Thursday, October 19, 2017

Seward Embarkation

Cruising Down the Inside Passage

We decided the prudent thing to do was to get to Seward the day before our cruise departed and spend the night there.  You know . . . just in case of train derailments, earthquakes, car wrecks, muggings, all those doomsday scenarios that keep a traveler awake at night.

So we got up on a cold, wet Saturday morning in Anchorage, Alaska, at the god awful hour of five to make the 6:45 am train to Seward.  It rained for the entire four hours we were on the train, but, hey, they had hot coffee and bagels so it wasn't that bad.

  We checked into the lovely Harbor 360 Hotel overlooking the small boat marina, and then set out to explore this port city.  Seward is not only the terminus of the Alaskan Railway, but it is the end of the road.  Period.

I had the best seafood chowder of my life here.  Not only did the soup have chunks of salmon in it, but thick juicy oysters.  If you like fish, you'll like Seward.

We had a good time walking along the harbor and looking at all the fishing boats, but the sea otters stole the show.   To think that they were hunted to near extinction in the 19th century for their fur, makes me both sad and furious.  Today these cute little guys are protected under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  In Alaska, they are still listed as "threatened."   

I confess that when I saw our Holland America ship sitting in the harbor the next morning, I grew a bit alarmed.  It was MASSIVE.  It dwarfed every other boat in the marina.  It didn't look that big when I booked this cruise on the internet.  Just what had I gotten myself into?
We boarded this behemoth that afternoon and had time to orient ourselves, as well as participate in the obligatory safety drill.  During the week to come, however,  I still got lost every time I tried to find my stateroom.  I felt far more comfortable on the outside decks, so this is where I spent most of my time.  Beginning with embarkation.

I went up to the top deck and stayed there the entire evening.  I watched the dreamy little town of Seward drift away.  I watched the sun cast a golden glow on the mountains.  I watched the sky turn from orange to lavender to dark blue.  The cool evening air made me feel alive.  And happy.  Maybe being on a Las Vegas floating hotel wouldn't be so bad, after all.

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