Setting sail on a magical Alaska cruise

Regent Seven Seas stylish Mariner surpassed expectations

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I knew we were in for a fabulous time on our Alaska cruise, especially since we were familiar with Regent Seven Seas attention to detail and passenger comfort. The 700-passenger actually exceeded expectations, and I mean it even as a guest of the cruise line.

The Alaska cruise began in Anchorage where we boarded a ship’s shuttle bus to ward, Alaska–a 2 1/2 scenic drive that we hadn’t actually looked forward to  doing since we had to get up at 3 a.m. to catch a 6:15 a.m. Delta flight that would stop in Seattle first.  It was worth it. The seven day cruise ended in Vancouver, British Colombia with mesmerizing scenery of icebergs, glaciers and rain forests combined with all the heavenly comforts of luxurious 700-passenger Regent Seven Seas Mariner. While the Mariner sports an inviting swimming pool few have dared to dive in as baby it’s cold outside. But there are two well-used Jacuzzi’s and a spa with steam and saunas to keep us warm. There is also delicious food to comfort the body and soul and much more, read the first entry here. The many splendors on board the feisty Mariner– from exceptional dining to luxurious appointments–aside Alaska takes the spot light. So follow along on the first three days with stops at the Hubbard Glacier and Sitka by the slideshow photos that are worth a million words especially from America’s Last Frontier.

Embarkation in Seward on the spiffy 700-passenger, 48,075-ton Mariner, that was stylishly refurbished in 2014 , was seamless with glasses of Champagne  proffered as we boarded. Stewards escorted us to our  suite  (the ships is the first all suite, all balcony vessel built in 2001). Our deluxe Veranda suite  805 measures 301 square-feet including balcony. It’s furnished with desk, vanity, king bed, flat screen TV, walk-in closet, lots of drawers, mini-fridge stocked with free beverages, robes, slippers, hair dryer, sofa, and table.

The Hubbard Glacier, pictured below, was one of the highlights of this trip.

hubbard deck shotRegent Seven Seas fares are the most all-inclusive offered which translates into all tips covered, most shore excursions, select wines and Champagnes, top shelf spirits, and all meals even in alternative dining venues such as Signatures and Prime7.

The RSSC Mariner runs smoothly and fairly seamlessly with an accommodating suite crew. Sailing on her in Alaska sitting on your balcony you might catch a bald eagle majestically gliding in the sky or a whale or two. Today in Sitka we are heading off on a bicycle/walking tour so come back for a report on that plus more about cruising Alaska on the gorgeous not so ancient Mariner.

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The RSSC Mariner is manned by the company’s first female captain Serena Melani (pictured above) from Livorno, Italy who is did a fine job slowly gliding the ship up close and personal to the 400 to 700 year-old Hubbard Glacier (feature to come next on this amazing Ice Age formation) and into Sitka, yesterday and Juneau today, June 25. The vessel debuted in 2001 and was spiffed up stylishly in 2014. She sports all suites each with balconies, spa by Canyon Ranch, fitness center, large pool, Jacuzzi, four dinner venues, 24-hour room-service, very attractive bars ad lounges, and deck sports as well as indoor fun, shows and lectures. I wrote  this while on the ship with my laptop on top of a desk, where it was all week so I could post stories on websites and social networks.  Richard, my  first mate, and I shared  deluxe veranda 805 which is appointed with a desk, vanity, king bed, big bathroom with sink and shower, flat screen TV, free movies on TV and DVD, one free unlimited WiFi hookup per cabin meaning just one passenger gets to go on line without a fee and only one device at a time–much to the chagrin of a few passengers who nearly incited a cyber mutiny when they learned the service wasn’t free for everyone in their suite.
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HAL Sends Flagship ms Rotterdam to Alaska in 2010

Yipes, Whale_Breaching-0066_10589[1] cruise lines are already promoting Alaska voyages and we’re not even into the new year.  I’ve done about a dozen cruises to our last frontier and recommend it to everyone. And I do mean “all.”

The first time we sailed to Alaska, my husband Richard and I and a good friend (who had his own cabin) it was during what I refer to as my “bimbo with brains” day, today I might say my Sarah Palin time, although I don’t think I was ever that…… (you fill in the blank). The ship was nice but old and none of the bells and whistles of today’s vessels. In fact we only had port holes, today I won’t board a ship unless I have a guaranteed balcony.

Anyhow, I just partied on for 10 days oblivious to the fantastic scenery, flora, fauna, elk, tundra or basically anything off the ship. In fact Richard and our friend Bob got off the ship to explore the ports while I got massages and worked out. Then a little older and wiser I sailed again, this time on the maiden voyage of the super luxe Crystal Harmony and while the ship was first in class at the time and one of the most amazing luxury liners to ever sail the seas, I was able to concentrate on the scenery and shore excursions. Okay it wasn’t easy leaving the spa or hot tub.

Anyhow I discovered Alaska in all it’s glory and it is God’s country, pristine, amazingly beautiful. While it’s impossible to fill you in on all the ships heading north to Alaska next year, Holland American just announced that it’s flagship ms Rotterdam–complete with staterooms that sport balconies or what the company calls “lanais” will be making 18 cruises to the area from Seattle starting May 15-September 11. The voyages highlight the inside Passage and Hubbard Glacier in Yakutat Bay –North America’s largest tidewater glacier. According to a recent press release: Under Holland America’s $525-million Signature of Excellence program, the Rotterdam gains 39 new lanai staterooms, created by replacing existing stateroom windows (on Lower Promenade Deck 6) with lanai doors that open directly onto the walk-around promenade. The ship also adds 23 new spa staterooms, featuring a variety of enhanced spa amenities, on its Verandah Deck. All staterooms and bathrooms will receive complete new décor and furnishings. Public areas will host the Retreat, a resort pool feature; the Showroom at Sea, a glamorous nightclub; and Mix, a new concept with three separate bars: Martinis, Champagne and Spirits & Ales. Canaletto, Holland America Line’s popular and complimentary casual Italian restaurant, will also be added to the ship. Cruise-only fares start at US $649, per person, double occupancy, for a seven-day Alaskan Explorer cruise on the Rotterdam. 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit http://www.hollandamerica.com. # # # our last frontier and recommend it to everyone. And I do mean “all.” The first time we sailed from Vancouver to Alaska, my husband Richard and I and a good friend (who had his own  cabin) it was during what I refer to as my “bimbo with brains” day, today I might say my Sarah Palin time, although I don’t think I was ever that…… (you fill in the blank). The ship was nice but old and none of the bells and whistles of today’s vessels. In fact we only had port holes, today I won’t board a ship unless I have a guaranteed balcony. Anyhow, I just partied on for 10 days oblivious to the fantastic scenery, flora, fauna, elk, tundra or basically anything off the ship. In fact Richard and our friend Bob got off the ship to explore the ports while I got massages and worked out. Then a little older and wiser I sailed again, this time on the maiden voyage of the super luxe Crystal Harmony and while the ship was first in class at the time and one of the most amazing luxury liners to ever sail the seas, I was able to concentrate on the scenery and shore excursions. Okay it wasn’t easy leaving the spa or hot tub. Anyhow I discovered Alaska in all it’s glory and it is God’s country, pristine, amazingly beautiful. While it’s impossible to fill you in on all the ships heading north to Alaska next year, Holland American just announced that it’s flagship ms Rotterdam–complete with staterooms that sport balconies or what the company calls “lanais” will be making 18 cruises to the area from Seattle starting May 15-September 11. The voyages highlight the inside Passage and Hubbard Glacier in Yakutat Bay –North America’s largest tidewater glacier. According to a recent press release: Under Holland America’s $525-million Signature of Excellence program, the Rotterdam gains 39 new lanai staterooms, created by replacing existing stateroom windows (on Lower Promenade Deck 6) with lanai doors that open directly onto the walk-around promenade. The ship also adds 23 new spa staterooms, featuring a variety of enhanced spa amenities, on its Verandah Deck. All staterooms and bathrooms will receive complete new décor and furnishings. Public areas will host the Retreat, a resort pool feature; the Showroom at Sea, a glamorous nightclub; and Mix, a new concept with three separate bars: Martinis, Champagne and Spirits & Ales. Canaletto, Holland America Line’s popular and complimentary casual Italian restaurant, will also be added to the ship. Cruise-only fares start at US $649, per person, double occupancy, for a seven-day Alaskan Explorer cruise on the Rotterdam. 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit www.hollandamerica.com

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