Alaskan Cruise, Day Two, The big day arrives…
I couldn’t post these from the ship, so I kept a record in a Word document and I’ll post a new day’s worth of memories every day.
The big day arrives…
June 22, 2007, Vancouver
In the morning, while Tom was checking his email, I talked to my best friend Alice (Dearest on Power Surge [http://www.power-surge.com] and Cushing’s boards). She asked my about our stateroom and I mentioned that it would have been neat to have a balcony but that hadn’t been one of the options with the free cruise.
Even though all the official Celebrity papers said to arrive at the dock no earlier than 1:00 for embarkation, I’d read in several books that you could go at least an hour earlier than that.
So, after eating breakfast at Denny’s (how exotic is that!) we checked out of the hotel at noon and took a cab to the airport. We got to the pier by about 12:30 and there was already a short line.
I’d done all the “paperwork” online so boarding was very fast and easy.
There was a bit of confusion at one step though – the person checking us in couldn’t find our stateroom even though I had it on all my printouts. Turns out we had gotten an upgrade so we had a new cabin number.
We were on the ship, eating a wonderful buffet lunch (and I was drinking a Bahama Mama in a souvenir glass. Why in the world would an Alaskan cruise serve Caribbean drinks? LOL)
I noticed on the Celebrity Today! daily newsletter that the lunch had started at noon so they really expected people earlier than their official press had indicated.
After lunch our stateroom was ready. We opened the door and saw…a balcony! I immediately called Alice but she assured me that she hadn’t done it, it was some inhouse (inship?) upgrade. She had called to order us some Bon Voyage gifts so she knew about the change before we did. The stateroom had a floor-to-ceiling glass-paneled door, the private balcony, king-size bed, interactive television, 24-hour room service, telephone with voicemail, sofa bed, bathrobes, sitting area, VCR, and private bath. (172 sq. ft., veranda 42 sq. ft.) No internet, though. I’m not sure why there was a VCR rather than a DVD but we probably wouldn’t have had time to watch either.
Unfortunately, the baggage handlers didn’t know about the room change so it took a while to get our luggage. Some went to our original stateroom. Apparently, the new residents didn’t want our stuff!
The view from the balcony was really neat – there was a very active 4-pod heliport across the harbor and ferries were constantly going by. But when we got out and about and up a few decks there was even more to see. There were seaplanes landing and taking off all the time, lots of tugboats, barges and other cruise ships. A very busy harbor.
Of course we had to have the mandatory emergency lifeboat drill at 4:15. Seems that that has to be done now before the ship can leave port.
5PM came and we were supposed to set sail. There were some people we waited for, presumably who had booked their flights through Celebrity and their plane was late. They wouldn’t hold up a cruise ship for someone like us!
While we were waiting, it got cold so I went back for a jacket, then it started to rain so I traded my sandals for running shoes.
Another Celebrity ship left right after we did and they seem to be going to Alaska, too.
Interesting note to me, since I’m a Scottish person. I could overhear the people on the next balcony and they’re from Edinburgh!
At 8 PM we went to see a show, a preview of coming attractions. The theater is very nice, professional, and the show was fun. We got to see a big of the Celebrity Singers and Dancers, hear the band, “meet” the Cruise Director, Donnell Davis and the rest of the entertainment team.
Then, late dinner for us. Tonight is “casual” dress – more like my normal dressy stuff. I had a choice of dress, pant suit or “sporty outfit”. Tom’s choice was sports shirt and slacks.
We were on the second floor of the Manhattan Restaurant This is is located at the aft of the ship with a two-deck-high bank of windows overlooking the stern and large windows on each side. Fantastic views! There was a live string quartet, and the whole thing was very classy.
Our tablemates at table 686 were John and Cath from Perth, Scotland and Austin and Mary from Ireland, now living in Canada (more on them later!).
After a bit of small talk, the discussions got hot and heavy, all the stuff you’re not supposed to discuss at dinner. Politics and religion!
Both the Scottish couple and I are Protestants and Tom and the Irish couple are Roman Catholics. Actually, Tom once was becoming a priest. Mary (the Irish woman) had been studying to become a nun in a French convent and her husband had been a student priest in an Irish seminary for 4 years.
Since I’m not as big a thinker as all these other folks, we also discussed Cushing’s a bit 🙂
Dinner was wonderful, of course. Our waiter for the week was Ponte, from Peru.
When we got to the room, there were white wine (Riesling) and chocolate covered strawberries sent by Alice. She’s such a wonderful friend!
Back out to the balcony for a bit then I headed for bed. Out the window, I could see that we passed two ships. They seemed so close! Turned out we passed through a narrow straight and they were very close.
Then, off to a sound sleep. We sail all day tomorrow – our first port, Juneau is 788 nautical miles.
Sunset was at 9:22 PM
Read more at http://www.cushingsonline.com/alaska/alaska.htm