Hot Rocks, Cool Vacation

Monday Mantra

I want gloves…I want gloves…I want gloves…

Hot Rocks, Cool Vacation

Alaska is still Alaska, even on a luxury cruise.

If I ever say I plan to leave for a cruise directly from the office, just slap me. A full work day, a rush hour commute to JFK, and a 6-hour flight to Vancouver delivered me to the City of Glass so exhausted that I was barely able to form sentences. Even an unexpected upgrade to the Pan Pacific Hotel’s Petty Suite wasn’t enough to trigger a second wind.

On Thursday morning, it was a different story. I woke, left my husband, Michael, in bed, and entered the suite’s living room just in time to see through the floor-to-ceiling windows Silver Shadow sailing in beneath the Lion’s Gate Bridge. She was headed right toward me. I mean, RIGHT toward me. The Pan Pacific is actually connected to the Canada Place passenger ship terminal, so after a complimentary breakfast at the hotel’s Pacific Club (of which I learned I was a member … who knew??), I summoned a bellhop who took our bags not just to the hotel’s lobby, but straight to the ship. Unencumbered, Michael and I were free to stroll the magnificent city of Vancouver and stop for a leisurely lunch at The Elephant & Castle Pub where a crowd of passionate English soccer fans had assembled to watch the World Cup England/Uruguay match, its conclusion not nearly as disturbing to them, I’m sure, as Michael’s rather vocal appreciation of Uruguay’s play.

As I write this, we’ve been aboard Silver Shadow for two days and we’re currently arriving in Ketchikan. I’d like to say that the sky is a vivid blue and the blinding sun is glistening off of the fishing boats and leisure craft that dot the harbor. I’d also like to say I won the lottery and I’ve got a body like a Victoria’s Secret model but that’s not true either. In fact, it’s pouring down rain and as I sit on deck, I’m looking with undisguised envy at a woman who actually listened to everyone’s advice and brought a pair of gloves. Bitch.

But all of this just underscores why selecting an extraordinary ship like Silver Shadow for your Alaska cruise is the way to go.

No matter what the weather, our spacious balcony suite is a warm — and dry — refuge. Our butler, Wilson, will cheerfully fetch me a bottle of my favorite wine and hors d’oeurvres and if we wish to brave the elements and sit on the verandah, he’ll bring us cozy, plaid wool blankets to wrap ourselves in. Our bathroom — tub AND shower — offers Bulgari and Ferragamo toiletries that make me feel like I’m browsing in Bergdorf’s and not just bathing.

Silver Shadow in AlaskaAnd then, of course, there’s the dining. Last night I savored grilled lobster at the captain’s welcome dinner and tonight I’ll dine al fresco at The Grill, an innovative venue where prime meats and seafood are cooked to order upon hot rocks. Above us, heat lamps will warm us despite the chilly temperatures.

But for now, my hands are freezing and I’m still looking at the woman with the gloves and wondering where those hot rocks are when you really need them.
— Judi Cuervo


Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.