Today, we took the Alaskan Railroad train again from Anchorage to Whittier. The journey this time was much shorter. Check in was at 8.45 for a 9.45 departure and we arrived at Whittier about 3 hours later. 

This time, it was a panoramic journey. We passed by Alaskan beaches, with the humps of white whales visible in the sea as we passed by. The railroad runs at a leisurely pace, so it is easy to take in the views.

I was interested to read that the Schools Business Partnership (SBP) is sponsoring a “Showing up Every Day” program in the Anchorage schools with seductive prizes such as a 2013 Jeep Patriot, round trip airline tickets, trips to Disneyland and Apple computers. Students with full attendance can enter for the best prizes with 95% attenders eligible for draws for the other prizes. Attendance rates for high school seniors are currently a dismal 57.8%. The program is aimed at achieving a 90% attendance rate by 2020.

I also read that telemedicine is becoming of increasing importance to Alaskans. I would think it is essential with the huge distance that this state covers. The Alaskan Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) – a non profit organisation – is developing mobile telemedicine carts.

There is very little in Whittier other than the port itself. The railroad stops right by the port, so as we turned the last bend of the track, the beautiful Sapphire Princess came into view. Embarkation was swift and efficient. Our luggage was whisked away and appeared in our cabin shortly after we did.

When I say cabin, that is something of an understatement… We have a large, comfy bed, a lovely bathroom with a deep bath, a lounge area and, best of all, a huge balcony that wraps itself around the front of the ship with a dining table and chairs, 2 steamer chairs and still plenty of room to walk around! Flowers, fruit and a full bar – I could get used to this!

We had the option for a complimentary embarkation night meal at one of the signature restaurants – Sabatinis. They offered a wide ranging Italian themed menu and we decided we would sample what they had to offer. Champagne and canapés were delivered to our cabin and then we dined on artichoke soufflé, signature pasta entrées, lobster, steak and zabaglione. A beautiful meal at a table for two with a superb view of an icy, calm sea. Perfect!

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