Then came the loudspeaker (and I do mean LOUD) announcement that the mandatory life boat drill would take place in fifteen minutes. Don your life vests and head for your assigned station, said the voice. From my prone position on the bed I could see the life vest on the shelf over the closet, right by the stateroom door.
Closet, I said to myself. So, I got up and started to unpack. My first surprise came when I opened the closet door. Ye gods! There were enough hangers in there to outfit the largest motel I’d ever stayed in, and I had them all to myself. I was almost finished unpacking when I heard the lifeboat drill alarm, so I grabbed that thick orange thing off the shelf, plopped it over my head and headed up to deck five, station eleven.
I went back to my room and finished unpacking, set the safe opening code to something I was pretty sure I could remember, and tried the lying down thing again. That wasn’t going to work, so I went off exploring the ship. Up on deck eleven, I found the flight deck of Starship Enterprise, only it was called the Viking Crown Lounge. They served gin and tonic there, and all I had to do was produce that cute little plastic card that also opened the door to my stateroom.
City of Vancouver, British Columbia, in the background as another cruise ship leaves the harbor.
The others found the wonderful buffet dining room on deck nine at the fore end of the ship, which is where I ate almost all of my meals for the rest of the cruise. That’s the thing you hear most about cruises—the food, plenty of it and all the time. While the main dining room meals were very good, well presented and professionally served, I preferred the buffet. For buffet food, I thought it exceptional: dozens and dozens of entrée choices, fresh fruits and vegetables, Asian and Indian specialties, fresh baked pastries and breads, dozens of desserts and fresh fruit cocktail, and all presented with flair and imagination.
Okay, RCI. I’m starting to forgive you, I thought, as I drifted off to sleep while the Rhapsody of the Seas sailed gently through Canadian waters, heading north to Alaska. Yes, I had come all this way, only to turn around, board a cruise ship for a return to Alaska.