June 25, 2013

Alaska Cruise: First Day at Sea -- Cold, Rain and Fun

We spent the first day out of Vancouver at sea, heading for Alaska and the Inner Passage. The day was too cold and rainy to spend on my balcony or the ship's deck. No problem . . . as long as this weather wasn't an omen of things to come. Fortunately, it wasn't.

When I entered my cabin, I found an ice bucket with a bottle of champagne, which I happily passed along to my neighbors across the hall.

Every afternoon, anyone looking to play cards could show up in the card room for a pickup game. I had a most enjoyable bridge game with three women. They were all good players, but -- more important to me -- they were relaxed and not too serious about the game.

An Invitation to Dine
I received an invitation to dinner in the hotel's fanciest restaurant with the ship's concierge manager and human resource manager. I wasn't sure about it; I'm usually a little uncomfortable with this sort of pre-arranged mingling of strangers.

What a surprise! It turned into an exceptionally pleasant evening. The other passenger guests were two delightful couples. I think all of us first worried about how things would go, but I sensed the others were as pleasantly surprised as I was that it turned out to be an unusually interesting, fun evening.

This photo was taken by the concierge manager. It also shows why I was wrong about another concern. I'd decided not to pack a sport coat and feared I'd be uncomfortably underdressed. Wrong again. Even in the ship's fanciest restaurant, about half the men were coatless like me.

The cruise was off to a good start. But the best was yet to come.

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