Part 2, From Seattle to Inside Passage

People, all trying to escape onto the cruise liners, jam pack the Smith Cove terminal. The entire hall swirls with excitement of the upcoming vacations. The process takes a long time, but we finally board the Golden Princess, have a late buffet lunch, and go through emergency drills.

Soon, the horn blasts through all of us standing on the top deck, and we’re off, setting sail for Alaska through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Inside Passage. After gorging ourselves in Seattle and the buffet, the first order of business is to work out, of course. The welcome show introduces us to the upcoming cruise services. Right after this, we literally sail off into the sunset.

We had reserved the second dinner setting. Our table, number 275, happens to sit right next to a window, and the waiters assigned to us are meticulous. They both have OCD, the main waiter more affected than the junior. Every detail is perfect—appetizer spoon, fish fork, filet knife, fresh herb garnish, hand-selected berries. It’s all about presentation.

I wake up earlier than the rest and catch the Wake Show with Kelly and Dave, cruise directors, while it plays on the big screen as we sail in the open Pacific Ocean. The sea, originally quite calm, churns on its long wash cycle. In the upper deck swimming pools, water sloshes back and forth, emptying each end with every roll. It’s good that lunch never found its way back up. In the line dancing session, Kelly tells us the rule: if you make a mistake, blame the ship. By dinner time, we steer back into quiet waters. While sailing through the Inside Passage, we enjoy dinner and showtime.

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