North to Alaska and the embarkation rituals of cruises.
It’s a short walk from the taxi stand to ritual number one – the luggage drop off. We crossed the pavement to the main terminal entrance and stepped inside. We weren’t late as embarkation was from midday till 3pm and it was only 12.30 however the luggage drop off line was already weaving like a giant conga line through two halls, Ty and I made up the tail. Of course, people were arriving all the time so it wasn’t long before we graduated to the middle of the line.
It’s always an interesting pastime to people watch and today was no exception. The couple in front of us were mid to late sixties and their luggage tags were a rather pretty shade of purple, a colour that always attracts my eye, and one of my sisters for that matter. We often turn up tp lunch or family gatherings dressed in the same shade of purple. Back to the luggage tags, apart from being a pretty colour the tags also had the following letters on one edge….VIP. The gentleman was very much aware of his VIP tags and the status that came with those 3 letters. A representative of the cruise line walked by and he called them over and pointed to his tag and asked “Where is the VIPs luggage drop?” “This is the only luggage drop off, all luggage must be scanned” said the rep. “Oh” our VIP uttered. The rep carried on about their business. A short time later, the conga line had moved and we were now closer to the x-ray machine, a customs officer came by and asked everyone to ensure they had their passports out to be checked. Our VIP instantly pointed out the the customs officer that he and his wife were VIPs and was there another line to hasten their luggage drop. “There is only one line, sir”, she replied and carried on checking passports.
After placing our luggage on the conveyor belt we stepped up to ritual number two – another long queue for passport and ticket formalities. We last saw the VIP asking another customer service person whether there was a special line for VIPs, only to be told they had to join the main US and Canadian citizens queue. Mind you we also joined that queue before realising it was the wrong queue and we hastily retreated to non citizens queue….this queue was a lot smaller for which we were thankful. Just as we wandered up to the queue a cruise representative came to us and asked for our passports and then ushered us straight to a window…….took us past the other non citizens lined up before us. We became queue jumpers by authority….loved it, now where was VIP man….I wanted to wave my passport at him!!!!! But wait that wasn’t all, the customer service woman came back to us and gave us…..wait for it……. a VIP card to walk past the queues embarking the ship! We laughed, we had completed ritual number three with ease, and looked around for VIP man, typical he wasn’t there for us to also wave our VIP card at him. He still had to line up with everyone else to board the ship. So our assumption was that VIP status must commence when you actually get to your cabin on the ship and not before. An interesting people watching episode!
Of course between the formalities of embarkation and entering your cabin there are a number of photo opportunities that cannot be avoided. Eventually we’re able to make our way to our cabin on Verandah Deck, only took an hour and a half after joining the conga line to opening our cabin door. Probably could have taken longer had we not got the VIP treatment…..hahahaha!!
Our stateroom cabin was spacious enough for the two of us, there were three wardrobes, Ty had a wardrobe and I had the other two plus a couple of drawers as well. The was also a king bed and a lounge with table. The balcony wasn’t huge, it held 2 chairs and a little table, there was room to set up a tripod and still plenty of standing room. The bathroom was compact, as they are on cruise ships. No one spends all their holiday slothing in the cabin so they don’t need to be huge just comfy and our cabin was.
Our luggage wouldn’t be delivered for a while so we headed up to the Promenade Deck for a very late lunch after which is took up a position aft (see I know the lingo) to watch the Seattle skyline fade into the distance as the Carnival Spirit set sail for the wilderness of Alaska. It was cold and the wind was increasing in intensity but I had to stay glued to the spot for the best photo opportunity of Seattle and the Space Needle. Becoming obsessed with this photography thing methinks……
People were on deck relaxing on the sun lounges, swinging slowly from side to side in the hammocks. Some were huddled in blankets with just their heads exposed, most of us wore hooded jackets and scarves to keep warm against the icy wind whilst one brave man sat on a sun lounge naked from the waist up. Possible causes for this nakedness could have been either his internal thermostat was not working very well or he’d had a bottle of rum. Although my theory is he ,as many men do, left his packing to his wife and, she, being fed up with having to think for him as well didn’t pack his shirts.
The ship was supposed to set sail at 4pm, but didn’t leave Smiths Cove until after 5pm. Let the cruise begin!!!!!
Our first night on board was spent unpacking and familiarising ourselves with the ship. We had cruised the Greek Islands on smaller cruise ships so the Carnival Spirit had a lot more common areas to explore, not to mention the shopping precinct held more shops to tempt us. It’s well known that I do not need any tempting to spend money!!!
We decided to have an early night, as it had been a long day, and we had another full day of sailing before we reached our first stop. The bed was comfortable and we were in “lalala” land before we could count to 3!!!