What a Rush! Alaskan Cruise Vacation: Day 8, Inside Passage

IMG_0911Well, sad to say, the last day aboard ship arrived, and we found ourselves at sea when we awoke. As Coleridge said, “Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.”

We dressed, went down to breakfast and then went back to the room.This was the first day we didn’t have much to look at outside, so we were content to enjoy the cabin and watched the latest Hercules movie on television.

We’d taken the time to visit other parts of the ship on previous days and we decided to go and use to indoor, heated spa. We sat in the hot rooms on heated loungers, and used the therapeutic pool and hot tubs surrounding it. Finally, we went back to the room to change and get ready for lunch. After lunch, we were going to a wine and food paring event.

IMG_0578There are several restaurants aboard ship, but some of them are restricted. Suite passengers, for example, have their own dining room, Luminae, while Aqua class passengers were given priority in Blu, the restaurant decorated with lotus blossoms, carrying on the spa relaxed atmosphere into meal time. The menu featured clean cuisine–no heavy sauces and gravies, but it was delicious. During the week, we feasted on rack of lamb, filet mignon, two different types of salmon, sirloin steak so delicious it melted in your mouth and always cooked to perfection, chicken, and pork loin. All meals were four course, and everything was phenomenal, and always accompanied by a terrific wine. The nice thing about Blu was that we could choose our own time to eat. In the main dining room, you had a time allocation, either 6 or 8, but we enjoyed the freedom of eating later, usually somewhere between 8:30 and 9:00. That way, we could enjoy the show at 7 and eat without being rushed and be in lots of time for the second evening events which usually took place around 10:15.

20150616_011541_resized Since we ate late, we often were fortunate enough to have a window seat, and since it didn’t get dark until almost midnight, although that time shortened as we came south, there was always lots to see. From the restaurant window, we saw schools of dolphin and salmon, and what many of us believed were killer whales or orca, but they were in the far distance20150616_011530_resized, and sine the ship was moving, quickly out of sight.

The wine steward, Fernando, made sure we had good wine, one always chosen with our palate and not necessarily the food as had been customary in the old days.

There were also specialty restaurants aboard the ship, and if we take another cruise, we may try them out. Since everyone is so friendly, I did get a chance to visit the Olympic the French-style specialty restaurant, decorated with memorabilia from the RMS Olympic, the Titanic’s sister ship. To sIMG_0815ay the decor was out of this world is nothing. Have a look for yourself.  You enter into a foyer with mahogany panels from the original ship.  Dress for dinner in the Olympic is always formal anIMG_0822d there is a surcharge to eat here. Since we were attending the wine and food paring–we’d reserved our spot on the second night aboard ship, we decided to have lunch in The Metropolitan, the ship’s main dining room. We chose to go around a quarter to one since the wine tasting was in that venue at two. The restaurant was busy, but we didn’t have to wait for a table and sat on the mezzanine overlooking the lower floor where waitstaff was busily arranging the wine glasses for and setting out the nibbles to accompany it. The food was excellent, and I certainly couldn’t fault the service, but since we didn’t know most of the staff in here– a few did work in Blu in the morning and evening– it wasn’t quite the same.IMG_1157 The dining room was large, lacking the intimacy of Blu, Luminae, or Olympic, but just as  clean. Lunch was delicious and the banana creme brulee was to die for. After tea, we went down the steps to the main level for the wine and food paring. I have to admit that prior to this, I had no idea how to drink wine.IMG_1158 I usually eat,m swallow, and have a sip of wine, but according to the experts, you dink the wine while you still have food in your mouth–lol No backwashing! The wine’s tats changes depending on what you’ve eaten! Salt for example, cancels the flavor of any wine making it taste like water.  This has given me an idea for a new method by which to kill someone, but I’m not giving away trade secrets. You’ll read about it in a romance suspense novel of mine soon enough!

Fernando

Fernando was quite a character. He selected five wines–surprisingly three whites and two reds. He talked about the way some people judge wine, especially the idea of sniffing the cork, pointing out many wines now come with synthetic corks and even screw tops. He joked with the crowd, adding to our enjoyment. Among the foods people used for the tasting were olives, tomatoes, fish, chicken, salt, and chocolate. needless to say, i stayed away from that.  We spent a pleasant hour and an half enjoying this nWine tastingew way of looking at wine and how to drink it. The bottom line–drink what you like. Color doesn’t matter. It’s personal taste that counts. be open to trying new wines, regardless of the color, but the bottom line–drink wine. It’s good for you!

After the tasting, we went back to the room, and I packed our suitcases leaving out what we’d need for the evening and the next morning since the luggage would be collected after ten that evening. Since we weren’t taking the plane to come home, packing was a lot easier–especially weight of the bags and liquids.

By now, we’d entered the inside passage and the coastline of British Columbia came into view. The skies were cloudy, but it didn’t rain and it wasn’t cold. IMG_1170 There was a bit of a haze, but nothing that really obstructed the view. We met and talked to oIMG_1175thers who’d been part of our original tour group and friends we’d made aboard ship.

It was interesting to see how different this area was from Alaska where the wilderness was pristine. Here and there, we saw evidence of logging and clear cutting. We didn’t see any wildlife other than seabirds, but it was still an unbelievable day.

IMG_1178 IMG_1179

Dressed for dinner, we went down to the fifth deck and had some Italian ice cream. I’d been eyeing it all week, but we never seemed to have time to get some. The entertainment for the last night was a comedian, who had me in stitches. he was really funny without being vulgar in any way. After the show, we went back to our stateroom and then stopped to pick up the cruise video we’d ordered before going in to dinner.

Our last supper was as delectable as the others. We followed it with a visit to Cosmos for live band karaoke. Man, can some people sing. When we went back to our stateroom, we saw something we hadn’t seen on the cruise before. It was dark outside, and in theIMG_1182 distance we saw the lights of other ships. At seven tomorrow, the ship would arrive in port. Our debarkation time was set for 9:30, so we wouldn’t have to rush, be we wanted to get up early to see our ships last arrival in port. We’d have 4 full days in Langley with family. Something else to look forward to. Check in tomorrow for a glimpse of beautiful Vancouver and Langley, BC. There’s something to see from sky to sea.

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About mhsusannematthews

Finally retired after more than 30 years as a teacher! Now, I get to spend my time gardening, enjoying my grandchildren, and writing. I finally completed the number one item in my bucket list and Crimson Romance published my first novel, Fire Angel, in April 2013. Since then I have sold 24 other manuscripts to date and don't plan to quit writing for a long time yet.
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