Chat with Deb—College Fjord

Not every day on a cruise is meant to be exciting; we’re good with that!

Previously, on Deb & Jack’s Alaska Adventure:

Still cruising along the coast. Nice and all, but when we’d had glaciers up close and personal the day before, wild wilderness the day before that, stomping around on a glacier the day before that… (all photos by author unless otherwise stated)

We had a quiet day ahead. Most of it would be spent in transit to College Fjord, so called because the various glaciers are named after American colleges. Meanwhile, we could find things on board the Nieuw Amsterdam to amuse ourselves.

DEB: (back in our cabin, still slightly out of breath from fighting gale-force winds as we took laps around deck 3, then walked the stairs up to our cabin on deck 7) They have a cooking demonstration after lunch. Interested?

ME: And they’re showing us how to cook…?

DEB: Food? It doesn’t cost anything, if we don’t like it we can leave.

Our ship has several lounges that can serve as performance venues for music, drama, or (in this case) instruction.

The course was preparing and cooking salmon, which was interesting, but mostly what it told me was that I should continue to let professional cooks do my salmon (Deb can cook fish, but mine almost always come out awful¹). We walk around the ship a bit (inside!) and head back to our cabin.

DEB: Jackster! Come on out to the verandah. The wind shifted or something, it’s not bad out here with a jacket.

Isn’t she cute? I just keep falling in love with her all over again — any question why?

Dinner is excellent, as always.

Chocolate puff pastry with craquelin pastry cream & praline (DEB: Excellent!!)

DEB: Our last dinner on the ship! (to our waiter) Thank you, Jayanih, you’ve been wonderful. You’ve made us feel very special.

Jayanih, our regular waiter, and Deb. Last night at our table!

We get back to our cabin, which has been made up for the night. There are instructions for tonight and tomorrow.

Our bed in our cabin. The strange item on the bed is a towel animal (dragonfly) made up by Dede and Hollis, the staff assigned to stateroom.

DEB: So we have our big suitcases tagged and out in the hallway by 11:00PM; those we won’t see again until Anchorage. Our medium suitcases will come with us to Denali National Park, but we won’t see them again until we get there, where they’ll be waiting in our room. They recommend we hang onto our documents, medications, and so on in smaller carry-on bags that we take with us on the bus. Our bus will board around 7AM tomorrow.

ME: And unless our bags go to Fairbanks instead of Anchorage…

DEB: This is Holland America, honey, not Air Canada. We’ll be fine.

We get our stuff packed—well, we finish, because Deb has been prepping since the night before, because that is how my wife does things—and step out to see College Fjord.

Blue sky, blue sea, blue ice, blue jacket… and normally, Deb’s hair is NOT this blue.

DEB: (reading) So we have Wellesley, Vassar, Bryn Mawr, Smith, Baltimore, Radcliffe², and Harvard glaciers to the north… which is right, right? I mean starboard, correct?

ME: Perfectly, dear lady!

While very pretty, College Fjord is no Glacier Bay, to our eyes. Or maybe it was because we did not get there until early evening?

DEB: Okay, we get up earlier than usual tomorrow to avoid the rush at breakfast and be ready for boarding our bus. And then, on to Denali!

ME: And if our fantastic good weather streak goes bust, that’s fine. We’ve been warned.

DEB: [Friends of ours] said they were there two days, and they could only see Mount Denali for maybe twenty minutes. Their hotel actually made an announcement on the PA system! The weather there is just very unpredictable.

ME: Hence the airplane excursion we are not taking.³

We put our luggage in the passageway and get ready for bed.

¹Except “steak” fish like swordfish and tuna, but those are pretty easy.

²Glaciers on one side of College Fjord were named for “women’s colleges,” the glaciers on the south side were named for “men’s colleges.” Yes, this was done a long time ago.

³We were warned that sometimes the excursion flight gets awesome photo opportunities of Mount Denali in all its splendor, and sometimes it gets to fly over the cloud cover to see a piece of the summit sticking through. Nope, we passed, especially for $500 each.

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Jack Herlocker

Jack Herlocker

Husband & retiree. Developer, tech writer, & IT geek. I fill what’s empty, empty what’s full, and scratch where it itches. Occasionally do weird & goofy things.