Tag Archives: alaska

A Morning on the Cruise

Despite weathering a relatively restless night, I feel refreshed. The bed was comfortable enough, with two twin mattresses akimbo, 250 count sheets, and soft pillows. However, my sense of balance kept me from enjoying a peaceful sleep. I think I’m finally getting my sea legs, though. At least, I hope! It’s most difficult to manage when I can’t see the horizon. The temperature outside? Chilly, but certainly tolerable with thicker clothing. Despite the cool climate, We opted to dine on the verandah for breakfast this morning – the view was oceanic and the company kept us warm. Ponzi and I have a private space just outside our stateroom. Despite the weak coffee, they did bring us heavy cream (per our written request). We’re now getting ready to enjoy our day on board, with Ponzi hot to attend a couple of classes (even though some of them are designed to teach you how to buy more junk that you don’t really need).

Last night, Ponzi and I decided to get a nice cigar and sip cognac in the Oak Room on the upper deck of the Oosterdam. Neither of us smoke, and we really don’t drink, either – but it was an “experience” nonetheless. I took a few more photos, though I might wait to upload my favorites at the end of the day. Tried to help a mergers and aquisitions lawyer with his wireless connection a few minutes ago – seems I can never escape this lot. Coffee’s good in the Neptune room (though I had to bring in the heavy cream from breakfast). Gotta check my email now… and again, thank the gang at Pluggd for enabling us to get online and check in with friends on our journey to Alaska.

The Internet connection on this Holland America liner, itself, is flaky – and not very trustworthy. For some reason or another, Akismet crapped at at some point in the past 24 hours, and I can’t load a full page to clear ~250 junk comments from my legit queue. Argh! Ooooh, now I sound like a pirate.

Alaska, Ho!

We’re finally aboard the Holland America cruise liner! Yes, right now – on a wireless Internet connection. Thanks again to Pluggd for providing the ability for us to get online and post updates. I’ve only been aboard for a couple of hours, but… I’m beyond impressed. Our room is absolutely amazing – and we’ll be able to eat breakfast every morning on our “private” verandah. We’ve got cocktails with the ship’s captain right before dinner – so the fun hasn’t even begun. No, seriously – Holland America is teh shiz. Puts Royal Carribean to shame! Oh man, everything’s so clean. I think this is the first vacation I’ve ever taken when I didn’t want to leave the room.

However, as was explained to me beforehand, Ponzi and I are the only people on board who aren’t members of AARP. Ronni and Millie would certainly blend in with the crowd. Wouldn’t that be a hoot? Let’s get a whole bunch of bloggers together and crash a cruise. It’s gotta be a Holland America cruise, though – wow. I’m just blown away by our room.

There are WiFi locations scattered throughout the cruise liner – including down the hall on deck 7 (where we’re staying). Gotta check in with the concierge, too – they’re giving us complimentary DVDs! Oh man, I never wanna go home. Hey Ponzi? Can we stay another week? I’ve already started to upload our photos from the trip (although the Flickr upload tool is acting weird). I think it has something to do with the connection’s caching mechanism. Stay tuned!

Our Alaska Cruise Schedule

As noted in my cruise ship report, we have a general schedule for our Holland America [ms Oosterdam] cruise:

  • Sat: Arrive at terminal at 1:00pm
  • Sat: Depart from terminal at 4:00pm
  • Sun: At sea all day
  • Mon: Juneau from 11:00am to 9:00pm
  • Tue: Hubbard Glacier from 12:00pm to 5:00pm
  • Wed: Sitka from 7:00am to 6:00pm
  • Thu: Ketchikan from 7:00am to 1:00pm
  • Fri: Victoria from 6:00pm to 11:59pm
  • Sat: Return to Seattle at 7:00am

Anything we “must” do (besides dogsledding, which is happening earlier in the week). I just asked Pluggd if they wanted to do a few Skypecasts – so, keep your ears on for a couple of audio updates!

Pluggd Keeps Us Plugged In

Expect to see plugs for Pluggd in the near future: they’re sponsoring our Internet connection on the cruise next week! As it stands, I’ll be checking in at least once a day from the Holland America cruiseliner – text and photos, guaranteed. I’ll post daily audio experiences as well – so long as upload speeds aren’t capped at 2400bps! Drew Olanoff made the cruise connection for us – and for that I’m damn thankful, period. Alex Castro (Pluggd CEO) and I are getting together at Caffe Vita this evening – and I’m bringing the iRiver Clix podcast recording device with me. The audio quality may not be outstanding, but at least it’ll get the job done.

The Gnome is Cruising Alaska

As revealed in last night’s report, I’m going on an Alaskan cruise in another week or so. Friends tell me that there are breathtaking photographs waiting to be taken of the Alaskan landscape – but can I rent (borrow?) higher-quality hardware for a week? The cruise is already going to be expensive to begin with. Here’s a fraction of the feedback I received this morning…

Connie Devine: Cruises aren’t what they used to be. Forget that shuffleboard stuff. You are going to love it. Holland/America is a fantastic cruise line (yes, I am Dutch). Also I have a friend that works as Tour Director for Princess Cruises and almost every ship she goes on has internet access and sometimes it is part of the package, so check that out. Either way, relax and let them pamper you and drink in the views.

Paul Raven: I loved the Alaska Cruise last summer and wanted to go this summer too. The seas are fairly calm since the land is usually on both sides of the boat. They do have Internet access (yes it is expensive) on the ship and you may be able to get some access from the boat at some ports. Bring your laptop to dump your digital photos. My wife, son and I took almost 11,000 pictures last summer during that week. The scenery is awesome. Wild life is beyond awesome (Whales, Porpoises, Eagles, Salmon, Bears, etc.)

Tom D. Kerrigan: The main thing I have heard from people taking these cruises is to be careful of the food! There is food everywhere all day and all night long. This could wreck havoc with your diet. Are you at the downtown terminal or the one by the West Seattle Bridge? I work across the street (Kind of) from the terminal by the West Seattle Bridge. On my daily walk I go by the 2 Alaska cruise ships every Friday and after working the weekend found out they also have Saturday sailings. I am at the Seattle Lighting Warehouse/Offices there across Aurora from the terminal. Have a great cruise. I am very undecided if I would ever want to take a cruise, the travel plans seem too structured.

Uncle Bob: If you get a chance go fishing, I’ve been only once but would go again even with all the airline security. Take all the side trips you can, I was amazed it wasn’t all ice and snow. Don’t let anyone try and print your pictures for you, I lost 8 rolls of film and see one of my shots quite often in publication.

Dennis Williams: Holland America is a wonderful cruise line, but be prepared to be the youngest people on board. The “average” age is about 72. We’ve taken several with HAL and loved them, but the folks are old for the most part (we are, too, at 64 and 62). Bon Voyage!

Charlie Burkey Jr.: Cheer up! Sounds like a cruise to AK will do you some good. As an AK reader of Lockergnome (not sure I’m ready to claim the title of Lockergnomie – or whatever), let me say what I say to everyone who is thinking about visiting AK: you owe it to yourself to see AK and you won’t be sorry you did. We don’t live in igloos and I’ve been told that a higher percentage of Alaskans have computers in their homes (practically all connected to the Internet) than any other state. We do have Internet in AK. Come on up and enjoy the Inside Passage, you’ll be glad you did.

Bern Muller: Chris, we have cruised around the world with Holland America. They are great. All Holland America ships have satellite internet connections. I take my laptop, and go to one of the hotspots on board, and hook up. But it is expensive. I hope you enjoy Alaska. We did.

Kent: I’m sure that you will find HAL (Holland American) to be a great line. Treat the waiters as friends not slaves and you will have made a # of good friends. If you like bread pudding, go to the lunch buffet on the Lido deck. Great. Good ice cream and cookies there also. You will find a lot to do. If it would make you feel better, you stay home and I’ll go in your place. BW and I have been on 11 HAL cruises and are planning another for Nov 06. Relax and have fun.

Eddie: I really do feel for you being away from your computer for a whole week. You cannot even take your Dell with you as it might catch fire. Azipod propulsion was designed by the same people that developed Windows XP, so you have nothing to worry about. Just go and have a good time, and take your camera with you.

Leland: My focus isn’t Alaska but you can pick up some good cruise tips that are practical from my website. By the way, without the encouragement from Chris’s newsletters over the years, it wouldn’t exist. Thanks!

Ed Accornero: Look at Wikipedia for the definition of Azipod. There are pictures of the propulsion system, showing that the Coast Guard is using the system, and what it looks like and how it saves fuel.

Bill K: Your cruise ship has an internet cafe on board and all staterooms have an internet connection. So don’t forget to pack your laptop. Just don’t tell you know who!

According to Holland America’s site, “Guests can send and receive electronic mail in real-time, via a high speed satellite link 24 hours a day, satellite conditions permitting.” It also says I can use my own laptop. So, I should have Internet access on the cruise (albeit on a limited basis). There’s no access pricing on HollandAmerica.com, but I imagine I’m going to have to find a sponsor to help cover the costs. That way, I can do a check-in every day from the high seas. Or a few recorded Skypecasts, perhaps?

My special email address will be pirillo7071 @ oosterdam.cruisemail.net – but I’m not sure how that will work yet.