Bidding Sitka Farewell in Grand Style

Guests and staff aboard Seabourn Sojourn celebrate up on deck this evening as we depart Sitka, Alaska. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Seabourns Seabourn Sojourn makes a heck of an impression here in Alaska. The luxury line’s product is so polished, so professional, that you’d be forgiven for thinking that the line has operated here for decades. After an absence of 15 years from the region, I would have expected a larger ramp-up period. This isn’t the Mediterranean, after all. And yet, here in Sitka, I am just amazed at how fabulous Seabourn’s Alaskan offerings are.
The weather doesn’t hurt: today is the first nice, sunny, warm day we’ve had since departing Vancouver over a week ago. And yet, even if it were foggy and drippy out – as it has been all week – I get the impression today would have been no less special.

Today’s weather: nothing short of fantastic. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

I’ll be honest: I didn’t do much today off of the soothing Seabourn Sojourn. I wandered around Sitka for about two hours. It’s a lovely little town full of Russian heritage. As New Archangel, Sitka was a town for nearly 70 years before the Alaska Purchase between the United States and Russia, the transfer ceremony of which took place in New Archangel – or Sitka – in 1867.
The Seabourn advantage presented itself in a unique way once I had tendered ashore. Up at the Visitor’s Centre was a massive line of people that snaked halfway around the building. They were passengers on Holland America Line’s Eurodam, and they were waiting for the shuttle busses to take them back to Eurodam at its remote, unseen docking location.

Sitka was originally settled in 1799 as the Russian town of New Archangel. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

To this day, Russian influence can be seen in some of the town’s architecture. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Sitka also offers a great local arts and culture scene, plus a really fantastic local bookstore. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Back at the pier, guests aboard Holland America’s Eurodam…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…faced a lengthy wait to be transferred to their ship…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…while Seabourn Sojourn guests…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…got right back on their tender to the ship. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Now, I like Holland America Line a lot. They do a great cruise. But these people standing out in the sun, waiting for these coaches, looked hugely annoyed. Kids cried. Adults grumbled. And Seabourn Sojourn’s guests walked right past them, down the pier, and boarded the tenders back to the ship with minimal waiting.
You could say that’s the advantage of small-ship luxury cruising.

This evening, the Caviar on Ice deck party was held…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

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