After checking out the cabin, our group grabbed our life jackets and headed to the bar. By law, the cruise has to muster the passengers to go over life jacket use and other safety procedures. Rather than wait 15 minutes intil the horn sounded for it, we pre-emptively headed there. Why? Our muster station was the forward bar, which allowed my co-workers to get a head start on their drinking and for us to get comfortable seats before the rush.
After the muster, I headed to the buffet with my bottomless soda tumbler to wait until the ship left dock. The buffet food was typically bad, but the view from the fourteenth deck is quite nice. Soon, the horn sounded to indicate we were about to leave, so I headed out to the deck to take some photos. Sadly, leaving dock isn't very dramatic in still photographs. Also, I'm not sure I was able to take in enough to show us leaving the dock. I need a wide-angle lens.
The ship backed out into the Fraser River, then headed forward into the waters off Vancouver Island. We had 10 or 15 feet of clearance underneath the bridge (I don't know the name), and Mark told us how some bridges give the ships barely 2 or 3 feet of clearance. From the deck, Vancouver looks very nice. I haven't ever spent much time there, and am thinking I might make a trip or two there to remedy that.
Next was our official cocktail reception in Jammers Disco on deck 7. This was a required attendance meeting for the Expedia crew. There, we got to celebrate the launch of our cruise product with free alcohol on the company. Then it was on to dinner in the Venetian dining room on deck 6. Dinner was mediocre at best. The cruise lines advertise gourmet food, but it reminded me a lot of the food at the resort hotel I stayed at in Mexico. Very bland and sub-par. However, it was plentiful and the service was great. Outside the window, we could see dolphins (or porpoises?) swimming alongside the ship.
I headed to the shops to find something to wear with my Utilikilt for the formal dinner the next night. We had been told that the cruise would not have a formal night, but found out otherwise on our embarkation. The closest I had to formal wear was the kilt, but I had failed to pack a shirt that would be considered formal. I intended to, but left the short on the end of my bed. So I prowled the small shop hoping they would have something. Luckily, they had a black sweater that would pass. I paid for it, then headed to my room to change. The women on the trip, upon hearing I brought a kilt, were begging me to wear it out for the evenings festivities.
During the cocktail hour, Jeremy asked me why I got into wearing the kilt. Was I Scottish? I turned to the women lined up in the overstuffed chairs of the disco and asked them what they liked about kilts. All of them went off at length about seeing men in kilts. So then I turned back to Jeremy and stated,
That's why. He understood.
Clothed in the kilt and sweater, I entered the Wheelhouse bar where our group was beginning drinking. The bar had a crappy cover band doing renditions of classic rock songs, without even the minimal feeling that defined that genre during the 70s and late 60s. I don't think I've ever heard a flatter version of Back in the USSR.
Jammers disco was no better when the group entered that. Our tune-spinner, with the clever name of DJ Josh, played music that was fun for the whole family. In other words, top 40. Still, I danced some as I did not want to be the guy in our group who stood in back, too good for everything around him. On one of the punkish songs, I decided to slam through the small crowd of co-workers on the dance floor. Mostly cause I'd never get the chance to do that again.
Everyone else started getting quite drunk. It made for an interesting night. Most of the women wore close fitting dresses. This makes it difficult for me, as I feel bad lusting after them when they are married or attached. Not to mention I think it's a bad idea to date someone with whom I work. Or even have a one night stand. Chris, our designer, decided to help me out by attempting to flip up my kilt a few times. On the third occasion, rather than admonish him, I turned and absolutely berated him for his caddish behavior. Flashing co-workers is not cool, whether voluntary or not. He got the picture, although he whined that he was only trying to help me with the ladies.
At about midnight, I decided I was done for the night, said my goodbyes, and rode the elevator to the 12th deck for what I hoped would be a restful night.
Next entry, Floatation (Cruise day 2).