August 3: Seward, Alaska

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.

The coal loading conveyor and the small boat harbor in Seward Welcome sign in the cruise ship terminal wildflower mural in downtown 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.

Restrooms near the center of town Interesting sign Attractive shops along the main street

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.

Flowers in the downtown area Lilies and poppies

There were several large flower beds in downtown Seward. They have an “Adopt-a-Park” program where individuals or groups look after particular beds.

Whale bone carvings Intricately carved antler Nativity set

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.

Alaska SeaLife Center A puffin Seal

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.

Salmon eggs small salmon larger salmon

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.

Boarding the shuttle bus Crepe at the Bistro on Five

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.

The head chef and the director of hotel services Riding the escalator down to the galley The mixing area of the bakery

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.

Fresh baked rolls and specialty items. Photos showing how dishes are to be presented Preparing salads

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.

Demonstration of fruit and vegetable carving. Some of the many desserts and dainties prepared on board. Clean dishes from the dishwasher

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.

Cutting dough to create a bread basket Some of the decorative elements used in food presentation Examples of the food served in the specialty restaurants

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.

Butcher showing off various cuts of meat Some of the types of crepes served in the Bistro on Five Fish monger shows the various types of fish served

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.

Samples from the Qsine restaurant on Deck 11 The Bistro on Five showcases its variety of crepes

The Qsine restaurant on deck 11 serves avant-garde cuisine. The Bistro on Five was showcasings its variety of crepes.

Spooning the batter onto the griddle Spreading the batter evenly Golden brown crepe

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.

A savory crepe A sweet dessert crepe

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.

Starting the ice carving Finishing the ice eagle

Later in the afternoon there was an ice carving demonstration by the pool on Deck 11.