North to Alaska
We have arrived back in Vancouver from Port Hardy and are spending the night in town before leaving the next day aboard Star Princess for a journey up the Inland Passage to Skagway and then across the Gulf of Alaska to Anchorage. BUT we are actually already in Anchorage and I am doing another of those series of catch up blogs, blogging at sea is a painful process with slow internet speeds so I have had a few days away from the typewriter.
We have no great issues in boarding the ship except it takes forever! We lined up a little before 1 pm with a plan to have lunch on board. But there are 3 ships leaving and all the boarders are being processed through the same queues. A best estimate is that there were about 6-7,000 people queuing up. Then once through the ship signing up process it was off to get through Uncle Sams border protection processes. Allthego was getting a little restless with the bureaucracy but was held in check by Homealone. Americans and Canadians had their special line and the ROW was strung out in queues that wound their way back and forth across the terminal. There was a minor drama when Allthego had to go off behind the scenes because his electronic visa for the USA didn’t seem to be registered on their computers. The border protection person was a little confused because Allthego had a valid paper copy on file for reference. It was all ok though with things tidied up by a more senior official. We finally bordered after 2 and half hours. All this proves Allthego’s general boarding approach of arriving late in the process and missing all the queues.
Our departure day is quite gloomy with cloudy and rainy skies to see us off around 4.30pm from the dock at Canada Place. The cruise staff try their best to wind our fellow cruisers up. But it is a little subdued. Allthego and Homealone try to contribute to the frivolities as well as featuring on the ship’s big screen as we sail away out of Vancouver Harbour.
Homealone won a small prize for being part of the winning team in the ‘how many feet can fit in a hula hoop’ contest. A close examination of the photo below will see her in the lower left corner of the photo. This was quite an achievement. If you can’t quite make her out you can click on the photo and it will blow up bigger.
The ship with flags flying seems to just slide under the Lions Gate Bridge as we head out into English Bay and then head north through the Georgia Strait for Alaska. This strait takes us north between Vancouver Island and the mainland past Port Hardy, from which we had flown to Vancouver from 2 days before.
We go to bed a little late after going along to the Welcome Aboard concert. We are in a cabin high up in the ship on deck 12 gazing out at the gloomy skies as we make our way up the Georgia Strait.