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Cruising Alaska, day five: Last Day at Sea on Star Princess Before Ketchikan

In anticipation of rainy Ketchikan tomorrow, the sun politely showed up in full force today to wish us farewell. With moderate temps in the high 50s, the Star Princess was buzzing with activity. The top decks (Lido and Sun) were as full as I’ve seen them since we left San Francisco. It’s easy on a gorgeous day like today to stay active, but what about rainy days or your third full day at sea when you’re craving variety? Heather and I scoped out the fitness options on Star Princess, both traditional and creative. This is what we discovered:

The Star Princess Fitness Center offers spin classes, in addition to many other group exercise options.

If you prefer the gym and formal workouts, it’s open 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. It’s a bit awkward to locate the Fitness Center at first, but know that it’s adjacent the Lotus Spa (Sun Deck) and as far forward on the ship as you can go. This does allow for a unique ocean view as you pump out your cardio on machines lining a floor-to-ceiling glass wall. There are free weights and all of the standard resistance machines. As for cardio, there are six ellipticals, four bikes (two upright and two recumbent), and 12 treadmills. You also have access to floor mats, balance balls, and other assorted gear. There are personal trainers on hand (for a fee) and yoga and pilates classes (also for a fee). Heather utilized the Fitness Center twice so far in our four days on board. Her observation is that everyone is welcome and everyone seemed comfortable; all ages, all levels of fitness, all types of workouts. She also noted that on both visits it was packed with passengers.

Star Princess passengers are staying fit on their third full day at sea.

The view from the Star Princess Fitness Center. I don't know about you, but the blue sky and ocean as far as the eye can see sure beats the view from my city gym at home.

If a crowded gym is not your speed, there are other ways to stay active on the Star Princess. Our favorite is walking or jogging around the Sun Deck, at the very top of the ship. You can’t beat the views, but you should know there are a considerable number of stairs involved as you circumnavigate the perimeter. If stairs are prohibitive, or if the weather is inclement, The Promenade (deck 7) may be ideal for you. Flat, covered, and oceanside, this deck is a popular location for scenic strolls. Two important notes to keep in mind about The Promenade: 1) Many people jog in this location and not everyone shouts a courteous, “On your left” as they barrel past; and 2) Strong winds often rip through this narrow deck and stability could be an issue for some. The Star Princess has four swimming pools, one of which is for guests of the Lotus Spa. While none are formal lap pools, the most popular for lap swimming are the two largest on the Lido Deck (one outside and one inside).

The picturesque Star Princess Promenade, deck 7.

For even less-traditional fitness options, consider shuffle board, ping pong, bocci ball, life-size chess/checkers on the Sun Deck, a golf simulator and ballroom dancing lessons. Princess staff host dance classes in different lounges around the ship each day. You can learn the jive on Wednesday and master the waltz on Friday. Fun tip: The evening social events are musically themed to the day’s dancing lesson, in case you’re so inclined to show off your new moves. Princess also offers a television channel in all staterooms called Fitness at Sea. As for the least traditional options, we suggest you jog  up and down the steep mid-ship stairways (seriously, everyone else is in the elevator anyway) or join the flash mob dancers for their daily practice.

One final word about viable fitness options on board: Yoga. As longtime students of yoga, Heather and I are familiar with a variety of styles. Our preference is a holistic practice integrating movement, breath, meditation and spiritual elements. This approach to yoga is most often found in private studios, spas or retreats. There is a noticeable difference between this integrated practice and classes typically offered in a gym setting. The yoga classes offered in the Star Princess Fitness Center are more gym than spa. They focus primarily on physical movement and the efficiency of stretching tired, traveling muscles. After four nights in unfamiliar beds, Heather was grateful for any relief and realignment. She also noted that the poses selected by the instructor were grounded poses and thoughtful choices for a class held a rocking boat. There were three generations of passengers in the class, about 50/50 men and women, and two people who had never tried yoga before this cruise. Heather purchased a multi-class pass at a discounted rate from the fee she would have paid for individual classes. It should be noted, however, that individual classes are only $12, which is comparable to the rate paid in studios across our hometown of Salt Lake City.

OM. Yoga helps passengers stretch and realign tight, tired muscles.

In addition to researching fitness options, Heather and I attended the second presentation in the Port Information Lecture Series. Tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. we dock in Ketchikan, the southernmost city in Alaska’s Inside Passage. To assuage passengers who were anxious about seeing and doing everything they can in the eight hours we’re in port, Cruise Ship Director Paul joked that “when we dock, we’re bigger than the town.” It rains in Ketchikan 240 days a year, typically 162 inches. Our rain gear is packed and we’re up for the adventure. Heather and I are both visiting Saxman, a Tlingit village. In fact, Ketchikan is home to the largest percentage (14 percent) of indigenous peoples in Southeast Alaska. We’re most looking forward to learning about the cultural significance of totem poles and to purchasing items crafted by native artisans.

I hope you’re enjoying your virtual vacation. You can follow along on each day of the adventure through my Live Voyage Report landing page. If you're interested in following other Live Voyage Reports, visit The Avid Cruiser website to see where the team is exploring now!

Bon voyage…and love,
me


This article was originally published on the Avid Cruiser Live Voyage Report website.


Cruising Alaska, day six: Ketchikan, Alaska on Star Princess

Cruising Alaska, day four: Still Sailing Toward Alaska on Star Princess