Monday, September 7, 2009

Westerdam to Alaska: Embarkation Day

Here in Seattle, where Holland America Line is headquartered, the process for transferring from hotel to ship is seamless. After an early morning pre-boarding check in with the Holland America rep at the Fairmont Olympic, we had simply to call a bellman to pick up our luggage. The next time we saw it was in our cabin aboard Westerdam.

After a leisurely breakfast and relaxing in our room (we decided to hang out there because it was pouring rain outside), we gathered to board a motorcoach for the 15-minute ride to the new Smith Cove cruise facility at Terminal 91. Luck was with us and the rain stopped as we approached. It appeared that we arrived at exactly the peak boarding time and we eyed the line inside with some trepidation. However, it moved swiftly and we were past security, checked in, and on the gangway in short order. The process was extremely efficient and Holland America employees here in Seattle would put their counterparts in other embarkation ports to shame. From hotel to embarkation on Westerdam took less than an hour.

Here’s a hint for your future Holland America cruise. Be sure to complete the online check-in procedure before leaving home. Having done that, we didn’t even have to produce a credit card to establish our onboard account.

Unpacking was interrupted by the late-afternoon boat drill and we were on our way in what seemed to be record time. What would sailaway be like without pizza? And a chocolate chip cookie! Even with afternoon snacks beneath our belts, we look forward to what Westerdam’s chefs have in store for us. Since we’re in salmon country, that’s sure to be a favorite entree choice (as it was when we sailed on Westerdam in the Caribbean last year). And dinner? The first of what promises to be Alaska treats. Pecan encrusted salmon.

That’s the new cruise Terminal 91 in the photo above that I snapped while on a harbor tour yesterday. Did you notice that the ship isn’t ours? It’s Holland America Line’s Amsterdam, also making Seattle her summer home for the Alaska season.

Tomorrow’s installment is a day at sea and we have a lot to look forward to with a galley tour and cooking demonstration by a surprise guest chef.

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