Alaska Travelogue Part 4 – On to Seward

On to Seward to board the Cruise

Our main objective for the day was to get ourselves from Anchorage down to Seward to board the cruise.  You have two options for transportation – the bus or the train.  The bus ride is approximately a 3 hour ride and is less expensive, while the train takes a little over 5.  It seems like a no-brainer to take the bus, and you should if you want to take any kind of day tour out of Seward.  However, since I heard the train was more scenic and a ‘comfier’ ride we opted for the train.  You can either take the 6:45 am public train and have a whole day to spend in Seward, or have a leisurely morning in Anchorage and take the 1 pm train chartered by the cruiseline.  If you choose the cruise train you book that directly with your cruise line.  Shotgun starts aren’t my favorite so we took the cruise train and spent the morning walking along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail which is just minutes from the airport.  Despite some cold, persistent rain we enjoyed our jaunt, especially the educational displays along the trail commemorating the effects of the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake and Tsunami.

My man on the train

Before we could board the train we had to deal with one bit of foolery courtesy of Celebrity Cruise Lines.  The cruise train leaves from the airport.  As far as Celebrity is concerned there are 2 and only 2 ways to get to the train: one, walk directly from your incoming flight down to the boarding area or two, if you are already in Anchorage you must board Celebrity’s shuttle bus at the downtown Marriott to get bused to the airport.  Our travel agent tried to explain that we were going to be returning a rental car to the airport that morning and we would just walk what, a hundred yards? to where you get your tix to board the train.  Oh no.  Not having it.  They insisted we drop our car off, get a taxi to the Marriott and board their shuttle bus.  Sooooooo our agent just changed our records with Celebrity to show we were coming in on some random flight that morning and we just dropped the car off and got on the train.  Sheesh.

Cristal and I on the train

Cristal and I on the train

The train ride is wonderful.  You sit at tables in glass-domed cars, and each car has a “host”who serves food, mixes cocktails and generally narrates the journey.

My watch confirmed that the trip did indeed take more than 5 hours, but it flew by.  The scenery is at times surreal, as in “this is the middle of wildest, most remote wilderness I have ever seen – why is there a train track here!?”

Here are few sights from the train ride, which was like an ever-changing, 5 hour, “Best of Alaska” moving slideshow!

train view 5

view from the train

view from the train

looking straight down from the trestle bridge

more glaciers!

See what I mean? Why is there a train in the midst of this wild place?!

Seward is however, not so scenic, and the train unceremoniously dumps you on a very industrial looking dock.  With our fancy upgrade to Concierge Class we breezed right through boarding and the three of us were soon having a champagne toast in the main lobby.  We had Cristal’s luggage delivered to our room so we headed there to freshen up before the lifeboat drill.  We were floored by our room – probably the biggest room we will ever have on a cruise.  And the verandah was as big as our screen porch back home.  It just really tickled us, because the whole thing had been a free upgrade on a Verandah Room Guarantee.  For the details on how we got this gem of a room check my first post in this series.

Room 7212 – le fabulous!

The lifeboat drill was our first introduction to the fact that this cruise was going to be VERY different from the 10 or so other cruises we have been on.  Almost everyone aboard was old enough to not just be our parents, but our memaws and pepaws!  And apparently when you are that old, lines do NOT apply to you.  You just walk right up to the front thankyouverymuch because you are alone in the universe.  How can the same people who drive me nuts on the road with their below-the-speed limit driving be in such a ding dang hurry at a buffet?  I cannot wait till I can use senility as an excuse to not have to wait for a cocktail or stand on line!!!

Anyway, after our little safety drill, while we’re all packed like sardines in the Rendezvous Lounge, Cruise Director Rich comes on the PA and nonchalantly announces that a lil’ ol weather front will be hitting us around midnite – sooooooo we might see some high winds and 8 foot seas.  Hmmmm.  Let me translate that for you:  that is Cruise Director speak for we will experience 12 hours of 50 mph winds and 12-15 foot seas.  It’s about to get real y’all!

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