September 19-21, 2015 – Cruise to Alaska (Victoria, BC-Seattle)
Saturday was a day at sea sailing west of Vancouver Island toward Victoria. The weather was much better – a little breezy and cool and a little hazy but otherwise nice. We spent some time strolling around the Promenade Deck and was able to site whale spouts throughout the day. We attended a talk entitled “Alaska Gold Rush Dreams” - the story of sacrifice and hardship as the stampeders head North to Alaska in search of gold.
After lunch we watched a demonstration on the art of towel folding presented by one of the stateroom attendants. Each evening when we came back to our stateroom after dinner our beds were turned down with two pieces of chocolate on top of the schedule for the next day. But the best part was the towel animal that awaited us – a different one each night. We had great fun anticipating each night’s visitor – sometimes we had a difficult time guessing what the creature was. Here are some of our favorites.
The evening entertainment was a wonderful with a tenor and a soprano from the ships entertainers performing beautiful solos and duets.
Sunday morning while continuing to sail towards Victoria we attended a talk entitled Statendam Confidential – a behind the scenes look at life on board the Statendam. We got a glimpse of what it takes to keep a ship this size running smoothly and keeping all the guests happy. We saw what the crew accommodation’s look like and how the crew spend their down time. It was very interesting and showed us how hard our crew works.
We arrived in Victoria after lunch and took a Victoria Highlights and Craigdarroch Castle tour. We started with a bus tour which was similar to the tour we took when we visited Victoria in August except that we stopped for a tour of Craigdarroch Castle. This beautiful house was completed in 1890 as the home for Robert Dunsmire and his family. Dunsmire amassed his wealth in the coal business but died before the house was completed. His wife, Joan, three of their daughters and two orphaned grandchildren lived on the original 28-acre estate. Since Joan’s death in 1908 the house has been used as Craigdarroch Military Hospital; Victoria College; offices for the Victoria School Board; the Victoria Conservatory of Music; and finally today as he Craigdarroch Castle Historic House Museum.
Most of the house has been fully restored to its original condition.
Some of the beautiful furnishings are original to the house and all are from the time period.
The back side of the house is just as beautiful as the front.
We enjoyed our time at Craigdarroch Castle very much. On the way back to the docks we drove through some beautiful neighborhoods where you can easily see why Victoria is call the City of Gardens. We could tell that it has rained here since our visit in August as it is much greener now.
After dinner we spent the remainder of the evening packing and getting ready for our arrival in Seattle early tomorrow morning. We have to have our suitcases packed and outside our stateroom before we retire (we were warned numerous times to make sure and keep clothes for tomorrow with us or we would be disembarking in our PJs!).
Monday morning we arrived in Seattle very early and we both woke before sunrise. We looked out our stateroom window and got a real surprise - a great view of downtown Seattle in lights as we came in to our dock. We opted for a later disembarking time so we would not have to hurry this morning and after breakfast we left the ship. We were almost alone as we left the ship and went through customs and we were the only ones on the shuttle to the parking lot. We had a great cruise!