After our fun night in Seattle (thanks again, Heidi!) we got up early the next morning and left the hotel, driving our rental car to pick up Keith and Renee, who had stayed in town the night before. I felt a little cruel and heartless, being so anxious and excited to get on the road, as their two boys cried and protested they didn’t want their parents to leave. Sorry, boys, we’re OUTTA here!
We made the drive to Vancouver, enjoying the sunny weather. Our biggest problem on the drive wasn’t getting across the border with no passports, or the Canadian money exchange (what the heck is a loonie???) or even those pesky metric equations (although I did about have a cow before I remembered the difference between miles and kilometers and thought we had missed the exit for Vancouver.) No, the most difficult part was finding someplace to buy wine to take onboard the ship with us -- and believe me, we hit quite a few exits, searching for booze, looking like the alcoholics we must be.
Once we finally found a liquor store in Vancouver and got properly stocked up (which just makes me laugh -- I don’t even DRINK wine, but there I was, buying two bottles to take with me because heaven forbid the SHIP MIGHT RUN OUT OF BOOZE!!!) then we headed to the cruise terminal to drop off Blaine, Keith and the luggage. Renee and I returned the rental car and took a cab back to the terminal, where it wasn’t until later we realized that the driver probably thought we were a gay couple, as we were practically giddy with excitement and kept talking about “our” cruise and the cruise we were taking “together”.
We made it through security, customs, and check-in in about half an hour, then headed to our rooms. Blaine and I had splurged (well, at least I considered it splurging for two cheapskates like ourselves) and booked a mini-suite with balcony. We were very happy with our room, and the larger-size balcony made the entire trip worthwhile, as I envisioned watching the scenery pass by from the balcony chairs, with flannel blankets and hot chocolate in my gloved hands. We started unpacking, panicking only slightly about the fact all our luggage had shown up except for the carry-on bag with the computer, phone chargers and camera chargers in it.
We met everyone for lunch in the Horizen Court Buffet, and the first order of business was purchasing one of the “All You Can Drink For One Price” soda cards. They might not have had Diet Dr. Pepper on the ship (pretty much the only thing wrong with the entire cruise, if you ask me) but I can still drink my weight in Diet Coke, so the card was a great deal for me.
After lunch, we went up to Deck 14 to view the ship taking off out of Vancouver. I have to say, we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. It was sunny and warm, probably in the low 70’s. People were walking around in shorts and t-shirts (although weenie-me had a jacket on) and there were even people jumping in the pools already. I assume the ship was waiting on a few late passengers, as push-off was delayed from the planned time of 4:30 until almost 6pm. In the meantime, Blaine and I had snagged two deck chairs and enjoyed the band that was playing outside, and the beautiful views as we pulled out of Vancouver.
The six of us met for dinner in the Santa Fe dining room and settled in to enjoy our first restaurant meal on the ship. We had two waiters, both from Thailand, both of whom claimed their name was "Woody". They told us to call them "Woody 1" and "Woody 2". Hmmmm.
Anyway, between the group, we ordered quite a variety of menu items … favorites for the evening were the mushroom soup, halibut, and prime rib. Stand-out item was a (disgusting looking, if you ask me, but hey, Renee said it was fabulous) pina colada soup, served in a drink glass with a straw.
After dinner, we went for the Welcome Aboard Show, then back to our cabins by 11pm, very relieved that the bag with our computer had re-surfaced. Apparently the name and room tag had come off and they were holding it at the customer service desk, waiting for it to be claimed. Can you imagine me, going ten days without a computer???
It had been a long, long day and we were pooped. So, first night on the cruise ship, with gambling and entertainment, and drinking and dancing, all at our fingertips, and we were in bed by 11pm. Wow. Such party animals, aren’t we?