Day 6: Back to Anchorage

I think it’s Day 5. It’s all blending together…in a good way!

Started the day later than usual: slept until 6:30am. It was wonderful to be able to start the day late. Okay, all things are relative, including the state of lateness in my day!

Up and at ’em at 6:30, I took my leisurely time getting showered, packed and ready to go. Unlike the past few days, we didn’t need to be out of the room, on a bus, headed for a destination, until 9am. So, we rose late, took our time, vacated the room around 7:45am and had a lovely continental breakfast of, well, oatmeal and citrus fruits. Doesn’t sound like much, but it hit the spot.

After breakfast, including a record three cups of coffee for me (record on the low side, of course), we caught the shuttle bus to the Fairbanks airport for our 11:30am flight to Anchorage. We were a bit early for the plane. Through security by 10am.

Wait, wait, wait…

But while waiting, we got the opportunity to visit with our new acquaintances, Sandy and Helen Abel, from near Glasgow, Scotland. We actually met them on the train to Denali Friday, sort of… Didn’t really actually meet until Saturday, though they sat in the row behind us on the train from Anchorage to Denali and then again from Denali to Fairbanks.

Anyway, had a chance to become better acquainted with them. Ma and Helen chatted for awhile at the airport, then a little on the bus from Anchorage to Seward. It’s funny how you get to know people on a trip like this. I mean, being as I’m really shy (!), I rarely get to know people!! Unfortunately, this trip I’ve become painfully aware of just how non-social I’ve been for the past, well, 43 years.

Funny, the things you realize while away from home, away from the world you know…

Well, the flight to Anchorage and the bus ride to Seward were utterly uneventful. I barely remember them, as I had my nose deep in a book.

Coming into Seward, I was daydreaming of mango smoothies. We drove by the smoothie shop that we stopped at on Thursday, but didn’t have time to stop. So disappointing!

We arrived at the ship at around 4pm. Checked in at the port, got our room keys, and sailed through security. Avoided the “embarcation” photographer who wanted to snap pics of our cruise-happy faces. Damn, am I anti-social or what?

First stop, the cabin.

Our cabin is situated on deck 10, the “Navigation” deck. We are in cabin 018, directly across the hall from the Neptune Lounge. This is awesome for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that there is a coffee machine in the lounge! Oh, and if I decide I want to pay the fee, there is a wireless access point in the lounge, which I am sure will reach the 10 feet across the hall to our room.

Our concierges are Cheryl and John. They appear to be very nice, especially considering I called Cheryl by the wrong name right off. D’oh!!

Oh, yeah, I neglected to mention: we are in a “Deluxe Verandah Suite,” which has many of the perks of the penthouse suite: complimentary laundry, access to the Neptune Lounge, and, well, a huge room. Huge, compared with any other cruise cabin I’ve had. I believe that we shall be VERY comfortable.

The cabin has two beds, at least 20 drawers for clothing, etc., 4 closets, 2 sinks, a jacuzzi tub, a sitting area, a bar, a balcony with a table and two lounge chairs. It’s AWESOME!!

After checking on the cabin, we decided to grab a beverage at the Neptune Lounge, where we met both sets of immediate neighbors: Trish and Andy from Morgantown, WV; and Margo and Greg from Indianapolis, IN. They’ve all known each other for years and this is the first trip they’ve taken together like this. They seemed like a fun-loving bunch, and I have a feeling that we’ll be seeing a bit of them.

After a refreshing drink, we took a stroll around the ship to become better acquainted with our new “mobile home.” The ship is much smaller than the last couple I’ve been on. Or at least it seems so. Maybe I’m just getting used to these ships and their layouts. Or, maybe it really is smaller.

BTW, it’s 12:06 am. I’m on the Lido deck, next to the pool. Looking to the north (iPhone compass comes in handy sometimes…), there is a plenty light in the nighttime sky. I think they call this “civil daylight.” If I had internet access, I could look that up, but at 75 cents per minute, I think I’ll find out another time.

First thing that we encountered in our quest to map the unknown areas of the ship was the Spa, where we were promptly convinced to buy the seven day thermal suite package. Okay, this is so worth it. We went down and sat in the heated chairs, used the mineral tub and sauna at around 9pm. It was SO refreshing.

Once we escaped the clutches of the Spa-package upsellers, we found the restaurants, shops, library, movie theater, art gallery, swimming pool and buffet. So, pretty much everything one could want to locate aboard the ship.

This day just seems to drag on and on as I’m writing about it. It’s only about 5:30pm in my narrative, though 12:15am in the real world. So much more to tell…

For dinner, we decided to try the Rotterdam restaurant. Tonight only, they were accepting “smart casual” attire. I was in jeans and I don’t think that qualifies, but no one tried to keep me out, so I suppose that was a good thing. For me, anyway.

We sat with a couple of pleasant couples, one from Ft. Worth, TX, the other from somewhere in Ontario, Canada. Conversation was quite pleasant, though I have to admit there were a couple times that it was a bit touch-and-go.

ALARM, ALARM!!!! 7:30 lifeboat drill. No need to bring our life-preservers, just find our way to our lifeboat stations, hang-out, answer when called, laugh, carry on, have a generally amusing time.

And once that was over, we headed to the Spa to take advantage of the thermal suite. It was great. I felt so relaxed when I came out of there!! I so need a massage, so I’m signed up for one for tomorrow afternoon. I’m ready, already!!

Once we finished up in the thermal suite, ma headed back to the room and I went out to explore on my own. Then I had a little snack at around 11pm, as I was writing this. Now I’m ready for bed.

Good night from the MS Statendam!