Wednesday, 18 September 2013

An Un-Cruise Adventure - Pt 12, Final Day

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The grand finale of our magnificent voyage from Juneau to Seattle aboard the SS Legacy with the unique style of Un-Cruise Adventures... 

Day 12 - Seattle

It's 7am and we have finally come to the end of our fairly epic voyage with Un-Cruise, the navigation of the Hiram M Chittenden Locks (known locally as Ballard Locks) into Fishermen's Terminal in Seattle.


It's always a fascinating process going through the lock stage and we enjoy an  early-morning gathering on deck with Larry talking us through what's going on, and a bit more about Seattle itself. The salmon are still active and we see some beautiful specimens jumping several feet out of the water with resounding splashes!

After arriving in the inner basin (once again, where the big ships never venture), we troop down to the Klondike Dining Room for our final breakfast aboard.

The disembarkation arrangements are as smooth and seamless as those when we arrived,
with our suitcases being whisked off the ship while we are at breakfast, and loaded onto a bus for the airport without us having to lift a finger.

Thankfully, there is no rush to get off and we are able to say some heartfelt goodbyes to fellow passengers who have become firm friends in the course of the 12 days. Notable among them are Australian photographer Jocelyn Pride (who has taken some magnificent pics during the voyage - be sure to see more at http://www.jocelynpride.com.au/) and her husband Peter, and Jim and Ann Blanchard, plus just about everyone else!

It has been a wonderfully convivial group, apart from everything else, and it has been great to share travel stories with such a collection of well-travelled and fun folks. It was quite startling to learn that just about everyone had travelled with Un-Cruise before and were keen to come back for more - the ultimate endorsement of the product.

Finally, we DID have to get off, and it was to a full line-up of the crew and staff, providing hugs and handshakes all round as we said some more fond farewells. And yes, there were a few tears, too. 

The voyage itself has been a dazzling daily collection of highlights, both on board and in the
scenery and wildlife around us. Alaska never disappoints from those points of view, but this cruise proved off-the-charts amazing.

Equally, the Un-Cruise Adventures style of relaxed, unhurried and (often) unscheduled cruising is a huge hit with us. We loved absolutely every minute of it.

Now, we wouldn't normally do this, but we want to give a name check to everyone who helped and made this journey special, as it's one we will always remember. To a certain extent, the PR people and the crew are simply doing their job and (without wishing to sound condescending) it is important for them to showcase their product as efficiently as possible. But we think this went above and beyond all but one cruise we have previously experienced, and is certainly on a par with the
great Nomads of the Seas voyage we enjoyed in Chile a few years ago.

So here goes with the extensive array of fully-deserved plaudits...

EVP Tim Jacox and director of business development LouAnn Stanley, who proved such wonderful company onboard, as well as ensuring we saw everything we needed to (and to Sarah Scoltock, back in the office, for great pre-cruise organisation).

Captain Dano (Daniel Quinn) and his wheelhouse staff of First Mate Katie, Second Mate Rob and Third Mate Lyman (my Open Mic Night partner!) for both great navigation, enormous skill in finding (and staying with, the wildlife), and the personable style to tell us all about it, along with deck hands Travis and Kristen (a more conscientious, hard-working and ship-proud pair would be hard to find).

Then there were the Grand Salon staff Jason, Heather and Sharon for serving great drinks
and providing ever-smiling service, even at 6.30am; and the Klondike Dining Room staff Cheryl, Amber, Julio, Derek and Kirsty for equally good service with a fun attitude.

Finally, there were the incomparable troupe of re-enactors/entertainment staff/historians/characters/naturalists/photographers and all-round stars Larry West (a fount of all knowledge on the region) and Kenne Williams (together, below), Ryan (as Swedish photographer Eric Hegg, right) and Arika (above left). 

Four true champions of Alaska and the Heritage Cruise style - long may they fly the Un-Cruise flag and its unique style! More importantly, the 49th state is now firmly embedded in our hearts forever and we WILL be back, as we can feel a much longer - and deeper - story that needs to be written.
To learn more about Un-Cruise adventures, call 1888 862 8881 in the US; or visit www.un-cruise.com. In the UK, specialist cruise agents The Cruise Line can also help with bookings.

Be sure to read the full report of the cruise in the Autumn edition of World of Cruising, out now! You can subscribe here: www.worldofcruising.co.uk/subscribeOrder.html 


 

"This article has been written to recognise the author's contribution to travel and tourism by Avis Car Hire (http://www.avis.co.uk) on the A-List Awards 2013."