This post comes from Dirk Pool. He and his wife sailed on their first cruise this past summer. He has been so kind to share his experience and has dedicated three posts for us! In this first one, Dirk talks about his anticipation and excitement. What did he think? Read on to find out his first impressions.
The anticipation of going on a cruise, especially for the first time, has you counting the days long before it actually happens. Then the day arrives and you can hardly wait to set foot on the ship to set sail.
Well, here is an account of the Alaskan cruise my wife and I took on the Volendam, a Holland America ship. The Volendam interested me because in 1951 my dad and mom, taking their family of ten children, came across the ocean from the Netherlands on a ship called the Volendam. The Captain, who I had the privilege of talking with on our cruise, told me that the 1951 Voledam was number 1, and the ship we cruised on was the Volendam 3, so somewhere there is or was a Volendam 2.
Approximately ten months before setting foot on a cruise ship, my wife had already informed me that it was set up. We had talked about it for a couple years and finally decided it was time to set our thoughts into motion. My wife had contacted CruiseExperts Travel and they did an awesome job setting everything up for us.
As the cruise was booked about ten months in advance, we had ten months of anticipation to look forward to.
Were we excited?
You can’t begin to imagine what it felt like to count down the months instead of the days.
As the months became weeks, and then the weeks days, we could hardly wait for August 31, 2011 to arrive.
At 4 am on August 31, 2011, we were up out of bed. This day had finally arrived and our bags were packed and all ready in the van. We made it to our daughter’s place at 6:15 am and transferred our luggage into her vehicle because we were leaving our vehicle at her place instead of paying to leave it at the airport.
After collecting our luggage upon arrival at Vancouver International airport, it only took twenty minutes for the taxi to deliver us safely to the Canada Place cruise terminal. Now to go through the line up to get our passes to allow us to board the ship. Everything was moving along at a good pace and before we knew it, we were walking towards the loading ramp.
Low and behold, there right before our eyes was a ship that looked like a floating hotel.
After going to our stateroom, on deck 2, and getting settled in, we went topside to deck 8 and had a wonderful lunch. At 2:00 pm, my wife went to our room to have a wee nap so I decided to explore the great domain of the ship.
For one hour I was mesmerized by all the stuff that the ship had to offer.
There was a spa, fitness gym, a couple swimming pools, basketball and tennis courts, a special place for the teens to hang out, theaters, lounges a plenty, casino, stores, library, and the list goes on.
By 3:00 pm, I was on the eighth deck when my wife sent me a text to let me know she was awake. Since we could only use two of the four elevators at that time, because two were being used by the crew to bring luggage aboard, I decided to run down the stairs to deck two. This was not something I was used to doing, but I believe I still beat the elevator. I toured the ship with my wife till 4:30 pm when all the passengers were requested to go to deck three and find their designated life boat stations. We had a short safety drill before the ship set sail at 5:30 pm. We stood on the outside of deck three to watch the ship leave Vancouver.
The cruise, we had anticipated going on for so long, was finally underway.
All the passengers were invited to a special welcome aboard BBQ at the pool side on the eighth deck, and trust me, there was no reason to go hungry that night.
After that wonderful feast, my wife and I sat down at a small bar outside on the eighth deck and had a couple drinks while getting acquainted with a young bar attendant who also knew how to perform tricks. Since our suitcases still had to be unpacked, we headed for our room at about 8:30 pm. By 9:30 pm, we were both tired from all the activities that day of getting this far we decided to go to bed. Wow! We were finally on the ship, and since I am an early riser because I’m a baker, I don’t have to be up before 8 am. What a blessing that will be.
Dirk’s second post will be published this coming Wednesday. Think you may forget? Enter your email address at the top right hand side of this page to subscribe to our blog. You’ll get an update sent directly to your email each time a post is published.