Gail Jessen, Live Voyage Reports
Today was our first full day at sea on Star Princess. We awoke to a crisp 57-degrees, clear blue skies and bright sunlight streaming into our starboard stateroom. For those who have not cruised before, it’s difficult to explain the vastness of the ocean. Even flying over it doesn’t do it justice. The sensation of being perched on open water as far as the eye can see is a unique experience. For me it’s one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world. Alaska’s state motto came to mind as I stepped onto our windy balcony this morning: “North to the Future!” It’s an alarmingly earnest statement and captures the adventurous frontier spirit perfectly. The ocean, like my anticipation of Alaska, feels akin to total freedom and limitless possibility.
What is not limitless at sea is reliable online communication. Regarding last night’s technical snafu when I was forced to post a day late, I conducted research today to benefit both me and future Princess passengers. Here are a few things you should know about the internet at sea:
Other than doing my best to sort out tech strategies, I enjoyed a long walk around the ship. I took my photographic memory for a stroll and oriented myself to the overwhelming list of amenities aboard. The highlight of my day was a lecture presented by Star Princess Cruise Director Paul. He told curious passengers in the Princess Theatre about our upcoming ports of Ketchikan and Juneau. I tend to geek out on stuff like this, but even objectively it was informative and interesting. I highly recommend attending lecture events. It may just save you the price of a heavy guidebook. I’ll share the facts I learned about these ports as we visit them, but for now I’ll attempt to explain the range of activities on a cruise ship of this size.
Lectures and Scholarship@Sea presentations happen multiple times a day. You can also participate in a table tennis tournament, American Idol / Eurovision style competition, trivia games or speed Sudoku, Zumba and line dancing, meet ups for chess players or singles or knitters or LGBTQ passengers, karaoke, Bible study, flash mob practice (not a typo) and Princess Pop Choir auditions (still not a typo), poolside dance parties with the house band, and that’s not even 1/4 of the offerings you can choose from — before 1:30 p.m. Every night outside your door you’ll find the Princess Patter newsletter that lays out each day in detail.
A few quick notes about food: A perk I love and that we promptly took advantage of this first morning on board was ordering a room service breakfast. Simply check the boxes and quantity of the items you want, indicate the time you want the goods delivered, and hang the tag outside your door before you go to bed. Done. Who doesn’t want to wake up to breakfast in bed every day? All included in the price of your cruise.
One other note about food in general is that Princess does fairly well with vegetarian fare. I was a vegetarian for many years and the friend traveling with me is currently a vegetarian. We’re always conscious of non-meat protein options. Princess clearly indicates vegetarian options on its formal dining menus, and even the casual poolside grill has veggie burgers and margherita pizza. My friend was concerned before the trip, but she has had no difficulty finding plenty of healthy, meatless options. For dinner tonight, as an example, we both ate grilled lentil cakes with fried eggs, melted monterey jack cheese and sweet potato fries. The portion was more than enough on its own … and it was our fourth vegetarian course.
Tomorrow is another full day at sea and I’m looking forward to diving into the books I brought. I will share those resources with you and discuss creative, non-traditional ways to gear up for your big trip. Hint: Put the guidebook down, says a former guidebook addict.
Be sure to follow along in real time on Instagram and Twitter @fourthirtyam, using the hashtag #livevoyagereport. The Star Princess Live Voyage Report landing page leads you to each day’s post. If you’re wondering who you’re sharing this Alaskan adventure with, here’s a quick post about me and how I ended up reporting for The Avid Cruiser.
I hope you’re enjoying your virtual vacation. Until tomorrow … bon voyage,
|Preview||Preview: Exploring Alaska's Inside Passage aboard Star Princess|
|Day 1||Pre-cruise Adventures in San Francisco|
|Day 2||Departing San Francisco on Star Princess|
|Day 3||Sailing To America's Last Frontier on Star Princess|
|Day 4||Still Sailing Toward Alaska on Star Princess|
|Day 5||Last Day At Sea On Star Princess Before Ketchikan|
|Day 6||Ketchikan, Alaska on Star Princess|
|Day 7||Juneau, Alaska on Star Princess|
|Day 8||Skagway, Alaska on Star Princess|
|Day 9||Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska on Star Princess|
|Day 10||Sailing Toward Canada on Star Princess|
|Day 11||Victoria, British Columbia on Star Princess|
|Day 12||A Love Letter to Alaska|
|Day 13||Disembarking the Star Princess|