Day 6: Scenic Cruising & Hubbard Glacier

Day 6 started off ROUGH. Woke up with a bit of a hangover and the swaying of the boat left me with this feeling of someone swinging my ankles side to side as I laid in bed. We went to breakfast, tried not to vomit and came back to the room for a couple minutes to change and head to the gym.

This was our roughest day at sea. I attempted to run on the treadmill but couldn’t!  I kept getting thrown about, so I had to settle for speed walking while holding onto the sides lol  After that lousy warmup we hit some weights.

Princess had a “passport” to get yourself familiarized with the ship and get stamps at different locations to hand in to fin a bunch of stuff at a raffle. So after the workout, I got the rest of my stamps and headed to the theatre where they were supposed to do the raffle.  Except they pull 1 name for ever 15 excruciating minutes of presentation about shopping. We were in the very front of the ship in very rough waters.  I was committed to winning something, but I may have vomited all over everyone in front of us. So much to Tim’s happiness, I called it quits and we met the rest of the family at the back of the boat for Bingo.

We had some buffet lunch and proceeded to the Piazza where they had horse racing! It was a fun, cheesy game, played with three dice that are rolled.  There are 6 horses (attached to wood pedestals) and whatever numbers are rolled on the die, the corresponding horse moves across the board. For example, the dice rolled are 3, 4 & 6. So Horses 3, 4, & 6 would each move one. The next roll is two 1’s and a 2, so horse 1 would move two spaces, and horse 2 would move one space. They used volunteers to move the horses, so naturally, I was up there. My horses name was Hoof Art, which sounds like Who Fart, and kept everyone laughing a good long while. You can bet money on horses before the start of each race.

After the horse racing we had mimosas and made our way over to Explorer’s Lounge for some Afternoon Trivia, which we placed third in. Then it was time to get ready for our first Formal Dinner of the cruise.

During this time we were also sailing through very icy waters up to Hubbard Glacier.  It was hard to get ready because there was a MASSIVE glacier out our window that kept distracting us :)

Hubbard glacier alaska DSCN2509
From the NPS:

It is 76 miles long, 7 miles wide, and 600 feet tall at its terminal face (350 feet exposed above the waterline and 250 feet below the waterline).   The glacier is currently advancing (last 100 years), while most Alaskan glaciers are retreating (95%).  This is not in contradiction with global temperature increases. The Hubbard Glacier will advance during times of warmer climate and retreat during time of colder climates. The current rate of advancement is approximately 80 feet per year.

While observing the glacier, we saw a massive calving (The breaking off of a chunk of ice).  This glacier routinely calves chunks of ice the size of three story buildings, and I am more than certain, that is what we saw. The wave it created must have been massive, but because of our distance, we didn’t even feel it when it finally approached.

After fancy dinner, we went to karaoke, where my SIL made it through to the Pop Princess Finals! Woohoooo!!  lol  We all had a great time there. Then we kept with habit, and drank everything we could, gambled and finished off with the most amazing Cuban Sandwiches from International Cafe!

Stay Tuned for Day 7!

xo Renee

Day 5 – Train to Whittier & Boarding the Cruise Ship!

Woke up, headed to Black Bear Coffee shop, to get a mocha and a blueberry muffin and headed to the train depot.  The train is a two-level, glass-top train.  There is an observation deck, bar and dining room in each car.  The views are very scenic on the train.  We are passing through two different mountain ranges that was carved out by a glacier. The train ride was 9 hours long.  We were told it would be the toughest part of the trip, however, it wasn’t that bad!  We split the time up nicely, writing/reading, walking through the train cars and spending time on the very back observation deck (which was quite a hike since we were in the first car!), we ate two meals in the dining car, spent some time in the lounge area with my laptop plugged in and watched some episodes of Community.

Glass Top Train, Alaska

Credit: Justine, my SIL & Travel Companion :)

Alaska Glass Top Train

One incredibly rare occurrence that happened on the train was our commute time happened to line up perfecting with the Bore Tide during a full moon returning to the Turnagain Arm in Cook Inlet.  A bore tide is huge, and this is  one of the biggest in the world.  It occurs when a high tide collides with an outgoing tide in a narrow channel.  Waves can reach 10 ft tall and move upstream at 10-15 mph. This is the only bore tide in the far north, and the only surrounded by mountains, and its extremely accessible. The main road runs right along its length for 40-50 miles and the train tracks run right next to the road! Surfers sit and wait, ready and perched for their one chance to catch the way and ride as long as possible.  Most fall and are done for the day.  Some have paddles and if they fall can sped forward to try and get in front of the wave again for a second chance. Our train slowed and we were able to watch the failure and success of the surfers as they went for miles alongside us as the bore tide came in.

Bore Tide - Turnagain Arm

After experiencing the bore tide, we entered 2 tunnels to bring us into Whittier, Alaska. The Portage Tunnel cuts through Maynard mountain and is the only land access to town. We heard a story of a police chase where the runaway car went through the tunnel and really made the cops jobs easy because he was now trapped in the small town of Whittier with no other way out.  The Portage tunnel is 13,300 feet long and is the second longest highway tunnel and longest combined rail and highway tunnel in North America. Once we exited the tunnel, we caught the first glimpse of our Cruise Ship, The Crown Princess! 

Crown Princess Cruise Ship

She’s the biggest cruise ship aloud in the Alaskan Inner Passage and holds over 3,000 passengers.  This was the first time T or I had ever been on a cruise, so it was very exciting for both of us! We quickly got check in and made it to our rooms.  H & J had their own room, T & I and our own room, which shared a balcony, and Hob was a floater who sometimes didn’t come back to the room at all.  Parents had their own suite at the very back of the ship.  We made our way to their room where their steward greeted us with champagne, a big bowl of fruit, and a platter of chocolate covered strawberries. It was ridiculous lol.

Our family decided on purchasing the All Inclusive Drink Package.  It was $49 per day, per person, and you had to purchase for the entire trip. I.E, it was roughly $400 a person. This included coffee, tea, juice, milkshakes, water and all alcohol. But OMG did we drink as much as possible!  So that first night included a lot of whiskey! And boy did I feel it the next day on the roughest day at sea.

xo R