Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Voyage of the Glaciers (2015)

Going to College

Culinary demonstration by the Executive Chef and Maître d'Hôtel

It was another full day at sea, so once again there was no great hurry to be up and about. In stark contrast with Thursday, today's weather was absolutely foul to begin with, as though in a meteorological sense the cruise had now come full circle. Following a return to our favourite on-board breakfast option, we attended a cookery demonstration given by the Maître D (Silvio Zampieri, from Italy) and the Executive Chef (Joel Directo, from the Phippines). It came over as a particularly slick and humorous production from two senior officers, who were clearly not afraid of a little bit of public scrutiny. It seemed only right that the morning show should be followed by a classic late-morning cocktail, which today meant a Bloody Mary for me and a Bloody Caesar for Bruce, served in a surprisingly busy Crooners. Our subsequent lunch in the 'Conservatory' section of Lido Deck was, in today's conditions, a little bit on the chilly side.

While all this was going on, Grand Princess had been maintaining a north-westerly course across the Gulf of Alaska; we had finally left the panhandle behind and were now making headway offshore from the main body of the 49th state. At noon, we had passed Cape Hinchinbrook and entered the quieter waters of Prince William Sound, which would in turn lead to our sightseeing objective for the day, College Fjord.

RIGHT: Late-afternoon drinkies in Explorers - hic!

A short siesta back in the stateroom made up for the previous night's relatively short sleep, and then it was time to kick-start our bodies once again with three circuits of the Promenade Deck, equivalent to a mile of brisk walking. Rather than banking the health benefits, we blew our gains immediately with a visit to Explorers.

Grand Princess entered College Fjord around 4:30pm. This inlet eventually splits into two parts, Harvard Arm and Yale Arm, and we were heading for the Harvard Glacier, where the ship would be turned around using her thrusters. For the next three remaining hours of daylight, intermittent bursts of sightseeing were possible in weather conditions that, while not particularly attractive, were no longer appalling - or at least, that was my take on things. Bruce had an altogether more positive reaction, and felt that the misty peaks disappearing into the clouds and the steely grey, glassy waters peppered with floating fragments of ice highlighted a more brooding aspect of Alaska's character. It looks like my poetic side could do with some work.

Either way, the photos look somewhat different from Thursday's:

Alongside the bite-size chunks of sightseeing, we also managed to pack our cases and put them out for collection, have a glass of bubbles in the room and yet another cocktail in an unusually quiet Wheelhouse Bar, where an Irish duo were providing music with a distinctively Celtic flavour. This meant that in the course of our final full day on board, we had managed to make a grand tour of our three favourite watering holes - a 'booze cruise' indeed!

Once sunset had finally extinguished any further potential for sightseeing, dinner in the Botticelli room provided an opportunity to say goodbye to our friendly waiters, Renante and Rustom. Thirty minutes after midnight, the ship arrived in Whittier and spent the night tied up against the quayside.

Friday 04 Sep

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