Alaska has finally opened up after being closed to travellers because of covid for two seasons.
I am booked on Holland America's Eurodam, the same ship, and coincidently the same cabin as my last cruise. Available flights to and from Seattle are getting scarce and expensive. More than 2 months before traveling, I was unable to get 2 adjoining seats on the return flight to Florida. Some of our first choices for shore excursions are already sold out.
As we prepare to leave Florida the weather forecast is for rain every day. In preparation I give my outer jacket an extra coating of water proofing.
Then the first positive news. While checking in for our flight online, 1 seat has opened up on our return flight, adjacent to one of the two seats we have booked. A few quick clicks and we have adjoining seats.
The trip to the airport is uneventful. The weather is supposed to be in the high 90's this week in central Florida, our first hit of summer heat. It is a good time to be leaving Florida.
Park N Go, my favorite parking location in Ft Lauderdale now has a lot serving the Orlando airport. Very easy and we are at the terminal in a few minutes. Bags checked and grab a sub sandwich to eat on the plane.
Our plane leaves a few minutes early. Six hours later we touch down in seattle. As expected it is raining.
There is no wait for a cab. Traffic is slow, but we are soon at our hotel. A few surprises. There are no rooms ready. Lack of staff. The restaurant and bar are both closed. With no where to go we patiently wait at the desk. Finally an available room.
The elevators require reading a room card before a floor button can be pushed. A secure but slow process. In the process I manage to hit my wrist on the edge of the door. A large "goose egg" soon appears.
While unpacking I see that the zipper on my brand new suit case has pulled open. Fortunately the contents are undamaged. It is time for dinner.
After consultation with Google we decide on nearby Zeek's Pizza across the street. Bundled in jackets to protect from the rain we make the short walk. "Yes we are open, but the chef won't be here for another hour".
Happy hour time as we wait to get some food.
Self serve breakfast at the hotel is acceptable, actually better than many. Next task is to take our covid tests. Couldn't do them in Florida as that would have been too early. Making a suitable workspace in the room is quuickly accomplished. Less than a hour later we have both tested negative for covid. The last hurdle in paper work to board the ship.
With the forecast remaining gloomy, we Uber to the Seattle Aquarium, a mostly indoor facility that is the most highly recommended thing to do when it is raining in Seattle.
The Aquarium is nice, clean, and not busy. We even have lunch in the aquarium cafe.
Time to call Uber to get back to the hotel. Shortly after I complete the request, my phone totally dies. The battery went from 30% to dead almost instantaneously. Uber should be on the way.
We wait, and wait, but the Uber driver never shows up. Too far and too wet to walk. After numerous attempts to restart my phone, Lynn installs Uber on her phone and we try again. The app keeps telling us the car is on the way, but then the progress map shows it heading away from us. Finally the driver arrives even though the app still shows the car several blocks away.
After getting my phone working I can see that the first Uber driver cancelled the ride a few seconds after it was confirmed. I must assume if my phone had worked I would have known that.
It is back to Zeek's for dinner. No desire to venture out in the rain. A different bar tender than the previous day, we are carded before we can enter. Washington law. Chicken wings, cheese sticks, and adult beverages were good.
The next morning as we exit the hotel to call a cab to get to the cruise terminal, there is a shuttle bus loading. He is headed to the pier and he has room for two more passengers. Maybe our luck is changing.
Boarding is typical. Passengers that don't have required paperwork or can't find it on their phone is the biggest holdup.
Prepared with paper copies, processing is very quick. The terminal empoyee even compliments and thanks us for being so organized. We are on the ship enjoying lunch 90 minutes after checking out of the Hyatt.
A lazy afternoon as we await our 3:00 PM departure. In recent weeks this was moved forward an hour or so and other adjustments were made in the week's schedule for unknown reasons.
3 PM comes and goes - we finally cast off just after 4 PM. Go figure. As we leave, the rain stops and the sun tries to peek out.
It is rare that I stay in the same cabin on different cruises. My travel agent did it, and I wasn't even conscious of the fact until long after booking. It gives the opportunity for comparison. All good, the TV control seems to work, and the sticky balcony door latch has been replaced.
Dinner tonight is in the Pinnacle Grille. We are propmptly seated. The temperature is much more pleasant than a month ago. The food was good, the service absolutely horrible. No one ever checked back on the table, I waited for over a half hour to get a second beverage, and the food took about an hour after we finished appetizers before it was served. My steak was excellent, the baked potato hardly warm enough to melt butter.
We were told some truths, and probably some excuses. Confirmed was the fact that they reassigned one of the staff taking care of us to go to another area of the ship and clean up a bar.
The restauant manager's resolution. Give me a free drink. You can guess how that was received as I alread had paid for a package with unlimited drinks for the entire cruise. After a long conversation and apology from the food and beverage manager, I am sure there will be more to this story.
Dinner took too long to catch the main show, but we did get to listen to Ryan talk about Alaska.
Tomorrow is a sea day in the north pacific as we head towards Juneau. The seas are generally under 8 feet, and there is some rocking to the ship, but nothing excessive.