Circle Cruise HAL to Hawaii 2011

Already a week into the cruise to Hawaii, round trip Vancouver April 2011. In fact, today is May 1 and we are preparing to disembark at the second port of call, Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii.
We departed on Saturday of the Easter weekend from Victoria, early in the morning and on the ferry, packed up and with reservations. It is a bit of a challenge to know how to pack on such an adventure. The weather as of late on Vancouver Island has been chillier than usual for this season. We had an overnight in Vancouver and then on a cruise ship sailing for 18 nights to very hot weather and back. Formal nights and resort casual dress are required. Personal products, bathing suits, jackets, many changes of clothes so that doing laundry is not required.
We had found staying at Accent Inn Vancouver Airport, while not top notch hotel, will allow us to leave our car parked there for the duration of the cruise. A great bargain and convenience with shuttle to the pier and back again post cruise. Very good friends of ours also took advantage of this great package and we spent some time with them before the cruise. My mom, aunt and uncle and family friends stayed in other locations in Vancouver, and we managed to meet up with them.
Eating at White Spot, and IHOP were fast, easy, and convenient.
Embarkation was smooth and very pleasant. We were close to the front of the line and we were on the ship by 11:30 am. We had our room keys, and found we had been upgraded to a fabulous full window ocean view stateroom on the port side, main deck. Lovely room. Our gifts of 3 bottles of wine, chocolate covered strawberries, a photo coupon and another for dinner at Pinnacle Grill were all waiting in our stateroom.
We had lunch with other Mariner guests in the Rotterdam Dining Room and then met up with other family and friends in other areas of the ship. A safety briefing at 4 pm after we had unpacked, then preparing for dinner at 5:15 pm. We had hoped to meet up with the whole group at that time. Although scattered to 3 different tables, we managed to meet and greet for that first supper.
More than 30 of us in total and many did not know each other. The central theme is they were booked by Bruce or myself. Some quilters and their partners and friends, some family and friends of Bruce or I. Everyone has someone to be with and share the excitement and adventure of this lovely cruise.

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