in unknown territory, using all the stairs & companionways that the crew uses.  Everything is painted off white; & with the type of lighting used, everything seems to glow in yellowish-green. We wandered down mazes of corridors past crew cabins; walking up stairs & down stairs; who knew where they were taking us.

Finally through an unmarked door, up a few dark wooden steps; & we were backstage of the Galaxy Lounge.  The area is at least 2 stories high; the narrow walkway that took us toward the dressing area had theatrical props hanging from every nook & cranny above our heads.

The women’s dressing area is quite small given the number of entertainers that are probably trying to get ready in there at the same time.  There was a long dressing table & mirror; only 4 stools to sit on. The walls were covered with hanging bags of shoes, wigs, hats, accessories.  Above our heads were hundreds & hundreds of gorgeous costumes that were hanging from tracks hanging from the ceiling.  There is a motorized rail system (similar to but much more extensive than what you would see at the dry cleaners).  At the push of a button, whatever costume you need can be spun around & brought down to the lowest level.  Quite efficient.

Ann Clarke was in my group; & she sat herself down & started trying on some of the humongous hats the dancers wear.  Stephanie Roth, being the lead vocalist, had her own private dressing area separated by a curtain from the rest of the room.  She showed me around in there; & then let me fondle some of her fabulous (& very HEAVY with beads) costumes.  We had to pry Ann away from those hats.

From there we went over to the men’s side; similar to the ladies but with no stools.  Everything appeared to be so neatly organized; with neat rows of shoes & accessories.  They had laid out the Elton John ‘shoes & spectacles’ for us to admire.  One of the guys opened the drawers & showed us their (not so neat) makeup & hair supplies.

Then we proceeded to the less glamorous departments.  First through the tailor’s workshop & then the pantry where the crew swap out their uniforms.  Then it was down to the laundry where James pretended to be doing the ironing.  Lots of people hard at work; not an unpleasant place to work, but it was very warm down there.

James showing Sandy Harley how it's really done.

Then we stuck our heads in the crew gym & found Leroy & Augusto getting a good workout on the ellipticals.

And on to the various dining & entertainment areas for the crew on deck 4.  I noticed deck diagrams on the wall that showed designated areas such as “Italian” section, “Japanese” section, etc.  They have separate dining areas so that the different nationalities can dine & interact with their fellow countrymen.

                                       Each area was bright, colorful & decorated nicely. Some of the foods on their buffets looked really tantalizing.

I even enjoyed studying the crew bulletin board.

We briefly stuck our head into the crew computer room, crew payroll office, a conference room, & their snack/coffee shop.

The final areas that we had access to were the officer’s dining room & bar. Lianne was there to snap our photos & provide a little comic relief.

We were lead back to the Galaxy Lounge where they were serving coffee, juice & Belgian waffles with all the condiments you could possibly want. They were delicious.  On the screen by the stage they were showing a compilation of video clips taken onboard since the voyage started.  The same clips they’ve been showing on the morning show each day.  What an exciting morning it was.

I went to the Bistro; & found Pat sitting there about 11:30.  Yesterday was her first day out of bed; & she overdid it.  She’s not feeling quite so chipper today.  In a while Betty & Kris joined us.  Then along came Ray, Celeste & Bill. We all chatted until about 12:30, when most everyone headed to the main dining room for lunch.

I went up to the Lido to get one last shot at the Asian buffet.  I had all my favorites:  garlic eggplant, prawns, steamed dumpling, spring roll, fried won tons, sushi, duck & lychee salad, pork & prawn salad & orange chicken.

There was a guy peeling rambutan, which look a good bit like a ‘hairy’ lychee. Thinking they were going to taste like lychees, I asked him to peel 5.  They weren’t that good, not really sweet or as fragrant as a lychee.  I hated to waste them; but I could only get one of them down.

I went back to the cabin to get some work done; & enjoy the beautiful scenery on my side of the ship.  Beautiful snow capped mountain ranges with a few low clouds hanging around.  While I worked, I also watched the replay of “All’s fair in love, war & running for President” with Mary Matalan & James Carville.  Those two are a hoot; I would love to sit across the kitchen table & chat with them.

I took a short nap.  Celeste came down to invite me to dinner in Prego tomorrow night.  We’re going to celebrate Betty’s birthday a day early.  I worked a little while longer on the blog.  Liz brought dinner at 8.  I started with Alaskan seafood chowder, which was excellent.

For an appetizer I had lobster strudel with saffron sauce.  This was one of the best appetizers I’ve had on the entire cruise.

My main course was broiled king crab legs with steamed veggies & chive mashed potatoes.

For dessert I had the orgasmic chocolate dove cake that I’ve become so addicted to.

I did some photo work while I watched the replay of General Hugh Shelton’s talk entitled ‘Without Hesitation’.  I found his story of coming back after a paralyzing accident very inspirational.  He also shared some heartwarming stories from the Vietnam War & tales of his relationships with recent presidents during his days as joint chief of staff.

It was a wonderful, action packed, fun filled day at sea on Serenity.  I carried the Kindle to bed about 1.  The seas are very calm tonight; maybe too calm.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful pictures, great commentary and the seafood meal looked tantalizing!

Becky, I've so enjoyed your blog. When and where are you cruising to next?

Unknown said...

Thank you. I will be 'grounded' for a long while, since I'm hoping to build up my travel budget for another lonnggggg one. God willing.....WC 2015 (or at least a good portion of it).