July 19, 2011
The worst part of the day? Killing time for over three hours in the morning. What we thought would be the most brilliant thing ever – to have a few hours to complete the final pack, wash the breakfast dishes and make a final, unhurried once-over – turned into dragging minutes and a cranky kid, anxious to be on her way to the Disney boat and Alaska. We left early and staked out a table at a nearby coffee shop before making our way down into the city’s port terminal.
Having done as much as we could in advance, online, it seemed we were set. Once we breezed through customs, the boarding process and registration, our presence was announced to the ship and acknowledged by the scant dozen or so staff in the lobby whose sole purpose in life appeared to be being thrilled with the fact that we set foot on the boat. It was, disturbingly, kind of cool…
We found our rooms and stared at the compact little bathrooms and the various ad-filled brochures. We found the kids’ clubs. We found the pools and the junk food. After we ate the junk food, we found the fruits and deli bar.
Shortly before leaving dock, we were instructed to find our way to our emergency muster station for the ship’s drill. This is where things started going sideways Disney. Somehow, a serious emergency drill about the potential sinking o f a gigantic ship full of children was presented like a pep-rally where each section of drill attempted to out-cheer the next. After getting super excited about our floatation devices, we were sent to the upper decks for a welcome party as we left Vancouver. And this is where is got a lot more Disney… high energy staff: check. Lots of yelling and chanting: check. Loud music: check. Dancing and jumping up and down: check. Pretty people flashing across the screen having far too much fun under the guise of actually running our ship: check. Costumed characters: check. It was everything I was worried about in a Disney cruise, yet I appear to have survived it. The Magpie took it all in stride at the time, but was visibly overwhelmed once it ended. We returned to the room to find our luggage and a few moments before our dinner seating.
Dinner was presided over by our own dedicated servers and attended by Mickey – complete with full fanfare and dancing wait staff. Reasonable sized portions were an added bonus, as was the readiness of the staff to accommodate food allergies. SigOther’s recent birthday resulted in additional fanfare at our table, and additional desserts.
All this ended in kids asking to return to our rooms to go to bed. Without fuss. A quick shower, a quick story and it was off to bed. With time for SigOther and I to open a bottle of wine we brought and sit out on our deck to watch the Pacific coast sail by.