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Ship's Ahoy! - Experiencing an Alaskan Cruise for the Very First Time - Part III

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Part I | Part II |  Part III  | Part IV

Ahhh, day 5. We're more than halfway through our Alaskan adventure, but there's still so much more to see and do. In this Part 3, we'll be visiting Sitka, eating dinner at Pinnacle Grill, taking in a show, and fattening up at the Dessert Extravaganza.

Our boat docked near Sitka at about 8AM. I say "near" because unlike our other stops, disembarking would not be quite as easy. A bit of planning was necessary as we had to catch what was referred to as a tender, which was basically a small boat that took us to the shores of Sitka in style.

Animation of catching the tender off of our cruise ship to Sitka
Animation of catching the tender off of our cruise ship to Sitka

According to our newsletter, Sitka is known as "Alaska's Little Russia," even though at a glance, not much about the port looks Russian. Its most treasured asset, however, is its natural scenery and many people consider Sitka to be Alaska's most beautiful seaside town.

Wifey and I slept in and got a bit of a late start so we didn't really a lot of time in Sitka (last tender left from shore back to the ship at 4:30PM). We were able to catch some of the highlights of the town though, like...

Baranof Castle Hill...

Baranof Castle Hill sign
Baranof Castle Hill sign

Steps leading up to Castle Hill (with some goon in the background)
Steps leading up to Castle Hill (with some goon in the background)

Scene from atop Baranof Castle Hill
Scene from atop Baranof Castle Hill

Sign stating Baranof Castle Hill is a Registered National Historic Landmark
Sign stating Baranof Castle Hill is a Registered National Historic Landmark

Totem Square...

Totem in Totem Square
Totem in Totem Square

Intersection near Totem Square
Intersection near Totem Square

The Sitka Pioneers Home...

View of the Sitka Pioneers Home from Totem Square [Photo Credit: Andi Kubota]
View of the Sitka Pioneers Home from Totem Square [Photo Credit: Andi Kubota]

The Prospector Statue in front of the Pioneers Home [Photo Credit: Mom Kojima]
The Prospector Statue in front of the Pioneers Home [Photo Credit: Mom Kojima]

The Prospector Statue sign [Photo Credit: Mom Kojima]
The Prospector Statue sign [Photo Credit: Mom Kojima]

The Sitka Pioneers Home [Photo Credit: Mom Kojima]
The Sitka Pioneers Home [Photo Credit: Mom Kojima]

And various other sights around town...

View of Sitka town (and St. Michael's Cathedral) from Lincoln Street [Photo Credit: Andi Kubota]
View of Sitka town (and St. Michael's Cathedral) from Lincoln Street [Photo Credit: Andi Kubota]

Interesting Sitka wear. Insert funny comment here.
Interesting Sitka wear. Insert funny comment here.

Wifey getting mauled, er petted by big bear.
Wifey getting mauled, er petted by big bear.

Alaska's own.
Alaska's own.

Backside of St. Michael's Cathedral
Backside of St. Michael's Cathedral

The Hanlon-Osbakken House (with the Sitka Rose Gallery and the Winterson Soap Company) [Photo Credit: Mom Kojima]
The Hanlon-Osbakken House (with the Sitka Rose Gallery and the Winterson Soap Company) [Photo Credit: Mom Kojima]

Russian Bishop's House, Sitka, Alaska
Russian Bishop's House, Sitka, Alaska

St. Gregory Catholic Church, Sitka, Alaska
St. Gregory Catholic Church, Sitka, Alaska

Eventually, we met up with the rest of the fam, following their tour of the Alaskan Raptor Rehabilitation Center...

Alaska Raptor Rehabilitation Center Sign [Photo Credit: Lee Kojima]
Alaska Raptor Rehabilitation Center Sign [Photo Credit: Lee Kojima]

Baby Raptor [Photo Credit: Andi Kubota]
Baby Raptor [Photo Credit: Andi Kubota]

Eagle at the Alaska Raptor Rehabilitation Center [Photo Credit: Andi Kubota]
Eagle at the Alaska Raptor Rehabilitation Center [Photo Credit: Andi Kubota]

Eagle at the Alaska Raptor Rehabilitation Center [Photo Credit: Andi Kubota]
Eagle at the Alaska Raptor Rehabilitation Center [Photo Credit: Andi Kubota]

... to check out the Sheldon Jackson College Hatchery and Aquarium...

Sheldon Jackson College Hatchery and Aquarium sign [Photo Credit: Andi Kubota]
Sheldon Jackson College Hatchery and Aquarium sign [Photo Credit: Andi Kubota]

The hatchery is located inside the Sage Memorial Building on the Sheldon Jackson College campus
The hatchery is located inside the Sage Memorial Building on the Sheldon Jackson College campus

Inside the Sheldon Jackson College Hatchery and Aquarium
Inside the Sheldon Jackson College Hatchery and Aquarium

Evan, Travis and Chris getting hands-on with the sea life [Photo Credit: Andi Kubota]
Evan, Travis and Chris getting hands-on with the sea life [Photo Credit: Andi Kubota]


Chris really getting up close and personal

Miscellaneous sea life at the Sheldon Jackson College Hatchery and Aquarium [Photo Credit: Andi Kubota]
Miscellaneous sea life at the Sheldon Jackson College Hatchery and Aquarium [Photo Credit: Andi Kubota]

Miscellaneous sea life at the Sheldon Jackson College Hatchery and Aquarium [Photo Credit: Andi Kubota]
Miscellaneous sea life at the Sheldon Jackson College Hatchery and Aquarium [Photo Credit: Andi Kubota]

Miscellaneous sea life at the Sheldon Jackson College Hatchery and Aquarium
Miscellaneous sea life at the Sheldon Jackson College Hatchery and Aquarium

Miscellaneous sea life at the Sheldon Jackson College Hatchery and Aquarium
Miscellaneous sea life at the Sheldon Jackson College Hatchery and Aquarium

Crab at the Sheldon Jackson College Hatchery and Aquarium [Photo Credit: Lee Kojima]
Crab at the Sheldon Jackson College Hatchery and Aquarium [Photo Credit: Lee Kojima]

Face to face with a fish at the Sheldon Jackson College Hatchery and Aquarium
Face to face with a fish at the Sheldon Jackson College Hatchery and Aquarium

Shopping Cart and Bicycle pulled in from Sitka's Harbor
Shopping Cart and Bicycle pulled in from Sitka's Harbor

The hatchery on the backside of the Sheldon Jackson College Hatchery and Aquarium
The hatchery on the backside of the Sheldon Jackson College Hatchery and Aquarium

One of the tanks at the Sheldon Jackson College Hatchery. Notice the widdle fishies swimming around with the toy gator?
One of the tanks at the Sheldon Jackson College Hatchery. Notice the widdle fishies swimming around with the toy gator?

... and cruise the rest of town...

Leaving the Sheldon Jackson College campus
Leaving the Sheldon Jackson College campus

Wifey reliving her hanabata days
Wifey reliving her hanabata days

Kerri-Ann, Evan, Lee and Travis having a blast on the 4-way seesaw. Poor Kerri-Ann! :)
Kerri-Ann, Evan, Lee and Travis having a blast on the 4-way seesaw. Poor Kerri-Ann! :)

Tree planted for George Washington
Tree planted for George Washington

Chris on the whale statue [Photo Credit: Andi Kubota]
Chris on the whale statue [Photo Credit: Andi Kubota]

Wifey next to the sea lion statue
Wifey next to the sea lion statue

Yours truly riding the dolphin statue. Tell me again who's the most mature? :P
Yours truly riding the dolphin statue. Tell me again who's the most mature? :P

Dad Kojima and Grandma Kojima taking in Crescent Harbor [Photo Credit: Mom Kojima]
Dad Kojima and Grandma Kojima taking in Crescent Harbor [Photo Credit: Mom Kojima]

Crescent Harbor, Sitka, Alaska. [Photo Credit: Mom Kojima]
Crescent Harbor, Sitka, Alaska. [Photo Credit: Mom Kojima]

The crowd forming around the Reindeer Red Hot stand. Yep, Reindeer Hot Dogs!
The crowd forming around the Reindeer Red Hot stand. Yep, Reindeer Hot Dogs!

Perusing a gift shop for possible omiyage
Perusing a gift shop for possible omiyage

View of Sitka Hotel from The Sitka Pioneers Home lawn
View of Sitka Hotel from The Sitka Pioneers Home lawn

... before heading back to the ship for din-din.

We took a break from the norm and decided to splurge on dinner that night. Skipping the "included-in-the-price" Vista Dining Room, we dressed up and hit up Pinnacle Grill for an extra $20 per person. Still not bad for a change of scenery.

Pinnacle Ocean Platter - Carpaccio of lightly smoked salmon, accompanied with hot smoked salmon, sea scallops and wasabi cream. I think they replaced some items on this one.
Pinnacle Ocean Platter - Carpaccio of lightly smoked salmon, accompanied with hot smoked salmon, sea scallops and wasabi cream. I think they replaced some items on this one.

Lobster Bisque - Crème fraiche and aged sherry.
Lobster Bisque - Crème fraiche and aged sherry.

Dungeness Crab Cakes - Spiral shaved cucumber and sweet chili-mustard sauce
Dungeness Crab Cakes - Spiral shaved cucumber and sweet chili-mustard sauce

Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail - Brandy horseradish cocktail sauce
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail - Brandy horseradish cocktail sauce

(Broiled or) Poached Lobster Tail - On a bed of wilted spinach and argula, with mustard seed and "mangochurri" pesto sauce or melted butter
(Broiled or) Poached Lobster Tail - On a bed of wilted spinach and argula, with mustard seed and "mangochurri" pesto sauce or melted butter

Warm Grand Marnier Chocolate Volcano Cake - The ultimate chocolate experience
Warm Grand Marnier Chocolate Volcano Cake - The ultimate chocolate experience

Pinnacle Crème Brulee - Flavors of chocolate, coffee and vanilla bean
Pinnacle Crème Brulee - Flavors of chocolate, coffee and vanilla bean

The fam during din-din [Photo Credit: Lee Kojima]
The fam during din-din [Photo Credit: Lee Kojima]

Ed's Tip: Eating at the Vista Dining Room requires seating at specific times and is often crowded. If you'd like to avoid the crowds and try some of the ship's varying dining choices, opt to pay the extra money and treat yourself to some yummy kine grindz once in a while. Sure beats the repetition.

Following dinner, we caught a show. Yeah, they actually have mini-Broadway type shows. I was surprised too! On this night, we watched what was called "Showtime: Stage & Screen" and it starred some of the ship's talented singers and dancers.

The brother-in-law's sole photo below is the only evidence we have. LOL!

Showtime: Stage & Screen - starring the Westerdam Singers and Dancers [Photo Credit: Lee Kojima]
Showtime: Stage & Screen - starring the Westerdam Singers and Dancers [Photo Credit: Lee Kojima]

With a well-rested tummy, we headed straight to the Lido Deck for an event they were billing as a "Dessert Extravaganza." Talk about setting a precedent for themselves. But, even for a non-sweet-toothed person like myself, they definitely lived up to the hype.

Dessert Extravaganza on the Lido Deck
Dessert Extravaganza on the Lido Deck

Various Cakes and pies at the Dessert Extravaganza
Various Cakes and pies at the Dessert Extravaganza

Fruit carvings at the Dessert Extravaganza
Fruit carvings at the Dessert Extravaganza

Display at Dessert Extravaganza
Display at Dessert Extravaganza

White chocolate fountain with a dragon ice sculpture in the background at the Dessert Extravaganza
White chocolate fountain with a dragon ice sculpture in the background at the Dessert Extravaganza

Ed's Tip: Bring your camera. Scheduled for a 10:30PM release, they actually opened it up for photo opportunities at 10PM. Those dessert chefs did amazing work.

Aww, is that really the end of day 5? Just a few more short nights on the boat and we'll be heading home. How sad.

Dat's a-ight. Tomorrow, we've got an exciting Ziplining adventure in Ketchikan lined up to start off our day. Should be fun! See you in the next (and final?) part in the Alaska series. Shoots!

---

For more, please visit: www.world-wide-ed.com!

Part I | Part II |  Part III  | Part IV

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