Today we are boarding the Holland America Line ship, MS Oosterdam in Vancouver to begin our back to back Alaskan cruise north and south. We will be leaving from Canada place in Vancouver at around 4pm heading towards the inside passage.
Day 84 – May 25th, 2014.
“Boarding the Holland America Line, MS Oosterdam”
At the terminal our bags are taken from the back of the taxi directly onto the luggage trolley and we wont see them until in our cabin. Looks like someone found a niche selling binoculars last-minute to those that forgot them!!
We join a short queue to go through security check before heading into the customs area. We declare our bottle of champagne that we were given from friends onboard the Celebrity Millennium (on the last day) and details are noted before we can take it onboard with us to consume in our stateroom only.
Thankfully we are early as the lines will only get longer according to the helpers in the area. At the passport control we have our fingers and thumb prints taken and some have the photos taken.
I’m done real quick and say to Moni, “yay we’re in” consequently the officer takes ages over Moni’s credentials… Eventually we are allowed to proceed and next we walk straight up to the cruise check-in desk, receive our cruise cards and sign a few documents. With a ‘welcome back’ by the check-in lady to which we are both like… Back??
“First impressions of the ship are fantastic”
She then explained that we must have taken a cruise with a sister company and that they have our Mariner Status of a one star. With our one star status, apparently after boarding we can enjoy lunch in the main dining room as opposed to the buffet.
First though, we sit in the waiting area which is very organised for a short while before heading on board, all very smooth. Our cruise cards are scanned as we board then we can head directly to our cabin.
“The balcony cabin 4128 on MS Oosterdam”
Our cabin is great and the balcony is bigger than normal as our cabin is set back in. A life-raft is further to our right and other balconies are to our left. The small table has seen better days though.
On our bed we have two gift cards from Pam @ Avoya travel for beverages to the value of $50 each. That is awesome and totally unexpected and very much appreciated.
The bathroom has a shower with a bathtub which is a first for us, looking forward to a hot bath after a cold day at sea.
The cabin is complete with a desk, TV, sofa and mini bar fridge.
“Mariner Society Embarkation lunch”
Then it’s off to have lunch in the Vista dining room thanks to our new Mariner status.
It was a fantastic lunch with great food and service, boy we are getting spoilt. The table guests were fun as well and we were the youngest by far, we spend a couple of hours here enjoying each other’s stories.
The desserts were also very fine.
“We explore the MS Oosterdam”
Back to the cabin we find our luggage is already there which is awesome, however, we head back out to explore some more of the ship.
The spa is often a place to go on the first day as they offer specials, but we feel they are still expensive, and carry on exploring, visiting many of the places and taking photos.
There is a bar called the Crows Nest at the front of the ship on deck 10 which has 180 degree views, not that the view today was much good as it was overcast and raining.
Just off of the Crows Nest you find a joint library, Internet and cafe area.
The one place that is for suite and penthouse guests only is the Neptune Lounge on deck 5 this is their own private space with dedicated staff just for them, other than that I’m not sure what else that status acquires.
There is a cinema on board in which they serve popcorn at movie times.
The theatre looks very nice as do the various bars and lounges.
The Ms Oosterdam pushes away at 4.45pm and begins her voyage to Alaska with the sail away party ready to begin.
Unfortunately the weather is not good and outside is not the place to be. Yesterday was such a nice day and we saw two ships leave in blazing sunshine however today was very drab.
We find ourselves in the gymnasium as we leave and I take a few photos going under the bridge and we head towards the inside passage.
“Moni signed up for the Internet package, from one of the plans below”
- #1 which is 1000 minutes for $250 = .25 a minute, this got you a bonus 100 minutes as well for joining on the first day.
- The prices go down from there #2 500 minutes for $175 = .35 a minute
- #3 250 minutes for $100 = .40 a minute
- #4 100 minutes for $55 = .55 a minute
- or pay as you go for .75 a minute
“Our first dinner in the Vista dining room on MS Oosterdam”
Dinner at table number 9 on deck three upper level of the Vista dining room, which is near the entrance to the dining room on the left as you enter. We are joined by James & Kathy from Houston, originally from Taiwan and Beijing. They are very nice people and we have some fun with them.
After dinner we head off to bed so we can be fresh early in the morning.