Friday, July 29, 2016

Voyage of the Vikings Cruise - Cruise Day 1: Embarkation

We received a notice several days ago that we would not be able to board the ship until 2:00 PM (instead of 11:00 as stated previously) due to some inspections that were going on so we slept in a bit.  We both repacked our bags and got everything ready to go.  The latest we could check-out was 12:30 so we read and watched TV until that time and then decided to just go over to the cruise terminal and wait as we had nothing else to do.  We got a taxi and were at the cruise terminal before 1:00 and surprisingly they were checking people in.  We breezed through customs and check-in and were in our room just after 1:00.  Evidently they had finished the inspections early and started embarkation early.  Since most people would be arriving at 2:00, there was hardly anyone there.

Because this cruise was so expensive, we had gotten a verandah stateroom instead of our usual deluxe suite, but a month ago our travel agent called and said they were offering us an upsell to the suite, but it was still too much.  Two weeks ago we received another call with another upgrade offer and this time it was too good to pass up; so here we are in a suite again.  It’s a bit of a luxury, but the added space and perks are enough for us to always try to book one.

Our luggage had not been delivered so we got some snacks from the Neptune Lounge (another handy suite perk) and then decided to explore the ship.  We are on the Holland America SS Rotterdam, which is relatively small with a maximum of around 1,400 passengers.  This is our first time on this ship and it seems very nice.  I believe it has gone through a refurbishing in the last year or two and it really shows.  We returned to the room and our luggage still hadn’t been delivered so we just relaxed for a while.

We had the mandatory muster (lifeboat) at 4:30 and when that was done we returned to the room and still no luggage.  For the first time, we shipped our larger luggage from home to the ship and we were hoping it found its way to the ship.  Finally around 5:30 Val got hers, but mine was still not to be seen and I was getting nervous.  Val told me to relax and it would arrive; easy for her to say, she had hers J.  Finally at 6:30 there was a knock on the door and there was my luggage, thank goodness!  We spent the rest of the time before dinner putting things away and then left for dinner.  On our last cruise we had enjoyed going to the MIX Lounge every night and listen to Chris Bartlett play music that we really liked so we decided to see if there would be someone similar on this cruise.  No such luck, they were having a trivia contest so no pre-dinner music for us.

It was soon 8:00 and time for dinner and we happily received another surprise.  We had requested a table for two, as always, and not only did we receive the table for two, it was in a prime spot right next to the windows at the rear of the ship.  It’s the best table we’ve had on any of our cruises.

After dinner we returned to our room and called it a night.  The ship wasn’t leaving until 11:00 and I wanted to see us sail out of Boston Harbor so I stayed up to watch.  It was really too dark to see much, but the lights of Boston put on a great display as we pulled out of the harbor.  Our cruise is finally underway and we’re settled into what will be our room for the next 35 days.  Tomorrow we’ll be visiting Bar Harbor, Maine.

Note:  This will be my last blog post until we get home.  The time required is just too much as we don't have many sea days on this cruise.  So it'll will be about a month until you hear from me again.

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