Welcome to our Pacific Northwest Adventure! 

This is a 7-night roundtrip cruise, calling at Ketchikan, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, aboard

Celebrity Cruise Lines’
Celebrity Solstice

For Holly & I, this is our 26th cruise together, and the 6th with Celebrity Cruise Lines.

I know now, I’m sure, my heart has found a cure
~Keb Mo, “Still there for me”, 2006


San Diego-Seattle  (Day 1)
Thursday  June 15, 2017

We departed Lindberg Field (SAN) at 6.18, and arrived in Seattle at 9.16.  Outbound to our last major holiday, it took 28 hours to make the trip.  This one, at under 3 hrs, is a comparative bargain 🙂

This is already quite fun 🙂

Tomorrow, we board Celebrity Solstice for our 7-nt cruise.

Please comment at the bottom of this blog (or on any individual picture) for all to enjoy.


All Aboard  (Day 2)
Friday, June 16, 2017

We left our hotel at 9.30, and headed with the gang to the pier, just north of downtown Seattle. RCCL’s Explorer of the Seas was next to us.

Boarding was very quick- we were on at 10.50, then straight to the Oceanview Cafe for lunch, and shocking!..there were no hamburgers being served 🙂 Celebrity are an upgraded product in most ways from sister company Royal Caribbean, and while simple burgers and fries weren’t ready…5 different kinds of pasta were, along with chicken and all manner of other goodies.

After the lifeboat drill, we went to our sail away party, which was a blast. As we sailed out of Seattle, we laughed, drank, and drank more.

We then headed to the Martini Bar, where we had a bit more over-21 beverages, and then proceeded to dinner.

Tomorrow, we break out the fancy frocks for our first formal night, while we are at sea along the Inside Passage.

Please comment at the bottom of this blog (or on any individual picture) for all to enjoy.


At Sea  (Day 3)
Saturday, June 17, 2017

We woke up to the realization of traveling outside the Inside Passage. The reason was timing- due to tidal conditions, if we had proceeded on the Inside route, we were likely to have gone much slower to pass though certain areas in comfortable seas.  Still, it would have been nice to see (hopefully we will when on the way though Southbound in a few days).

We went to Cellar Masters, where Cruise Director Damien De Lorenzis (Toronto, Canada) and many of the Solstice staff entertained any of the questions we had.  For the uninitiated, a ‘Meet and Mingle’ is a bit of a social time for Cruise Critic participants to be introduced to ship staff, and talk about cruise history.

Next, it was off to our first trivia, vs the crew, and while we beat them, we lost to another team. It’s early days… and we want that keychain!

After lunch, I went swam laps for about 25 mins in the Solarium Pool, whist Holly watched waves go by in our cabin and got our our clothes for tonight’s ‘Evening Chic’ (née, Formal Night), which, by the way, went very nicely.

Most dressed for Formal Night, and all contributed to a great evening of fun.

Tomorrow, we are in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Please comment at the bottom of this blog (or on any individual picture) for all to enjoy.


Ketchikan, Alaska  (Day 4)
Sunday, June 18, 2017

I left the cabin at 5.30 to film the approach to Ketchikan and to take a few pictures. The sun was already up by about 20deg (80 mins), and came into play for the angles at which I could shoot and film. Still (pun intended), I captured some with which I was happy. Since we’ve been here twice, I don’t feel I missed any shot overly important.

After coffee and tea in Cafe al Bacio, Holly and I headed out to walk around Creek Street, visiting our favorite place here- Sam McGhee’s. Unfortunately, the train wasn’t running due to need for repair.

Back aboard inside of 90 mins, we went to 10.15 trivia, and walked away with Celebrity t-shirts :).  I went to the future cruise office, where I booked a Fall Foliage cruise for October 2018, then met Holly for lunch at the Mast Grill. Afterwards, I went to the Solarium for a swim, then on to the Persian Garden- amazing heated stone chairs; I love this place.

This was another really good day.

Tomorrow, we are in Juneau, Alaska.

Please comment at the bottom of this blog (or on any individual picture) for all to enjoy.


Juneau, Alaska  (Day 5)
Monday, June 19, 2017

My day started quite early- out on deck at 4.45 to film the approach to Tracy Arm Fjord, a fantastically awesome sight, the main entrance to which also contains Endicott Arm, which stretches for nearly 9 miles until reaching a glacier wall. It was well worth the effort. Holly stayed in the cabin in warmth but only for a bit, then venturing out onto the verandah for closeup views.  While scheduled to visit Tracy Arm, due to ice, the Captain decided to divert to Endicott Arm.  REALLY glad he did!

At 6.30, we were part of a group of folks (Captain’s Club Elite & above) who were invited to come out onto the helipad for an unblocked view of the area… it was- again, awesome, providing an enhanced opportunity for excellent filming and pictures.

Captain Tasos Kafetsis, the Solstice Master (and younger brother of another Celebrity Captain) got us very close to the end of the waterway- a feat of seamanship given this 122,000 ton ship.

We had our verandah divider opened to the adjoining aft cabin, which by sheer luck, is occupied by Bill & Sandra, two friends on this trip. Last night, we invited folks to show up after we were headed out of the area.

As we were leaving Endicott Arm, the weather deteriorated, so by the time we arrived in Juneau just before 13.30, visibility from the top of Mount Roberts was poop (a technical weather term).  While we did ride the tram up, the view of the harbor below was obscured from view, so we quickly returned, unable to achieve our goal of taking suitable pictures.

Rather than come straight back to the ship, we walked the boardwalk a bit, long enough to see an interesting fish processing operation- a processing plant near the harbor that was receiving fish onto its conveyer belt system, via essentially, a long 18″ diameter vacuum tube connected to a boat 50 yards away.

Tomorrow, we are in Skagway, Alaska.

Please comment at the bottom of this blog (or on any individual picture) for all to enjoy.


Skagway, Alaska  (Day 6)
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

‘Today, there is a 40% chance of sunshine’, said the public announcement this morning at 7.00, delivered humorously. While much of this journey has been drizzly or just cloudy, it continues to be very relaxing and enjoyable.

Prior to that, whilst waiting for Holly to get ready, I spent about an hour on deck from 5.30-6.30 watching/filming our ship dock as well as the approach of Nieuw Amsterdam and Ruby Princess. Coral Princess was already here.

After breakfast, we walked into town and stopped to watch the departure of the first two White Pass & Yukon Railway trains at about 8.20. This is a wonderful, and dare I say- awesome- itinerary that we took on our 2007 visit to Skagway.

We then just wandered around with no specific agenda other than just being in the environment of this historic gold rush city.

While Holly went off to continue her browsing, I walked over to the airport and a really neat vantage point- a pedestrian bridge at the edge of the airport property connecting the river with the mouth of the bay. I was staging to take a picture of a departing aircraft which was taxiing, but had to leave quickly to help a friend with a camera back on board Solstice.

Prior to lunch, Holly & I played Bocce Ball, where Holly came back from a 2-0 deficit to win the series 3-2. The best part of the match was playing on the grass with Skagway in the background.

I went to the Persian Garden (but did not swim, so I’ll do two swimming sessions tomorrow), then headed off to trivia, where we won Celebrity Cruises playing cards.

We had dinner in Murano’s, which was amazing by the way, and proceeded by 90 mins of so of pre-dinner drinks in the Emsemble Lounge.  The Ensemble Lounge hostess (Valaria from Ukraine) is a riot, deftly handing out sarchasim with great timing and without fear, including mimicking the Captain, whose speech she’s clearly heard multiple times.

Note about Murano’s- a rather nice surprise: In May 2011, our Asst. Waiter on Eclipse was Mohamed from Tunisia.  4 years later, by chance, we went to the Olympic dining room on Celebrity Millennium, where there he was! Tonight, 25 months later, again… Mohamed in Murano’s; it was a very pleasant surprise- again 🙂

Tomorrow, we are at sea.

Please comment at the bottom of this blog (or on any individual picture) for all to enjoy.


At Sea (Day 7)
Wednesday, June 21, 2017

It was a dark and stormy night. Seriously, it was a fairly dark and stormy day most of the morning and afternoon. The ship most likely did not have stabilizers deployed, in an effort to get to Victoria on time tomorrow night. That, and/or choppy seas otherwise contributed to a fair amount of pitching for most of the day.

Next, it was off to lunch and then- I went for a swim in the Solarium Pool with a goal of completing at least 54 laps. In a very choppy ‘surf’, and controlling the urge to hurl, I completed 40 laps, then went to the Persian Garden for a bit of time on the lovely heated stone tile loungers.

Our afternoon trivias were packed.  We won (21/21) Music Trivia, garnering the ever sought after prize rubber bracelets. Everybody say oooooooooooh 🙂

Tomorrow, we are in Victoria, British Columbia.

Please comment at the bottom of this blog (or on any individual picture) for all to enjoy.


Victoria, British Columbia  (Day 8)
Thursday, June 22, 2017

Our last port call for this trip was the visit to Victoria, this evening.  Since we didn’t arrive until 17.30, it gave our group one last day to get together for morning trivia.

After a bit of relaxing around the ship (Holly went into town for a little while) we went to the Sky Lounge at 15.00 for the two final rounds of trivia- Music, followed by General.  It was also good fun.

Tomorrow, we are headed home.


CONCLUSION

The cruise was pretty good.  The only complaint we had ourselves was the relatively new cabin steward assigned to Concierge Class, a cabin with built-in perks, such as welcome aboard champagne, daily appetizers, etc., that are part of the advertised service.  A few misses here, but always rectified quickly when we called (though we should not have had to call 3 times in 7 days).

As to the ship and crew, Celebrity Solstice (this is our second time on her, the first being Nov-Dec 2012) is in beautiful shape.  No significant structural or cosmetic issues were found.  Her crew were for the most part very engaged and very friendly.

See you around on the next adventure (Nov 2017, England and Adriatic)

Cheers,

~Bob & Holly

9 Replies to “Alaska”

  1. Another fabulous time enters the history books. Thank you for taking us along with you. I have enjoyed the blog and the photos tremendously and am looking forward to November. Fly safely home!

  2. ok, I will admit that each day I am checking to see if there is an update to the blog. Need to go back to Alaska and just do nothing but relax. Thank you for sharing your trip with us.

  3. I have to agree with Sandy, our money is so much prettier !! Looking to p/u our us funds for our east coast tour next week.

  4. Following along on this happy holiday! Yes, our money is prettier but sadly it is not worth as much as yours. Have a wonderful time, as you always do. Bon Voyage!

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