Our next day began with a very early morning departure from Anchorage on the Alaska Railway. Sitting on the train, ready for the trip to Seward, sounds of reveille were heard, carried in the crisp morning air from the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The music was unexpected but carried beautifully as the day began. We were in the “D” car, which is similar to first class in commercial airplanes with more comfortable seating, a bit more leg room and fewer assigned seats in the car. The prior day, we were in the “C” car which was comfortable and we had no complaints with either arrangement. The train depot has a white tent for luggage service, and our bags were checked through to the ship for drop-off at our cruise ship’s cabin later in the afternoon.
The train route was much more scenic than the prior day’s trip. In this route we encountered fields, streams, lakes, mountains, and glaciers. We saw an eaglet in a nest and a parent eagle in a neighboring tree.
We arrived in Seward around noon and began the search for lunch. Along the main route, the Chilkoot Restaurant was a convenient choice. We arrived before many of the lunch crowd and had window seats overlooking the marina.
For lunch we split an order of Smoked Scallop Mac and Cheese. This was comfort food at an elevated level with abundant cheddar cheese covering pasta, mushrooms, onions, spinich, and pancetta. We watched a slow chilly rain through the window and saw the fog creep down the mountains in the distance while we enjoyed the perfect comfort food for a chilly afternoon.
Venturing back into the streets, our museum for the day was the Kenai Fjords National Park Information Center. This museum has a small gift shop and several video documentaries on continuous run cycles during the day. We watched several of the films and browsed through the museum for awhile before heading towards the cruise ship.
If you were to ask how to get to the cruise ship from the downtown area, the answer is to NOT do what we did! We walked, along the edge of a street with no sidewalk, dodging splatter from the puddles in the roads. There are cruise ship buses in the town for transport along with a free city bus that makes various stops and will also do cruise ship drop-offs. Walking was good exercise, expecially after sitting on the train during the morning, but not the best choice in retrospect.
The cruise ship check-in and embarkation process was about half an hour and well-organized. Our cabin assignment for this leg of the trip was a balcony stateroom, located aft/port (#8164).
We toured the ship while cruisers boarded, and were able to get some photos of the ship without the usual extra people mingling in the background or photo-bombing our shots.