Sunday, August 2, 2009

Alaska, Day 3, Ketchikan

19JUL09 5:30 am In the distance we could see Ketchikan, our first port in Alaska. No photos were taken this trip, but here are two from our September 2000 visit. The quaint city is a narrow strip, located at the base of the 3100-foot Deer Mountain and on Revillagigedo Island. The Tlingit (pronounced Klin-git) were the first to inhabit this area.

Salmon were swimming upstream in September.

Today we did our walkabout the town and returned to the ship for lunch. Courtesy of our travel agent, we would dine at the Pinnacle Grill, a reservation-only first class dining experience; a surcharge applies (not for us today), but absolutely worth it as the Master Chef beautifully prepared and presented such a delicious meal, and we happened to be the only ones seated in this small and intimate dining room this day.

Appetizer choices during the week: Dungeness Crab Cakes with Sweet Chili-mustard Sauce; Grilled Prawns Bruschetta with Primavera Salsa and aged Asiago & Balsamic; Lobster Bisque; Caesar Salad; Chiffonade of Greens and Tomato Salad...

Entrees: Penne with Grilled Chicken Breast; Pinnacle Burger with Apple-smoked Bacon & Cheddar cheese; Lamb Rack Chops with Apple-spiced Chutney; Sterling Silver Beef Tenderloin with Oregon Blue cheese Crust, Asparagus, and Scalloped Potatoes...

Desserts: Créme brulee; Fresh Seasonal Fruits and Berries;
Warm Grand Marnier Chocolate Volcano Cake...

Every aspect was absolutely wonderful, and the service was outstanding! Following lunch, we requested any future openings for reservations and fortunately were able to dine 3 more times during the week.

Last evening the spa had slipped a flyer under our door, offering a special rate for an early afternoon facial and massage in which the four of us decided to partake. Following that pampering and while relaxing on heated ceramic lounges, the ship undocked, and we headed toward Haines.

Dinner tonight would be in the main dining room. Following our appetizers, two ordered a Cobb Salad which was offered as an entree, and to everyone's astonishment, it arrived as an approximate cup of spinach salad. We sat silently staring at it and glancing at one another. The female wine steward was quick to recognize the inadequacy of the meal/s and followed the waiter who had served it. He arrived promptly and suggested placing an order for something else. Halibut seemed to be a better choice. The salmon entree I had was sufficient, although very dry, and Donna's pasta was not to her liking. Additionally I will mention that they were selling a drink package, a glass of wine with dinner and an after dinner drink, which was not very good quality considering the price. But we chuckled nonetheless, for it would not ruin our evening. After all, lunch had been fantastic.

Aft and port side a dining chorus yelled excitedly with ooh and awe as whales were offering an evening performance. Our table for 4 was situated in the same area, a great view of the ocean, and with a space between us and the table across the aisle, directly at the window. Rushing forward were a number of women who stood there, talked and waited (the whales chose not to entertain during that period) and totally blocked the view so nothing could be seen by anyone. Finally the majority of them sought to return to their tables while a few lingered, just in case.

I still laugh out loud when I replay this moment: Ray enthusiastically said to the women, Oh, you should have seen it! It was a-maaa-zing, fan-tahhh'-stic (as his voice sang a lilting note). He quickly thrust his left hand and arm upward, then slowly and gracefully arched it back, demonstrating the movement of the whale, while he said, It jumped straight out of the water. Softly and gently he added, You should have seen it.

Continue to Alaska, Day 4, Haines