Alaska Cruise – 2012 – Part I

Edited To Add: Attached a couple of videos to the post. 

There was a time, not so long ago, when the idea of a cruise held little or no appeal.  I don’t know if it’s the advancing age, a mellowing of the brain, or the call of the sea, but this year we booked our first cruise.  It was a “Let’s go see what that’s all about, and see if it’s something we are interested in.

So, how did we do.  Patience, grasshopper.  In good time you will learn what we have learned, see what we have seen, but alas, you won’t be able to eat what we have eaten.  For those who might have missed them, I did a few updates as we were partaking in the adventure (HERE, HERE, and HERE).  Those photos were taken, and shared, with my Droid X.  A capable, but not excellent machine.

This recounting makes use of photos taken with my more capable gear.  Here we go.

Our cruise left from Seattle, WA, on September 16.  That means we flew out of Denver on September 15, flying Air Alaska to Sea-Tac Airport.  I mention it because as we flew over the northwest portion of this country, we flew over many fires, some which had been raging for many weeks.

Flying over fires.  Small . . .

Flying over fires. Small . . .

. . . to large

. . . to large

As it happened, we were sitting next to a lady who was a dispatcher for fire-fighting crews (she was flying back home for a break).  We talked about how bad the fires were around the West, and we recounted our own bout with wildfire (Waldo Canyon Fire).

The few pictures I snapped were of the most visually striking fires . . . we overflew many smaller ones.  But, we were on vacation.  We eventually landed, and made our way to our hotel, where we met our traveling companions, Melisa’s sister and her husband (not Melisa’s husband, who was already with her, but Melisa’s sister’s husband).  Punctuation be hard!!

The next morning, a Princess Cruises bus took us to the dock.  Due to the expertise of our traveling companions (they had taken this cruise before), we were on the ship fairly early, and ahead of most of the other passengers.  The first order of business was to hit the buffet . . . while it was still relatively uncrowded.  Relatively being the operative word.

Regardless, after a nice meal, I grabbed my camera and set about exploring the ship.

The Indoor Pool area

The Indoor Pool area

Another view of the ornate decor.

Another view of the ornate decor.

The Outdoor Pool (one of them), and the large outdoor screen.

The Outdoor Pool (one of them), and the large outdoor screen.

By the way, the buffet is under the center area there . . . and if you look under the left passageway . . .

The line of people waiting to hit the buffet.

The line of people waiting to hit the buffet.

I guess it was a good idea to eat before everyone was on-board.

The pizza place (fresh baked, made to order) . . . right next to the hamburger and fries place (off-frame, to the right).

One of the many bars . . .

Under this level (by the main pool, there’s the pizza place (fresh-baked, made to order) . . . right next to the hamburger and fries place, also made to order.  Food and drink is not scarce on the ship, and by design you are always within 50 feet of one or the other, or both.

It turns out the Oosterdam (Holland America Cruise Lines) was docked at the same peer.  Their passengers looked at our ship, thinking “Saps!!” as we did the same.

Alaska Cruise 2012

Alaska Cruise 2012

I continued my walkabout . . .

The Sanctuary . . .

The Sanctuary . . .

Alaska Cruise 2012

. . . it’s a private area for people who want to pay a fee (can’t remember how much) for the privilege of having a small gate separate them from the riff-raff . . . who looked down on them from the surrounding decks, and though “Idiots!”

I should mention . . . lots of stuff is free on the boat, but there is also lots of stuff that costs money.  I will address my impressions of all that at the end of the series on the cruise.  For now, I continue on my tour.

The Putting Green

The Putting Green

By the way, I have a new program, DxO’s Viewpoint, which allows the user to “straighten” the distortion generated by wide angle lenses.  Photoshop has similar manual tools, but this works easily and interactively . . . here’s the same photo adjusted to remove the distortion.

Alaska Cruise 2012

The more presentable Putting Green

Anyway, I continued with my tour (there are a few more photos in the SmugMug Gallery – HERE – for them who be interested).

Once again, passing through the indoor pool area on the way to the back of the boat.

Once again, passing through the indoor pool area on the way to the back of the boat.

The upper deck at the rear of the boat.  That is the walkway to the night club, the horizontal structure at the back of the boat.

The upper deck at the rear of the boat. That is the walkway to the night club, the horizontal structure at the back of the boat.

The other side of the deck, another view of the night club, and Seattle's skyline in the distance.

The other side of the deck, another view of the night club, and Seattle’s skyline in the distance.

The impressive entrance to the dance club . . .

The impressive entrance to the dance club . . .

. . . and a view of the interior of the club.

. . . and a view of the interior of the club.

Proof positive that, in fact, I have hit the dance floor.

Proof positive that, in fact, I have hit the dance floor.

The rear pool area, just aft of another bar, and within a short stroll from the other end of the buffet.

The rear pool area, just aft of another bar, and within a short stroll from the other end of the buffet.

I stepped up to the observation decks, visible in the previous picture on either side of the pool.  Another view of Seattle.

I stepped up to the observation decks, visible in the previous picture on either side of the pool. Another view of Seattle.

Here's a closer view . . . yes, I know, I have nice lenses.

Here’s a closer view . . . yes, I know, I have nice lenses.

Here is Seattle's famous landmark, The Space Needle . . . although it looks more like The Restaurant Needle.

Here is Seattle’s famous landmark, The Space Needle . . . although it looks more like The Restaurant Needle.

There are a couple of panoramas, and they are best viewed in SmugMug.  Each should be linked directly to the larger version in the album.  Click on the picture to open a new window onto the SmugMug album, but if that does not work (WordPress has a bad habit of losing links), right-click on the link in the caption, and open it in a new window.

One of the stages for live acts, and/or trivia games, and other entertainment available for free.

One of the stages for live acts, and/or trivia games, and other entertainment available for free.

Shot from the lower level of the ship.  This level goes all the way around, and it's were people walk/jog when they start to feel guilty about all the food they are eating.  Per my calculations, four laps and a tad is about a mile

Shot from the lower level of the ship. This level goes all the way around, and it’s were people walk/jog when they start to feel guilty about all the food they are eating. Per my calculations, four laps and a tad is about a mile

I heard some banging, and watched these guys do checks on the release mechanisms for the lifeboats.

I heard some banging, and watched these guys do checks on the release mechanisms for the lifeboats.

I thought these fishing boats were interesting . . . but then most everything interests me.

I thought these fishing boats were interesting . . . but then most everything interests me.

Across from us, on a hillside, there were what looked like very nice homes.

Across from us, on a hillside, there were what looked like very nice homes.

A close-up of The Space Needle, complete with one of the tour planes that kept buzzing the harbor.

A close-up of The Space Needle, complete with one of the tour planes that kept buzzing the harbor.

I did not realize it, but the Oosterdam had left port . . .

I did not realize it, but the Oosterdam had left port . . .

By now most of the passengers were ready to leave . . .

By now most of the passengers were ready to leave . . .

. . . but we had to watch yet another ship leave ahead of us.. . . looks festive . . . or gaudish, depending on your point of view.

. . . but we had to watch yet another ship leave ahead of us.
. . . looks festive . . . or gaudish, depending on your point of view.

That's OK . . . it gave me a chance to capture more of Seattle's skyline.

That’s OK . . . it gave me a chance to capture more of Seattle’s skyline.

Alaska Cruise 2012

Meanwhile, the crew was entertaining the passengers.

Meanwhile, the crew entertained the passengers.

. . . urging them to dance . . .

. . . urging them to dance . . .

. . . not that it took much urging.

. . . not that it took much urging.

Some just entertained themselves . . .

Some just entertained themselves . . .

. . . despite the nagging fathers who obviously did not remember what it was like to be a kid.

. . . despite the nagging father who obviously did not remember what it was like to be a kid.

Finally, on our way.

Finally, on our way.

Alaska Cruise 2012I’ve never sailed on a big ship before.  The high vantage point gives one a different perspective on the surroundings.  

It was interesting watching ships (ferries) cross our wake not that long after we passed.

It was interesting watching ships (ferries) cross our wake not that long after we passed.

This tug was pulling  . . .

This tug was pulling . . .

. . . this barge, and paced us for a long while.

. . . this barge, and paced us for a long while.

We passed numerous islands (or they looked like islands), all with homes on them.

We passed numerous islands (or they looked like islands), all with homes on them.

I could see the two other cruise ships ahead of us, and it looked as if we were catching up to them.

I could see the two other cruise ships ahead of us, and it looked as if we were catching up to them.

Perhaps the Pilot was in a hurry.

Perhaps the Pilot was in a hurry.

The last shot I took was that of Mt. Baker (I think) . 

Mt. Rainier

Mt. Baker

I had been shooting it all along, but it was just a vague outline in the haze.  The setting sun gave me a chance to get one decent photo of it.  Or, semi-decent, depending on your standards.

As the sun set, we got ready to go eat our dinner, then snack, then coffee with snacks, and then some additional snacks, and finally, bedtime. 

One good shot . . .

One good shot . . .

The next day was a full sailing day.  Our destination, Ketchikan, Alaska.  I spent the day eating, and listening to people yell out “Whale!” 

It was unnerving to look up, only to see a bunch of people staring at me.  But sometimes there were actual whales.  I did get one good shot (above), but mostly I got a number of the following . . .

Evidence . . . but not proof.

Evidence . . . but not proof.

What looked like puffs of smoke on the water.  Could have been a whale, or some squid practicing their white ink release . . . most people assumed whale.  I like the idea of a white-out squid.

You will notice there was a near fog, which also made photographing stuff not worthwhile.  I ate, and snacked, and ate, and had snacks with coffee.  And I read John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War (read about it HERE, but realize it has spoilers). 

Near sunset the skies cleared . . .

The view from our balcony.

The view from our balcony.

By the way, I mentioned DxO’s Viewpoint.  Here is the original of the shot above.

Alaska Cruise 2012I happen to think the program is pretty good at doing what it advertises.  I used it on many of the photo I processed, mostly to tweak minor keystoning.

View from our balcony, looking aft (that means "toward the back").

View from our balcony, looking aft (that means “toward the back”).

Notice the relatively calm seas.  Outside of one day, that was the norm for the extent of the cruise, and even then it was not that bad.  The weather also cooperated, with the Captain remarking we’ve had the best weather of the past six weeks.

I had forgotten to include a couple of videos I shot when leaving Seattle.  Here they are:

Next up, in Part II . . . Ketchikan!

As usual, thanks for visiting, and for them who be interested, there are a total of 92 photos in the SmugMug Album (HERE).

Bombs Away

Bombs Away

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. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Alaska 2012, Machines, Photography Stuff, Travel Stuff, Writing Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Alaska Cruise – 2012 – Part I

  1. I look forward to seeing more of your blog. We did an Alaska cruise several years ago and I’ve done several others. I have mixed feelings on cruises. I love the idea of unpacking once and seeing a lot of different places. But there’s not nearly enough time to really get to know a place, and that’s what I really love to do . . . stay somewhere and really “see” a place.

    Like

  2. Great pictures, Emilio. I enjoyed them immensely and am looking forward to seeing more of your vacation.

    Like

  3. AnnMarie says:

    I’ve never been on a cruise ship but from your photos it’s obvious that it’s a beautiful place to experience. Granted, you only provided some of the visual aspects in this post and not the audio or other sensual elements that were present, and I know that’s coming in your next installments. But for now, I’m impressed with what I saw of the ship and its surroundings. Also, that’s a great close-up of Seattle, especially given your distance from it.

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    • disperser says:

      Can’t say that it was crappy, because it was not. But some people really love the experience, and I can’t say that either. It was nice, and perhaps on our next one we’ll do more. if nothing else, it was great relaxing . . . except for the pain.

      The pain of our stomach constantly being stretched past the maximum.

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  4. seekraz says:

    I’ve been on one cruise, went from northern Germany to Sweden…an overnighter…and absolutely nothing like this one…holy crap! Wonderful photo-documentation, Emilio…love the skyline shots and the tug pulling the barge. Thanks for sharing the adventure.

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  5. mvschulze says:

    On the Water with Ship. Wind and Water…? I love that! M

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Sorry for the late reply; we be traveling.

      Are you referring to cruising in general, our a particular portion of the post?

      As I said in the above, we were never attracted to cruising, but we’re going to do a few more and see how we like them. This one was pretty good, and we’re looking forward to eating . . . er . . . cruising a bit more.

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