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CLASS OF 1959

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GRIDLEY59 CRUISE
For Spring 2021

ALASKA
and

The Inland Passage

Those that returned their ballots have selected to do at least one more cruise, and they selected to cruise on May 11th, 2021 through May 21st, from San Francisco to Skagway, Alaska and back to San Francisco, a ten-day trip on the beautiful Ruby Princess. 

This is Ruby’s Sister Ship, the Sapphire Princess
 standing at anchor in Alaska

This cruise will be one of the earliest cruises of the 2021 season into Alaskan waters. Alaska will be ‘waking up’ from the winter’s sleep and we will be there to see it.

We will sail from the pier in San Francisco and work our way up past Oregon and Washington, then alongside the western coast of Canada until we get into the “Inland Passage” that puts us up close to land in a somewhat ‘protected’ passage all the way up to Alaska’s Capital… Juneau… where we are free to step off and enjoy the town. In Alaska we usually dock very close to the towns. People move from city to city either by water, by float plane, or by dog sled. Really! This is not an optical illusion:

We were docked in Skagway

 

Back on ship we enjoy a lovely meal with our classmates as we work our way on up to Skagway, arriving in the early morning where we will have a full day to look and feel and taste the real Alaska.

Skagway, Alaska

At the end of this experience we are again back on board where at the next dawn we spend the day experiencing the amazing Glacier Bay where we are able to watch …and HEAR… the “calving” of glacial ice cracking away and falling to the water. These pieces of ice are often larger than a barn. A process that has been happening since time began.

Ketchikan is next… a pleasant experience, like all the other ports of call. A whole day in each of these ports allow us plenty of time to find things that you just cannot go home without… things to which you point and say “Son, that there’s one o’ them schooligags what Eskimos use t’ fix ther dinner. Got ‘er when we cruised Alaska back in ’21!”


Ketchikan – Alaska’s First City

We are scheduled for a seven-hour stop-over in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia. They claim to have the best climate in Alaska… uh huh… we’ll see about that.

We bid farewell to the great Northwest and make a full day’s run southbound, heading into our berth in San Francisco on the morning of May 21st. We will each be home for dinner that evening, unless we decide to stay ‘n play in San Francisco… since we’re there, already. It should be beautiful that time of the year.


At the pier in San Francisco on a Beautiful Morning

Does any of this stir your travel juices? This will be the fifth Class of ’59 Cruise, and each and every one of them have been wonderful experiences. Each and every member of the group has experienced a beautiful rapport and bonding with people they have ‘known’ their entire lives… without really knowing them. And, let’s be honest here… we all have changed. Proudly, most have changed for the good, right? Certainly.

We really hope that you are in a situation where you can join us, because we want to share this wonderful experience with our entire group.

You already know how few of us there are that are still able to do things like this, and no one can predict which cruise will be our last, but the only guarantee we have is that if you join us on this run, it will be the best we have ever had. Beautiful ship… beautiful, natural Alaska… and beautiful people. How can we miss with that? A really spiritually lifting personal experience.

You will need details. There is time for all of that down the road but let me fill you in on the most prominent questions that you have at this time. You already know who… and you know where and when… but you are asking How Much.

You have a choice of five general classifications of cabin. Each cabin holds two people. A person that wishes to sail as a single will have to pay for both people that fit that cabin, so team up with a classmate, a friend, a family member… make it a wonderful experience with a grandchild.

Some cabins can support three or even four people, with #3 and #4 paying much less for their ticket. They add beds in the evening (while you are at dinner) that hang down, so it is mostly kids that would be doing that. They put the beds away when you are at breakfast… or out catching your fare for dinner.

A mini-suite cabin will have a folding couch/bed that is OK for a youngster, but it is not a Beauty Queen… the regular beds are wonderful, but that couch thing is questionable. Doable but questionable.

There are a few full suites that can sleep more adults (on real beds) as they will have several rooms. Pretty pricey of course.

The lowest prices are the Inside cabins. They have two singles or a double bed, whichever you prefer.  It has a ‘Head’ or bathroom with a wash basin, a toilet, and a shower. No, the toilet is not in the shower like small campers. You have a closet and some shelves, a small safe where you place any valuables and your passport, a small refrigerator, a TV, a phone, a hair dryer, a desk and chair, and no window.

Next step up is called an ‘Ocean-View’ cabin that is exactly the same as the Inside cabin except that it has a large window and you can enjoy the scenes as you cruise… and the whales… and the sea lions… and the icebergs. No, the last one that was hit was in 1912 or thereabouts. It was in all the papers.

Step three is the same cabin but the window is a sliding glass door and there is a balcony onto which you can step out and enjoy real Alaskan air. Some balconies are larger… they all are as wide as the cabin but some reach out further. There are cabins below them… they are not sticking out like a diving board. These are referred to as ‘Balcony’ cabins.

In some locations they move that balcony and glass door out a little further and add a second ‘room’ between the regular cabin we described above and the sliding glass wall. This is a ‘Mini-Suite’ and it has a larger ‘head’ or bathroom, a tub with a shower, the extra room of the extended floor space which holds a second TV and a couch/folding bed.

And then there are the ‘Full Suites’. These are totally different. A living room and a bedroom, a tub and a walk-in shower not over the tub. Lots more room and extra perks.

You can choose the type of cabin you would like, knowing that as you go up the scale, the ticket price gets higher.

Also, if you select an ‘Ocean-view’ cabin for example, you can select one in the bow, in the mid-section, in the aft (rear), or half-way between each of these. But the Mid-section cabin will be more expensive than the same cabin located in Mid-forward, and even more so than those in the forward section. The same thing happens going from the mid-section to the mid-aft and then the aft. This is true of any type of cabin that you choose. Supposedly the ride is a little easier in the mid-section, but personally, we usually book mid-forward and never have felt it was a problem. The Dahl’s book a cabin that actually looked out at the wake in the ocean that trailed behind us and found it to be fine.

The ticket… that is everything. You register your credit card in the terminal building and they will issue a card that will open your door, and it will serve as a credit card when you purchase anything from the ship’s stores, or alcoholic or soft drinks. The Ruby Princess will have the “Medallion” system working where they issue you a chip that you wear like a watch, and it does everything, including opening your door. No card to lose. That card… or medallion… is what allows you back onto the ship when you come back from a walk-off into town, so it is important.

The ticket… when you pay for the cruise, you are paying for your ride, your cabin, as many meals as you can manage to eat (they serve food 24/7 in more than a dozen restaurants). You will pay extra for soft and alcoholic drinks if you want them, and they have specialty coffees you can purchase. Regular coffee is always available free. If you want a spa treatment or a beauty salon appointment those will cost a fee. If you sign up for tours off the ship, those will cost you. And they have several “fancy” restaurants that specialize in certain things that will cost you $25 or so, which is very cheap, but the normal dining room meals are very nice and are free… I mean included with your ticket. There is free ice cream cones, free desserts in the buffet you can take to your cabin, free snacks, except you won’t feel like eating them. Don’t eat too much… it can become overwhelming. The top deck has a running track if that is needed, plus a whole gym full of exercise equipment. Or, just enjoy a leisurely walk on the Promenade Deck… deck seven.

The Ruby has several swimming pools, multiple hot tubs, an outdoor movie with a huge electronic screen the size of a drive-in movie screen. Remember those? A casino that operates when at sea, a gymnasium, a kid’s club with stuff, self-operated laundry on each deck, stores with things you can buy, multiple theaters, stages, and small-group entertainment all over the ship.

Am I succeeding in talking you into at least considering joining us?

If you would like to experience the previous Gridley59 cruises, take a look at our Gridley59.com website and relive them. http://gridley59.com/01Reunions/Reunions.htm   Click on the 50th, 55th, 57th, and 60th.

If you would like to join Rosalee and me on the cruises that we have taken to Alaska, we are delighted to share those on our website: http://kr.gridley59.com/OurCruises/Cr%20OurCruises.htm 

On each trip we have taken, some of the classmates have had friends or relatives or neighbors join them, and we include them into our group and enjoy their company.

The only “requirement” that we ask… and of course you don’t have to do this, but we hope you do… we try to schedule the entire group to eat at a reserved section of tables for the evening meal only… all other meals are eat when, where, and with whom you desire. This gives us one time in the day when we can all connect, and it is the highlight of the cruise in the eyes of many. We have several tables assigned to us in one of the main dining rooms, and you sit at any of them, ending up with different classmates joining you at your table each evening. We invite your friends to be part of that, but we certainly don’t push them. As it is, they have all joined in, and it was great. Just be sure to have them sign up through Suzy as one of our group, and for each 8 cabins we fill, we get reimbursed for the cost of a single cruiser, and we split that among all of the party… them included.

OK… I know… the price. They are expensive. No way around that. We have used an agent that has done the cruises for Rosalee and me many times, and she is able to get the best prices that anyone has been able to give us. We trust her completely. Her name is Suzy, and her business is … um… “Suzy Cruisy”. LOL. Each time we do this someone will send me a quote from the internet that is cheaper than Suzy can provide. That is because on the internet they quote an inside cabin, all the way forward, up at the highest deck they have cabins, it is the worst, cheapest cabin, and they only have maybe six of them on the ship. So please do not be fooled by internet ‘specials’. You absolutely get what you pay for, and definitely so when on a ship. Suzy’s quotes are for cabins in the mid-forward part of the ship. You can ask her for one of the less expensive, or you can ask her to place you closer to the center of the ship for a smoother ride. It is your option, and you can ask her opinion… she will be glad to work with you.

The ticket includes everything. It includes the price of the trip with all the meals and everything. It also includes tax, and things that are called ‘port fees’. Also, Suzy recommends you add insurance, which pays for your cruise ticket if your mom ends up in the hospital just before we sail, and you are not able to go. Also, there is no tipping on the ship, but the cruise line does ask for ‘gratuities’ up front. A bit goofy but that is how that industry does things. It is usually about $14 to $16 per person cruising, per day of the cruise. So, on a ten-day run, all of the tips are paid with $140 per occupant of a cabin… $280 for a couple sharing a cabin. If you tell Suzy you are Okey Dokey before the end of February these gratuities are PAID for us by Princess. Hint!!!

Here we go:

An Inside cabin is $1960.93 for one… a couple would be $3921.86 total.

An Ocean-View cabin is $2392.93 for one… a couple would be $4785.86 total.

A Balcony Cabin is $2652.13 for one… a couple would be $5304.26 total.

A Mini-Suite is $2965.33 for one… a couple would be $5930.66 total.

 

Suzy did not send quotes for suites, but there are several available, and obviously they are more expensive than the Mini-Suites.

Bonus: There is a very rare sale going on at Princess, and if you tell Suzy that you want to be included… and send her a $200 (for the couple) deposit BEFORE FEBRUARY 28TH, 2020… in the next six weeks Princess will book you at the above prices, BUT they will take care of the gratuities for you… AND they will give you the complete Drinks Package, which gives you free alcoholic drinks, free soft drinks, free specialty coffees, etc. That is worth more than $60 per person, per day. FREE! AND… they will give you free internet service. We normally pay for that BY THE MINUTE     … it is tough to get internet at sea. But… it is free if you say yes before 2/28/20.

So… if you think that you would like to join us on this trip, let me know. I will give you the paperwork and information you will need to have so you can sign up. It is that deposit now, and the big money does not have to be paid until much later… I can give you that date when we know it. The important thing now is to make the decision before 2/28/20 and get signed up with the deposit.

If you find later you cannot go, you can still back out up to when you pay the big money. After that, only emergencies will let you out, and then only if you have that insurance. It is worth it. It is already figured into those prices Suzy sent us up above.

If you decide much later to go with us, you still can, as long as they have any available cabins on the ship. I would not wait too long though as many cruises sell out early, especially early Alaskan Cruises… especially cruises that go into Glacier Bay. Access to that bay are limited.

I do hope that you decide to join us. It is a lot of fun, and a memorable experience.

Let me know as soon as you know what you want to do, and I will send you what you need to get the ball rolling. Remember… next month… 28th… deadline if you want the free drinks, free gratuities, and free web access.

Ken

Ken Smith

Ken.smith1@comcast.net

 

From your Class Committee