Bidding Sitka Farewell in Grand Style

Guests and staff aboard Seabourn Sojourn celebrate up on deck this evening as we depart Sitka, Alaska. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Seabourns Seabourn Sojourn makes a heck of an impression here in Alaska. The luxury line’s product is so polished, so professional, that you’d be forgiven for thinking that the line has operated here for decades. After an absence of 15 years from the region, I would have expected a larger ramp-up period. This isn’t the Mediterranean, after all. And yet, here in Sitka, I am just amazed at how fabulous Seabourn’s Alaskan offerings are.

The weather doesn’t hurt: today is the first nice, sunny, warm day we’ve had since departing Vancouver over a week ago. And yet, even if it were foggy and drippy out – as it has been all week – I get the impression today would have been no less special.

Today’s weather: nothing short of fantastic. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

I’ll be honest: I didn’t do much today off of the soothing Seabourn Sojourn. I wandered around Sitka for about two hours. It’s a lovely little town full of Russian heritage. As New Archangel, Sitka was a town for nearly 70 years before the Alaska Purchase between the United States and Russia, the transfer ceremony of which took place in New Archangel – or Sitka – in 1867.

The Seabourn advantage presented itself in a unique way once I had tendered ashore. Up at the Visitor’s Centre was a massive line of people that snaked halfway around the building. They were passengers on Holland America Line’s Eurodam, and they were waiting for the shuttle busses to take them back to Eurodam at its remote, unseen docking location.

Sitka was originally settled in 1799 as the Russian town of New Archangel. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

To this day, Russian influence can be seen in some of the town’s architecture. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Sitka also offers a great local arts and culture scene, plus a really fantastic local bookstore. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Back at the pier, guests aboard Holland America’s Eurodam…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…faced a lengthy wait to be transferred to their ship…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…while Seabourn Sojourn guests…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…got right back on their tender to the ship. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Now, I like Holland America Line a lot. They do a great cruise. But these people standing out in the sun, waiting for these coaches, looked hugely annoyed. Kids cried. Adults grumbled. And Seabourn Sojourn’s guests walked right past them, down the pier, and boarded the tenders back to the ship with minimal waiting.

You could say that’s the advantage of small-ship luxury cruising.

This evening, the Caviar on Ice deck party was held…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…complete with plenty of food…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…and drink offerings! Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Another advantage to small-ship luxury cruising with Seabourn presented itself this evening, as Seabourn Sojourn raised her anchor and began sailing away from Sitka. This is our last port of call before we arrive in Seward at the end of our voyage on Friday, and Seabourn prepared a send-off like no other.

Live music poolside…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…and a relaxing atmosphere. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

During the line’s special Caviar on the Ice deck party, booths chocked full of interesting food and drinks lined Seabourn Sojourn’s pool deck, manned from everyone to Hotel Director Jason Gelineau to the Ventures by Seabourn expedition team. Waiters mingled around the pool deck, offering up cold drinks to thirsty patrons. The band struck up a tune, the sun shone, and guests applauded as Seabourn Sojourn’s crew paraded around the upper pool decks as a sort of final farewell.

It’s an engineered event, to be sure. But it felt very genuine, special and moving to see guests and staff alike celebrate being together on this great ship, under the bright and sunny skies of Alaska, at this moment in time. That’s the Seabourn difference.

Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Our Voyage Report from Seabourn Sojourn’s Ultimate Alaska voyage continues tomorrow with one last day at sea and a recap of our Alaskan adventure. Follow along with our latest cruise adventures on Twitter: @deckchairblog.

Seabourn Sojourn - Ultimate Alaskan Sojourn

DAYPORTARRIVEDEPART
Monday, June 26, 2017Vancouver, British ColumbiaEmbark Seabourn Sojourn1700
Tuesday, June 27Cruise the Inside Passage; Seymour Narrows; Queen Charlotte Sound
Wednesday, June 28Ketchikan, Alaska08002300
Thursday, June 29Scenic cruising Misty Fjords
Friday, June 30Wrangell, Alaska07001600
Saturday, July 1Scenic cruising Glacier Bay National Park10002000
Sunday, July 2Cruising Tracy Arm and/or Endicott Arm
Monday, July 3Haines, Alaska07002000
Tuesday, July 4Juneau, Alaska08001700
Wednesday, July 5Sitka, Alaska10001900
Thursday, July 6At Sea
Friday, July 7, 2017Seward (Anchorage), Alaska0700Disembark
 

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