Seward marks the end of our Northbound cruise where most of the passengers departed and new passengers came aboard. Since we were switching cabins, we had to pack up the clothes from the drawers but our cabin steward said we didn’t have to pack the hanging clothes – he would take care of them as well as the suitcases. So we had breakfast and left the ship to explore Seward.
As we exited the ship we passed the Seward Coal Loading Facility. This facility was built in 1984 to facilitate the export of coal from the Usibelli Coal Mine. The primary destination was Korea. However, the decline in the Korean market and low world prices for coal caused a steep decline in coal exports in the early 2000s. However, exports to Chili, Japan and Korea have increased in the past few years and the facility is again profitable. The cruise terminal building provides baggage handling, security services and space for processing embarking cruise passengers. There is a free shuttle bus that stops in front of the building and provides transportation into the town of Seward. In town there was a beautiful mural depicting the areas wild flowers.
It was fairly early in the morning when we arrived in town so there were few people around. It wasn’t until around noon that trains and buses arrived from Anchorage carrying new cruise passengers and picking up disembarking passengers to take then to the airport in Anchorage for their flights home. Seward was a nice, neat town with lots of shops catering to the tourist trade. I thought the sign on the studio door was quite interesting: Well mannered children welcome.
There were several large flower beds in downtown Seward. They have an “Adopt-a-Park” program where individuals or groups look after particular beds.
The shops sold some very interesting pieces by local artists. Here we have examples of whale bone carvings and an intricately carved antler. One item of particular interest was a northern-themed nativity set.
We spent some time visiting the Alaska SeaLife Center. They had outdoor displays that featured a variety of birds, such as this puffin, and mammals like this seal.
There were several large aquarium tanks that displayed the life cycle of the various species of salmon from eggs to small fry to larger fish.
After our visit to the SeaLife Center we boarded the shuttle bus and headed back to the ship for lunch. As back-to-back cruisers we had been invited for a complimentary lunch at the Bistro on Five restaurant. Normally there is a $5 cover charge for eating there. They served a variety of sweet and savory crepes.
After lunch we met with the head chef and the director of hotel services for a tour of the ship’s main galley. We rode the escalator down from the dining room into the galley. The first area we saw was the mixing section of the ship’s bakery.
All of the bread and rolls served on board are made fresh daily in the bakery. Photos of each of the dishes indicate how the food is to be presented. In this section of the galley the fresh salads are prepared.
One of the Philippine chefs demonstrated how fruits and vegetables are carved to provide decorative elements. There are many types of desserts and dainties that are prepared for the various dining rooms and specialty restaurants. They need very large dish washers to clean the tens of thousands of dishes used every day.
Following our tour of the galley we attended a presentation in the grand foyer. Here various departments such as the bakery, the butchery, and the fish mongers demonstrated their crafts. For example, the bakery showed how bread dough was shaped to form an ornate bread basket while the candy department showed off how their decorative elements enhanced the presentation of various dishes. The various specialty restaurants showed off samples of their special dishes to encourage the new passengers to make reservations.
Here we have the butcher showing off the varity of meats served, the Bistro on Five presented the wide variety of sweet and savory crepes they served, and a fish monger showing off the various types of fish served on board.
The Qsine restaurant on deck 11 serves avant-garde cuisine. The Bistro on Five was showcasings its variety of crepes.
Here’s how the great crepes served by the Bistro on Five are made. First you create the batter using this recipe. Then you pour a ladle-full onto the hot griddle and spead it evenly. When one side is cooked, turn it over using a long flat stick. It should end up soft and thin and a golden brown color like the one shown above.
Here are two of their crepes. The first is a savory crepe with thinly sliced beef, green onions, onion rings and cheese garnished with ketchup or barbeque sauce. The sweet crepe has peanut butter covered with banana slices and garnished with chocolate, honey and chopped pecans.
Later in the afternoon there was an ice carving demonstration by the pool on Deck 11.