Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Alaska part 1: the beginning

Several months ago, I was talking to my dad on the phone and he said that he wanted to treat the family to an Alaskan cruise.  Then he added, "Oh, and please invite G too."

...well, you don't have to ask ME twice!

So after much planning, frantic emails back and forth (let's just say the travel agent earned her commission and then some), and trying to pack 9 days' worth of necessities into one suitcase and one backpack, it was finally time to embark on our great Alaskan adventure!

On August 9th, G and I got up at 4:30AM (ugh) and drove to the Van Nuys flyaway, where we hopped a bus to LAX.  We got there way too early, especially because Delta pushed our flight back by about an hour, but I passed the time mainlining season 4 of The Killing on my Kindle Fire while G fitfully dozed.  Our flight was uneventful, aside from a surprisingly funny safety announcement video, and we landed in Seattle in the late afternoon.  We took a shuttle to our hotel, where we met up with my brother R, and we walked to a nearby restaurant called 13 Coins for dinner.  My dad and stepmother A arrived shortly after we got back, and we kept them company while they ate in the hotel's restaurant.  Then it was off to our respective rooms for an early bedtime.

The next day, we took a shuttle to the pier and went through Holland America's surprisingly efficient screening and boarding process.  This isn't the greatest picture, but you can get a general idea of how frickin' enormous the Amsterdam is:

Our stateroom, though not exactly huge, was larger than I'd expected...certainly bigger than the NYC hotel room I stayed in many years ago!  I stood in the tiny hallway to take this picture; the bathroom is to the left.

After unpacking, G and I walked around the entire ship to get acquainted with our surroundings.  The ship featured a casino, a library, bars, two pools, a theater, an art gallery, a few shops, a cafe, and several restaurants:  the Lido (buffet), a burger/taco bar, La Fontaine (very nice), Canaletto (fancy Italian with a $10 upcharge per person), and the Pinnacle Grill ($29 upcharge).

When we got back to our room, G and I took a nap, and then we got dressed up and met everyone for dinner at the Pinnacle Grill.  I had lobster bisque, filet mignon, and a lemon brulee tart, which were all excellent.  Then we saw a breathtakingly cheesy song and dance revue in the Queen's Lounge.  At one point, they danced around with tiny hang gliders to "I Believe I Can Fly" and G and I were desperately trying (and failing) to hold back hysterical laughter.  Afterwards, we went to the casino and I won $27.50 on a $10 bet and promptly cashed out because hey, every little bit helps and it's always nice to leave ahead!  Then it was back to the room for sleepy time.

(to be continued)