Hawaii/South Pacific: Embarkation Day

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Managed to stay awake last night until 10:00 EST which is not bad. However, since we are on Pacific Time, it was only 7:00. Pitiful. Street crowd still going strong. Still hear planes in the distance. But after a prior sleepless night and a long travel day, I just couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer.

Much better rest than the night before. Did wake up at 4:00 here but drifted in and out until 6:00. We were no hurry since I was able to get us the late check-out at 1:00. Our choices for breakfast were all grab-n-go bags. We each had a Jimmy Dean breakfast croissant of sausage, egg, and cheese, juice, water, and a trail mix bar. Our room had a refrigerator and microwave so it was easy enough to cook the sandwich.

Felt bad for a Mom that was in front of me in line. The choices of the grab-n-go bags were breakfast sandwich, breakfast burrito, or yogurt and pastry. Her smallest child kept insisting loudly that she wanted cereal – Cereal – CEREAL!  I think Mom got her the pastry choice. Hope it sufficed.

Gorgeous start to the day. Blue skies and white fluffy clouds. Stood on the balcony and enjoyed watching the city wake up – dog walkers, joggers, bicyclists, and only a few cars as it is Sunday. I am sure the traffic is much worse on the weekdays.

Lots of planes landing and taking off. Even a few sea gulls passed by at eye level. I made sure to eat my breakfast sandwich inside. Not sure if Pacific Coast sea gulls are as aggressive as Gulf Coast sea gulls are about taking food, but I wasn’t going to take a chance.

At 1:00, we made our way downstairs. Once I reviewed the bill, I called an Uber to take us to the port. There were 2 Holland America ships side-by-side and a lot of traffic, but the port authorities had it under control. He directed our driver to the correct lane, and we were dropped off at the luggage pick-up.

We were there 20 minutes before our assigned time so I assumed we would be sent to a waiting area. No. HAL personnel just kept directing us to the different stations – (1) Get our Covid testing ticket – we were both in Group 4; (2) Show our boarding pass, negative prior test results, and go over health questions; (3) Take the COVID test; (4) go through Security screening; (5) Health personnel looked at our Group 4 ticket and waived us through; (6) Check Passport and take Security Photo; and (7) Get on Ship and head to stateroom. We were in the room by 2:30.

I am still unsure how the Health Personnel knew we tested negative for COVID. We never sat down in the health screening area to wait. One person said that the Testing people would call the Screening people and say “all Group 1 negative, all Group 2 negative, etc.” so maybe they had called while we were standing in the Security line and said “all Group 4 negative.” I was just glad we were not pulled out of line and denied boarding.

We were soon met by our Room Steward Dodi and his assistant Dena. I think HAL room stewards are some of the best in the cruise industry. We also try to keep the room tidy also so not to make it difficult for them. Our room is an aft balcony which means it is all the way at the back of the ship. I love watching the ship’s wake. Mesmerizing.

The room has a King bed and a small couch that can be turned into a bed. The bathroom has a bathtub which we have not had on a cruise in a while. I prefer a walk-in shower. Personally, I think having to step into a bath tub on a moving ship is a little dangerous. Glad they have several grab bars.

One thing we did notice on our hallway is that one side of this deck is completely closed off. I assume those are the rooms HAL will use if anyone has to go into quarantine. Not sure how many times we will be COVID tested on this cruise. Hawaii and French Polynesia are being very strict on tourists.

We checked into our muster station and watched the safety video in the room. The process is so much better than the old one where you were jammed in like sardines on the deck. I’ve seen people faint from the heat while waiting for the demo to begin.

We had a late light lunch in the Lido. I really like HAL’s salad bar. I am sure I will be a frequent visitor.

The sail-away party started at 5:30 on the aft Sea View deck. It was breezy. Gorgeous sunset to see us out of San Diego.

Checked our room and the luggage had arrived. Got it all unpacked and stored before dinner.

We had reservations in the dining room for 7:00. I had the chicken fajitas and Chuck had the beef short rib stroganoff. Both very good.

Coming Up – Avalon, Catalina Island, California

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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