This was our first ever cruise and also our first ever flight, which was from the UK to Los Angeles. We were terrified on the plane and had to be given injections of tranquillisers by one of the Pilots who was also a trained neurosurgeon and champion jockey (rode the Derby winner a few years ago). So the flight was somewhat hazy in our memories.
On arrival at the port, after spending an uncomfortable night hitch-hiking from LAX to San Pedro, we spent several hours in line. Going up the escalator, my wife caught her expensive mink coat in the machinery and brought everything to a standstill. She was lost for words - a minor miracle.
After having our welcome photos taken, I accidentally stumbled into the photographer and broke his camera - he was very nice about it and actually apologised to me ( well, I think he did. It was in Spanish and I couldn`t be sure.) On boarding the ship we eventually found our balcony cabin and proceeded to settle in.
The ship, itself, is very big and it was quite easy to lose one`s way. In fact my wife disappeared on the first night and I haven`t seen her since. I found the casino very amenable and often slept there after spending pleasant evenings in the Champagne Bar, the Martini Bar, etc.
Food was a huge disappointment. No decent chips, no meat pies, no tripe and onions. Just a range of snobby menus which even my French tablemates couldn`t understand. Ate most of the time in the crew`s cafe with the Chief Engineer and his mates.
Some problem with the propellors affected the ship`s speed, but the Captain assured us that we would not sink and that even if we did we would be suitably compensated. He mentioned the "Titanic" much to everyone`s amusement.
Ports of call were OK but isn`t Alaska cold ? No one warned us that we would need warm clothing and I found it distinctly chilly just wearing shorts and sandals. Still, the nice young ladies in the Red Onion Saloon at Skagway did their best.
Embarkation was a breeze. Just got on the first bus at Vancouver and finished up in the middle of nowhere.
All in all, a salutary experience which I would readily wish upon my worst enemy.