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Cruise Diary: Embarking on an Alaska Exploration

Journalist Pat Woods and her husband are currently sailing Oosterdam and will be chronicling their seven-day Alaska journey for us. Here is her first entry, enjoy!

May 13-14: At sea

To celebrate my birthday, husband Rob and I are on an Alaska cruise on Holland America’s Oosterdam. Like our two previous Alaska cruises, we feel grateful to see God’s natural wonders from a safe and comfortable ship.

Oosterdam Seattle Olympic Mtns

Embarking in Seattle on a sunny Sunday, we saw Mt. Rainer from the ship’s stern pool and hot tub. After settling into our cabin and attending the lifeboat drill, we enjoyed a five-course dinner with other guests from Los Angeles and Dallas. My mussels appetizer, soup, salad, trout entrée and apple strudel were done to perfection. After dinner, we listened to a string quartet play selections by Bach, Mozart and Schubert in the Explorers Café.

Seattle Harbor Olympic Mtns

Our first full day (at sea) began with a prompt and tasty Room Service breakfast followed by Catholic Mass. During the day, we browsed the on board shops, attended an art auction, walked a mile in a brisk wind on the promenade deck and visited the fitness center. We considered visiting the 86-degree sea-view pool, but hesitated with 48-degree air temperature.

We lunched with a pleasant couple from Vancouver, B.C. “What can be better than this?” said Jane as she scanned the Vista Dining Room menu. “White tablecloth, linen napkins and more tempting options than I can eat!” Amen.

On our first formal night, we sat at a table for eight. Most of us ordered a shrimp cocktail. My butternut soup, crab cakes entrée and tiramisu dessert all were melt-in-your-mouth perfection.

After dinner, we attended the captain’s welcome aboard toast. As we entered the Vista lounge theater, handsome tuxedo-clad waiters handed us flutes of champagne. The cruise director, clad in an elegant long green gown, introduced the caption and senior officers. The ceremonial toast ended with popping the cork from an oversize champagne bottle that magically shot colored streamers into the air.

The formal night concluded with the high-energy “Ballroom Blitz.” Oosterdam singers and dancers presented a fast-paced LasVegas-type show with ballroom, Latin, tap, jazz, acrobatic and ballet dance numbers. I soon lost count of the number of costume changes. Professional lighting, quick set changes and a stage that rose and fell for perfectly choreographed dance numbers added to the glamour. What an incredible show!

  • Carol

    We have been to Alaska on the Statendam, Ryndam and Oosterdam and are looking forward to sailing in 2013 to Alaska again. Will enjoy reading your 7 day journey.

  • Sandra

    I’m embarking on the Oosterdam next week for the seven day cruise to Alaska. Your comments make me want to leave today!
    Did you, by chance, have dinner in the Pinnacle Grill? I’m wondering if it is worth the extra charge??
    What were your most favorite ship activities?

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