Diamond Princess Day 7 – College Fjord

This morning, we woke early to try and post our photos to the gallery, with no luck – the satellite internet connection kept terminating so we ended up going down to the Internet Lounge to try there – success!

It was overcast and cold this morning but as it is another day at sea, we really don’t mind.  We did “The Ultimate Ship’s Tour” this morning, which was restricted to a small group of 14 people. Our first stop was the Bridge, where Captain Dino Sagani showed us how the ship works and explained the instruments and equipment he uses to steer and control the ship.  It was fascinating to see that such a large ship could be controlled from such a small console. The ship is powered by four diesel electric motors with a gas turbine engine that is used when they need extra power or when they want to run environmentally friendly in the Glacier areas.  The gas turbine is of approximately the same size as a Being 737 jet engine and produces about 11 kilowats of power.  He also explained to us the crew ratings and the training and study that each person must do to become qualified and to attain promotion. We were on the Bridge for more than half an hour and were delighted to be able to have this opportunity as some of the crew members never get to see the Bridge.

Our next stop was the Funnel – we were shown how the diesel engine gases are used to provide other services like heating, distillation of water and disposal of some refuse.

From there we went to see where the ship’s stores come onto the ship and are stowed, including the freezers and thawing fridges for the meats and frozen foods.  We saw the butchers at work as well as the staff preparing the seafood.  We were told the ship took on 220 tonnes of provisions for this week’s voyage.

From there we were shown into the galleys and bakery – all food eaten on the ship is baked onsite.  We were told that prepared food on-board has a maximum life of 4 hours and then is disposed of.

After that we were taken through the area that the luggage is brought on board and sorted.  An estimated 6 000 items of luggage are handled on the day of disembarkation and embarkation of the next cruise.

Then we went to the Engine Control Room, where the ship’s Chief Engineer explained the workings of the ship’s diesel engines and gas turbine engine and how the power generated by them is transformed to electricity to drive the ship’s propulsion systems.  He also explained the ship’s desalination process and how the ship manages its various forms of waste.

Our next stop was the ship’s laundry room where we saw all the machinery, including a huge press and folding machine for the bedding, which was most impressive. Some of the processes for cleaning and pressing shirts and jackets were also impressive.

We were then shown the anchor and docking room, complete with huge thick ropes used to tie up the ship and the huge chains on the anchor.

Then we were shown the photo lab where all the thousands of photos taken of the passengers doing various things are printed, ready for sale.  And then onto the print room, where all the daily news sheets, menus, broadcasts and various other forms are printed.

Our last stop was at the theatre, where we were taken backstage, under the stage and the costuming department.

We thoroughly enjoyed our tour of the ship, getting to see areas that we had always wondered about .  Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take our camera with us.

We sailed through Prince William Sound late afternoon passing through a large number of small fishing boats just as we entered the Sound. We entered College Fjord and even although it was still overcast with low clouds, the five large valley glaciers and dozens of smaller glaciers were still spectacular. College Fjord not only boasts the world’s largest collection of tidewater glaciers, but it also has magnificent snow-capped mountains as far as the eye can see.  There were large amounts of floating ice in the Fjord so the ship was not able to get as close as we had hoped it would and in fact, the end of the Fjord closest to Hubbard Glacier was still partly frozen.

Today, while on the bridge, we saw several dolphins playing in front of the ship and this afternoon we saw some seals sitting on ice flow as well as some little otters floating past on their backs.

We had pre-dinner drinks with our Tour Group in the Skywalker Lounge at the rear of the ship before joining Cheryl and Keith for a farewell dinner.

The sun will set tonight at 11.06pm and will rise again at 4.27am (but they still have twilight) !

Our suitcases have been collected and will be trucked to Kenai Princess Lodge where we will be staying tomorrow night.

We will be leaving the Diamond Princess around mid-morning for our bus trip to Kenai.

We have really enjoyed our cruise from Vancouver to Whittier – we could very easily become accustomed to this way of life!

Leave a Reply