Day Two – Embarkation Day
It was an extremely short and quick taxi ride from the Hotel where we were staying to the Seattle Pier #91, where we to board the Holland America MS Westerdam. It seemed like about 7 or 8 minutes (and $6.50 on the cab’s meter) we were at the port, but what a traffic-jam we encountered that moved rather slowly in my opinion. There seemed to be as many folks still looking to get out of the area as there were inbound passengers trying to get into the check-in.
When I first spied the line hanging out the door, I thought oh gosh!, but I was pleased to learn that line was for the princess cruiseship, and not for our Holland America, which there was no line at all…..anywhere. This was at 10:30 in the morning. Now while they did not start the actual boarding process until 11:30 we got all checked-in and found ourselves seated and chatting and then not long afterward we were called up in the first group to embark the ship.
Upon getting onto the ship we made our way up to our superior verandah stateroom on deck #8 and were quite happy to have meet our stateroom stewards Nur, and Yansen (at right) who had just finished with the final touches in making our room all ready for us. We were also greeted by a sweet little treat (below left) which was courtesy of our friends from Cruise Holidays. What can I say it’s just how we cruise!! Bon Appetite Everyone!! Next we dropped our carry-on’s and headed up to Deck #9 (Lido Deck) to the Lido Restaurant and had lunch(lower right – let the grazing begin!!!!). I will also report that our group had not left from the Hotel until 1pm, while I had arrived (as mentioned) earlier at the port terminal. They too encountered no lines during the pier check-in, and even were met by luggage porters who took their bags after getting out of their transport vehicle which was a bit less of a hassle than what I had encountered coming early. So there’s a little tip on two-time frames that may result in shorter, or no lines for you to experience quicker embarkation!!!
Safety briefing: This had changed somewhat since my last HAL cruise. Rather than going to rooms and dawning life-vests and proceeding to life boat, they simply had everyone muster at their assigned lifeboats and demonstrated the life-vest and made sure we were all familiar with where to report to our life boat and other safety procedures which included how children would be escorted to their parents if participating in HAL Kids Club Programs in an emergency situation. I think it made the process go a lot faster, easier (and less problematic for tripping and falls)for the passengers, and as a whole a much smoother operation for sure.
Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves getting settled in and once their luggage arrived later in the afternoon getting their wardrobes arranged for the cruise and familiarizing themselves with the layout of the ship and where most everything was located. Note: the small fold-out ship’s deck-plans that we where each given at check-in where a wonderful help in this area.
Those that had some reservations about becoming seasick seemed to be a little more at ease at dinnertime. Much unlike most cruises I’ve been on with HAL, we actually departed from the port in Seattle at 4:00pm, (which means you have to be boarded by no later than 3:30pm in order to sail) and were underway long before sitting down to dinner. I must give thanks to our wonderful wait staff in the Vista Lounge (formal dining room) as we found them to be most friendly and accommodating to our many varied requests. Our Head waiter Yohan, our assistant waiter Lalu, (pictured left) who catered to our every need and we also had our dining room assistant manager Nadja, (at right) who also kept a watchful eye over our group! Well Done Staff!
Once we all got our tummies filled and each made their way to various evening’s entertainment, or activities of choice while making plans as to what to do with the various activities tomorrow (which a complete listing was awaiting us on our beds) back on our staterooms after dinner. As well as our wonderful towel creature, which was a pleasant surprise for sure, as we don’t get to see the gorilla too often.
I will sign off for now from the MS Westerdam as we continue to sail into the setting sun (which occurs much later at this latitude) until tomorrow and report our experiences during our first At-Sea-Day. Later!! Thanks for following us on our adventure – “CruisewithMike”
CruisewithMike: Thanks for visiting our weblog for updated information on this continuing story or interest. You can contact Mike at email email@example.com or you can follow mike on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/cruisewithmike . Join our Travel Club at http://meetup.com/Sun-Cities-Travelers-Group/ Mikes web site can be found at www.mberryhill.cruiseholidays.com .