How do you pack for Alaska when the weatherman predicts 50% chance of rain everyday that you will be there!
This is what I do: Keep the heavies- Rain/ wind/ snow shield. Keep the really heavy insulated boots- Rain/ snow. Keep the thermals- To eliminate at least two layers of clothes. Keep those three dresses and a pair of foot-murdering stilettos that go with all of them- For the Captains Dinner and fine-dining restaurants. Keep two bags. Both small-For the phone and key. That’s it! All cruises have deck-bags on request.
I follow the advice someone shares on YouTube: However tempting, do not carry along the rest of the hundred things you want to, because this is the least formally attired cruise you will sail on, among the big few.
Food? Munchies at least? Everyone laughs at me- “It’s a cruise. A luxe cruise. Cruises are about food.” I agree.
Immigration to go into the cruise ship starts at 12 noon the next day. We’re told it should take an hour or so, but as the day goes by, we see that’s incredibly off the mark.
We’re there at 11.30 am, to discover masses of humanity lined up in front of us. It’s surprising how many people have taken the trouble to do matching outfits.
Getting through the pre-boarding formalities a slow process. Interminable slow.
Exasperation is the expression that best describes the mood of the moment. Men, women, kids, babies. I look around and realize that every nationality under the sun shares the same expression when unexpectedly stonewalled. Some are more dignified than others, but equally share a certain common look when eyes meet. It says, “I feel you.” Or something equally “We’ll get through this, but this is not what we signed up for.”
Exasperation gives way to hunger, but there’s nothing to eat. Absolutely nothing. Folks with kids (and better sense) open packets of goodies they have carried along. I am reminded of someone who would constantly make jokes about the assortment of nuts, seeds, cheese, crackers that I never leave home without. As a believer of ‘the army cannot march on an empty stomach’, I would laugh it off. Replenishing the tuck box has been a daily ritual. Except today.
I try not to stare back at the sesame seed and avocado dip staring at me from the the chair across me. It belongs to a kid in a red panda suit, and this panda is holding it tight. I should be ashamed of myself!
A few hours pass before US immigration officers finally decide to let the party begin, and we are all aboard the beautiful Niew Amsterdam.
The party is already on.
Deck 9 is swarming with revelers. The bars are easily the 2nd most popular location right now, the first being the railings on decks at all levels, overlooking the calm sea and the beautiful Vancouver shoreline around the water.
We move just as I am starting on deserts. I would have missed it entirely (as usual) if it wasn’t for the loud cheer from all the balconies and decks, drowning what the captain says in welcome.
We all stand around and raise a (mostly Vodka lime and orange) toast to sunny weather and calm seas- The weather man has predicted rainy gray skies in our sailing week.
Honestly, I really don’t care right now. All I can see is the indoor heated pools, jacuzzis and hot tubs at every level, a gentle steam rising into the sky, more than enough to ward off the chill of bitterly cold Alaskan winds in the coming days.