I am FINALLY getting around to writing about our Alaska trip (I know, it’s overdue).
So the four of us left Calgary on Friday around noon and headed southwest, towards B.C. and eventually the border. It was a long old slog, but we drove through Crowsnest Pass (always scenic) and stopped in Sparwood to visit the World’s Largest Truck.
When we hit the border there were hardly any other cars, and so we were in and out in a matter of minutes, which was nice, because you never really know how long you might be there for.
We entered Idaho and drove south towards Coeur d’ Alene, where we stopped for supper before continuing on to Spokane and Ellensburg, where we decided to stop for the night. We checked into a Super 8 and got a good night sleep. We didn’t have far to go before hitting Seattle the next day, but we had no idea how difficult it would be to find the pier or parking, so we got up early, had breakfast and where back on the road by 9am.
We hit Seattle just over an hour later, and fortunately we found our way to the pier, and parking, with relative ease. We could see the Golden Princess from the parking area and we started to get really excited. None of us had ever been on a cruise before! The ship looked massive sitting at the dock. We unloaded the vehicle and did one last check for tickets, passports, and every other thing we were going to need before catching the shuttle over to the terminal.
There were no lines while checking our bags and going through security, which was great. We got our cruise cards and got maps of the boat and other important information, before we finally hit the end of a line, where we waited to board. It was around 11:30am by this time, and after a short wait we were onboard!
The first order of business was the buffet! We were starving and the spread was excellent. We all had something to eat, while keeping an eye out for the rest of our family. On a boat that size we weren’t sure how we were going to find anyone.
After lunch we went to find our rooms. Mike and I were beside Granny, and the rest of the group was on the opposite side of the ship, on the same floor. Well that would make everyone easier to find!
The rooms were lovely. I was quite impressed.
Our window was not obstructed by a lifeboat, so we had a great view. Our luggage had been delivered and so we unpacked a bit and got settled in.
Right around that time we ran into Mike’s mum and dad. There were hugs all around, everyone was really excited to be together again. We also found Granny, and then the group of us went back to the buffet (we had just eaten but we joined them for coffee and to catch up).
After “second lunch” we all divided up, since we were eating dinner together at 6pm. Mike and I wandered off to explore the boat for a while. It was quite an elegant ship. It was a bit unsettling at first, with the ship lurching slightly with the waves, but you got used to it quickly enough, and fortunately I don’t think anyone got sea sick.
Going on a cruise also happened to be on my Life List (among a number of other things that I got to cross off during the trip, but more on that later).
399. Take a cruise
During our wandering, who did we run into, but Nanny and Pa! They were just finding their room, which was near the onboard art gallery, where Mike and I were poking around. There were more hugs and a lot of “it’s so good to see you!” while they got settled in.
We parted company, as it was soon time to get ready for dinner. There are a number of types of dining available on the ship. Our group had opted for traditional dining, which means you eat in the same dining room, at the same table, with the same wait staff, at the same time each evening. This made is very easy to ensure that we would all be together for dinners. The formal dining rooms require smart casual or formal dress, so no jeans, t-shirts, that sort of thing. Before the trip both Mike and I had to do some shopping for suitable attire, which didn’t bother me any!
As it were, Ben and Michelle had arrived, and so we stopped in at their room to visit, and then everyone went down to the dining room. Everyone got seated and our waiter and his assistant introduced themselves: Rommel and Ansalmo. They were both extremely friendly, and obviously very easygoing.
The menu in the dining room changes every night, although there is a small selection of entrees and appetizers that are available daily. The food was absolutely incredible.
If I ever go on another cruise I would definitely opt for traditional dining again. Essentially it’s eating at a 5-star restaurant every night.
After we were thoroughly full of excellent food and wine, we decided to wind down the evening in the hot tub. The sea was a bit rough, and it was rather odd to see the water sloshing in and out of the swimming pool. We all had a good soak and caught up with each other. We were tired from the long and busy day, so before long everyone headed off to bed. Mike and I took a quick swim in the pool before going to our stateroom as well.
Before falling asleep we filled out our request for breakfast to be delivered to our room the next morning (room service is included, which was awesome) and then got rested up for our first full day on the ship!