Travel Date: Monday, May 2nd 2016

Aaaaah, the first morning on the ship. I get up a little early, probably because I am quite excited to be on a cruise. I slowly sneak out our private balcony door to peek at the view. It is peaceful, cool, and very blue. The island shapes and sizes are captivating.

 

 

Mom is up, and we go upstairs to the eighth floor for breakfast using the elevator. On the ship you can lose track of what day it is, so there is always a helpful reminder.

A good ol’ unhealthy American breakfast for me please!!

We sit at a window seat and enjoy the views.

Later, much later, my sleepy pants sister wakes up, and joins us. ๐Ÿ™‚ Love You!

After breakfast, I venture upstairs to the Crows Nest. It is at the top of the ship and has a mostly unobstructed view of where we are heading.

 

I relax on the comfy chairs, and enjoy the panoramic view. It is mostly unoccupied and quiet.

A few islands here and there, and then it is just blue ocean.

While peering at the front of the ship, I noticed a family of three sitting and talking in a different language. I couldn’t decipher the language.

At first it sounded Russian, but later it sounded more Spanish. Don’t ask me how I confused the two. Eventually, once I realized it was Spanish, I curiously uttered “Espana?” in their direction.

Miguel, Isabel, and their daughter Ania are all from Spain. Miguel is from Galicia, where I ended my 560 miles walk called theย Camino de Santiago. Isabel is also from Spain, but not Galicia. My memory fails me of her exact region of Spain. Ania their adopted daughter, and I believe originally from Russia. We have a great conversation about their travels across the world, this Alaskan adventure, and the circumstances of why we are traveling. They were a wonderful family to talk to. I hope I run into them again.

I decide to leave, and walk by the pool area, but decide against jumping into the water.

Since we are traveling all day at sea, I decide to pay a little more attention at the various activities.

12:00 PM Single and Solo Travelers Meet for Lunch. That sounds interesting. Maybe I’ll meet some more interesting people.

 

2:00 PM Dance Class: Learn to Salsa… I know the basics but maybe I’ll check it out again.
3:00 PM Cupcake Tea Time… Ooh Cupcakes! Get in my belly!!
5:00 PM to 10:15 PM Gala Dinner… Got to remind mom, and sis about this and be on time.
10:00 PM SHOWTIME: Soundstage Featuring the Noordam Cast… ย This would be a good after dinner show.

I go down to the second floor to the Explorations Cafe.

It’s a library, lounge area, and game room with full access to the second floor deck.

I relax for a while on one of the lounge chairs, and enjoy many moments of doing absolutely NOTHING.

It is 12:00 PM, and time for the Single and Solo Travelers Meet for Lunch. Be forewarned, I know it is a cruise for mostly retirees, but I am hopeful. Unfortunately, I am definitely the youngest person at the table.

And the youngest person at the table by 20 years. It makes for interesting conversation. And the group is still very friendly and polite, and sometimes I have to speak up louder than normal.

After lunch, I walk around and run into a live cooking class at the Queens Lounge.

 

I decide to walk around the deck at Level 2 to get some fresh air.

 

Hopefully we will never get to use the lifeboats or rescue boats (in orange on the left).

I continue walking past the back of the boat.

As I continue to walk, my intuition tells me to stop. I listen to it, and in a few minutes, in the distance I see an orca (killer whale). At first I thought it was a shark, but the person sightseeing beside me corrected me, and was also grateful that I pointed it out. He has been at it for a while, and I just co-incidentally stumbled on it… or did I??? ๐Ÿ™‚

All this walking made me thirsty. I wanted to sit down, relax, and watch the ocean. Wait, I have a private balcony for that. So I head back to the room.

I poured a glass of the Eagle Rate Whiskey.

Sat back, kicked up legs on the table, and relaxed with the view.

Around 2 PM, I headed downstairs for Salsa.

Mom was also there. She tried to Salsa, but the pace was a little too fast for her. However, I can still move like Jagger. ๐Ÿ™‚

It is 3:00 PM, which means Cupcake time with mom! We head to the restaurant, and share cupcakes and hot chocolate together.

While booking they informed us that we would have to dress up for two nights for a Gala Dinner. The dress code for men is mandatory coat and tie, and for women it would be a cocktail dress. The good news is that I made sure mom and sis knew that.

However, I got the time wrong. The Gala Dinner was between 5:00 PM and 10:15 PM. Since there are so many people on the ship, they broke up the dinner into two sections 5:00 PM to 7:45 PM and 7:45 PM to 10:15 PM. All our dinners including the Gala began at 7:45 PM. Whoops!!!

When we got there at the restaurant, they explained it to me more clearly that we were early. VERY EARLY. So mom, sis and I decided to share a cocktail and kill time. Well, my sis and I shared a cocktail. Mom had picture taking duty.

 

 

We walked around and found the green screen photography shots they took of us when we boarded the cruise line.

They even posted the time slots.

We went up to the Crows Nest. And guess who is there?? Miguel, Isabel, and Ania. They too are dressed up for dinner, and waiting around to kill time. I introduce them to my family, and we all share a wonderful conversation together. My sis and Ania hit it off.

 

Since Matt and Riisa were not going to be present for dinner we had two available seats, and we added a third. Marcy even got to practice her Spanish with Isabel and Miguel too.

Ania and my sis bonded on the far end of the table.

We even snuck in a picture with our wonderful waiter Putu August. Putu means first born.

Everything on the menu today was delicious. I forgot what this was called, and it was sooo tasty.

For Appetizer: I ordered the Escargots Bourguignon with herb garlic butter, Burgundy wine, and French bread.

For Soups and Salad: I ordered the Creamed Artichoke and Hertiage Carrot Soup with arugula pesto oil, and creme fraiche.

For the Entrees: I ordered the Maple-Lacquered Duck Breast with corn-cranberry pudding, candied figs, braised Swiss chard, and cide vinegar sauce.

For Desserts, I doubled up with the Black Forest Cask with No Sugar Added.

and then the Chocolate Souffle.

I am about to get “CHOCOLATE WASTED!”

This is what it looks like after they break it with warm dark chocolate sauce. Not delicious at all (sarcasm)!!!

Just before 10:00 PM, the entire dinner table departs for a viewing of Soundstage at the Vista Lounge Balcony.

 

 

Great work by the cast of the Noordam. It was an entertaining performance.

After the show Mark and I decide to relax in the game room and play some chess.

With a night cap.

After playing a few games we retire back to our room. I pull out my phone and track our progress via GPS. We are half way there to Juneau. We are just past Vancouver Island, and we should arrive in the morning around 10-12 AM Alaska Time Zone.

A zoomed in version. Ignore the time stamp on the top right. It is definitely not 7:44 AM in the morning where I am at. Additionally, I am in airplane mode.

Reflections:
Today was quite a relaxing day. It was great to spend some alone time with Mom, and catch up since it has been sometime since we have seen each other.

As I reflect back on today and today’s encounters, I feel sometimes through our personal energy and vibe, we attract the right people around us, and magic happens. I quite pleased of being setup with the best neighbors in Marcy, Mark, and Bonny, and meeting Isabel, Miguel, and Ania, and then have all of them share dinner and a theater show with our family.

This has already been such a magical and eventful experience. And it just got started.

Expenses: in US$ ($53.60)
$37.50: Hotel Service Charge: Day 1 ($12.50 per person for 3, Ms. Noordam)
$16.10: Ocean Bar