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Explorer Alaska 6/22/18 - 7 Nights RCLBlog Group Cruise!

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Photo intensive post coming up. 

As much as I try by dumping picture after picture into this blog there are no words or mere photos that can adequately capture the beauty and how you feel when experiencing Alaska live.  This will serve as my feeble attempt because it was a pretty incredible morning.  Just understand these photos don't do it justice. 

I had a prime spot at the very front of the bow as we approached Dawes glacier.  I hardly noticed the rain.

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But it was time to let someone else have a turn.  Sharing is caring.  I made my way through the crowd and grabbed a shot of the glacier including my new best friends.

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I went back under the cover of deck 4 to get out of the rain so I could change to a different lens.

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There were more 'growlers' as the senior officer on the helipad called them when the chucks of ice (glacier) are a certain size.

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The blue color comes from hundreds of feet of ice compressing and squeezing the oxygen out of the ice.

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With the sun now coming and going it dramatically changed the colors of the glacier, growlers and cliff walls of Endicott Arm.  Here two different arms of this glacier meet.  Where the glacier has been rubbing down the wall of the rock face it grinds off pieces of rock that form the dark strips that can be seen on top of the glacier.

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Everywhere I turned there was something that caught my eye.

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We had reached our closest approach to the glacier at approximately 1 mile.  From here the Captain began to slowly turn the ship in a clockwise circle.  There isn't a bad spot to be, except maybe in the casino, the pub or a restroom.

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From here I ventured up to deck 12.

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A polar bear had emerged on the ship roaming around with the ship photographers.

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With the first 90° of a turn complete the ship was sideways across Endicott Arm and the views in direction we had come from was pretty impressive.

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As impressive as the glacier may be, I was equally impressed with the cliff faces of the rock walls of Endicott Arm surrounding the ship.  It was truly awe inspiring. 

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The deck 12 sun deck above the Sky Bar was a popular spot for a quick selfie.

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With that it was time to leave.  We began our departure back down into Endicott Arm.

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See, these photos and the clear awe being expressed are why I believe you have to see Alaska on a Radiance ship, Voyager class at the largest, because only those smaller ships can actually get to all these places. Can Ovation even go to this spot? If she can, can she get anywhere near as close without hitting the cliffs on either side while turning? And get you get nearly as much time with a good view when you'll be fighting with twice as many passengers to see it all?

Sure, Ovation is a cold-weather ship and has a lot more to offer on board, but when the goal is seeing all of that stuff not on the ship, I don't know if the potential trade-offs in the final experience are worth it.

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5 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

See, these photos and the clear awe being expressed are why I believe you have to see Alaska on a Radiance ship, Voyager class at the largest, because only those smaller ships can actually get to all these places. Can Ovation even go to this spot? If she can, can she get anywhere near as close without hitting the cliffs on either side while turning? And get you get nearly as much time with a good view when you'll be fighting with twice as many passengers to see it all?

Sure, Ovation is a cold-weather ship and has a lot more to offer on board, but when the goal is seeing all of that stuff not on the ship, I don't know if the potential trade-offs in the final experience are worth it.

For me helipad access is high on the list.  I suspect Ovation will do just fine.  Imagine North Star in Endicott Arm.  I wonder if they will sell tickets for that experience.

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Back in Stephen's Passage it was time for the Royal Caribbean Blog Group Cruise Photo!

Of course it was... raining.

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Fortunately it didn't last long and we were able to get some of the group who ventured out for the photo.  For some reason Matt asked me to take the photo.

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This is the point we drop off our pilot, at the same place we picked him up a few days ago.

Still no chair hogs.

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Here is our route so far:

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I'm writing this from the Viking Crown Lounge on day 6 but I've been distracted.  There have been dozens of whales passing on both sides.  An Orca just did a big jump right beside the ship creating a massive splash when it landed.  Just Wow.

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Day 6 - Sea Day

As we make our way down to Victoria we enjoy a typical sea day.

Studio B has been reserved for the Royal Caribbean Blog group cruise at 10am for an hour. 

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Matt was a trooper, out there for the bulk of it.  I ventured out after scoping and taking some pictures.  They didn't have my skate size so I ended in a skate just a tad bit small.  It worked but my shins were killing me.

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I've been hanging out in the Viking Crown Lounge on this whale watching excursion.  I just saw this awesome Orca to starboard.  It was swimming just under the surface yet I could see it's whole body.  Just Wow.

The pool deck is operating in normal mode, pools open (and heated), bars open, joggers jogging, hot tubs being enjoyed.  I'm sitting right above the outdoor TV screen so I've got the eyes of many on deck 11 staring straight at me. 

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Very flat seas today, it hardly feels like we are moving.

I could take this same picture on a sea day for any Caribbean cruise and it would be mostly the same - minus the whales. 

An amazing sea day plus I'm all caught up on this blog.  Phew.  Time for a Kraken and something.  (ok, maybe another one...)

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