We’re Cruising North to Alaska

Today we leave for our first visit to Alaska, a two-week Holland America Line cruise on the ms Statendam. Here’s where this trip will take us:

Alaska cruise map

This cruise leaves from and returns to Seattle, so we don’t have to fly anywhere. This is a big bonus for us, since flying has become less and less fun as procedures have gotten more and more cumbersome.

Our instructions told us boarding would begin at 1:00 PM. Our cab dropped us off at Seattle’s Pier 91 at noon. When we entered the terminal to check in, there were nowhere near as many people as I expected. We got through the check-in process by about 12:30. I thought we’d have to wait in a big, crowded room until 1:00, but we were allowed to board the ship as soon as we had been processed through.

The only experience I have to compare with this one is the two-week European Viking River Cruise we took in June. That ship, the Viking Vidar, had three decks and held about 190 passengers. In comparison, the Statendam seemed huge to us—and a bit intimidating. We waited in our stateroom for about a half hour, marveling at the view of the Seattle skyline and at the amount of luggage that had to be loaded on board. Here’s a look at only a small portion:

Lots of luggage

We only had to wait about a half hour for our luggage to arrive. After unpacking, we got up our courage and ventured out of our stateroom. We made sure to locate the main dining room so we’d know where to go for dinner. We participated in the mandatory emergency safety drill at 3:15, then ventured up to the poolside sea view area on Deck 10 for some snacks and a Yukon Jack Margarita to sip on as the ship left Seattle at 4:00 PM.

After dinner, at which we ate way too much, we spent a lot of time just looking out the window in our stateroom and trying to imagine what it must have been like for crews on whaling ships, who often were out on the open sea for two or three years at a time.

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