Our 2006 Alaskan Cruise/Tour

Page 3

This is to be our home for the next 7 days. It is the "Diamond Princess". It was built in 2004 by Mitsubishi Industries in Japan. It is about 950 feet long, weighs 78,000 tons, and can hold over 3,000 passengers and a crew of 1200.

The ship is registered in Bermuda, the officers are mostly Italian, and the crew was mostly eastern European and Asian.

Our "stateroom" is one of these balcony room on the starboard (right) side of the ship. We paid extra for a balcony because we wanted to get the best views of the coast and glaciers. I think it was worth it, as you'll see.

We left Vancouver about 7PM. About 3 hours late. Our departure was delayed because the ship had to be disinfected. There were cases of the Noro (or Norwalk) virus on the previous trip from Alaska to Vancouver. You may have heard of this vius. It caused a lot of problems with sick passengers on other cruises.

On our cruise, we had to "sanitize" our hands whenever we got near a food service or buffet line. In fact, we were unable to serve ourselve on the entire trip. The crew (in rubber gloves) handled all the food and dishes. It was inconvenient, but a necessary inconvenience. We didn't get sick!!

Here you can see what we saw during most of our days at sea. Cloudy or misty skys. Apparently this is typical of the Pacific Northwest.

On our first morning at sea we woke to see a huge (100's) pod of bottle nose dolphins approaching the ship from the shore. They dove and jumped and followed the ship for some time. I guess they got sick of it because they suddenly veered off and headed back towards the shore. It was our first wildlife sighting and we were excited!

(Did you know that orca "whales" are really dolphins?)

Early on our 2nd day at sea we pulled into the harbor at Ketchikan. Our first cruise port in Alaska. Judging by the lights on shore, Ketchikan wasn't Miami, Florida..

Here is what Ketchikan looks like from the air (from a postcard). What you see is what you get! As shown in the picture, we were not alone in Ketchikan. There were 3 other cruise ships as big as ours in port. That's us anchored in the harbor.

This is how we got ashore: Our ship lowered a number of very fancy lifeboats and we disembarked in groups of about 100 or so.

The first thing Mary Ann did was find the local quilt shop. She bought an interesting quilt pattern showing native Alaskan women picking blueberrys.

We then went to Creek Street. This was the historic red light district and home of the bordello: "Dolly's House". She was not there, but there were two women old enough to know her working as guides (for a fee, of course).

It was pouring rain when we left Creek Street, but we did see a lot of late spawning salmon moving up the creek.

This is Front Street in the rain. The people you can see are from the ships. The amazing thing is that, with 4 ship with 3,000 passengers on each ship, you never felt crowded. Maybe a lot of people don't bother to come ashore in the rain.

See that tunnel in the distance. It leads to the "other side of town". We took a free Wal-Mart shuttle van to see the "other side of town". It turned out to be like the main part of town, just less tourists.

Back on board the Princees. Theses are the other 3 ships in port and a look at the mist and clouds.

We were treated to a flying show in Ketchikan. There seemed to be as many sea planes as automobiles and they were always taking off and landing.

That's it for Ketchikan!

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