As a first time cruiser, I found the whole experience quite fascinating. I have just spent a week on a large boat with 1499 other passengers 600 employees, four restaurants, a casino, numerous jewellery shops, a movie theatre, a demonstration kitchen, a performing arts theatre, two swimming pools, two spa pools, a gym, a 3/4 size tennis court, a basketball court, a health spa, a library, two piano bars and numerous drinking lounges. This left me with the big question– what do you do on a cruise?
For many, it appears that eating was fairly high on their agenda. The amount of food that is prepared, consumed and wasted is phenomenal. The quality is of a high standard and there is something to suit everyone’s taste. Apparently, the average weight on a seven-day cruise is 2.2 kgs to 5.5 kgs! I am NOT standing on the scales until I have done some serious exercise!
The Volendam is smaller than many of the cruise ships that go to Alaska but it is the only one that is able to go into Glacier Bay, which was the highlight of the trip. Though we did overhear one American lady saying “If you’ve seen one glacier you’ve seen them all!” Another lady sat with her back to the wonders of the ice flows reading her novel. It must have been an amazing book. I should have got the title from her.
We were lucky to have a sunny, clear day. The sea was calm and glassy. A young woman who boarded the ship at Glacier Bay to study the whales said the weather was unusual. It was normally wet, misty and the seas choppy. She also said before she left that it was the most whales she had spotted in one day and she joins the ships three times a week. The photo on the left shows how the rangers and scientists board the cruise ship. Some highly skilled boat driving!
We were entertained with the humpback whales blowing spumes and exposing their backs and tails as they dived down for food. One whale breached the surface but sadly I missed it. Otters swam by on their backs, just chilling and seals playfully swam close by. Apparently, I saw two red puffins but though they were pointed out to me, I couldn’t clearly identify them. What was probably the most impressive experience was hearing the ice cracking and watching large pieces fall off the glacier into the ocean.