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Friday File: The Anchorage Museum

If you’re on an Alaska cruise that takes you to Anchorage between now and the end of the season, there’s still time to see Arctic Ambitions: Captain Cook and the Northwest Passage at the Anchorage Museum. For us, the museum trip was recommended by Guy Glaeser, the Princess Cruises expert on Alaska, and it turned out to be better than he said. The Cook exhibit is there only until September 7, after which it will be replaced by one on Vincent Van Gogh. There are no pictures of Cook’s amazing journey below because photography wasn’t allowed in that section — and there is far more to this museum than one exhibit, as you will see…

Street

It’s walking distance from any part of downtown‚ stylishly designed and located at the intersection of C Street and 6th Avenue.

Baseball

Until November 1, an entire section is dedicated to Alaska’s rich history in baseball, and players from Satchel Paige to Tom Seaver.

Alaska in 50s

Another section gives you a detailed look at what life was like in Alaska (and other places) when it became a state in 1959.

Papa Joe's

There’s always been a wild side to Alaska, and that’s why this cleverly-worded teeshirt from a bar makes it into a museum of all places.

Native section

Many creative artifacts from Alaska’s native history, including this jacket that’s guaranteed to keep you warm anywhere in the state.

Captain Cook

The best photo allowed of Captain James Cook hangs in the lobby of the hotel that bears his name, just a few blocks away.

Kids section

As the first Smithsonian Affiliate in Alaska, the museum collaborated on Spark!Lab, an interactive attraction for kids (of all ages!).

Olympics

Anchorage bid for the Winter Olympics in 1992, losing to Albertville, and this sweatshirt is a reminder the Games still haven’t come.

Today at portsandbows.com: Angkor Wat, Cambodia's tourist jewel

Celebrity Summit
7 nights
November 28, 2015
San Juan (return): Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, St. Thomas
Inside: $449
Cost per day: $67
www.celebritycruises.com

Regent’s Smithsonian At Sea

The last time we were at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC, about a year ago, we re-discovered what an intimidating place it can be. You think you can “do” the Smithsonian in a day when, in fact, you need a week…even when you have a high-energy teenage grandson at your side.

Starting in July, Regent Seven Seas is taking the Smithsonian to sea, in a manner of speaking.

Called The Smithsonian Collection by Smithsonian Journeys, here’s basically what it is:

Sunburst• On the ship, lectures by “charismatic” experts — there are 14 historians, authors and diplomats listed on Regent’s website — followed by “spirited” discussions

• On the shore, select shore excursions with a lecturer to become fully immersed in the history of the destination

This kind of thing isn’t for everyone, of course. It promises, however, to be similar to the kind of enrichment you get from visiting the Institution itself. It will be on the majority of sailings, more than 80, this year and next, on itineraries throughout the world.

The cruises seem to range from 8 to 24 nights, on a premium ship. That’s the good news. The bad is that it costs a lot more than visiting the Smithsonian Institution — even for a whole week.

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas
7 nights
September 6, 2015
Galveston (return): Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Falmouth
Inside: $356
Cost per day: $50
www.royalcaribbean.com

Quotes From The Boat

AT SEA ON THE CELEBRITY MILLENNIUM — Heard in passing on the way to Mexico:
* * *
During an explanation of how excess food is recycled into the ocean for whatever fish were passing by, one cruiser quipped: “Let’s see. We feed the fish. We catch the fish. We eat the fish. So really, we’re just feeding ourselves.”
Food and Beverage Manager Duarte da Silva put it another way:
“There’s just one big whale following us.”
* * *
Captain Zisis Taramas, a 25-year-veteran of cruise shipping, was asked a question about the Millennium that even he couldn’t answer.
“How do you get those little night lights in the toilets?”
One of his staffers supplied the answer, which wasn’t nearly as humorous as the question.
* * *
A veteran cruise couple was riding down the elevator for dinner.
“We’re lying to ourselves again,” he said, as we stepped into the elevator. “THIS time, we’re going to just eat salads.”
* * *
One Canadian couple, when the subject of ages came up at a lunch table, analyzed it this way:
“Together, we’re 162.”
* * *
Some cruise passengers are way too technical for us. For example, somebody who had nothing better to do noticed that the Millennium refueled in Colombia, leading to a series of questions and answers about fuel consumption on the seas.
Cruise Director Rich Clesen put an exclamation point on the discussion.
“You may notice there are no gas stations out here,” he said, “except maybe a shell.”
* * *
On one of his many stays in Panama, Dr. James Karr of the Smithsonian Institution caught some rare bird, the name of which we quickly forgot, and tagged it.
“Eighteen years later,” he said, “in exactly the same place, I caught the same bird.”
Dr. Karr didn’t say if the bird recognized him.
* * *
One more from the “tekkies only” department…
A passenger identified himself as being fluent in airplane navigation procedures and asked the captain to tell him some of the differences between that and ship navigation procedures. Without missing a beat, Captain Taramas said:
“We don’t worry about what’s under us.”
* * *
That’s it…we’re done.

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