Thursday, July 11, 2013

Grand Princess Alaska Cruise - Juneau

 We arrive in Juneau, Alaska to a cloudy, rainy welcome. Staying with our early rising habits, we head off to Lido deck for breakfast before the hoards descend. The elevator has an British accented voice that announces each level (deck 14 Lido).  I mimic the voice of the elevator as we arrive on Lido deck, leaving some people riding with us thinking that I am quite daft. Today we found the big buffet plates! They make our portions seem quite small photographically. Some of the other passengers make our selections seem paltry. The funny thing is that most of the people with the gigantic, loaded plates are skinny. That is not fair!
Grand Princess Horizon Court Buffet

Grand  Princess Juneau Alaska

We have no excuses here in Juneau, now armed with our new jackets and an all-weather camera; we start our walk-about near the port area. There are loads of places to shop and spend money but we busy ourselves window shopping and taking pictures. We notice a lot of Grand Princess crew members walking around town. Juneau has a Costco and other shopping amenities so crew members can stock up on personal items. There is a separate shuttle bus that caters to the crew members. A large number of the crew is from the Philippines and there are several food shops specializing in their home-style cuisine. We have coffee and share a tasty, enormous snickerdoodle at a local coffee house called The Grind. We watch a street vendor grilling "Pinoy Pork Skewers" and ask if it is ok to take his photo. Just then several crew members line up for a taste of home. A number of cruise lines stop here but this morning we feel like we have the town to ourselves.
Vendor Grilling Pinoy Pork Skewers Juneau, Alaska

April notices that there is a huge selection of sleep masks in the stores and speculates that the long 'midnight sun' hours here in Alaska stimulate this trend. I see a sign at a local bar offering husband day care and volunteer in case my bride wants to get down to serious shopping.

Juneau Alaska - A. MacIntosh photos
Juneau Alaska G.MacIntosh photo

Right next to the seaplane dock was a small shopping center with some independent shops and restaurants. I was intrigued by a sign in front of Alaska Knife Works  that said  "free ulu demo!"  I had never heard of such a knife and was tempted to add to my overflowing collection of kitchen tools.  An Ulu is similar to a mezzaluna  from Italy, a half moon shaped blade you rock back and forth to slice and dice. Alaska Knife works had intricately carved handle ulus with hard wood blocks to match. I darn near pulled out the credit card but my logical side asked me, "where I would store the sharp thing?"  I set temptation aside but made sure to take a photo of the place just in case the urge to have one struck again.

 On the way into town we passed Taku , a store specializing in Alaskan salmon. We wisely held off purchasing until our return walk so we only had to carry our haul a few blocks back to the ship. In fact they will ship your purchases back home if you wish.
Taku Store Juneau, Alaska

We marched back to the ship and enjoyed a light lunch.
Lunch Horizon Court Buffet Grand Princess Juneau, Alaska

After lunch we edited photos and sent texts to our kids, but exhausted we settled in for a short nap. Somewhat rested we decided to have cocktails at Crooners bar. I had a dry vodka martini and Avril a mango margarita. The bartender provided bar snacks of Asian wasabi mix and  honey roasted nuts. We had great conversation and observed our fellow passengers while we waited for the dinner hour to arrive.
Grand Princess Crooners Bar

We had dinner in the Da Vinci dining room, which remarkable for me, I didn't  photograph. I think maybe the combination of lots of fun, walking, wonderful food and cocktails knocked us out. By eight o'clock we were off to dreamland resting for more Alaska fun in Skaway the next day.


cookiecrumb said...

Great story. Fascinating to hear about the Pinoy business in Juneau.
Did the knife guy explain to you that the ulu is an Eskimo knife, traditionally used by women? (It pops up in the crossword puzzles all the time; where I get a lot of my general fund of knowledge.)

Greg said...

Cookiecrumb- I never got a chance to speak to the guy, he was busy with another customer. Probably saving me $150. I could see how that word would fit nicely in a puzzle. I'll tell you this. I would never talk back to a woman holding an Ulu. Slice and dice :)

Zoomie said...

I'm enjoying your Alaskan adventure vicariously. Great photos, interesting observations. Thanks!

Chilebrown said...

You will regret not buying a Ulu. One can never have enough knives. That will be a good excuse for another cruise.
Husband Day Care reminds me of my escapes to Lefty O'doul's during Christmas Shopping.

Greg said...

Zoomie- Thank you! I have fun remembering the trip too. We hope in the next year to hit your stomping grounds on a fifteen day Hawaii cruise.

Chilebrown- I am wishing I had bought one now. Lefty O'doul's is a cool dive bar.

Zoomie said...

Let me know ahead of time if you do cruise to Hawaii. I have some recommendations for the islands of O'ahu and Hawai'i.