Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Short Weekend Away on Island

A great deal happened and we just couldn’t pass it up.  A three day repo from Vancouver to San Francisco.  Timing was perfect as it fell right during our weekend.

We left home with small carry on bags, two bottles of Vino Verte for dinner with Antonio tonight.

See Antonio is from Portugal and we thought he might enjoy it.  However as we swung the backpack on one bottle fell out and smashed to the ground.  Oops…. Thankfully there is a liquor  store two blocks from the pier where we buy a. new bottle.

We arrive at the pier at 1230.  We are directed upstairs to the conference center where we are divided by ship.  The Volendam is in port with us.  We fill out our health forms.  Then quickly get our cruise cards.

We snake around like we are in a parade heading downstairs to go thru security.  The line is long but it moves very efficiently.

Normally we would go thru US customs but since the ship is heading to Victoria first we don’t go thru customs.  We will however have to clear US customs when we arrive in San Francisco .

In total it took 15 min from when we got to the pier to when we boarded.  Very efficient.

Last year we sailed the island for a month, and we had been on her quite a few times prior so we know the ship.

This voyage we are in Plaza 529 which is an Oceanview cabin.  Great location midship and close to atrium and coffee bar.

We notice the cabin looks very fresh and clean.  They haven’t got the new bed/bedding but the bed we have is very comfortable.  We are told that the new bedding will be happening soon though.

There is this great little nook in the closet with an extra closet space.  Haven’t seen this in other cabins on this ship.

A beautiful bouquet of flowers and a bottle of champagne awaits us as a gift from Antonio.

Again we feel blessed to call so many crew friends who feel like family and Antonio is definitely family.

Up to Horizon Court for a quick bite to eat.  It is a zoo up here, so I quickly grab a salad and meet Bernie outside where he is grabbing a hot dog and fries.  He couldn't handle the crowds in the buffet.  I tell him how they are queuing up for food at one of the stations in Horizon Court.  
One man tried to get food at that station where no one was and was told off by another man.  I bit my tongue.  If you wander around and get food from area that are not busy it works.  Lining up doesn't as there are different stations and you can't line up for each.  If one area is so very busy I just pass it up and I survive.  I like to go with the flow.

The sun is shining and it is in the high 20s.

We both comment that the demographics of this voyage are very different than the May repo we did.  Very few kids on board, maybe a handful compared to a lot of kids in May.

This cruise carries on thru the Panama Canal so many are on for the entire voyage so there are quite a few older passengers  (my age and older).

Bernie called room service and got thru rather quickly to change out our mini bar for two coffee cards, and they delivered them right away.

Ships officers:  Captain Andrea Poggi, Staff Captain Vincenzo Lembo, Chief Engineer Vito Torre, Hotel General Manager Ivano Calandri, Cruise Director Mike Witte, Customer Services Director Carla Ramos, Food and Beverage Director Sandra Belchior,  Executive Housekeeper Antonio Pimpao, Executive Chef John Convery, Maitre D’Hotel Neville Saldanha.

Muster is at 345 with sail away at 4pm.  With Victoria being so close I wonder where we will sail as we don’t dock until tomorrow at 7 am.  Tonight we are joining Antonio for dinner in Sabatinis at 7:30.

Things I have noticed:

Prices have gone up.  All specialty restaurants are $29.  Drink prices too have gone up for some items.   Coffee card is now  $31 plus tip.  They may of gone up earlier and I just didn’t notice.  I later check my notes and prices for special restaurants went up in May.
Ship looks great.
Embarkation was very smooth and well organized.
Staff on board are very helpful, friendly and very patient.
The water pressure is very strong.
Many people are staying on for Panama portion.

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