And thus begins the last day (but not my last post!) of our Alaskan adventure.
Pulling in to Ketchikan, I admit that I didn't want to get off boat. Over the previous two weeks I'd grown rather accustomed to our sweet little cabin 305, saying hello to our stewards Emily, Annette, and Javier at every meal, and hanging out with Chris and Phil at various points throughout the voyage. I'm not going to lie to you; I've cried at the end of vacations before, sobbing about how I didn't want to leave and go back to my "real life" (mostly this happened at particularly stressful points of my career). This wasn't like that; rather, this was more like how you're sad when you leave home for college because you're leaving something behind. When we got off the boat, we kind of hung around the dock for a few minutes because we just didn't know what to do with ourselves. I don't know that we'll visit Alaska again in the same capacity as this trip, but I can't imagine doing it any other way now that I know.
Apparently there was a van waiting to take everyone to the hospitality suite at the Cape Fox Lodge (also where we were staying for the night), but we decided instead to walk so that we could see the town. We should have stuck with Greg and David because Greg managed to capture amazing pictures of a whale feeding session right from the dock! While I wouldn't have good photographic proof, I would have at least seen one of the things that was on my Alaska list. Oh well.
What we did get to experience was standing next to the ginormous Norwegian Sun as it was docked in town at the main berth. Holy moly! This was the first time I've ever been up close and personal with one of the big boats and its sheer size was massive. What's crazy is that this ship is firmly in the mid-size category. After wandering around a bit more we made our way to the hotel where we were able to check in to our room at 9:30 a.m. I have never been so happy in all of my life. I was practically sleep walking at that point. I don't know why I was so exhausted, but man, I just really needed a nap. We were given a very large room on the 2nd floor and I couldn't have been more pleased. The room was clean, the view was great, the bed was comfortable, the pillows were exactly as I like them, and the windows let in a lot of natural light. Apparently Alan was feeling the drain too because he passed out just as quickly as I did.
When we woke up from our nap we walked down the hill from the hotel to the fish hatchery (still closed for the season) and eagle center (also closed). From there we did a walking tour of town that took us all over. We stopped in at one of the restaurants in the marina for king crab and had a terrible experience. The young girl working the cash register never sent out order to the chef and when I inquired about our order, she was completely clueless. She also messed up someone else's order so that when I went back up to the counter to check in she had been removed from her duty and was instead delivering food. She managed to send the wrong food to the wrong table so I'm not sure she was long for that career (unless she was the boss's daughter).
After a pretty decent king crab dinner at Anabelle's Keg House, we wandered back to the hotel for a full night of sleep before our last hurrah in Ketchikan the following morning. We threw on our comfy traveling clothes and rode the funicular down to grab coffee before going back to the hotel to check out. While down there, we also managed to check out two Celebrity ships that had docked earlier that morning. Remember me saying the Norwegian Sun was huge? Well, it was NOTHING compared to the Celebrity Solstice. It was ... staggering. I mean, just the sheer power that ship must harness to move through the water is astounding. I can't imagine what it's like to be on that boat. I'm convinced I would get lost every day.
After checking out, the hotel provided us with a free courtesy shuttle to the airport where we were very early for our flight. Once we departed, we had a brief layover in Seattle on the way home, but we were back in Oakland by 6 p.m. on Sunday.
And with that, our Alaskan adventure came to a close.