Arcadia at Anchorage

27th September 2009, 15:35
Members may remember me saying in past threads that Arcadia was the first ship of her type to visit Anchorage. Well, I enclose proof of this from the Anchorage Daily Times on Saturday evening July 14th 1973. The below front page article shows her entering Anchorage, and I was on board my Crew & Isolation hospital taking up the after end of C Deck, so I basically had my own balcony!, which went from port to starboard each hospital having its own deck, each separated, with my hospital complex which I was in charge of, just behind the children’s nursery the hospital complex, separated by a heavy door either side from passenger accommodation. My own cabin opened onto the deck on starboard side a good way to see the world, AND get paid for it. But I was on call for 24 hours a day, seven days a week often for 8 months a time!.

The thumbnails of the paper before is old and faded and did not copy too well to read all the print,. Therefore, I will copy below what the paper said.

This is an important piece of history of cruising today as we know it today, how it grew. I have said many times that we on Arcadia led the way in cruising as it now is, especially from the west coast of America, to Glacier Bay, and of course at Anchorage where we were the first ship of our type to visit there. Also, contrary to what some may say, we aboard Arcadia were quite successful on the American coast because of our Circle Pacific cruises. At the time of this cruise, our resident captain, Captain Dallas was busy promoting the ship in the USA. Spirit of London was struggling which is why P&O bought Princess Cruises in 1974. And now look at them?!. However, as you can see from the Anchorage Daily Times below, we were doing quite well aboard Arcadia.


From the ANCHORAGE DAILY TIMES Evening 14th July 1973

A 19 year old British queen, the Arcadia, stemmed the tide in Knik Arm this morning and became the first ship of her type to dock in Anchorage.

On board the luxury liner were two captains, Joe L Chapman and Tony Merrick: about 800 passengers; and a crew of about 600.

On shore as the shipped docked at 9am were City Mayor George M Sullivan, Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Hostess Rose Golik and Miss Anchorage, Debbie Adams.

Two tugs, the David Foss and the Pacific Wind, strained and smoked for an hour to push the 719-foot liner, against the Port of Anchorage dock.

Miss Golik and Sullivan gave short welcoming speeches to passengers and presented them with walrus pins provided by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. The vessel leaves at 8pm today.

Anchorage is the second port of call in Alaska for the vessel on a cruise of the Pacific Rim. The ship called in Ketchikan on 11th July, and cruised Glacier Bay and crossed the Gulf of Alaska yesterday. The cruise began in Vancouver, B.C. several days ago.

According to Captain Chapman, this is the first time a P&O vessel has sailed this far north in the Pacific.

“He said there is another old ship, sold to the Japanese and lost in the Bering Sea, probably encased in a cake of ice. We do not intend to do the same”.

About 10pm yesterday two pilots from homer boarded the ship in Kachemak Capt William Johnson and Capt William Tingley assisted the ships officers with passage up inlet and Knik Arm.

The two pilots normally handle foreign freight and tanker ships moving in and out of south central waters.

As the Homer part boarded, passengers were ending one of the more important parties, the captains cocktail party.

According a purser, about two thirds of the group are UC citizens the other third a mixture of Canadians, New Zealander’s, Australians and Orientals.

Some passengers like Annette and Harry Joyce and their two daughters are immigrating to New Zealand or Australia. The Joyce’s are from Ontario, came originally from Scotland and plan to settle for a while, at least in Australia.

There are about 100 children aboard this cruise, and unusual number for a mode of travel that usually appeals to the 50 to 70 age group, a purser explains.

Many passengers said they were enthralled with the mountains along Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet. The moon rose above the Kenai Mountains and the moonlight reflected on the ship, lending a little bit of class to the silty, turbulent inlet waters.

From Anchorage the ship may travel through the Bering Sea along the Aleutian chain. The next scheduled stop on the seven week cruise will be Yokohama, Japan.

About 56 persons disembarked here, most will tour the state more extensively.

To the right of the article is a picture of Captain Joe Chapman as he watches and directs his ships docking manoeuvres this morning at the port of Anchorage dock.

The Arcadia, the largest passenger ship cruising the Pacific is the first P&O ship to come this far north in the Pacific. The stop is believed to be the first for this type of vessel....quote

I joined her in June 1973 in San Francisco. This cruise actually began there, then LA, then Vancouver on July 9th . The cruise was called the Summertime Great Circle Pacific Cruise. Shore excursions began in Vancouver. The ship visited LA, Vancouver, Ketchikan, Anchorage(cruising in Glacier Bay before that), Yokohama, Kobe, Kagoshima, Hong Kong, Guam, Rabaul, Sydney, Noumea, Pago Pago, Suva, Papeete, Nuku Hiva, LA, and arriving back in San Francisco on 3rd September 1973 than back to Vancouver. I did a few circle Pacific’s aboard Arcadia from the west coast as well as to the Caribbean via the Panama. We did two of those. On the Circle Pacific’s, we always stopped off Tin Can Island, one of the Tonga group as well as various other ports like Bali, Singapore, Honiara and many others.

On the Summertime Great Circle Pacific Cruise, passengers had the chance to visit Thailand, Malaya, Singapore and Bali picking the ship up in Sydney. Six days in New Zealand from Sydney picking the ship up in Suva.

By the Way, Tony Merrick mentioned above in the newspaper text was Staff Captain. He was Staffy on Canberra when I worked aboard her as well. Tony left P&O later, and was for many years captain for Red Funnel ferries. I met up with him several times until he sadly died a few years ago.


31st December 2012, 21:19
She was all so the first to visit Portland oregan

1st January 2013, 09:52
She was all so the first to visit Portland oregan

You are correct. It was May 1974. This is what was written in her Special Issue of Arcadus regarding ARCADIA FIRSTS, which I helped compile dated Sunday 12th May 1974 flying home on leave not long after: "May 1974 ARCADIA's forthcoming call at Portland Oregon will be another P&O and ARCADIA first".

Many thanks for pointing this out.