A Haunted Hotel Where Even the Ghosts Can't Be Bothered to Show Up
Got into Seattle on Saturday with JetBlue which is still the only airline I fly that makes me feel like they actually want me aboard, as opposed to being a necessary inconvenience to them..
On to the hotel for the night which was absolutely terrific IF you don’t mind any of the following: (1) No elevator, no Bell staff and a third floor walk up (or in our case drag up) with a week’s worth of luggage; (2) a few holes in the ceiling, (3) blood or some other red substance in the bathtub; (4) having to argue for 10 min. to get a room with air conditioning when it’s only 92 degrees outside and (5) in a part of town the liberals call “quaint” but we just call seedy.
The Infamous Red Bathtub
My friends and I enjoyed making fun of the whole thing and we now have another story to tell but any of you who DO mind any of those things should definitely spend the extra money and stay downtown. By the way, the ghost of the hotel never showed either and since my room had the “red” bathtub, I was kind of expecting him/her.
The Seattle Skyline
Once You've Paid and Get Up There, You Realize the Needle is the Only Thing to See
Sunday dawns bright and hot and we’re off to the dock. Dockside at 10:30 and the Princess staff is really good about check in and documents stuff. Relax until 11:15 when we are allowed through the gate to the mandatory photographer. From there it's into a huge warehouse, the perfect place to stand around doing nothing which we did because the customs didn’t clear boarding for about 45 minutes. Only 6 or so people threatened to faint (remember it’s 90 outside) so the wait wasn’t really that bad on a percentage basis. This is the same concept used by the airlines since the percentages are terrific unless you’re on the one that crashes. Once cleared for boarding it was an extremely easy process right through the souvenir shops and onto the ship. Staff really does a nice job on this aspect and we’re in the Cabin by 12:30 PM.
THE HEAT LEAVES AND THE FOG CLOSES IN
The cabin is more than adequate for Wife & me. Whatever we had to spend for the balcony is already justified before we leave the dock cause we'll definitely want to go outside without stomping through the whole ship. Pictured here is the wife in some lingerie she ordered specially for this trip from the Victoria Secret "Married 25 Years" Catalogue".***************************************
Our cabin steward (Marius) dropped by about 1:15 and he’s gonna be terrific. Had some fun with him as he tested my knowledge of European vs State capitals (he’s Romanian and I knew Bucharest – I’m from New York and he knew Albany, so it was a draw.) Anyhow, we requested robes and an eggcrate mattress and they were there within the hour. Luggage arrived by 3:00 PM so no complaints at all.
If The Ship's Alarm Sounds
Feel Free to Use Express Checkout
With the cabin set up it’s down to muster drill. On Princess there's this really interesting concept of safety meeting as sales seminar. Emergency instruction is pretty much limited to how to get to the atrium shops before they close. On the other hand, keeping everyone entertained is probably useful since we already did today’s stand around and do nothing drill in the warehouse. Very efficient and pretty much painless as drills go.
Time for sailaway, so I’ll pick this up later.
On Bourbon Street and Key West, This Has Entirely Different Meanings
We’ll were here (although I’m not sure where here is since the fog is onto my balcony)
First lesson to all the cruise newbs - BRING A POWER STRIP. There is one outlet in this cabin and with a computer, a battery charger, phone charger and misc stuff, six outlets are a HUGE help.
On to the “at Sea” day. So far, in two days I have encountered only one staff member who needed his attitude adjusted with a sharp instrument. He was a dealer in the casino and as I left his table I flipped him a $5.00 chip (I had lost the other 45 $5.00 chips in about 20 minutes) and his reaction was “there’s my new car”. At home this would be grounds for a small war but I just looked at him and laughed. He wasn't even from France. EVERYONE else has been courteous and helpful. I also have yet to encounter the famous rude passenger or the atavistic simian referred to on board as "a child". I’m really disappointed on this BUT there’s a lot of time left.
Marius the cabin steward, continues to shine and our waitress in the Regency Dining Room, Liliana, has been terrific. Her assistant Noel (we immediately nicknamed him “The First”) is a bit slower but tries like hell to satisfy everyone at our table of ten. Since I have several friends who own restaurants, I’ve learned to spot good staff and the effort exerted by the Dining Room personnel is tremendous. They don't always get it right but they do work hard to fix it. In any event, I hardly see getting the drink order wrong as grounds for federal indictment.
Barry Manilow -- Won'choo Please Come Home
Saw our first show tonight “Piano Man”.
Quite apart from terrorists, they probably search passengers for weapons knowing this show is aboard.****************** Good Policy!!! Remove all the cleverness from Billy Joel, all the tooth decaying grit from Neil Diamond, and run everything else through the Osmond School for the Musically Bland and you're left with a very tough sell. I was worried about my diabetic friend throughout the performance but at least they left out “Sugar Sugar”.
I don't know enough about dancing to judge how it was, but Siegfried and Roy had a much more graceful troop. On the other hand, only one or two of these dancers looked like they would bite your head off, at least onstage.
Is this Orlando? --- No, it's Ketchikan
When we went to bed last night (actually about 2:30 this morning) we were sailing along the middle of nowhere. When we woke up, there was Ketchikan staring us in the (admittedly bleary eyed) face. For us (being noobs) it was the first time it hit that we’re actually in Alaska.
Ketchikan presents an interesting question to me. Is it strange to fly 3,000 miles and cruise another 600 or so to get off the ship in Frontierland at Disneyworld? Honestly, that’s what it reminds me of. Still the stores are kind of funky and there are actually two or three non-jewelry items available that are not made in China.
Henley and Frey Still Don't Get Along All that Well
First tour is the Wildlife Rainforest.
On the way up the road we saw a sign saying “Bear Left” and it must be true because he wasn’t anywhere we could see him on the tour. He did however leave signs of his existence, including several neatly piled forensic clues on the trail. At least we definitively answered that age old question.
The highlight of this tour are the eagles
. Like pigeons in New York, they are all over the place but unlike pigeons they are incredibly majestic sights. I do suggest a high zoom camera though since they are not at all interested in posing closeup.
If You Think She's Having a Good Time
Check Out the Bear's Face
Back in town the women in our group had a fine old time in the jewelry stores. At least the stuff they bought is easy to pack. Besides, if anyone really needs a 6 foot stuffed bear in your living room, most stores will do shipping and save you all those explanations at the airport going home.
In Space, Nobody Can Hear You Puke !!
Next up was a chance to prove that even past 50, I can be truly stupid. Take one middle aged man with hypersensitivity to motion sickness, stick him on a chair in the cargo hold of a ten seat plane and fly for an hour in areas where he is looking UP at the trees
about 100 feet off the wingtips. Throw in two short take off and landing procedures
and by the time he gets back to the ship, he’s not overly worried about the service in the dining room. The thing that makes him truly stupid is he knew all this would happen before he got on the plane but the trip was so gorgeous and so much fun (except for the tree off the wingtip thing) that I'm thoroughly glad I went. Would I do it again? Probably not but I absolutely recommend it to everyone at least once. By the way, we were late getting back to the ship so booking through Princess was worth whatever extra it cost us.
As I write this we are leaving Ketchikan but I’ll skip the sailaway until the room stops spinning. While rooms have done that to me before, it usually involved Jack Daniels at some level so I feel kind of cheated. After that it’s on to the Casino and whatever else.
Here's Tracy Arm and the Glacier --- No Really
Out of Ketchikan bound for Juneau and the first lost stop of the trip. We spent all morning underway in the middle of a giant cotton ball. Every so often the fog would lighten up and I could see my balcony railing, but that was about it.
We lingered around outside the Tracy Arm for a while to see if things would improve but no dice. The Captain let us know that we were not going into a very tight area full of rocks and ice when he couldn’t see 50 feet off the bow. When he put it that way, any disappointment at missing the glacier was well balanced out by my desire NOT to do a lifeboat drill for real. I didn’t really hear any pax getting testy about it and none of my travel party (all of whom have been on my boats) was upset at all. It's just part of boating at any level and at least this time I don't have to be the one sweating the helm. It also gave us a chance to experience what it must be like to be Paris or Britney, except we don't have to spend our entire lives this way.