Mary stands at the ship's prow.
Monday was day two of our cruise, and we spent the entire day at sea. The distance from Seattle to our first stop, the Alaskan town of Ketchikan, is about 650 miles. I believe at top speed the ship travels about 17 miles per hour, so it takes a day and a half to cover that distance.
Essentially we spent the day walking the deck and eating. And eating. And eating.
The food is plenty and fabulous. Horizon Buffet is open pretty much all day and you can wander in and eat pretty much all you want, pretty much any time you want, pretty much as often as you want. They offer a huge variety of delicious foods. So far we’ve eaten both breakfast and lunch there twice. It is good!
Our table at the start of the meal: delicious breads, real butter, and fresh flowers every night!
For dinner we can eat at the same buffet if we like, or we have the choice of 4 other restaurants: the Santa Fe, Pacific Moon, the Savoy, and Vivaldi. These are nice sit-down restaurants where you are seated by a maître’d and waited upon solicitously by the head waiter. Each place has its own décor and ambience.
You would think these restaurants served different types of food, such as Mexican, Chinese, American, and Italian. However, we discovered on the very first night that all 4 restaurants share the exact same menu. Whichever you choose, the menu selections are identical.
And what a menu it is! It’s like the foods you see prepared by high-class chefs on cooking shows, where presentation is as important as flavor, and quality is more important than quantity. It’s all incredible.
Our desserts: Ed's heart-shaped chocolate mousse brownie and my cheesecake.*
The head waiter begins by placing our cloth napkins in our laps for us. He refills our wine glasses with a flourish, handling the bottled water as if he were serving us from a bottle of 200-year-old fine wine. After each course he whisks away our fine silver cutlery, even if we haven’t used it all, and then quickly replaces it with a fresh set before the next course arrives.
The dishes on the menu are sorted into “appetizers,” “soups and salads,” and “main dishes,” so we thought we were supposed to choose one item from each section. We soon found that we could order absolutely anything at all from the menu, as many dishes from as many sections as we liked. Almost like a buffet with a menu!
Ed and the wake behind the ship
Other than eating more than we should have, we truly enjoyed having the freedom to walk the deck several times throughout the day. Three laps around the perimeter of the ship is equal to one mile. We did only one lap, but we returned to various places on the deck several times and probably put in close to a mile total. We've also put in a lot of time going up and down stairs, enough to leave me with slightly shaky knees, so we are getting some good exercise!
On Sunday, our first day, the waters were very smooth and there was hardly any motion to be felt. Monday was quite different, though. The waters weren't terribly rough, but they were choppy enough to make the floor rock beneath your feet. Ed experienced some seasickness but quickly recovered. It didn't bother my stomach, but it caused me some lightheadedness. I found it a little bit disorienting at times.
Where do you supposed the rolling motion felt the strongest? In the shower and on the toilet! It's amazing how strong the effects are when you're in a tiny little bathroom!
Mary huddles in her jacket while watching a cloudy sunset from a deck chair.
At the end of the day, we enjoyed relaxing on the deck and watching the sun go down behind a bank of clouds. It was beautiful and restful. In fact, we stayed for about an hour and a half and even dozed off for awhile. I think these are the moments that will linger among my favorite memories of our cruise.