Embarkation and First Sea Day
As we woke up on Friday morning, we were beyond ecstatic! We had breakfast down in the hotel restaurant, which was delicious yet again. We then called a taxi and headed off to Canada Place. It was about a 25-30 minute taxi ride to Canada Place since we stayed on the north side of the bay in North Vancouver. As we approached downtown you could start seeing the beautiful Radiance of the Seas. As in any cruise port, there are porters to take your bags from drop off, to the ship, to your room.
Once we left our taxi we followed the crowd upstairs to check in. We received our sea pass card, which doubles as your room key and your on board account charge card. We were then shown back downstairs to go through security and then customs. When going on the Northbound cruise, you are technically entering US territories when you board the ship. You must go through US customs before boarding, which also makes debarkation in Seward super quick and easy. At this point we waited approximately 45 minutes because of what seemed like some kind of malfunction with computers but everything moved quickly once the problem was fixed. As we boarded the ship, we couldn’t contain our excitement!
On embarkation day, we always take the stairs. If you have ever been on a cruise you know why. We headed up top to get a glimpse of downtown Vancouver. It was a beautiful day so we found the nearest bar and found a quiet spot just to take in a little Vancouver sun and enjoy the beginning of a wonderful adventure.
We always love to explore the ship and see what each room has to offer, so we set off! To date this is our favorite Royal Caribbean ship as it is the perfect size and has the largest Schooner bar of any Royal ship. The casino is a bit smaller than we have seen on other ships but that’s not Charlotte’s preferred spot to relax anyway. The adults only Solarium was beautiful as well as nice and warm! (unfortunately Charlotte was packing in a frenzy and forgot a swim suit so we were unable to relax in there as often as we’d liked to.)
We to a look around the ship we would periodically check back at our room to see if our luggage has arrived so we could unpack and get organized. We went back above deck to watch our departure from port, Eric particularly wanted to see the ship go under Lion’s Gate Bridge. Everyone cheered as the ship quickly cleared the bridge! The ship was moving and we started to feel that chilly wind so we finished our drinks and went back to our cabin where we finally received our luggage.
We don’t normally unpack everything and put it in the closet but because of the length of this trip we decided it would be a good idea. Once done unpacking, we got our usual seats at the Schooner Bar. Quickly made friends with the bartenders and had drinks before dinner.
That night we had a reservation at Giovanni’s Table for dinner and it was magnificent! Italian food is by far on the top of our favorite food list. The menu was exceptional, our tummies were very happy. We finished off the night at our favorite bar (you can already see a theme here) and headed to bed for an early morning of hiking the next day.
The Salmon Capital of the World: Ketchikan
After a much needed night of sleep, we woke up to a chilly morning in Ketchikan. We went downstairs to the main dining room to have breakfast. Charlotte and I made small talk with some of the people who we sat with at breakfast. After breakfast, we went up to the top deck to gauge what the weather would be like for our hike. After putting on a few layers of clothing we headed off the ship. We did a little shopping around the port and then met up with our tour group.
All of our excursions on this trip were booked through Royal since it was our first time at these ports, and Alaska of course, so we wanted to make sure we didn’t have to worry about anything while on the excursions and can enjoy the moments.
After a 15-20 minute ride we arrived at our starting point for the hike. Our tour guide was absolutely amazing, she grew up in the town and hikes the same trail just for fun so she was an expert. She told us about every plant, the unique terrain and facts about that beautiful rain forest. The hike was about an hour and a half long with multiple stops for a break and a great view.
Icy Straight Point
We pulled into Icy Straight Point about a half an hour later then scheduled due to the late departure the day before in Ketchikan. The forecast said it was going to be a cold, windy, and rainy day. We made sure we had on an extra layer and had our rain jackets/pants just in case. Charlotte came very prepared as you can see below!
We were one of the first off the ship which is always an exciting time, since you dont have to wait in the long lines to get off the ship. We are impatient people, waiting around is not something we particularly like, then again who does? It was confusing when we got to the excursion depot. Honestly we thought we missed our excursion. Everyone was kind of caught off guard with the timing of everything since we pulled into port late. Eventually we found other cruisers on our excursion and headed off.
It was a 25 minute drive up a unpaved road. The last 5 minutes were on a dirt road in between bushes and on the side of a mountain; thrilling but kind of scary at the same time. There were only about 10 of us on the hike, including our tour guide. We all got off the van and proceeded on our 2.5 mile hike, round trip.
Click here to continue on to the next part of our cruise!