All Aboard!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
Smooth as silk…until the wheels fell off. That was our day. Now, before you think drastic thoughts, it was nothing really serious that went wrong. More just little things that didn’t go as expected. Some of the things we were able to correct…others, well, we’ll just have to “suck it up, Princess”, as they say.

Everything up until we actually arrived on the ship went ever so well . And then we got to the pier. And as anticipated, a lot of the “blue hairs” on our airport transfer bus were headed to the Holland America ship that was also departing today. Totally expected, seeing that HA usually caters to the “antique” set. Yeeeehaw!! Perhaps the average age on our cruise will be a bit less than the 80+ of previous cruises. And with school back in session, one would expect no children…and one would be wrong…but more on that a bit later.

We go through the check-in process and the first blow comes. I had fully expected to benefit from the perks of “travel agent” status for what would be the last time as I booked this cruise several months before I parted ways with the agency I used to work for. Who knew the bastards would contact the cruise line and rat me out. No more Elite status for me…so that means no stocked bar and no free laundry service. We were both bummed about that, but it’ll only be a couple of more cruises before we both reach Elite status on our own .

We get to our room and it is great. Wonderful. Couldn’t be better. And what is waiting for us is our Speciality Restaurant reservation that came with our booking. Now there are 2 speciality restaurants on the ship and they charge you $29/person to eat there. Needless to say, without getting a complimentary reservation we’re not likely to go. And when did they pre-book us for? Tonight. Now who wants to waste your 1 meal in a speciality restaurant on the first night? We haven’t even had a chance to get tired of the food in the dining room yet! So, on the phone I get to reschedule for later in our cruise…like maybe around the midway point? And what do they say? No, they say no. Apparently…this cruise is actually 2 back to back cruises, and we’re meant to use this restaurant booking in the first cruise…which is all of 3 days in length. Okay, we’ll do it Friday. Not a biggy.

Time to take a little stroll around the ship . You know, to learn the lay of the land, if you will. This is our first cruise on a ship this small. Not that it’s tiny, or anything, just a bit smaller than previous cruises. And on a whim I suggest we take a run by our dining room and check out our table assignment. I requested a table for 2. They generally get it right, although on our last cruise they didn’t. Let’s just be sure. We spoke to one of the staff and they sort of waved in the general direction of the middle of the dining room and said our table was over there…somewhere. And when I asked “it’s a table for 2?”, he replied “yes”. Imagine my surprise when we arrived at the dining room at the assigned time to get shown to our nice, intimate table for…10. Yup, 10. Far cry from 2. Luckily we were the first to arrive so marched immediately to the Maitre D for a reassignment. And yes, they accommodated us.

So now we have a lovely little table for 2…right beside a table for 4. And who sits at this table of 4, you ask? A man, his wife, and their 2 very loud and somewhat misbehaved children. Who knew there’d be children on this cruise. What about school? Shouldn't they be on a Disney cruise or something? Fortunately, they’re leaving after the first 3 days. Phew! Right about now we’re pretty darn thankful for that Speciality Restaurant reservation on Friday night! Good timing, I’m thinking.

As I mentioned, this is a smaller ship than what we’ve experienced in the past. Capacity on this ship is around 2200 or so. We learned tonight that 1500 are disembarking after the first 3 days. There will, of course, be a bunch more joining the cruise then, but I’m thinking it won’t be a full house for the last 15 days. Fine by me…cause right now they could easily rename this ship the Sampan Princess cause the passengers are around ¾’s Asian. I’m guessing they’re the majority that are leaving in San Francisco. Well, them and the family of 4 sitting beside us in the dining room.

So tomorrow is a new day and a new port of call. Onward and upward!!
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Fran meehan

I would love the flourless chocolate cake. Enjoy.