Sailing Hubbard Glacier on the Oosterdam

Wednesday, May 17, 

Getting close to the glacier

The Oosterdam entered the strait that leads to Hubbard Glacier about 1:30 this afternoon. It’s impossible to gauge how large it is from the ship but Heather reported it as 35 stories high above the water and 25 stories beneath the water.

Parts of the glacier, especially the parts in the front edge and in the water are this marvelous shade of blue. It’s unique and hard to describe. The water in the bay was a beautiful milky, gray-turquoise because the water is made up, in large part, of melting ice that has broken off of the main glacier. The temperature of the water is 43 degrees and the ice is 32 degrees. This water is this odd color because so much of it is made of the ice crystals that have broken off of the glacier. The water further away from the glacier is the bright blue that you would expect.

They did not allow anyone to get off the ship; it would have been very dangerous, so we stood outside

Hubbard Glacier, a beautiful and impressive sight

while I took a lot of photos and Tom looked for wildlife with his binoculars. He didn’t see any.

Even though we didn’t do anything in particular, we’re both tired. I sleep really well on a cruise ship. Maybe it’s the gentle rocking back and forth. The beds are so comfortable.

The weather on the cruise has been mixed. Our day in Juneau was perfect! But our two days at sea have been rocky and has made it difficult to walk on the ship. Last evening we were returning from dinner and a young man was vomiting in the corner of a turn in the hallway. Thankfully, our room steward, Ollie, was right there. He brought a wheelchair out of a storage room and took him to his cabin. Tom and I went back to the restaurant to try to find his parents. The man handling reservations found them quickly and I was able to speak to his mother to tell her what had happened. I don’t know where they were from, but the women at the table were wearing head scarves and speaking a language I knew nothing about. We were able to communicate anyway.

Tomorrow we get off at Sitka. We arrive at 8:00 am and leave at 3:30 p.m., so it’s a quick port of call.

Cruises are a fun vacation!

Sunday, May 14 & Monday, May 15

Cruise begins: Leave Seattle and a day at sea

Entrance to Hubbard Glacier – compare the large fishing boat vs the size of the mountains!

Cruises are a lot of fun and one of my favorite vacations. We’ve cruised the Caribbean on Celebrity and Norwegian and the Panama canal on Princess. This is our first time on a Holland America Line cruise. The Oosterdam is the smallest ship we have ever been on and the size seems to make a difference. The sea is choppy with an occasional whitecap and the boat is rocking significantly.

According to the information I found on Holland America’s website, The Oosterdam was refurbished in 2016, but if it was, it sure doesn’t look like it. The wall in our stateroom at the end of the bed is dented in like someone kicked it. Then last night, when we went to dinner, I noticed a seam in the wall under our table was held together with white tape. Overall, the Oosterdam looks old, a little abused, dirty, and out of date. It’s not “flashy” pretty.

The crew has been wonderful, though, and that more than makes up for the state of the ship. Everyone has a smile on their face and is friendly. They are always looking for ways to help. I’d say this is the friendliest crew we have ever encountered.

By the end of the day, I wasn’t feeling very well and just wanted to sit and rest. I took a nap so we missed our appointed dinner time of 5:15 pm. We arrived for dinner at about 6 pm and were asked if we would like to share a table for four or eight. We chose a table for four. Shortly after, two ladies in their late 60s, early 70s sat down across from us. We tend to avoid communal tables on cruises. Yes, it is possible to meet interesting people, but it is just as likely to have to spend two hours with an obnoxious, completely inappropriate person as well. This time it worked out. The ladies were a lot of fun. One of them, Hope, is a retired rheumatologist. The other lady, Suzanne, has a very strong personality, and was Hope’s office manager. They retired at the same time. It was fun and interesting to talk with new people.