Hurtigruten Pole to Pole - Week one
Updated: Oct 28, 2022
Inside Passage, Bears and Aleutian Islands - Canada and Alaska.
Our first week on our 13-week odyssey cruising to the North and South Poles on the hybrid expedition ship Hurtigruten - MS Roald Amundsen. The first segment is from Vancouver to Nome.
Day Zero 'Embarkation Day' - Vancouver, Canada
Embarkation day was a breeze, a quick Covid test and quickly into our suite after enjoying a glass of welcome champagne in the suite guest restaurant, Lindstrøm.
This was the first time we had been in the same place for three months in two years. As you can imagine, we were very excited about entirely unpacking and setting our suite up for the next three months; it was our new home.
After our safety drill, it was time to prepare for our first dinner in Lindstrøm. We spoiled ourselves with a special bottle of champagne to celebrate the beginning of three exciting months on the ship.
The food was plated exquisitely and was delicious. We are very impressed with this ship, the dining and all the warm and friendly faces of the crew.
Day One - Seymour Narrows, Canada
Today was a sea day as we continued to cruise the Inside Passage towards Alaska. We enjoyed and explored the ship and just relaxed. The ocean was slightly rocky, so it was an experience by the pool.
We also received our expedition jackets, boots, and a surprise welcome gift to attach to our expedition gear.
We were invited to a meet and greet with the Captain and Officers of the ship, along with meeting the other 20 Pole-to-Pole passengers we will share this once-in-a-lifetime adventure with, surprised to meet two other fellow Aussies in the group. We also love we have a fellow Serbian Nenad travelling with us!
We also have the ship to ourselves from Boston to Miami for five days and the crew, of course.
The ship is only a few years old; we are incredibly impressed with the nordic design and decor, the crew are so warm and friendly, and the restaurants have been exceptional. We will be spoilt for breakfast, lunch and dinner over the next three months.
Day Two - Misty Fjords, Alaska
We woke up to the sun beaming through our suite; what a magical morning! After missing the first morning, we were excited to experience our first breakfast!
Today we were cruising through Misty Fjords, and the landscapes were stunning all day! President Jimmy Carter proclaimed Misty Fjords as a National Monument in 1978. Misty Fjords National Monument's glacial valleys are 50 to 70 million years old.
Wayne took advantage of the scenery and the sunshine and had a dip in the ship's pool; the weather was 24 degrees!
The ship anchored for the afternoon, and we were to experience our first Zodiac boat cruise. They fit up to 8 passengers and indeed a great experience to explore our surroundings.
The Zodiac captains also share the local knowledge and stories of the surroundings. The ship has about ten little boats staffed by the knowledgeable expedition crew for passengers to get up close and personal with nature and some hidden gems, including 'Gods pocket' only accessible by small boat! We were fortunate to touch a waterfall and cruise nearby a harbour seal. We loved it!
We finished the day back in the Lindstrom Restaurant (one of three restaurants) for a scenic dinner by the window as we cruised out of Misty Fjords.
Day Three - Wrangell, Alaska
We woke up to find ourselves docked in Wrangell, a classic Alaskan town, home to 2000 people. We tendered across to explore by foot and enjoy a morning coffee and purchase a local SIM card. Wrangell has a charming and authentic vibe, everyone was full of smiles and waves, and all cars would stop to let you cross the road, no matter where you were!
After lunch, we were on an excursion, back on a Zodiac with a local guide, this time with our boots as we had a landing included. We explored the nearby Deadman's Island and landed at Petroglyph Beach, where the low tide revealed 8,000-year-old rock carvings, finishing with a cruise through the local fishing port.
I spotted an eagle's nest (which could easily fit four humans cross-legged playing cards), a bald eagle and a harbour seal; thanks to my wildlife spotting skills, I was the first to point them out—still searching for the bears and whales!
Surprise, surprise, back to the ship for dinner and a magical sunset as we cruise to Sitka.
Day Four - Sitka, Alaska
It's not all exploring! Today we arrived in Sitka and were here only a few weeks again on our seven-day celebrity cruise, so we took advantage of the empty ship and spent a few hours online. It's also a great time to get to know the crew as they wander past.
Back in our restaurant for lunch, the food continues to be on another level! The conversations are generally about travel and sharing tips with fellow passengers who have travelled extensively worldwide and have so much to share. We met a lovely lady who spent time in '76 travelling the west coast of Africa to n a truck, and then Iran and Afghanistan; the stories are thrilling!
We receive a bag of laundry a day; today, it arrived all pressed and folded in a cute little box; and shirts neatly pressed. Very impressed!
Over dinner, we experienced a slight swell, but it soon calmed down and went back to smooth sailing, nothing dramatic. We have been amazed by the ship and its stability so far.
The evening finishes with another gorgeous dinner, and then we retire to our heavenly bed to turn in and be rocked to sleep.
Day Five - Icy Bay, Alaska
It was a very relaxed Saturday morning; coffee and lunch as we cruised through the ice fields.
In the afternoon, we were back on a Zodiac tour after we anchored neatly in Icy Bay, surrounded by glaciers.
One hour cruising on the Zodiacs through Icy Bay, weaving through the ice, was quite the experience of being so close to the big ice carves floating around us. The vivid blue colours and listening to the shards carving off from the nearby large glaciers and feeling the waves, as a result, was quite an experience. The fog was in and out, so we could catch glimpses of the glaciers and scenery we were engulfed in. We were fortunate to have many curious seals today; they were brave and would pop up very close to the boats.
Wayne was excited to receive his very own piece of ice from the bay, which he couldn't wait to get back and add a chunk to his martini, back in the observation bar for sail away!
Day Six - Seward, Alaska
We love the early afternoon arrivals to our destinations, a very relaxed way to travel.
Today, we tried out a new restaurant called Fredheim on the ship; it has a daily menu of your classics (chicken, salmon & steak), hamburgers, tacos and hotdogs. Equally impressed with the floor-to-ceiling windows for perfect views.
The afternoon was for exploring as we were docked in Seward just after lunch. We decided to walk (in the rain) instead of taking the shuttle to the Alaska SeaLife Center, which was about 40 mins, so we could roam through the town on the way.
A top-rated stop for campervans, as many were settled in the designated parks along the coast on the way.
The SeaLife Center was quite remarkable; you could watch the sea lions, otters and seals; they had many fish species on display and jellyfish too, whilst learning some fun facts along the way.
The rain had decided to give us a break, so we explored the nearby old city by the centre, which had an authentic Alaskan vibe, and stopped at an actual Alaskan bar for a drink and to watch the locals play pool.
Back to the ship later in the afternoon for some blogging whilst we were in range before yet another dinner of fantastic food!
Day Seven - Kodiak, Alaska
Early arrival today, we were docked at 9 am and ready for our shuttle at 10 am for a self-guided hike around Fort Abercrombie State Historic Park. Thanks to a crew member, we now describe it as fifty shades of green! The pics will speak for themselves!
The park was stunning, with lush green moss covering the trees whilst the mist settled around us! As it had been raining, everything was sparkling and green! We were impressed with the well-built and maintained walking tracks that took you lakeside and to the coastline for stunning views.
After a few hours, we headed back to the centre of Kodiak to explore the little Alaskan town. There was not much to see, but we visited a lovely Orthodox Church and a local brewery. It was just after lunch, so we popped in for a cleansing cocktail. A Kodiak Mule was on tap (a local version of a Moscow mule, including a honey splash).
We then strolled back to the ship for lunch and a rest! Cruises are the best for afternoon naps. Early dinner and a surprise glass of bubbly from our Serbian friend Nenad, followed by another delicious dinner, gorgeous views as we sailed away from Kodiak and (another) dessert!