Alaska stay & cruise days 6-9
Up most of the night to experience midsummers night in Alaska. Took photographs at 10pm, midnight, 4am, 5.30am (ship coming in!) - all in daylight.
Packed in the morning and headed over to Zudys for a coffee before the hotel shuttle took me to the cruise terminal. A very quick and easy process here as only one ship in at a time in Seward as a whole, and as Azamara ships are small, I was there early and being a Discoverer level of Le Club Voyage (giving a priority queue) I sailed through and was on board shortly after 12pm.
Great to see old friends (which is what many of the crew are now after 10 sailings!) Enjoyed lunch in the buffet restaurant looking out at the stunning views. Can’t believe how lucky I’ve been with the weather.
Got into the cabin at about 1.30, to find it had been decorated by my cabin steward, and had beautiful flowers and bottle of champagne from the hotel director for my birthday. Very touching. Magnificent sailaway down Resurrection Bay - going to be hard to beat that in future cruises.
Early dinner and relatively early night as want to be bright eyed tomorrow for cruising the Hubbard Glacier.
Day 7: Hubbard Glacier
What a beautiful day in Alaska. Today we cruised Hubbard Glacier. Only 1 ship is allowed to approach at a time so although we were at the entrance to the bay early in the morning we were 3rd in line and so bobbed in the water admiring the view and spotting orcas (I missed them!).
For those cruise ship geeks, Norwegian Jewel was the first ship in, followed by Holland America’s MS Maasdam, then us, then Golden Princess (which loomed above the rest). I love the fact our little ship was able to get a lot closer to the face of the glacier than the others.
I did take the one and only excursion offered - a trip on a boat as close to the glacier as possible. The boat pulled up right alongside our landing platform and we transferred over. There was plenty of space for everyone to get amazing views and pictures. The scale of the glacier is staggering and listening to it crack and chunks calve off with a crash was stunning to watch.
In the evening I had dinner with my lovely friends Ngawhira (guest relations manager) and Fabio (food & beverage manager) before going to the Captains Welcome reception and the Azamara singers and dancers show.
Being a boutique ship with a show lounge, entertainment is quite traditional and low key, so don’t expect Broadway style shows in 2 storey theatres on here!
Day 8: Icy Strait Point
Oh dear - another stunning day in Alaska. I’d even go so far as to say it was hot. (The locals called it a scorcher!)
We were the first ship in and last one out of port - one of Azamara’s great features - longer in port to really explore the destination.
I did the ships shore excursion “Whale watching, wildlife & search for brown bears”. Being the first tour ashore in the tender it was lovely to see the small town before it was mobbed! We did the bear hike first with our lovely guide Amy and ranger Michael. Initially it looked like we were going to be out of luck but at the final viewing platform a brown bear appeared on the other side of the river, waded across and came up our trail. I can’t tell you how exciting this was - silly grin time!
Our small group (only 11 guests - perfect for looking for wildlife) then boarded our own high speed boat to take us out to look for humpback whales. I’ve never seen so many in one place, including a mother and calf. We were treated to several tails as the whales dived plus I heard them singing - something I’ve never heard before. Also surrounding us were many playful sea lions and overhead lots of bald eagles. An absolutely amazing boat trip.
I had considered doing the famous zip line in the afternoon but felt rather lazy and stayed on board admiring the view!
For dinner I ate in one of the speciality restaurants, Aqualina, with a couple I’d briefly met before on a day trip from Southampton- and who happened to also be on here (small world!)
Day 9: Cruising
Finally - my first day in Alaska not full on hectic with seeing & doing! I know some people aren’t keen on sea days, but I love them as I can do just as I please - sleep in, have sit down breakfast in main restaurant, catch up on laundry, read a book, go through photos, watch the world go by etc etc
So I did most of these, and more! I also did my Jane McDonald impersonation and ran round the ship with my selfie stick - video to come later once it has been edited!
As I’m Discoverer level in Le Club Voyage (Azamara‘s loyalty club) I was invited to the special LCV breakfast - always a great event with a superb brunch laid out and served by senior officers and crew. Just one of the onboard perks!