Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Saturday, 09/14/13 All Aboard Diamond Princess

All Aboard

The bellman knocked on my door at 7:30 for my luggage, although the bus would not arrive until 9:00 to leave the hotel for the ship.  I had breakfast in the hotel, and I had a feeling of elegance having breakfast in such an ornate dining room.  The eggs Benedict were wonderful.  After breakfast the wait was brief until I boarded the bus for the ship.  As the driver pulled the bus away, I asked him if everyone was on board.  He suddenly stopped the bus and made a head count, and said, no, everyone is not here.  Soon some others arrived and we were off.  If I had not asked him my question, I guess they would have been left behind.  The ferry crossing was uneventful except for one thing -- I decided to pay $12 to sit in a luxury section with comfortable chairs and snacks provided.  It was well worth the price.  After leaving the ferry, the driver took us a different route back downtown to the pier where the ship was waiting, and it was very interesting to see a different part of Vancouver.  It is a very pretty town, and so orderly and clean. 

Boarding the ship was uneventful; although the lines were quite long the process moved quickly.  When I arrived at my room, I felt “at home”.  A feeling of comfort, both physical and emotional, came over me.  I freshened up and went for a walk and a bite to eat at the cafeteria on the top deck while I waited for my luggage to arrive in my room.  At 4:00 p.m. the ship held its mandatory safety drill.  I discovered that somehow my dinner reservations were “free style”, which means any dining room at any time.  When I went to dinner at 8:00 p.m. the lines were long at the first two dining rooms, but when I arrived at the Santa Fe dining room , I was seated right away with a very interesting elderly couple who were originally from Uzbekistan.  They came to America in 1991, after the fall of communism, and lived in Pennsylvania until a couple of years ago, when they moved to Florida.  They told me about living in Uzbekistan, which they loved until Stalin came to power.  After that they said that living was very hard.  They had relatives in the U.S. but they were not permitted to visit, or ever to leave the country together; the thought was that if one was left behind, the other would return, too.  Eventually, they were permitted to immigrate to the U.S. and they have been very happy.  One of the great things about traveling is the interesting people one meets.

In the evening, I skipped the comedian, and went to sleep early.

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