First cruise trip starts slowly

First cruise trip starts slowly

It was my first cruise, but I was privileged to be making history.

“This is my 40th cruise and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said one fellow cruiser.

“This is my 59th and I’ve never seen anything like this either,” responded another.

It was only my first cruise, but here I was experiencing what veteran cruisers had never imagined possible.

I’d like to say we were surrounded by a pod of surfacing nuclear boomers based at Bangor, or been bombarded by a bevy of brown pelicans up from California, but in fact what we were experiencing was a line-up of epic proportions. We had been standing in line in Vancouver, B.C., for two hours just to be allowed on board the Golden Princess. Little did we know that another two hours would elapse before we would step up the gangway onto the vessel. Our 1 p.m. poolside lunch plan was long gone, and our 6:30 p.m. dinner was less than an hour away.

The thousands of people who stood in line remained in remarkably good spirits. Some ordered pizza while others sent out scouts to nearby fast food joints. Our particular party ate lunch standing up, munching on sandwiches and fries from McDonald’s. Younger people went on missions to find chairs for the old and infirm to sit on as the hours ticked by.

For the first few hours there were no authority figures. People stood in line simply because it was there, and because it stood between them and the unseen cruise ship. It wound from one end of the terminal building to the other, out past the parked buses, up a hill, and onto the busy downtown Vancouver streets. Finally, a fellow with a blue suit and nervous grin walked up and down the line, explaining that three cruise ships arrived simultaneously three hours late, which had never happened before. He didn’t say why they were late. Perhaps they had stopped to get frisked at the border.

As the crisis unfolded, the bureaucrats responded as they always do — by following procedures exactly, public be damned. No document went unexamined, no luggage uninspected. Photographers stood at the bottom of the gangway, trying to coax smiles from the thousands of silently fuming cruisers. Judging by the scant number of photos displayed inside the ship, they didn’t have much luck.

The enormous line provided much-needed fodder for the ship’s comedian. “What, the Canadians have never seen a cruise ship before?,” he asked. Well, it sounded funny when he said it. I thought it might be funny to say that the Canadians were just helping the Americans get used to their health care system and its long waits.

Huge line-up aside, my first cruise experience was fine. I had been told of all the food available, but never really believed a friendly waiter would bring you anything you wanted, and there would be no bill. I had an appetizer and dessert, things that I never order. It was all good, and had the cruise lasted two weeks instead of one night, they would have had to lift me off the boat with a crane.

Swimming pools, gambling casino, hot tubs, various shops, games, library, endless food, ping pong, shuffle board, musical theater, dance bands, it was all there for my one-night cruise. It was fun, and I might try it again if I hadn’t already had the cruise experience the line of a lifetime, thanks to the Golden Princess.

First cruise trip starts slowly

It was my first cruise, but I was privileged to be making history.

“This is my 40th cruise and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said one fellow cruiser.

“This is my 59th and I’ve never seen anything like this either,” responded another.

It was only my first cruise, but here I was experiencing what veteran cruisers had never imagined possible.

I’d like to say we were surrounded by a pod of surfacing nuclear boomers based at Bangor, or been bombarded by a bevy of brown pelicans up from California, but in fact what we were experiencing was a line-up of epic proportions. We had been standing in line in Vancouver, B.C., for two hours just to be allowed on board the Golden Princess. Little did we know that another two hours would elapse before we would step up the gangway onto the vessel. Our 1 p.m. poolside lunch plan was long gone, and our 6:30 p.m. dinner was less than an hour away.

The thousands of people who stood in line remained in remarkably good spirits. Some ordered pizza while others sent out scouts to nearby fast food joints. Our particular party ate lunch standing up, munching on sandwiches and fries from McDonald’s. Younger people went on missions to find chairs for the old and infirm to sit on as the hours ticked by.

For the first few hours there were no authority figures. People stood in line simply because it was there, and because it stood between them and the unseen cruise ship. It wound from one end of the terminal building to the other, out past the parked buses, up a hill, and onto the busy downtown Vancouver streets. Finally, a fellow with a blue suit and nervous grin walked up and down the line, explaining that three cruise ships arrived simultaneously three hours late, which had never happened before. He didn’t say why they were late. Perhaps they had stopped to get frisked at the border.

As the crisis unfolded, the bureaucrats responded as they always do — by following procedures exactly, public be damned. No document went unexamined, no luggage uninspected. Photographers stood at the bottom of the gangway, trying to coax smiles from the thousands of silently fuming cruisers. Judging by the scant number of photos displayed inside the ship, they didn’t have much luck.

The enormous line provided much-needed fodder for the ship’s comedian. “What, the Canadians have never seen a cruise ship before?,” he asked. Well, it sounded funny when he said it. I thought it might be funny to say that the Canadians were just helping the Americans get used to their health care system and its long waits.

Huge line-up aside, my first cruise experience was fine. I had been told of all the food available, but never really believed a friendly waiter would bring you anything you wanted, and there would be no bill. I had an appetizer and dessert, things that I never order. It was all good, and had the cruise lasted two weeks instead of one night, they would have had to lift me off the boat with a crane.

Swimming pools, gambling casino, hot tubs, various shops, games, library, endless food, ping pong, shuffle board, musical theater, dance bands, it was all there for my one-night cruise. It was fun, and I might try it again if I hadn’t already had the cruise experience the line of a lifetime, thanks to the Golden Princess.

First cruise trip starts slowly

It was my first cruise, but I was privileged to be making history.

“This is my 40th cruise and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said one fellow cruiser.

“This is my 59th and I’ve never seen anything like this either,” responded another.

It was only my first cruise, but here I was experiencing what veteran cruisers had never imagined possible.

I’d like to say we were surrounded by a pod of surfacing nuclear boomers based at Bangor, or been bombarded by a bevy of brown pelicans up from California, but in fact what we were experiencing was a line-up of epic proportions. We had been standing in line in Vancouver, B.C., for two hours just to be allowed on board the Golden Princess. Little did we know that another two hours would elapse before we would step up the gangway onto the vessel. Our 1 p.m. poolside lunch plan was long gone, and our 6:30 p.m. dinner was less than an hour away.

The thousands of people who stood in line remained in remarkably good spirits. Some ordered pizza while others sent out scouts to nearby fast food joints. Our particular party ate lunch standing up, munching on sandwiches and fries from McDonald’s. Younger people went on missions to find chairs for the old and infirm to sit on as the hours ticked by.

For the first few hours there were no authority figures. People stood in line simply because it was there, and because it stood between them and the unseen cruise ship. It wound from one end of the terminal building to the other, out past the parked buses, up a hill, and onto the busy downtown Vancouver streets. Finally, a fellow with a blue suit and nervous grin walked up and down the line, explaining that three cruise ships arrived simultaneously three hours late, which had never happened before. He didn’t say why they were late. Perhaps they had stopped to get frisked at the border.

As the crisis unfolded, the bureaucrats responded as they always do — by following procedures exactly, public be damned. No document went unexamined, no luggage uninspected. Photographers stood at the bottom of the gangway, trying to coax smiles from the thousands of silently fuming cruisers. Judging by the scant number of photos displayed inside the ship, they didn’t have much luck.

The enormous line provided much-needed fodder for the ship’s comedian. “What, the Canadians have never seen a cruise ship before?,” he asked. Well, it sounded funny when he said it. I thought it might be funny to say that the Canadians were just helping the Americans get used to their health care system and its long waits.

Huge line-up aside, my first cruise experience was fine. I had been told of all the food available, but never really believed a friendly waiter would bring you anything you wanted, and there would be no bill. I had an appetizer and dessert, things that I never order. It was all good, and had the cruise lasted two weeks instead of one night, they would have had to lift me off the boat with a crane.

Swimming pools, gambling casino, hot tubs, various shops, games, library, endless food, ping pong, shuffle board, musical theater, dance bands, it was all there for my one-night cruise. It was fun, and I might try it again if I hadn’t already had the cruise experience the line of a lifetime, thanks to the Golden Princess.

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