Monday, September 04, 2006
Alaska Cruise Day 1 - Leaving Seattle
Day 1:
We had to be at the ship between noon and three to embark (do security, check bags and all that) and I had verified with another friend of ours that does computer work for another cruise line that he would take us to the dock so we could leave one car at his house and not have to pay $12 a day for parking.

Chuck finished packing and we got everything together in plenty of time to get on our way. And true to our geek selves, we took two laptops. I have a basic loaner to write on and Chuck brought the big one in case he could check his World of Warcraft game.

We drove off to our friend’s house in plenty of time to stop and pick up my antibiotics at the pharmacy and get to the house…. To find said friend’s car not there. Chuck called his cell phone to ask where he was to get the response of “Oh SHIT!”

Apparently the friend was at Fry’s getting a part for his computer and had forgotten all about us in the fog of being on the phone with tech support most of the night and only getting about four hours of sleep. Thankfully his wife, my best friend, drove us instead and we did get there just fine.

When you get all checked in, you are issued a card already imprinted with your name and information and this cruise card is used for all transactions on the ship and to swipe getting on and off the ship as ID. With this in hand, we boarded the ship and went to hunt for our cabin.

Except along the way we first get mugged to stand and smile for pictures. Color me dumb because I wasn’t aware they were taking pictures to try to sell you for $20 a print as a “momento”. Chuck and I left our sunglasses on anyway and looked supremely silly but that’s okay because I had no intention of buying that as a souvenir anyway.

Then as we’re heading up the gangway to the ship, we see a binoculars vendor and realized we BOTH forgot to pack any of our multiple pairs of binoculars. We probably paid too much but bought a pair of ones good for longer distances than the ones at home.

Now we were cheap and got a great price on an interior cabin (no windows, etc) so that we could both afford the cruise and a good number of non-cheap shore excursions. This did cause me some worry as I do have some claustrophobia issues and I had no idea whether or not I was prone to sea sickness. But while it was compact, it wasn’t miniscule.

Our steward told us the emergency muster was at 3:15 pm so we decided to stand in line for a while at the Shore Excursions desk to try to book the tours we wanted but missed the deadline for filing way in advance. By the time Chuck decided to defer to me, the bookings were closed. It was getting closer and closer to the muster time so I sent Chuck off to take advantage of a deal they had on unlimited Diet Coke. A 12 oz can runs $1.50 but you can pay $30 for unlimited Diet Cokes for the whole cruise. That’s 20 cans to break even – a little over 3 per day - hah! They’ll lose money on us!

In the meantime I finally manage to wade my way through to the front of the line and turn in our tour bookings after the attendant verified my choices were still available.

Back to the cabin at about 3pm to get our life-jackets for the muster and off to listen to the drill and try on the lovely safety orange foam garments. Back to the cabin (notice a pattern here?) we go to take the life vests back and then stow them before we decided to investigate the buffet.

Not great but not awful food and a great view as we left Puget Sound. We then wandered through the shops to see just what the cruise line was selling. My eye was captured by the surprise of Mexican Fire Opals! One of my all time favorite gemstones and, amazingly, in trillion cut earrings. And in white gold even. Nirvana in a jewelry case.

After lusting a bit, I give in to temptation and had the salesperson pull out the tray of trillion dangle earrings and check them against the necklace I just happened to have on. A perfect match! After a bit of whining and waffling, the salesman mentions that they are having a talk the next day about the gemstones and having a drawing for a pair of earrings. I pried my hands from the earrings and let them go back in the case. Maybe I would win the next day.

Now I still was pretty nervous about whether or not I would manage to stay away from the dreaded seasickness and the little bit of motion made me more nervous. When we went to the cabin to go to bed, I went ahead and took one Dramamine just in case. I don’t know whether I staved off any nausea but I certainly slept well.


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