Knock knock! Not always the most welcome sound on vacation, but when it heralds the arrival of your Glacier Bay Balcony Breakfast aboard Princess Cruises' Star Princess, you leap out of bed.
In comes the smiling server. He knows he's making your day, even as you're still rubbing sleep out of your eyes.
“Where would you like breakfast?” he asks.
On the balcony, naturally. Bearing an almost comical number of platters, he begins clearing room for them wherever possible. The important one, of course, takes pride of place on the balcony table. He presents the half bottle of bubbly.
“Can I open it for you?”
The answer to that question, as always, is yes. Against a backdrop of Alaskan wilderness and its endless shades of blue, he pours your sparkling wine, and guides you through your bounty.
Here you have platters of smoked salmon with its accouterments: capers, cream cheese, and brioche toasted and already split in half, because they understand you're still too sleepy to bother with that. There you have plates of fresh fruit — shaved cantaloupe strewn with raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries — and a generous dollop of clotted cream. There's coffee, juice, and yet another plate — this one bearing mixed greens, a crab quiche, and, because we are in Alaska after all: crab legs. Wait, you overlooked one; there's also a plate of pastries you know full well you won't have room for, but you'll stash it away in your cabin on the impossible off-chance that you'll find yourself peckish later.
It's an embarrassment of riches and you debate where to begin. The crab legs, perhaps, before they chill in the glacier-tinged breeze whipping off the sea. Conversation from nearby balconies drift by, along with the click of cameras, but you and your travel partner are quiet as your focus shifts from the feast to the low-slung clouds wreathing the mountains off in the distance. Moving on to the salmon — your new favorite is smoked salmon, you decide — laughter and exclamations join the faint splash of water as your soundtrack. Your fellow passengers spy sea lions floating lazily on their backs and someone down the way calls out that they are watching for a whale. Their wish grows into a rumor as it carries from balcony to balcony until your neighbors ask, “Where? Where is the whale?” No whale yet, but a party of sea creatures frolic in the silver-sheened waters, oblivious to the ship passing by.
You're torn from your wildlife reverie when you catch a glimpse of the waiting fruit — mustn't forget that! Any other morning it would make a fine breakfast all on its own, but you're happily full from crab legs and salmon, and after a nibble you tuck it into an empty coffee cup for an afternoon snack, perhaps. You don't have room for another bite. Then you go back to your balcony and wrap up against the morning chill to watch the show unfold. “Hmm,” you think, “I could go for a hot cocoa.”