Sunday, July 3, 2016

At sea


Literally and figuratively as we joined a tour behind the scenes to see how life is organized and carried out from the crew side of things.

I had also done the one on my Christmas Market Danube River Cruise, but the scale is entirely different! Started up on the Bridge (Captain’s territory) and loved every minute. I even said Buon Giorno to the Italian Captain - Mariano Manfuso. Such a great view they have and multiple ways of steering. With radar input and some of the best equipment around, they can still take over from the computers. One of the most fascinating, for me, bits of steering on the boat is the capacity to use thrusters and push off horizontally from the dock. From there we saw (and goodness only knows I can’t remember the order) the room where they have the anchor and ropes; the food storage rooms; the laundry; the print shop; the engineers room; the kitchen with many different departments – they make all their bread daily, some 6’000 rolls. It makes the mind boggle as they even have escalators for the waiters! We were served a lovely fruit punch and a chocolate as our reward. This particular kitchen served our original restaurant the Provence and the Bordeaux: the Horizon Court (buffet) on the 14th floor has a kitchen on the 12th floor and the 14th floor and there is a crew kitchen as well as separate kitchens for the Italian restaurant Sabatino’s and the Steak place. We were through around 11:00 as we couldn’t visit the medical offices due to too many passengers needing the doctor’s attention. Two doctors and 5 nurses are on board and they even have a “morgue” although the crew member that accompanied us has been here six months and not had a death. They only med-vac in true life and death situations and have to do so with a hovering helicopter as there is no room to land one.
Part of the Bridge
I also love the fact that this particular ship was built in the Chantiers de l'Atlantique (St.Nazaire, France)! And although I won't bore you with the figures on length, breadth, etc. I also loved the fact that they produce all their own electricity. I do have a brochure on all the technical aspects, which I would be happy to scan and e-mail if any of my readers are interested.

The only rainy day of the entire trip - and one for which we were at sea

Along the coasts of Alaska and Canada

Many, many shades of gray that day

And I loved them all!

The rest of the day was very relaxing and as we ate dinner that night we traveled through what was the narrowest passage of the whole trip, the Seymour Narrows. As large as it is, our cruise ship has only 8+ meters under water, even so there was one rock – Ripple Rock – that caused many a ship wreck in that passage so the Canadians decided to blow it up. It was the second largest non-nuclear explosion in the world and still didn’t take out the whole rock, but enough so that ships can now safely go over it. At the tightest point the shores were only 161 meters apart – our ship is 31 meters in width so you can imagine how close we were to each side.

Ripple rock is below the 3rd ball

We also had to pack and have our bags out by 20:00 so had to shuffle things around to allow for the next morning’s necessities to be in my carry on luggage.