As I mentioned yesterday, not every aspect of the my cruise was ideal, but over all, it was pretty darn great. My mom (who made all the arrangements) went with the Holland America Line, known for having nice ships and good service, if also for being somewhat venerable and staid. It was a good decision, we all thought--here's a review of the line and the ship, in case you're contemplating a cruise yourself. We sailed on the Oosterdam, a new and spiffy ship--it really was quite extraordinarily lovely, but the one of the best things about the ship was its captain, Olav van der Waard.
There were a couple of opportunities to meet him, but I never bothered, and I still don't feel I needed to meet him. I was content to let him do his job, and he did it very well. It never occurred to me that in this day of sonar navigation and great big engines, a captain really had that much to do, but I was wrong, and Captain Olav, I soon realized, was really good at his job.
From May to September, there are cruise ships sailing all up and down the Alaska coast. A couple of times we were in port with three or four other cruise ships. But the thing is, Captain Olav always got there first, and snagged the best parking space (or rather, its nautical equivalent). When we cruised up to look at Hubbard Glacier, Captain Olav not only got there first, but got really, really close. We always arrived early; we always left on time, and the journey itself was lovely.
By the way, in case you wondered, I'm feeling better: the puking has long since stopped, though I'm still a little queasy. My friends think it might not have been stomach flu but food poisoning, since I started feeling ill immediately after a meal of fish tacos heavily flavored with cumin. Yesterday I couldn't even say those words without retching, and I don't think I'll ever be able to eat cumin or fish tacos again, but at least the clear liquids and simple carbohydrates I put in my stomach yesterday stayed there.