We have about 25-30 Sundancers and friends of Sundancers aboard the 2017 RSVP Alaska cruise, many sailing with RSVP for the first time! If this kind of cruising is new to you, prepare yourself for an incredible week of activities and camaraderie.
Many folks are arriving on Friday. We highly recommend that you attend the official RSVP Welcome Party at the Cuff, 1533 13th Ave @ Pine. Free admission – get your identifying RSVP card for drink specials throughout the night. The Cuff has country-western dancing on Fridays from 7 pm to 10 pm, with lessons from 7:15 to 8:15 pm, with our friends of the Rain Country Dance Association. They are expecting us, and even asked for a list of line dances popular in San Francisco so they can accommodate our preferences!
If you are staying at the airport it’s easy to get into downtown Seattle using the new Link light-rail system. Take the Link train to the newly-opened Capitol Hill station. Walk south on Broadway for 3-4 blocks to Pine, then east on Pine 4 blocks. Arrive early for dinner: walking north on Broadway from the station puts you in the heart of Seattle’s gay district, with a number of good restaurants to choose from. More restaurants are located along the walk to the Cuff too.
Holland America has a new boarding system and schedule. This is a huge departure from previous cruises. We have no idea how strict they will adhere to this schedule. Usually in the past we would board in time to enjoy lunch on the Lido deck, even if our cabins were not ready for occupancy. For late boarding this may not be an option this year.
The mandatory lifeboat drill is at 4:00 pm. You must attend this! The weather in Seattle is likely to be warm, and for sail-away the back of the Lido deck will probably be the place to be.
For those who wish to dine with fellow Sundancers, some of us plan to meet at the entrance to the main dining room at 6:00 pm (sharp!) by default each night. We’ll split up into a number of tables to accommodate everyone. Dinner is a great opportunity to meet new folks too, and we often specifically request to share our tables with strangers. An advantage of going to dinner relatively early is to avoid long lines to get in, and for faster service overall.
The “Hello My Name Is …” Party is officially at the night-time dance instead of the usual sail-away party. This is a great time to wear your Sundance Saloon T-shirt! You’ll also be given a name tag to wear – or your can creatively make your own.
We are grateful to RSVP for including country-western dance activities aboard their cruises. We’ve partnered with RSVP for as long as Sundance Saloon has been around, always as volunteers and as paying passengers. (In return, RSVP has always been generous in providing the annual cruise for us to raffle.) The future of country-western dancing on RSVP cruises depends on attendance and on the survey responses at the end of the cruise. Keep this in mind as you plan your week!
The current schedule of country-western dance activities this week is:
SUNDAY (at sea)
10:00 am – 11:00 am = beginning two-step and waltz lessons
11:00 am – 12:00 noon = beginning line dance lessons
10:45 pm – 1:00 am = open country-western dancing
THURSDAY (Ketchikan, all aboard at 1:00 pm)
1:30 – 4:00 pm = open country western dancing
The first dance conflicts with the “Northern Exposure” party upstairs. Don’t panic! RSVP typically offers multiple events simultaneously, and you can’t do it all. Our recommendation is to attend the country dancing first, and then head upstairs at 1:0o am where the party will still be going strong. There’s no need to change in between – just wear your underwear or whatever to the country dance.
THE REST OF THE WEEK
There are so many activities to do on RSVP cruises, you can’t do them all even if you tried. Pace yourself, but also plan to attend these don’t-miss offerings. For the more popular events arriving early is key to getting a good seat, or any seat at all.
Sister Helen Holy Bingo – If you have not seen this before, do not miss this, whether you play bingo or just watch. The fun begins about a half-hour before the bingo actually starts, so be sure to get there early.
Night-Time and Tea Dances – These generally have a theme that you can participate in, or not. Even if you don’t dress up (or down) these are worth attending so you can enjoy the creativity of others who do. The easiest party to participate in is the “Blue Party.” Surely you have something blue to wear.
Mainstage Entertainment – Sometimes can be hit or miss, but usually worth planning on, especially those produced by RSVP (as opposed to Holland America). There are often multiple shows on a given night so you can choose the one that fits your schedule. We’re especially looking forward to Ty Herndon (Thursday night), who will also be coming to perform for us at the 20th anniversary Hoedown during the Sundance Stompede!
[One thing we don’t recommend are some of the spa services, particularly massages. These can end up being poor value for your money. We’ve had experiences where a 60-minute massage ended up being more like 40 minutes, with the first 10 minutes being a discussion of what to expect, and the last 10 minutes being a hard sell of products for you to buy that completely negates any beneficial effect of the massage. Not to mention hard sells of upgrades to your massage during the massage itself.]
This doesn’t even begin to cover all of the various activities you can enjoy throughout the week. Check your daily schedule carefully for all of your options, and be on the lookout for any schedule changes too. And don’t forget to schedule in some quiet time too!