Day One and Two

John and I have just returned from a Holland America Alaskan cruise through the inland passage. We left and returned through Seattle. The cruise was in celebration of my sister, Peggy’s, 60th birthday. She had a whole load of friends coming from the Chesapeake Bay area and we connived our good friends, Karen and George, to come too. We had a lot of fun this past week and it was special to be with my sister during her birthday week. But is cruising for you? There are pluses and minuses.

First of all, we had a great evening in Seattle except for Alaska Airlines losing Karen’s luggage. That was very stressful. But I think I’ll use a separate blog entry to blast Alaska Airlines. We had an evening of wine and small bites. First we went to Maximillian’s in Pike Street Market. We had a happy hour special of mussels, fries, tarte flambé and wine. Actually, it was our lunch. Nothing cost more than $2.95. It was really good. Later at the Marriott Harborside we sat in the bar area and had small plates from Todd English’s The Fish Club restaurant. We enjoyed a small flatbread pizza, little Kobe beef cheeseburgers, crab cakes and crispy scallops with tuna tartar. We all give the two dining experiences an A.

In the morning we are off to the boat, er, ship. We never quite got the hang of the nautical language and were always going aft when we should have been going fore. And drinking port instead of going left. Getting on the boat went smoothly and we had our first experience with cruise food on the Lido deck. For breakfast and lunch, you have to go around cafeteria style with a tray and select the things you’d like to eat. It sometimes is very crowded and it is hard to find a table. The food is so-so. I think the reason people think cruise food is so fabulous is because you can eat it non-stop. With so much of the food needing to be pre-cooked, you ended up with fish overdone, meat tough and vegetables overdone. Also, especially at dinner, the food often arrived lukewarm at best. It’s really difficult serving 1800 guests plus the crew. I’d give the food a C or C-.

We went to our room which was compact but with plenty of storage space. The bed was really, really comfortable. You had to stay tidy or the room could become a disaster fast. People say the room doesn’t matter because you spend most of your time away from it. But if you are like me, and need a respite from the onslaught of people, the room is important.

We sailed at 5 PM and were at sea the whole next day. It was really rocky. I had to take Dramamine. It made me so sleepy. I took a big nap the next day and missed the fun of bingo and trivia. I really thought there should be more things to do when the ship was at sea. Plus the things that you could do usually had an entrance fee or involved buying something, i.e. art auction, blackjack tournament, bingo, slots tournament. This is not a cheap way to travel.

So Day One and Day Two were not the best for me. Feeling sick and sleepy. But I hope for better things on Day Three when we visit Juneau.

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