Yakutat Bay and Hubbard Glacier

Waking up to a gorgeous morning aboard the Coral Princess as we sail for Hubbard Glacier. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Waking up to a gorgeous morning aboard the Coral Princess as we sail for Hubbard Glacier. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Today is our first full day aboard Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess as part of Cruise Experts Travel’s Ultimate Alaska CruiseTour. But this relaxing day sailing to Hubbard Glacier has also been an excellent chance for all of us to unwind after our adventure-filled land tour.

In contrast to yesterday’s scenic transit of Prince William Sound, we awoke to the sweeping vistas provided by the open ocean. Like yesterday, however, the weather remained phenomenal, with clear skies, smooth seas and warm temperatures.

Passing Celebrity Cruises in the late morning. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Passing Celebrity Cruises in the late morning. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

We weren’t out of sight of land for long. Soon, mountains became visible off our port side as we sailed increasingly closer to Yakutat Bay and Hubbard Glacier. Most cruises call on either Hubbard Glacier or Glacier Bay National Park; our weeklong southbound cruise has the unusual advantage of including both on the same itinerary.

Just one part of the sweeping Atrium aboard Coral Princess, the hub of many activities today. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Just one part of the sweeping Atrium aboard Coral Princess, the hub of many activities today. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

With most of the day free to enjoy before our 4pm arrival in Yakutat Bay, here’s a look at what guests could do aboard Coral Princess on this unusually sunny morning:

  • 9:00am: Zumba with Cruise Director Susan; Universe Lounge, Deck 7
  • 9:00am: Common Interest@Sea: Knitters & Knatters; Crooners Lounge, 7
  • 9:15am: Allcomers Ping Pong: Above Lotus Pool, Deck 15 midship
  • 9:45am: Line Dance Mania; Universe Lounge, Deck 7 aft
  • 10:00-11:00am: Bouillon is Served: Deck 14 midship
  • 10:15am: Morning Trivia; Wheelhouse Lounge, Deck 7
  • 10:30am: Fruit & Vegetable Carving Demonstration; Atrium, Deck 5
  • 11:00am: Movies Under the Stars: Coldplay Live 2012; Deck 14
  • 11:30am: Snowball Jackpot Bingo; Universe Lounge, Deck 7
  • 11:30-2:00pm: British Pub Lunch; Wheelhouse Lounge, Deck 7

In the early afternoon, we arrived at the entrance to Yakutat Bay. Small bergy bits and growlers stopped us from getting any closer than about a mile away, in contrast to the intimate experience that awaits us tomorrow as we pull alongside Glacier Bay’s Margerie Glacier.

Approaching Hubbard Glacier. Few folks know about the great forward-facing viewing areas on Baja and Caribe decks. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Approaching Hubbard Glacier. Few folks know about the great forward-facing viewing areas on Baja and Caribe decks. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Hubbard Glacier itself is something of an oddity: it has been advancing for over a century, and has come perilously close to cutting off Russel Fjord in both 1986 and 2002, the former of which resulted in an actual blockage and led to the largest glacial lake outburst flood in recorded history.

Still, Hubbard Glacier held the attention of those on the outer decks of the Coral Princess, and it is here that guests with balcony staterooms truly get the most bang for their buck. Is there a better side of the ship to be on for glacier viewing? No – halfway through, the Captain will use the thrusters to rotate the ship around on its axis, giving guests on each side equal viewing.

Princess sent Coral's rescue boat out with a team of photographers to capture our ship in front of Hubbard Glacier. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Princess sent Coral’s rescue boat out with a team of photographers to capture our ship in front of Hubbard Glacier. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Hubbard Glacier, still looking icy even in July. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Hubbard Glacier, still looking icy even in July. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

But even for those who, like myself, lack a balcony, fear not: there’s plenty of open deck space for all on the Coral Princess. In fact, with only 1,970 guests aboard this 965-foot-long, 92,000-grt ship, the onboard atmosphere is closer to what you might get sailing aboard a ship half the size.

Some shots from around this gorgeous ship today:

The two-story Universe Lounge is located all the way aft on Decks 6 and 7, and is one of the most attractive in the Princess fleet. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

The two-story Universe Lounge is located all the way aft on Decks 6 and 7, and is one of the most attractive in the Princess fleet. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

The Library on Deck 8, with its enveloping leather chairs. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

The Library on Deck 8, with its enveloping leather chairs. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

The attractive corridor outside the International Cafe, Deck 6. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

The attractive corridor outside the International Cafe, Deck 6. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Tonight was Formal Night aboard the Coral Princess, and the line got things off with a bang by creating their trademark Champagne Waterfall in the atrium.

A staple of nearly every Princess Cruise, champagne is poured atop glasses stacked into a large pyramid during the Champagne Waterfall, which also serves as an opportunity for Captain Fabio Amitrano to introduce his senior officers and department heads. He also read out the manifest of the different nationalities onboard Coral Princess, with countries like Romania, Denmark, Austria, Germany, England, Japan, Thailand, Australia, and – of course – Canada and the United States represented onboard.

Champagne Waterfall! Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Champagne Waterfall! Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

As the sun goes down on yet another day here in Alaska, everyone in my group seems to be relaxing and unwinding after hitting the ground running on our land tour. I ran into folks while out on my morning laps around the Promenade Deck, and more still up on the Pool Deck, soaking in the sun.

It’s just an enjoyably lazy day at sea!

Sailing into the sunset aboard Coral Princess; one of our first proper ones since our trip began. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Sailing into the sunset aboard Coral Princess; one of our first proper ones since our trip began. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Our Live Voyage Report from Cruise Experts Travel’s Ultimate Alaska CruiseTour continues tomorrow as we cruise the pristine waters of Glacier Bay aboard Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess! Be sure to follow along on Twitter by following @deckchairblog or using the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

 

4 Responses to Ultimate Alaska Live Voyage Report – Day 6

  1. Barry says:

    The Island Princess (sister ship to the Coral Princess) was in Skagway on Friday. We had mostly sunny weather, and rented a car for some fantastic sight-seeing on our own timetable. We made it as far as Carcross, Yukon. Worth the 75 minute drive, and with the Island Princess not leaving until 8pm we had plenty of time.

    On Saturday, it will be our turn to visit Glacier Bay. Here’s hoping for good weather for us…and for you too!

    • Aaron Saunders says:

      Glad to hear you had a great time in Skagway, Barry! I hope your visit to Glacier Bay was enjoyable. How is the Island Princess?
      Safe travels!

  2. Barry says:

    We arrived in Whittier today, with great weather. Had a fabulous cruise, and immediately went on another one – the “26 Glacier Cruise” in a catamaran. Very calm waters. Saw several whales, many otters floating past us on their backs and a black bear…not to mention a number of glaciers.

    The Island Princess is in fine form – only obvious areas of potential improvement would be the buffet area and a reduction in the amount of paper used each day to produce print advertising (it took some effort every day to throw it out – no recycling bin in the stateroom).

    Overall, our group was very impressed and had a great time!

  3. […] Princess planned for guests sailing the Coral Princess last year as reported by Aaron Saunders of FromTheDeckChair.com on our July […]

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