Here she comes! Right on time!All vehicles are lined up in rows in a staging area. For example, we were the first vehicle in Row 7. Then a ferry employee waves us on in the order that has already been established. The logistics of loading 80 vehicles, some as larger as buses, must be extremely complex! Some are staying on all the way to Bellingham, WA,, and others will be getting off at various ports along the way! I’m glad I didn’t have to figure this out!
This shows how the vehicles are strapped in. Some of these will come off at the various ports where we stop, so all that has to be figured in when arranging them. This is only a small portion of the vehicles that are down on the Car Deck. We can only go down there at designated times (when we are in port and when the purser announces that we can), and only for about 15 minutes at a time. We usually go down about twice a day to get stuff we forgot the last time and to check on the food in the ice chests.
Leaving the dock at 11:45 PM. Hey! It’s almost dark!! We still have not used our new flashlights.
This is our roomette. It is number 14E on the Sun Deck (8th level). Locals who ride this ferry often (Many places in Alaska are accessible only by air or water.) refer to these accommodations as “closettes”. They are about 8’x10′. The small dinette where I am sitting makes a bed, and the other bunk folds down from the wall (the blond wood). Other than a couple of reading lights, that is all the room contains. No sink, no toilet, no shower. It’s just like being back in my old dorm at college! We have brought some of our own amenities into the room, as you can see. In fact, every time it is announced that we can go down to the Car Deck, we bring something else back. It will take us hours to get it all back down to the camper!
This is the purser’s desk where we got our room assignment and keys. It is also where we RENTED our bed linens and towels. For $3, a person gets two thin sheets, one well-used blanket, a miniature towel, and a washcloth. This is also the place where you can ask questions (“When will the showers on level 8 be fixed?” Answer: “I have no idea.”) and turn things in to the lost-and-found. You can also find out the movie of the day, get change for the ice machine, make arrangements for taxis, etc.
This is one of many, many staircases on the ship. At first, the ship seems to be just a maze of hallways and staircases all going to the wrong place. It doesn’t take too long, however to get used to where things are. For example, our “room” is on the 8th level. On the 7th level, where we spend most of our time, you will find the café, the theater, and the forward observation deck (my favorite part of the ship by far). There are also elevators on the ship, and Jerry uses them because his knee is still giving him problems. I try to use the stairs because I badly need the exercise and because the elevators are slower than a retreating glacier.
This is the hallway for our “room” . As Jerry pointed out, I am sure you have seen hallways before. I just wanted you to see that it is not really wide enough for 2 people to pass shoulder to shoulder, so people have adapted a kind of sideways step if someone else in coming down hall. All hallways have containers about halfway down containing what I can only call “barf bags”. It’s hard to see in this picture, but ours is right outside our room. Thank goodness, we have not needed it! The ship closely resembles a cruise ship–in miniature. If you shrank a cruise ship down to about 1/3 its normal size, you would have an Alaska Marine Highway vessel.
This is really neat!!! These plasma screens are on walls throughout the ship. They show our real time location (Jerry is pointing to the little green ship icon), the GPS coordinates, our speed in knots, the water depth in all locations, and nearby land masses. I can just stare at it and watch us move, or I can stare out the windows in the forward observation deck (more about this later) and watch it in 3-D!
All my snarkiness aside, we are definitely enjoying the voyage!! There is spectacular scenery, and as we get further into the inside passage, we might see whales!!