First time cruiser diary|what to expect
I sailed in May with my daughter, who was a first time cruiser and saw the world through her eyes. Just arriving at the port in anticipation of boarding is exciting for a first time cruiser. We weren’t even out of the van when our bags were taken care of; the tags we printed out last week indicated which ship and stateroom the bags would be delivered to. After a quick ID check, we went through security, just like the one in the airport but with fewer restrictions. Our next stop was the twenty station check in desk where we each received a key card, a map of the ship and instructions on the meeting time for the emergency drill. If we hadn’t completed the online pre-cruise check in, this would have been a much longer and more complicated process. Online check in is a must!
What a great place to do some people watching. The experienced cruisers are easy to spot; they have their bottles of wine with them. Some are carrying a case of Mountain Dew or other favorite soda. A few people have huge beautiful bouquets of flowers, knowing the crew will supply the vase in their stateroom. They also arrive early for check in to make the most of their vacation time and also to avoid the rush during the last hour of boarding
We see the many baby carriages and loads of assistive devices to help the seniors navigate on board. I happen to be certified in Special Needs Travel and help arrange those rentals for people. It makes cruising possible for people right into their 90s. We met a solo traveler who was 95 and she was having a great time for herself.
The dress runs the gamut, as do the ages of guests as well as nationalities and personalities. Some people are in their finest clothes, while others are ready for the pool. Lots of groups, large and small, seem to be gathering around the boarding area. Again and again we learn that just two were planning to travel, then a sister decided to come along, her daughter and friend added a few weeks later and before they knew it, the cruise became a family reunion.
Since we boarded at 1 PM, we had a few hours to explore the ship. We went to the upper decks to enjoy the fabulous
Seattle weather for a few hours before setting sail. We knew Alaska would be cooler and wetter. Since the ship was still actively boarding, we had the chance to watch other guests as they arrived. Even from our balcony, on the starboard side of the ship, we had a view of the port. In the days when there was just a single ship in the harbor, the port side would be the one facing the port, but now, with sometimes six ships in port at any given time, the rules have all changed.
Food is always available onboard. Formal dining rooms, although they have set hours, are open for most of the day and night. Read more