Saturday, May 21, 2011

Alaska Cruise, Day 1, on the Golden Princess, May 2011

Alaska's State FlagEmbarkation Day, Port of Seattle, Pier 91
We've sailed on eight cruises before this one. Sailing out of Ft. Lauderdale, Cape Canaveral, and New Orleans. Embarkation is often a frantic rush under the best of circumstances. But we have never experienced one as unpleasant and uncomfortable as Seattle's.

And that's saying a lot when you consider that the dock in New Orleans was a temporary setup -- Princess was testing the New Orleans market with a few winter cruises -- and both the embarkation and disembarkation were conducted in tents. Big, circus-size tents. And the process was handled smoothly and quickly. The Port of New Orleans really came through for Princess; the Port of Seattle didn't care to. When Pier 91 opened a few years ago all the reports said there were some serious service problems. It seems that it hasn't gotten any better.

Seattle's Skyline from Pier 91

Once we got to the part of embarkation that Princess handled, everything got better fast. Helpful people led us through the process and soon we were in our cabin on Dolphin Deck 9. We arrived in the cabin at 12:30 and by 1:00 we had our bags. We were unpacked before muster drill at 3:00. Our cabin steward is Constantine and he appears to be very polite, and efficient. And friendly, too.

The Golden Princess is in great shape and looks beautiful. Launched in 2001, it had a major dry dock refurbishment in 2009. New dining features were added and the cabins and public areas were given new carpets, wall treatments and drapes.

We pulled away from the dock at 5:00 about an hour late. The captain must have been waiting for a group with a delayed flight. We headed north through a slightly choppy sea. We had our dinner in the Horizon Court Buffet.

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