We woke up early, at 6.30am. Had breakfast, checked out and went to the Whole Foods nearby. Bought cous cous, salmon and a couple of bottles of wine. Princess allows one bottle of wine per person without corkage, so I was pleased to see local Washington and Oregon wines. We had time, so we thought we’d go to Pike Place market again, but there wasn’t a lot of parking.
Drove to pier 91 cruise terminal to drop off Mum and the luggage. Then proceeded to find our parking slot. I’d pre-booked parking at cruise parking that was about 5-10mins from the terminal, has free shuttle and was about $30 cheaper than the official terminal parking. Check-in at the cruise was straightforward, we were at the waiting area a little after 11am. At around 11.45am they started letting people onto the ship. Priority and disabled boarding came first so it was about 15-20mins before it was our turn. By 12.15pm we were in our cabin.
We had a balcony cabin, and it looked like the MSC balcony cabin. In fact, it turned out that cruise ships were pretty much all the same in terms of layout and deck arrangement. Just some cosmetic or small differences. I thought the cabin was a bit bigger, there was more storage space and the space between my bed and the balcony was larger, enough for 2 people to move around.
We learned a tip from online forums, that the buffet on embarkation day would be a scrum. Instead, we made our way to one of the dining rooms for lunch. We were seated at the same table as a wedding party. They were also experienced Alaska cruisers so we got a few pointers. Lunch was avocado & bay shrimp, beef tenderloin and apple tart with mint tea. Food was definitely better than MSC, the shrimp starter was really good although the beef was overcooked.
Unpacked in our cabin, then it was time for the muster station drill in the theatre. After that, we took a walk around the decks, taking pictures and watching the sailaway party.
Although we opted for anytime dining, we were outside the restaurant promptly at 5.15pm just before it opened. There was no problem getting a table for two. Dinner was red snapper ceviche mojito, frozen pineapple soup, crawfish etoufflé, flourless chocolate cake and we shared the signature Princess love boat dream which was a chocolate mousse. The seafood was really good and the frozen pineapple soup more like a smoothie. The chocolate desserts were good too. Turns out, corkage applies in the restaurant, even with the “free” bottle of wine. Doesn’t matter, they bring us water, so I’ll just have the wine in the cabin.
After dinner I went running on the treadmill for half an hour, then opened the bottle of cooper hill pinot noir, from Oregon. Nice.