Cruises to Alaska With Celebrity
just returned from a lovely luxurious cruise experience exploring
Alaska's Inner Passage. My travelling partners were two of my
very dear girlfriends. The three of us (one now a great-aunt and
the two others, grandmothers) have been pals since high school.
One lives in the same city as I do while the other travelled from
the Middle East to meet and celebrate our milestone -- 50 years
of solid friendship. We're all good solo travellers who by this
time have pretty well been there and done that. For our celebratory
holiday we sought out an adventure that none of us had tried before.
Amidst a flurry of emails and phone calls, we decided on Celebrity's
seven day Alaskan cruise departing from Vancouver, Canada and
visiting the outposts of Ketchican, Juneau and Sitka. We looked
forward to exploring new destinations, meeting interesting people,
having lovely meals served to us, hanging out without a care in
the world, and catching up on each other's lives.
the decision on destination was made, then the research regarding
cruise lines quickly followed. We surfed the net, posted questions
about ships and subscribed to cruise newsletters. In the process
we decided on the 91,000 ton ship, Infinity, part of the Celebrity
Cruise Line fleet. The ship's itinerary and its high performance
rating suited us perfectly.
came choosing the appropriate accommodation. We settled on an
outside cabin, with a huge verandah at the back of the ship.
It was explained to us that should waters become choppy there
is less rolling motion in the center of the ship. We, however,
needn't worry as we would be sailing the Inside Passage which
is generally quite calm. We also knew that a balcony at the
rear of the Infinity had an extra very strong plus. At all times,
it allowed you to see the scenery both to the left and right
of the ship.
three independent travellers, we were most concerned about living
in a space that was too small for us to relax in comfortably.
We needn't have worried. Our stateroom measured 271 square feet.
It featured two single beds with a privacy partition leading
to a sitting area with two, additional sofa beds. From there,
floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors led to a balcony that was
almost as large as the complete stateroom. Cupboards and storage
space were more than ample and with cooperation between three
women that know each other very well, our one bathroom sufficed.
To avoid any last
minute snags and delays, we decided to arrive in Vancouver the
day before our Celebrity cruise departed. To make things as
easy as possible for ourselves, we checked into the Fairmount
Waterfront Hotel located right across from the
cruise ship terminal. From
our elegantly appointed suite high above the harbour we could
see cruise ships arriving and departing. That certainly added
to our already high level of excitement. Best of all we could
relax totally knowing that we were close enough to simply roll
our luggage across the street, into the terminal and on to the
the Fairmount, once you enter the spacious hotel lobby the pampering
begins. There was absolutely no wait for our adjoining rooms
which were certainly women-friendly in every way possible. We
enjoyed hot chocolate, coffee and tea which we made from our
mini refreshment bar. There was an ironing board and iron if
we needed to freshen up our outfits, a full length mirror, cozy
bathrobes and a sparkling, well-appointed bathroom. The amenities
were definitely a cut above with Miller Harris (UK) bath soap
that was citron-scented and lovely. Our location allowed us
to walk easily to historic Gastown as well as the Vancouver
remember our luggage that we planned to roll right up to the
Celebrity? That wasn't even necessary. As a service to the guests
who requested it, the Fairmount Waterfront checks any cruise
luggage directly on to the ship . We left ours with the hotel
staff at check-out and the next time we saw our bags they were
waiting in our stateroom. How's that for service?
for the cruise...
Ask most women
about to embark on their first cruise and they'll confide that
they're worried about what to pack. To complicate matters, a
summer cruise to Alaska means preparing for warm, cold, wind
and rain -- sometimes all on the same day. Often mid-day temperatures
hit 50 degrees (Farenheit). Other times it was too windy to
walk on the outside deck.
best way to pack for all these circumstances is in layers. On
the ship, during the day leisure wear is your best bet. We saw
everything from dress trousers, capris and jeans to colorful
yoga outfits and hiking pants. Tee shirts that could be layered
with zippered sweat shirts, sweaters, a fleece jacket or wind
breakers and rain jackets were perfect for shore excursions
(one light sweater, one sweatshirt and one fleece is perfectly
adequate for the week). The emphasis was on dressing appropriately
for the weather rather than looking perfectly stylish at all
times. In terms of footwear we packed sneakers, waterproof walking
shoes and a pair of dressier shoes for evening. A light, collapsible
umbrella, hat, scarf and gloves plus a small backpack were helpful
as well. That's all we ever needed.
P.S. Don't pack
a bathrobe. Celebrity provides one for every passenger's use.
Also, throw in your bathing suit if you plan to use the pools.
for the evening required a bit more planning. On the Infinity
there were two formal dinners, two dressier dinners and two
casual meals in the main dining room. Those who love to dress
up wore cocktail dresses and even evening gowns. The majority,
however, used ingenuity and managed with 'a mix and match attitude'
to be festively dressed for each evening meal. In our cabin
the rule of thumb was one long black skirt or trousers with
a few different tops or jackets combined with something sparkling
on our ears. Wearing the same thing a few times was never a
problem and we were always dressed appropriately.