Monday, September 26, 2011

Tahiti Cruise Day 2-3

The weather was rainy, but not cold as we disembarked in Vancouver with Bill & Ruth Craven.  We grabbed a taxi and headed to Yaletown to check out “Cento Notti”, or 100 Days in Italian.  We had tried this restaurant last year when it was called 100 Days, which meant that it would close and be re-invented every 100 days.  This is the third re-incarnation and has been redecorated in Italian Bistro style.  After checking it out we headed to a Starbucks for coffee and walked around part of Yaletown until 1100 when brunch started at “Cento Notti”.  The fare was pretty standard, except for a lobster and crab eggs benedict, where the crab and lobster were made into a cake and substituted for the English muffin.

After brunch we shopped for a dress shirt for Bill Craven and then back to the ship where we departed at 1700 in rain.  We were awakened at 0100 as we turned the corner at Swiftsure Bank and headed south.  The winds and seas continued to increase overnight and when Miriam and I went to the observation deck at 0700 the seas were 20 feet and the winds were gusting to 67 knots.  After breakfast and a workout the seas continued to build and at 1000 the captain cancelled the Astoria stop due to near hurricane force winds.  The ship slowed to 9 knots as we headed into building seas and the entire ship was creaking and flexing.  We went back to the 10th level observation deck and enjoyed the ride.  The winds are predicted to exceed 75 knots later today but subside around midnight.  All the outside decks were closed, as well as the main pools.

Our first and hopefully last major storm at sea!

Tahiti Cruise Day 1

We had ordered a Shuttle Express town car to take us to Pier 91 and the cruise ship terminal.  What actually arrived was a stretch limo, which was just a little over the top.  We certainly arrived in style, and in just a few minutes were through security and on-board the ship.  Our cabin was ready for us when we boarded before noon, and our luggage arrived within one hour.  After exploring the ship we had the mandatory lifeboat drill (life jackets are no longer required and roll call was not done) and departed from Pier 91 at 1545, about 15 minutes ahead of schedule under warm but overcast skies.  We waved to our friends on “G” dock at Elliott Bay Marina as we headed up Puget Sound for the short 166 nautical mile voyage to Vancouver.  We did not realize until we boarded that there were nearly 1900 passengers going for a one day “booze” cruise to Vancouver, and only about 200 passengers staying on for the full 35 days.  We apparently will pick up some more passengers in Vancouver, and the rest in San Diego.

The party was on in full force even before the lifeboat drill, and the pools and hot tubs were jammed with bodies enjoying the short cruise.

Bill and Ruth Craven joined us for appetizers and drinks before dinner and we then went to the Vista Dining Room for an 8 PM seating.  Following dinner, Bill was presented with a birthday cake to celebrate his birthday on departure day and we then went to the late show titled “Rockin’ Road”, which was a variety show of oldies but goldies of rock and roll.  By the time the show ended, we were departing the pilot station at Port Angeles and heading for Victoria to pick up the Canadian pilot for the short trip to Vancouver.

We are not quite clear how a ship can take so long to go from Seattle to Vancouver, and apparently neither did the crew, since we arrived at the cruise terminal in Vancouver nearly 2 hours ahead of schedule.  The weather was no longer sunny and warm, more like a typical fall day, rain and 50 degrees.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cruise to Tahiti and the Marquesas

With our trip to SE Alaska now complete and Spirit in the yard for maintenance and upgrades, we are getting ready to explore some potential future destinations for Spirit.

We depart Seattle on the MS Westerdam, a Holland America ship for a 35 day cruise.  Our itinerary takes us to Vancouver, BC, Astoria, San Diego, several locations in the Hawaiian Islands, Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, several locations in French Polynesia and the on to Nuka Hiva in the Marquesas before returning to San Diego.  We are fortunate that our son, Cameron, will be staying in our house and taking care of it while we are gone.

This cruise will be a real change from our SE Alaska cruise, someone else is navigating, cooking, cleaning and all the other tasks that filled our days this past summer.  We can just concentrate on exploring the destinations and seeing if they are places we might like to go back to in either our own boat, or by chartering.  We will also have several stretches with 4-5 days at sea, so we can experience open Pacific Ocean waters, in comfort!