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20 May 2013 @ 10:40 pm
Alaska Cruise: Day One  
Today my mother and I set sail from the port of San Francisco on the Grand Princess. First, we had to go through several checkpoints as the cruise staff issued key cards, checked ID about twenty times, and made sure that we weren’t smuggling in excessive bottles of liquor. (Bringing booze hadn’t even occurred to me, but the first thing Mom did when I got to her house was hand me bottles of wine to place in my luggage.) The boarding area was strange – a cavernous warehouse with visible beams, home to several enormous, hideous Mardi Gras props. I’m talking giant Papier-mâché Uncle Sams. So weird.

The cruise itself seems nice enough. There’s the usual assortment of shops, casino, art gallery, restaurants, and swimming pools. Hopefully I’ll be able to find out the yoga schedule and get some exercise in every day, because there is food everywhere. There’s an “International Cafe” which is essentially a glass case of delicious-looking desserts, quite close to our room, and it’s open 24 hours. It’s going to be a battle to avoid constant snacking. We had a late lunch there, quite simple – a salad for Mom and a ham and cheese croissant for me. Even though Mom was just on the Grand Princess in April for a cruise to Mexico, she couldn’t remember the layout very well, so we explored the boat while it was still in port.





Our room is on the lowest deck, at the front of the ship, and it is tiny. There are two single beds, smaller than twins, with only a sheet and a single thin blanket. A desk is provided, but it’s barely a foot wide. The entire bathroom could probably fit in my mom’s shower stall back home. But I have to remind myself that they have to cram thousands of people on this boat, and the whole point of a cruise ship is to not spend time hiding out in your cabin.





The weather was nice when we left San Francisco Bay – cool, but sunny. We missed the moment when the ship went under the Golden Gate Bridge, which disappointed Mom. Me? All I could think was, “Well, we live in San Jose. I’ve walked across the Golden Gate! Is the view so very different from below?” Besides, I was hungry and the reason we missed the boat was because we were in the dining room. I wanted something simple and filling to eat for my first night on a cruise. The appetizer was easy to select: melon balls soaked in port wine. It made me think of my grandmother, who used to always feed me cantaloupe balls, sans wine. The menu was full of entrees with giant chunks of meat, but I went for fettuccini alfredo. I couldn’t help it! It came in a parmesan basket. A basket made of fried cheese. It sounds awesome, right? (In actual practice, it wasn’t so great…but whatever! Fried cheese!)

Unfortunately, now that we’re out in the Pacific the sea’s getting a bit choppy. Our room rocks back and forth, and I can hear the waves hitting the sides of the ship. I guess that’s what happens when you get a room for a bargain price – it’s the noisiest room on the boat!