The May 15 & 22 '04 Diamond Princess cruises are well documented on various cruise wed sites. We were on the May 22 run. In summary the Diamond damaged one of its drive props in Victoria, BC the night before it was to return to Seattle. It made port around noon while we were waiting in Seattle center for some word concerning our cruise. We boarded at 6:30 PM instead of noon. Late arrivals did not board until near midnight. Between 400 & 500 passengers, had a shouting match/near riot with a hotel staff officer around midnight and about 300 left the ship, This because we found a letter in our cabin saying we were going to miss Juneau and Victoria and have two hours in Skagway, becuase the ship would not leave Seattle until 3:00AM and could only travel about 2/3rds speed.
We did find out the the Skagway time was a misprint and we got full time there, But we missed two ports. As every Alaska posting on this site says, for Alaska, intenerary is everything the ship is seconcary. An extra day at sea did not thrill us.
Most things got better when we hit Skagway. Divers fixed the prop so we were back up to speed. Our shore excursion was just wjhat we needed. Miles and miles of sights we had never seen before. Our bus driver knew we were tired and hostile. After he was done we were relaxed and refreshed.
Back on board the ships crew had recovered somewhat and began to show us what cruising was alll about. We heard an anoucement that we would dock in Victoria after all. That night the whole ship was a party.
Of course, in the end, we missed Victoria because the big beautiful Diamond could not sale a stright line in the high cross wind of victoria harbor. But by then most people had had a good time and the disappointment was not so much.
On the camera, check out the Panasonic, our 4MP Lumix was low end of the price range for the quaility of the camera. They have just come out with a 5MP version. You may be able to get the 4MP on a close out somewhere. All of our pictures were taken in Point and Shoot auto mode, ;and in the end we erased three. Two of those we were pretty sure would not come out. They were taken in extreme low light and the subject moved.
On the Gore-tex. we fournd the best price at LL Bean. $100.00.
PS the HAL ship in Victoria had no trouble with the wind.