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, then proceeded back upstairs to gather everything and call a taxi to head to the 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 which eventually end up in your room. Once we left our ship we followed the crowd upstairs to check in. This is where we received our sea pass card, which doubles as your room key and your onboard 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 so you go through US customs before boarding, which also make 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!
As with anytime we board a ship on embarkation day, we take the stairs since elevators are usually packed. We headed up top to get a glimpse of downtown Vancouver and the decks above, since we knew it would be cold, windy, and sometimes rainy throughout the cruise. 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.) As we continued to 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. After we were all tidy we cleaned up for happy hour and dinner, off to the Schooner bar!
We had a reservation at Giovanni’s Table, which is the Italian speciality restaurant, for dinner and it was magnificent! We are huge Italian food fans and 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 quickly got dressed and headed to the main dining room to have a nice sit down breakfast. We made small talk with some of the people who we were seated with, which we would see throughout the cruise, and 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, including under armour gear, long sleeve shirts, a jacket, and a beanie, we headed off the ship to explore some of the shops near port before having to meet back near the ship for our hike.
We booked this hike through Royal Caribbean shore excursions. We booked all of our excursions on this trip 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 through part of the town, and on the only real road that leads in and out of Ketchikan, 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 terraine and facts about that beautiful rainforest. The hike was about an hour and a half long with mulitple 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, so we made sure we had on an extra layer or two and our rain jackets/pants just incase it got a little heavier at times. 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 a little confusing when we got to the excursion depot, and honestly we thought we missed our excursion since 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 about a 25 minute drive up a unpaved road in which the last 5 minutes were on a dirt road inbetween 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, roundtrip.