Day 1 Sunday June 7, 2015
Seattle Boarding Amsterdam Departure
Another ship, another adventure, and another look at Alaska’s coastal cities of Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan. This is coming to you from Holland America’s ship: Amsterdam. This is one of the smaller ships in the fleet: 10 decks, 780 feet long with a crew of 615. It was dedicated in 2000 and we have 1300 passengers. They call this an “R Class” ship, and I have no idea what that means. When I ask people who should know, they give conflicting information. It would be a good question for “Team Trivia”.
I was aboard by 11:15 which means they had all 1300 people off the ship very quickly this Sunday morning. For passengers, boarding began about Noon, and I spent four hours at the gangway meeting and greeting. You can find out a lot things standing there as people come on board. I met three couples celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, four couples here for their 25th, two couples on honeymoon. There were several families celebrating graduations with a cruise to Alaska. There is a dad with his four adult sons having a week “with the boys.” I met three delightful women from Brisbane. There is a couple from Wiesbaden, Germany, and two cheerful couples from Ft Myers, FL ! Unlike many other cruises, there are quite a few children and teen agers on this ship. Obviously school is out nationwide.
The room for the priest is very comfortable on this ship. I’m on deck 9 in a “Staff Only “ section of the ship. I have not found out who my neighbors are yet, but I am curious. That means it is very quiet, and deck 9 is as high as you can go. There is a Deck 10, which holds an area called “The Oasis” at the rear of the ship overlooking the Aft Pool and there is an ‘observation” area at the front of the ship with tall glass walls to break the wind, and the wind is blowing as I write this in the evening. Because of the wind, there is chop, and the ship is bouncing more than rocking or pitching. This high up, every movement is exaggerated as well. In Seattle today it was quite warm, nearly 90F; but we were no sooner out of the harbor and into Puget Sound than everyone was scrambling for jackets and sweaters. By midnight when I finished up with the “Crew Mass” we were completely wrapped in fog so dense it was not possible to see from one end of the ship to the other, so we have slowed somewhat, and the fog horn shakes the walls of this room. Up here heading to Juneau the sun sets at 10:11 pm and sunrise tomorrow will be at 5:22.
Forty-five came to Mass at 5:00, and 15 were at the “Inter-denominational” service that I led at 6:00. There was a wonderful Baptist gentleman from Comfort, Texas who, with a great voice, led us in singing. My Altar Server was Irene who last week graduated from 8th grade and is celebrating her birthday today. There were less than 20 at the Crew Mass tonight at 11:30, and no one to lead the singing which is unusual; but I was not disappointed. I was/am way too tired, and I know that had I not been standing during Mass I would have fallen asleep. The lead vocalist and piano player for the HAL Cats (Jazz Band) was at Mass. He is from Madrid and studied Jazz at Carbondale in Illinois and at I.U. Bloomington.
So this is all for now. On this cruise there will be fewer pictures simply because the download time on the ship with the satellite system is extremely slow and paying by the minute for internet time is bit expensive as well. Besides, many of you reading this saw it all before last fall. So here is a look at majestic Mt Rainier from the Sports Deck near my room, and a fascinating piece of sculpture that hangs over the stairway on Deck 9 (Sports Deck). Day One was over 18 minutes ago.