Gulf of Alaska

Today was spent onboard, crossing the Gulf of Alaska en route to Seward where we will disembark in the morning. As a consequence it was a quiet day with no scheduled excursions or sightseeing.

It was the first time on this cruise that we have been truly out at sea with no sight of land for much of the day. As on previous days, we again enjoyed perfect weather.

We did not hurry to breakfast but when we had finished that we went down to Guest Services on level 1 to register for the ‘On Deck for a Cause’ 5 km walk. Holland America runs this event on each of their cruises. It adds some activity to a day at sea and raises money for cancer charities in the USA, Canada, UK, and Australia. Signing up requires a donation in return for which we each collected an event T-shirt.

There was some time to relax in our room before we headed to level 3 for the walk at 9:30 am. The 5 km distance was determined as 9 laps of the promenade deck. Majella agreed that I could walk at my own pace rather than keep time with her. We all set off and I was soon near the front of the pack. I expected to lap Majella at least once but she had set her own challenge to avoid being lapped by me. I saw some whales spouting along the way and lapped plenty of walkers but it was not until I had completed 7 laps that I caught sight of Majella in the distance. At one point I noted she broke into a jog. I completed 9 laps somewhere near the front of the pack but behind anybody who jogged at least part of the way. I was still keen to catch Majella so I picked up the pace and caught her about half a lap from the finish. In the end I completed 10 laps to her 9 but she had found a real turn of speed.

After all that effort it was time for coffee so we made our way up to the Explorers Lounge at the front of level 10 where we could get good espresso. We sat for a while and watched the world go by but then headed off to amuse ourselves until lunch. Majella went to work on her jigsaw puzzle and I tinkered with photos.

For lunch we decided to try the burger bar by the Lido pool. There was a wait for burgers but they were worth waiting for. We bumped into Ray and Judy again and spent time talking with them over lunch before wandering off for more amusement with jigsaw and photos. From our window-side lunch spot we saw a whale breach and later saw a pod of dolphins.

At various times through the afternoon we had short bursts of weak cell phone access and managed to collect some Facebook messages before it was time for drinks in the piano bar followed by dinner. For the first time at the dining room we scored a table to ourselves. We enjoyed that but would have been equally happy to converse with random strangers.

After dinner we went early to the main stage area to be sure of getting good seats for the juggling comedian who was performing at 9:30. He was funny and a very skilled juggler though he made a performance out of delaying the actual juggling. His finale involved balancing a glass bottle on top of a balloon which was balanced on the handle of a wooden spoon that he held in his mouth. He then punctured the balloon with a dart and caught the bottle balanced on the spoon handle. Impressive!

We retired to our room to complete packing and put out our bags for an early start tomorrow on the next stage, a bus ride to Denali national park.