Day 4 – Boarding the ship

Unfortunately, I’m still on Tallahassee time, so I slept in until 6:30 AM PDT. We ventured to the lobby for breakfast then started making preparations to get on the ship.

While we tried using rideshare, there weren’t any drivers available. The family next to us had pre-scheduled/reserved a ride but none of the drivers were taking the fare. Instead, we went old school and called a taxi 🚕 company to send a van, which showed up within minutes and we were on our way…

Today is also Canada Day 🇨🇦, and as we passed through downtown Vancouver we could see all the decorations and celebrations as we arrived to the port, and got our first glimpse of the ship!

Front view of the ship

Before getting to the ship, we had used the app to check in (as much as we could)—and one of the lingering items was our COVID test results! We got tested two days ago, but we haven’t received our results. Low and behold, they started rolling in one-by-one and fortunately, all of us tested NEGATIVE!

Boarding the ship was different than other times for two main reasons: COVID and cruising internationally. Canada, BC, and Vancouver do not require masks but we did have to 😷 wear a mask for the whole time in the terminal (not an issue—there’s a ton of people there and I’d rather not get sick before the cruise starts!). Once we got in, we waited in line to get our luggage tags (we couldn’t print them ahead of time for some reason) then moved to the next line to finish check-in. We had to show the normal passport and documents, but also had to show our proof of negative test—so it took a little longer.

Next up was customs. Since the ship departs from Canada 🇨🇦 and arrives in U.S.A. 🇺🇸, we had to pass through customs to reenter the United States (while still technically on Canadian soil 😀). We waited in another line and as we got to the front we saw the self-service kiosks—at which point someone made the joke about “make the American people use the self-checkout register”! 😂 Of course, after using the self-checkout one in our party had to go wait through the “actually talk to a customs agent” line (our 4th line at this point!). Fortunately, it didn’t take long and it was a simple check. Onward to the ship!

We traverse the gangway and stop for the safety demonstration, then finally walk inside under a 🎈 balloon arch and WE’VE ARRIVED!!! 🛳

The one thing we didn’t do in the terminal is get our room keys. Those are waiting for us at the room—so we venture off to see our room. Now—since it’s Megan’s birthday—I had ordered the birthday decorations with a chocolate cake 🎂 and chocolate covered strawberries 🍓 but THEY WERE OUT OF THE DECORATIONS 😭. I was hoping to surprise Megan but nothing was there except a letter stating that there’s a supply shortage but the cake & strawberries will show up later. (SPOILER ALERT—it did)

Next up was to meet the time-honored Salvo family tradition of…taking a selfie with the drink. It used to have to have a drink umbrella but those are hard to find on the ship nowadays.

Group selfie with the first round (of many)

Next up was a meal since it was around 1:30 PM PDT. To get there, we took the elevators WHICH HAVE THE DAY PLATES! We’ve seen this before on longer cruises so you have a way of knowing what day it is, and since we know our cruise is Friday to Friday we can get a sense for how far along on the cruise we are.

Closest thing to a calendar this week

For the rest of the day, we explored the ship, had some drinks, played some trivia, and met for dinner. The food is just as good as I remember, and the staff are very diligent about my food allergies and making appropriate swaps.

After dinner, some of the shops had opened so we went exploring. I found a cigar and started thinking about the booze selection. I also need to find a cruise ship model for the collection (pic to follow once I get it)—but that’ll be another day because it’s already late…at least on the East coast. Plus, there’s a time change tomorrow! 99% of Alaska is in the same time zone which is 4 hours behind Eastern, so tomorrow we have to adjust (again).

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