Cruises are a fun vacation!

Sunday, May 14 & Monday, May 15

Cruise begins: Leave Seattle and a day at sea

Entrance to Hubbard Glacier – compare the large fishing boat vs the size of the mountains!

Cruises are a lot of fun and one of my favorite vacations. We’ve cruised the Caribbean on Celebrity and Norwegian and the Panama canal on Princess. This is our first time on a Holland America Line cruise. The Oosterdam is the smallest ship we have ever been on and the size seems to make a difference. The sea is choppy with an occasional whitecap and the boat is rocking significantly.

According to the information I found on Holland America’s website, The Oosterdam was refurbished in 2016, but if it was, it sure doesn’t look like it. The wall in our stateroom at the end of the bed is dented in like someone kicked it. Then last night, when we went to dinner, I noticed a seam in the wall under our table was held together with white tape. Overall, the Oosterdam looks old, a little abused, dirty, and out of date. It’s not “flashy” pretty.

The crew has been wonderful, though, and that more than makes up for the state of the ship. Everyone has a smile on their face and is friendly. They are always looking for ways to help. I’d say this is the friendliest crew we have ever encountered.

By the end of the day, I wasn’t feeling very well and just wanted to sit and rest. I took a nap so we missed our appointed dinner time of 5:15 pm. We arrived for dinner at about 6 pm and were asked if we would like to share a table for four or eight. We chose a table for four. Shortly after, two ladies in their late 60s, early 70s sat down across from us. We tend to avoid communal tables on cruises. Yes, it is possible to meet interesting people, but it is just as likely to have to spend two hours with an obnoxious, completely inappropriate person as well. This time it worked out. The ladies were a lot of fun. One of them, Hope, is a retired rheumatologist. The other lady, Suzanne, has a very strong personality, and was Hope’s office manager. They retired at the same time. It was fun and interesting to talk with new people.


 

Seattle, a great place to start!

Saturday, May 13 

Leaving for Seattle

View from our balcony in Seattle

Our flight to Seattle last night was very late. On one hand, it was good because we didn’t think we could have been ready to leave any earlier. On the other hand, it was very difficult; we didn’t get in until after 9:30 pm and we were exhausted. We stayed at the Hilton, a nice hotel, but nothing special. It was moderately priced and included breakfast on Sunday morning.

We didn’t need to be at the dock until 1:00 p.m. so after breakfast, we decided to walk to Pike Place Market to look around for awhile. However, we had no idea the walk was

Seattle, old and new

straight downhill to the bay. We got to Third and Pike and decided not to walk the last three blocks. It was chilly and would just add three blocks of walking back up the hill on our way back to the hotel. So we took a left onto Third and crossed the street. There was an IGA grocery store on the corner and we went in to buy two bottles of wine. We’re allowed to bring one bottle per adult on board in our luggage to be consumed in our cabin.

When we came out of the IGA, we took a right and walked the two blocks to University. Along the way, we heard emergency vehicles approaching. They were loud and obviously headed our way. About a half block later we came upon four or five EMTs working on a man on the ground. It appeared that he was homeless. He was naked from the waist up and it was shocking to see this large, overweight man lying on the cold concrete while an EMT began CPR. It was cold outside and the man was already turning gray-blue – I believe from a lack of oxygen more than the cold. We didn’t stop to gawk at the poor unfortunate.

I think that obsessive need to watch the results of an accident or riot is natural but should be avoided if at all possible. I try not to fill my mind with negative images and attitudes. I get depressed easily and focusing on negativity makes everything worse. So we just walked by. The ambulance went screaming past us a minute or two later.

We got to the ship in plenty of time. Some cruise lines seem to go out of their way to make the embarkation and disembarkation process as miserable as possible. I have to say this was the easiest, most hassle-free embarkation we have ever encountered. It’s been two years since we’ve had a vacation and eight years since we’ve taken a cruise. We are looking forward to getting away!

Susan