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Old June 29th, 2004, 08:49 AM
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Default Sapphire Inaugural Odyssey

June 9, 2004- Flight from Atlanta to Seattle

Rex and I stayed up most of the night trying to figure out how to get our stuff into the suitcases. Rex usually blames me for the amount of luggage we take on trips. This time however, he brought along 4 changes of clothes for each of the 13 days we’ll be on this journey. Rex kept telling me it was time to get up but he never told me the time. Last time I looked it was 3:46 AM. Our fight was at 11:36 AM and the Atlanta airport is less than an hours drive so I thought he was overanxious. I looked at the clock again and it was 6:40. “Why in the hell didn’t you tell me to get up?” I screamed. I blasted out of the bed and took my shower. We stayed up until 2AM so my mental faculties were somewhat off. I neglected to rinse the shampoo completely out of my hair. By the time I discovered this it was too late to do anything about it so my hair looked incredibly weird for the flight to Seattle. My mother arrived promptly at 7:15 AM to take us to the airport. This was a problem, as she was not expected until 8AM. She takes punctuality to the extreme.

We made it to the airport with hours to spare. We purchased our lunch from the Atlanta Bread Co. to carry-on the plane. (Time: 8:42 AM) There was nothing left to do so we had bloody Mary’s until 11:AM. By that time I was quite relaxed. We staggered to the gate and boarded the plane. We found our seats and much to my dismay, my hiney still does not fit in those seats. I am wondering if all the seats are made in Japan where derrieres are somewhat more petite than the “more than average” American butt.

The flight was uneventful, bought the 2-buck headphones and watched Starsky and Hutch. Can you believe that movie did not win a single academy award? As we approached Seattle, I was awed by the fact that Mt. Rainier was as high as we were. Amazing!

Then the most amazing thing happened. I spotted Safeco field and there was the Sapphire. What a great picture that would make. We tried our best to dig the camera out of the backpack. Much to the dismay of the third party squeezed in beside us. (He mumbled at our giddiness most of the flight. Might have had something to do with the bloody Mary’s we had on the plane. 8^)

From the airport (which is small to me though others disagree) we took the Grayline Shuttle to the Westin. As I type, I am sitting in front of the floor to ceiling picture window on the 37th floor looking out over Pike Place market. The Sapphire is in plain view off to the left. Rex is snoring……

(To be continued)

Hi Ya’ll…Rex here…in italics no less… I’m sitting here on the 37th floor of the Westin looking at Elliott Bay and wondering why they didn’t call it Elliot Sound. Surprise: it’s rainy. But our spirits are not to be dampened. I’m looking forward to Pike’s Market and exploring Seattle. I’m just waiting on Pam to decide which outfit to wear today. She’s busy going through the 18 suitcases we brought. I just got off the phone with the president of Samsonite who called to ask how our vacation is going and would we be interested in their latest suitcase model since it’s the only one we don’t have. Apparently it’s the size of one of those things they stack on container ships and it’s stackable. I told him we could do lunch and discuss it.

The Westin is okay (read: expensive for what you get). The towels are great but the see-through toilet paper is not. Everything here is expensive. We had dinner at Asiogo’s (sp?) last night. It was excellent and I recommend it. However they did relieve us of 100 bucks. A nightcap at the hotel bar last night: $25. We had breakfast this morning downstairs: $30. I have to go now. I’m going to call the Samsonite guy and order the new stackable container. We’re going to need it to carry money next time. rx


He said/She said

We woke up for the final time around 6 AM. This is very late for us as in Atlanta it was 9 AM. One of the first things I noticed was that my computer was dead. Oops! Forgot to plug in the A/C adapter last night. “Where’s the power cord for the computer”, she said? “What cord”, he said? “The one I told you to pack,” she said. “You didn’t tell me to pack any power cord. I don’t know what you are talking about”, he said. “You asked me what it was. It was on the floor by your nose-hair trimmer”, she said. “I don’t remember that”, he said. “How can you not remember an entire conversation”, she said. And then she realized the answer for herself. Said power cord was located in his backpack along with the nose-hair trimmer.

After we showered, we dressed….like tourists. I chose “new stuff”. I wore Khaki cargo pants from llbean….zip ankles with draw string closures in case of an immediate need to take them off before removing shoes or protection from crawling insect attack. They have nice big pockets to stuff full of things. I wore an Eddie Bauer charcoal-gray long sleeved fleece top. Over that, I wore a fatigue green Eddie Bauer trekker vest…many pockets and clips to attach things to. Even though it was daylight, it was overcast, windy, and chilly so I attached my mini halogen flashlight to one of the clips. You just never know….we could have an unexpected eclipse. Besides, it looked cool. Into the numerous Velcro pockets, I packed my hairbrush, chapstick, digital camera, spare battery etc. Over that I wore my lands end navy blue gortex jacket. I was ready for adventure. Two blocks from the hotel I discovered I had not packed my earmuffs. Big mistake as cold wind can give me an earache. I had on my brand new, shiny white keds…complete with gel inserts I purchased last night at the drug store near the Westin when I discovered I needed them.

Coming soon….Pike Place Market.

He said:

Rx here: I really liked Pike Place Market. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. It made me want to live in Seattle. I love all the fresh fish, bright colors, and interesting smells. If memory serves (yeah right) it is a more intriguing market than Boston’s Haymarket Square. It is interesting to note however that the folks in both markets look very much alike…strange how that happens.

Pam and I have an iron clad rule about going to a restaurant: One should always do research to determine the quality of a restaurant before you actually eat there. Well, after carefully looking at their neon Miller Lite sign for about three seconds we decided that we would eat at Lowell’s. As always, Pam held true to the research and selected the best thing on the menu, which turned out to be Miller Lite. I, on the other hand, ordered the shrimp-n-chips and who cares if they’re $13, I’m on vacation. And, I must say that while the shrimp was expensive, at least it wasn’t very good. The shrimp were so small they were both hard to find. I asked the waitress if she had a magnifying glass I could use. She said, “Yes, but it would be $75 extra. Oh well, it was a cold rainy day and the warm beer somehow seemed appropriate.

She said:

I loved Pike Place market. The flowers, the ethnic diversity, the fresh seafood…shrimp and lobster the likes of which I’ve never seen. When we passed City Market, Rex got the look. You know what I mean…head tilted back, eyes narrowed, slack jaw, and mouth wide-open. After drinking our way through the market, nature called. Funny thing about the restroom there, the stall doors are only 3 feet high. What’s up with that? I don’t know about you but I have a unique public restroom posture that I’d prefer not to share with the rest of the world. Oh well, once a teacher always a teacher I suppose. More interesting is the outdoor, self-cleaning unisex restroom near the waterfront. Sounded good to me. A lady I presumed was homeless was blowing her nose nearby. She said, “Hey lady, need some tissue” and waved the soiled tissue at me. I didn’t ask how much it would cost and just said, “no thank you” and smiled at her.

By the way, I waited until very late last night to get the 24-hour Internet access for 16 bucks at the Westin figuring that would get me through tonight. No such luck. Once we found the power cord and reconnected this morning I discovered the 24 hours runs from noon-to-noon no matter what.
__________________________________________________ ______________________
6/10/2004 epilogue

We are in for the night. I hope that we have taken care of the jet lag thing. The Sapphire just left. Where is she going and why aren’t we there? It’s almost 9PM in Seattle.

We had dinner at the Icon grill right across the street from the hotel relieving ourselves from more of that bulky cash we purchased the extra suitcase to carry. Good Food. We then decided to walk towards the Space Needle heading north on 5th Avenue following the same route the monorail takes. It is a very easy walk…completely flat. We were basically at the Needle but it was getting dark and we are unfamiliar with what happens after nightfall so far from home so decided to head back to the hotel. We will catch Seattle Center and the Space Needle on 6/20 when we return from the cruise. For those interested, free buses are running the monorail route to Seattle center and the Space Needle while repairs are being made.


6:30 AM

I woke up at 4:30 AM anxious to get going…that’s 4:30 Atlanta time, 1:30 here in Seattle. It’s going to be a long wait. We watched a Celebrity ship dock at about 6AM. The Sapphire is still nowhere to be seen. It is foggy and rainy. It looks cold, too. I could not care less about the weather; it’s all part of the adventure. I think I neglected to mention that in the packing frenzy we decided to leave our warm coats at home. We just didn’t have the luggage real estate for them. I am hoping that all my outdoor clothing will suffice.

7:15 AM

Rex went downstairs and brought coffee back. Ah, the breakfast of champions. I am going to need more soon but I am not going to say anything until what I perceive is the opportune moment. I feel like an eagle hulking over my keyboard, facing the bay, waiting somewhat impatiently for my prey.

7:45 AM

Oh, boy! Here she comes.

8:45 AM

Okay, Just got out of the shower. I want to make sure I have plenty of time to bath again just in case I forget to rinse something. Why is it that leg hair grows at an accelerated rate when on vacation? Rex told me to leave it as I might need it for warmth in Alaska but I didn’t take his advice. The orange stripes from the “tan-in-a-can” Rex put on me Tuesday are much less noticeable. I’m glad this isn’t a Caribbean cruise all the same. I used the Westin bath products. My hair smells like a fresh mown lawn….maybe I forgot to rinse?!?

9:25 AM

We are in a time warp. The passage of time has slowed to a crawl. I hope the time on the ship passes this same way. He’s probably going to say something different but Rex has started the clean clothes-hoarding thing. (You know….he wants to keep all his clothes clean so he’ll wear something he’s already worn to get on the ship). We’ve already agreed to have our laundry done on the ship. That’s why he brought the 4 outfits for each and every day.

The sun is out!

9:50 AM

The sun is gone!

9:51 AM

The sun is out!

9:58 AM

The sun is gone!
We have finally made the decision to have the Taxi pick us up at 11:00. Yes, that’s early for what appears will be a 5-minute drive but the Sapphire is really calling to us now. My stomach is churning and it’s not from all the beer, wine, bloody Mary’s, and margarita’s I consumed yesterday….really, it isn’t.

10:22 AM
Okay folks. It’s time to pack the laptop. I’ll keep up the journal as well as I can during the cruise. I don’t know when I’ll be able to post again but I’ll attempt it on the ship. I know you are anxious to hear how the ship is as opposed to the bathing ritual stuff and I’ll do my best to oblige.

06/11/04 cont. The Ship

Embarkation was painless. We arrived at the port about 11:20. We were in our cabin by 11:35. We were originally assigned D629 for the preinaugural. We stopped by passenger services and requested to be moved to D415 since that is our assignment for the inaugural. No problem. Done deal. Now we don’t have to worry about moving in a couple of days.

The ship is beautiful and immaculate. Yes, you can smell the new and I love it. The robes in the cabin have never been worn. Whoever said (and someone on the CC boards did say this) that he couldn’t understand why anyone would book a maiden voyage, might want to give it a try. This newness is nice! The new color scheme is very pleasing.

We met with some great fellow cruise critics at Tradewinds Bar and shared a few drinks and many laughs. We met Lynn and her friend Cindy, and Karen and her husband Howie. All nice people. The next thing I knew they were in the hot tub. They wanted us to join them and I might have if it had been really, really dark outside. I didn’t tell them about my aversion to swimwear and more importantly public swimming facilities however and they are none the wiser…until they read this that is.

Our cabin steward is Andrew. He’s very, very nice. In fact, we’ve seen nothing but smiling faces all day. The crew is very attentive. Of course, I think they may out number the passengers on this sailing. I’ll try to remember to ask for numbers tomorrow.

Originally we were told there would be no personal choice, only traditional on this 2-day cruise but that isn’t the case. We went to the International dining room at our assigned dining time and approached the Maitre’D. There was a very sad lady speaking to him. It seems she and her husband had not been assigned a table with the rest of the family. We had. What a coincidence! It was nice to make her day.

We choose the Santa Fe dining room for no particular reason. Our dinner was delicious. We both had crab-stuffed avocado with cream sauce, (this had a fancy name that escapes me) Caesar salads, and lobster thermadore. We passed on dessert basically because we were exhausted and although I look like I’ve never missed a dessert, I almost never eat sweets. Strange isn’t it? We toured the ship a little more, checking out Club Fusion, and the wake bar as well as Skywalkers and the aft pools….all beautiful.

We stopped in the horizon court to see if the coffee had improved…it’s the same. We had a bowl of fresh fruit and strolled through the Atrium. By this time I wanted to lie down on the floor.

FYI Several of the bars have some sort of new elaborate coffeemaker for making fresh brew but something is wrong with them…ALL. Hopefully, the technicians will take care of that for those of you who don’t pack your own coffee maker.

9:50 PM

Rex is snoring. Butchart Gardens is tomorrow. I hope we get over this Jet lag.
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