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

6/12/2004 Victoria

5:30 AM

Up and showered. Ah, I smell like Princess bath products. Life is good. We are on the starboard side of the ship. There is a magnificent view of snow-covered mountains, which I wasn’t expecting this early in the cruise. I am geographically challenged after all.

Room service delivered a carafe of hot water and some cream for our coffee. We dump out the hot water that is just to heat the carafe prior to our pouring our cabin-brewed coffee into it. You didn’t think with all that luggage we didn’t bring a coffee pot did you?

1. We are mid-ship on the Dolphin deck. You can smell the Diesel fuel. We also noticed it last night when waiting on the sun deck. Not unbearable, but noticeable, and intermittent I suppose dependent on the breeze.
2. Bring an extension chord. The outlet is mounted under the mirror in such a way that it makes plugging in boxy things like our battery charger difficult.
3. The bed is hard as a rock but I slept like one too. Firm bed lovers will like it. We had Andrew make it up with an egg-crate pad.
4. Brush up on your metric conversions if you need to.
5. Uncovered balconies….this is my first (uncovered) and I discovered what is wrong with them….you forget! The snow-covered mountains beckoned me. I stepped out to enjoy the view. I was wearing a T-shirt and nothing else. That would probably be okay for small people who can wear T-shirts like dresses. For me however, the t-shirt is more like a crop top. When it occurred to me that I was putting on quite a show, I ran inside. I did not look up to see who that was I heard snickering. Rex told me he did the same thing. If I had some post-its, I’d post a note on the glass doors to remind myself not to do that again. I am memory impaired after all. So is Rex.

Wow, I just realized we are still moving….very slowly. We must be docking. The snow-covered mountains are now to my left. Jet Lag. That’s my story and I am sticking to it. What a beautiful day! (50 degrees Fahrenheit)

We waited to get off the ship and go to Butchart Gardens. There was quiet a delay. We waited. Not fun. No explanation. The crew seems somewhat disconnected. The delay was about an hour. While waiting we met a nice couple from Chicago who were on their way to a (pardon me Dave Berry but I’m not making this up) Wine and Chocolate tasting thing. Hello? Can you say, “Headache”? How about, ”Pounding headache”!?

After about an hour’s delay we were excursion-bound. The Grayline tour-guy was very informative and the drive through the city was enjoyable. Victoria is very beautiful although I never did spot that company that makes those secret things for women.

Butchart Garden was wonderful. It’s like things you see on the Discovery Channel. I don’t know the names of the trees, flowers, and stuff but I do appreciate them. There is a Japanese Garden, a Sunken Garden, a Rose Garden, and an Italian Garden. The Japanese Garden was my favorite. Indescribable. It reminded me very much of our own back yard except without the trees, flowers, and stuff.

We walked about 257 miles and I was worn out. When we got back to the ship we saw the nice couple from Chicago walking through the lobby. They indicated that they had a good time but we couldn’t understand what they were saying because they both were crunching handfuls of Excedrin like they were M&M’s.

6/12 Continued

At 8:00PM we pulled along side the Diamond and played dueling foghorns. We got a lot of great pictures from a vantage point you don’t often see. There was a helicopter flying over heard. We think maybe they were shooting some promo pictures. Passengers from both ships were out on the decks waving and whooping it up. (Southern Colloquialism) We cruised in Tandem for quite awhile…very cool. And I want to emphasize cool…freezing really. Most people were scantily dressed in their dinner clothes and there was some shivering going on.

We had dinner in Vivaldi’s with Lynn and Cindy our cruise critic buddies. All had Crab legs (advertised as King, but my guess is they were snow-small diameter) except me. I’d never tried the Beef Wellington so I opted for that knowing I could snatch a few crab legs from Rex if I so desired. God Service. I like Marco. It was nice to meet up with our cruise critic friends. Ken, the party animal, was a no show. We figure he drank too much pre-cruise and had a 2-day hangover. During the cruise, every time a man walked by fitting the description Ken gave of himself, Cindy took it upon herself to call out, Ken! Ken! She did it so much it caused her to develop a strange twitch. 8^) This was very funny but we never did find him.

We went to bed at 11:00 PM content in the knowledge that we weren’t getting off the ship the following morning.
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We had a leisurely breakfast in the horizon court. While others were bustling around to disembark, we were content and anxiously awaiting the new adventure. As the new group of passengers embarked, we began to get a feel for the rhythm of the Alaska cruise. It seems much more energetic. We are full of optimism. There was a bit of confusion with the in transit passengers this morning. We did not receive any instructions as we have on previous back-to-backs and as a result, Rex and I were the only in transit passengers to show up when the announcement was made though there are 65 of us. Had I not done this before, I don’t think I would have known that announcement was meant for me. The purser’s desk had to make multiple inquiries as to what to do with us and once we got off the ship and went through customs, no one seemed to know that we were to be allowed back on the ship if we so desired. They tried to make us go into the terminal and wait with those early birds who were waiting to embark. Been there, done that, so we tricked them by separating. Rex stayed behind in the customs area and I went forward to turn in our paperwork that I had been given by the customs agent that had to be turned in at another location even though the agent had stamped it. The second agent tried his best to get me to walk into the terminal so I told him I had to get my husband. I walked beck to where Rex was and we got back on the ship. Then, it became quite confusing because no one could figure out where the rest of the "in transits" were…they had not gone through customs. Oh, well…time for a bloody Mary. 8^).

For some reason, they are not mixing the drinks. They just poor all the ingredients into the glass…no shaking, no stirring. I don’t know if that has to do with sanitation or not. There are automatic antibacterial dispensers located outside of all the food service facilities. I like that but I see many people choosing to ignore them. The ship is gorgeous.

I discovered there were 2033 passengers on the 2-day pre-inaugural. It seemed like much fewer to me and I doubt that figure a little. There were very few children. This cruise is said to be at capacity but one of the assistants to the cruise director (Michelle) told us the number is 2600. She said true capacity with a “bum” in every bed is over 3000. There are 300 children on this cruise and she stated an upcoming cruise would have over 900. (I am secretly glad I won’t be sailing on that one). Rex is snoring.

We are waiting for Muster to end. We were told we did not have to attend since we attended on Friday. It was the most laid back muster I have attended thus far by the way.

There are little signs here and there which indicate to me there was a little bit of a rush to complete the ship by the turnover date. Bits and pieces of trim coming unglued and the like. I don’t think most people would even notice these things but I am looking for them. There are no little surprises in the panoramic elevators, just black steel. I miss those squiggly light things.

06/14/04 A Day at Sea

All this eating is really starting to wear me out. I need more exercise. It’s difficult to acclimate to the climate of the ship. If you dress for the upper decks you need to be bundled; but should you wear that same stuff into the atrium you are going to swelter….at least if you are a female anywhere near my age you will.

I love sea days. That’s what I cruise for. Almost anything else a cruise offers can be had at home, but not the sea days. I bought 3 port of call t-shirts today at 3 for 30 dollars. They are screened and not embroidered. We didn’t have room in our luggage for sleepwear as you might guess so I needed something. Going out on the balcony in my pj’s (or lack thereof) scared some lady on her caribe balcony. At least, I think it scared her. She made a shrill screaming sound followed by what I can only describe as what a cackling woodpecker might sound like.

Our air-conditioner does not work. Since we are in Alaskan waters we can keep the cabin cool by leaving the balcony door open but that is not ideal. The air is quite chilly at night. This would not be easy to deal with in the Caribbean or Mexican Rivera.

When the TV that did not work was replaced, whoever did it marred the wood a little bit. If I had some liquid gold scratch cover I’d use it but Rex forgot to pack that.

The seas are rough, so all the pools have been closed thus far today. The Calypso pool however is not only covered with the netting…it has been drained and poop!?! Never did find out the reason. I am only speculating.
We met our fellow cruise critics today, Dick and Mary, Eric and Lisa, Bronwyn and Stewart, Karl and Ruth….all nice and interesting people. I hope I didn’t scare them. We’ll see over the next few days I suppose. The martini of the day (I’ve never had a martini before this cruise) went to my head. Besides that, I was wearing long silk underwear under my clothes. That fact, along with these instantaneous flashes of volcanic heat I’ve been experiencing the last month or so made me rather “flushed” feeling. This may also have something to do with my thing the A/C is not working in our cabin. 8^/

I made an open cruise booking today after our get together. Rex and I have always packed for and yet never participated in formal night. It is approximately 45 minutes until the Captains welcome aboard cocktail party and we plan to attend decked out in all our “faded” glory. We’ll see…..

We’re back. We dressed formally, but many did not. I saw some bizarre outfits too….mostly on the women…strange combinations of fabrics that to me didn’t compliment each other all wrapped up with a shawl. Lot’s of crushed velvet….I didn’t know they still made that stuff. Blue jean jackets over too short, too-tight black mini-skirts…picture midriff BULGE. Of course, I tend to prefer the way men look any way and I certainly admit to being fashion impaired. Nonetheless, I was entertained and I know it’s not polite for me to snicker so I didn’t…out loud. There were a few very beautiful gowns and a tux here and there but mostly dark suits. There were many walking around in their sweats though who didn’t appear to feel out of place. That surprised me as we have always steered clear of the atrium if we were not dressed for formal night. I am thinking this must be atypical. We have come back to our cabin and changed into comfortable clothing, it is almost 10:30 and that was as long as I could make it. We may not venture out again as we arrive in Ketchikan at 6 AM and I plan to be ready to go. We did not book an excursion for tomorrow. We have taken the floatplane into Misty Fjords in the past I highly recommend that to those who have not done it. I want to explore the waterfront on foot and let the day take it’s course. I NEED some sweats really bad. My clothes don’t seem to be fitting properly…cleaners must have shrunk them. 8^)

We had dinner in the Pacific Moon tonight. We now have been to all the themed dining rooms. Though we haven’t dined from all the themed menus. It was our best experience thus far in the PC dining rooms. We did not make reservations but waited until 8:30 or so to go there. Just walked right up and were seated with no wait at all. I think the wait problem has to do with the check in procedure, which probably looks like a good idea on paper, but instead of making things more efficient, it creates a bottleneck and the entrance. I am sure they will work this out, as they are aware a problem exists. The food was excellent. I had the most perfectly cooked scallops I’ve ever had….flawless.

They came to repair our air-conditioner today. I’ll let you know how it is after I’ve had a nights sleep in here with the balcony door closed. It seems better to me right now (Mental note to self-Look up formula for converting Celsius to Fahrenheit).
Are you supposed to brush your teeth after eating the chocolate on your pillow?
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