Sunday, April 7, 2013

Hawaii / Tahiti 30 Day Cruise - Day 1

Saturday Day 1 - San Diego

We’re finally on our way.   It was a pretty hectic start, but we made it.  Before I get to that though, I’m going to backtrack a bit to our pre-cruise day in San Diego.  We left my brother’s house around 10:00 AM and were in San Diego just before 1:00.  We were staying at the Best Western Yacht Harbor Hotel because they offered a deal that allowed us to leave our car there in their covered parking area for the duration of our cruise.

Our first impression of the hotel was pretty neutral, it was OK, the rooms were pretty ordinary and nothing really stood out, but it turned out, it was an excellent choice for a pre-cruise stay.  For the size of the hotel they offered quite a few services; the parking, free shuttle service to cruise pier and great all around service.  The only downside was the free continental breakfast, the breakfast area was small and very cramped with all the people using it and a limited breakfast offering.  The parking was a great deal, it was free if you stayed there the day before and day after the cruise, or five dollars a day if you only stayed pre-cruise.  Believe me, that was a deal.

Anyway, onward to day one.  We had been warned to expect embarkation delays because of construction around the pier area and there would be two ships in port.  Because of this we chose the hotel shuttle leaving at 12:15, but we still faced long delays.  The heavy traffic caused the shuttles to run late so we didn’t actually leave the hotel until close to 1:00.  Once we arrived at the cruise pier it was chaos, first of all it was difficult to even find a porter to check our luggage because there was so many people, and then we were faced with an enormous line as passengers from both ships waited to go through customs.

After several hours of waiting we were finally aboard the Westerdam around 3:30, but our luggage hadn’t arrived yet.  We waited and waited for our luggage and I began to worry. Can you imagine a thirty day cruise with no luggage? 

Val on our balcony with the San Diego skyline in the background.
The Zaandam, the other ship in port.
After finding our room we went up to the outdoor Sea View pool on the Lido deck to attend an informal "meet and greet" with the Cruise Critic role call people, but we didn’t stay long.  We watched the Zaandam, the other ship in port, leave around 5:00 PM and then finally we were on our way by 5:30.
The sail-a-way party getting underway at the Sea View pool.

The Zaandam on it's way.

We're finally underway, our cruise has officially begun.
We went back to our room and our luggage still hadn’t been delivered so we checked with the front office and they said there was a few pieces of luggage still being delivered.  I was still worried, but Val was sure it would get here.  She was right, finally just after 7:00, our luggage arrived to my great relief.  By the time we got unpacked it was time for dinner as we had chosen a fixed late dining time at 8:00.  There are two fixed dining seatings at 5:00 and 8:00, and there is also what they call "anytime dining" and you just go anytime and wait to be seated.  We prefer the fixed as we have an assigned table.

We had an excellent dinner and then walked around the ship a bit before returning to our room around 9:30.  We were both exhausted after our long and stressful day, so we were in bed early around 10:00.  The seas were a bit rough, but it actually was nice to lay in bed and be rocked to sleep.  We are now looking forward to a few leisurely days at sea with nothing to so but relax.

We sail off into the sunset.


  1. Looks like it was a really fun cruise.

  2. Hi Guys,

    Just found your Blog and enjoyed re-living this cruise. We were actually on the same ship and I remember the Smarty Pants very well. I am sure our paths crossed many times. Your photos are beautiful and it seems that you had a similar experience as we did. We did not book any cruise ship excursions and relied entirely on private bookings. We knew it was risky, but we were very happy with the results. One of our favorite places was Rarotonga - while you guys were on the glass bottom boat and having lunch, we were just across way at the hotel.

    I especially enjoyed your photos from Black Rock Beach. We got there early and the surf was too rough to jump from the rock. Seems as though the day cleared and the sea calmed later on. I guess special moments depend entirely on timing.

    Anyway, I really appreciate your blog and look forward to your next 30 day cruise report.