Friday, June 29, 2018

Six Hundred Pounds of Butter, Please

INGRID THOFT

It's tourist season in Seattle, which means the boats are back.  An industry that was a trickle when it started in 1999, and is now a flood in 2018, the cruise industry employs 4,000 people in our area and brings in $500 million dollars of revenue each cruise season.  This year, fifteen boats will be in and out of the port, varying in size from approximately 200 passengers to 3,100 passengers and a crew of 1,100.


Regardless of how you feel about cruising, it's hard to deny the engineering and logistical feats that are these massive ships.  My husband and I live in walking distance of one of the cruise ships docks (there are three total) and we often venture down midday on Saturday, have some lunch, and watch them load the supplies required for a week-long cruise to Alaska.  What are some of those supplies?  Here's a list courtesy of Princess Cruise Lines for the Royal Princess, a boat that carries 500 more passengers than the largest boat that visits Seattle.  Still.  The amounts are staggering!


  • 600 pounds of butter used each day
  • 1,500 pounds of flour is used each day to create the ship’s fresh-baked bread, homemade pasta and pastry shop treats
  • 18,000 bottles of wine and champagne in the wine cellars
  • 54,600 napkins washed per week
  • 4,000 pieces of art on board





  • 21,200 bath towels washed per week
  • 250,000 eggs used per week
  • 3 tons of ice -- used to carve 20 sculptures per cruise
  • 170,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables consumed per cruise
  • 900,000 pounds (about 20 truckloads) of supplies loaded every 10 days





A ship that recently made its Seattle debut was the Norwegian Bliss.  We were able to get some photos of this behemoth, which includes a go-kart track on the top deck and a water slide that ventures off the side of the boat over the open ocean.

The Norwegian Bliss as seen from 39 stories up.

See the go-kart track right behind the stack?  The water slide hangs off the boat on the right.





So Reds and readers, are you ready to come aboard?  How about that water slide?



56 comments:

  1. Absolutely no, no, no on the water slide . . . .

    We’ve never gone on a cruise [and I get seasick just looking at the water], but it does sound rather fascinating. Maybe some day . . . .

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    1. Joan, we strongly considered a cruise for our Christmas getaway this past winter. The appeal was that there were so many activities, everyone in the family would find something to enjoy. We probably would have done it, if Youngest hadn't objected strenuously (she was worried we'd spend too much time apart on those activities!)

      My sister's family did a cruise years ago with our mother, and it was a big success. What other kind of vacation suits a woman in her sixties, a couple in their 30s, a teenager and a tot?

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  2. I've been on one cruise, and it was a lot of fun. Not nearly that fancy a boat, but we were pretty much on the boat just to sleep anyway. Not too much time at sea.

    I might possibly try that slide. Not a fan of heights, but I love water slides.

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    1. We watched when they seemed to be testing it, Mark. People were getting stuck part way around would climb out some kind of escape hatch. It looked dicey!

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  3. Yes on the waterslide! And I am still wrapping my brain around 600 pounds of butter. WOW!

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  4. I am iffy on being trapped on a boat. But 600 pounds of butter might help me to get over that fear.

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  5. Gah to the water slide. That's right up there with bungee-jumping in the Nightmare category for me. And the thought of even the water needed to wash all that laundry boggles the brain. I think that kind of cruise would freak me out with its indulgences and waste. The only cruise I might attempt is the kind Hallie and her husband took to Alaska, or one of the European river or canal cruises. Small and simple, please.

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  6. The cruise ships look like floating apartment buildings. No thanks, not even for the ice sculptures. But a small boat trip to Alaska? Yes.

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  7. Count me out. I love the water, but if you put me on a boat on top of it, I start to resemble Linda Blair in The Exorcist. No amount of Dramamine helps either.

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  8. I can't get my head around a cruise. We talk about it on occasion, and those Viking River Cruises are tempting, but then I remember how wobbly I am on dry land. I'm sure I'd tip right over on a boat. Not to mention that Julie gets seasick in a bathtub. We have friends who are very much into the European River Cruises, but I'm never sure why. Very expensive for a stateroom that you have to leave to change your mind, and all that time on land following the guide with the yellow umbrella.

    Love, Your Resident Skeptic/Cynic

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    1. I think seasick in a bathtub is probably a red flag one should heed!

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  9. Does not appeal to me at all. I always used to wish that I could have traveled to England on the QEII. That would have been something! In the early 70s a friend didn't want to fly so she booked the ship. Just happened to get that one for the trip over. I was green with envy!

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    1. Yes, an Atlantic crossing on a real ship sounds wonderful as opposed to a cruise on a floating hotel. I had a friend who often, as a child, did this on the Queen Mary. Many years later when I lived in Long Beach, she showed me all the hidely holes she and her sister had found on the ship. Certainly made me wish I'd grown up as a rich kid!

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    2. I have a friend who did the crossing on the QEII and said it was amazing. Lots of time for reading!

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  10. No,no, no to a cruise. Only after seasickness pills and skipping my morning coffee was I able to take the ferry to Bremerton or Vashon. (Being in those two places was always worth the trip, but I dreaded each crossing.) Strangely, living by the water -- ocean, lake, river, stream -- is very important to me. Love being near water, just hate being on it. And a water slide over the ocean---shudder. Love the post, Ingrid. Thank you for reviving memories of Seattle.

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    1. I do love the ferry rides to Bremerton and Bainbridge. I've never been to Vashon, which I realize is practically criminal, Elisabeth. I know it's beautiful. Maybe on our summer list...

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  11. No, thank you. None of it appeals to me. It's like a floating hotel on which you can get seasick AND gain ten pounds. For joy. I prefer my travel small-scale. A pound of butter lasts me months.

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    1. You'd think the seasickness would offset the weight gain, wouldn't you. But it doesn't seem to. The aura of gluttony surrounding cruise news, along with the E Coli issues, is very off putting.

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    2. With you, Hallie. The book I'm about to finish is set on a cruise ship and after all my research about what really goes on, there's not enough money, or butter, in the world to get me on one...

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  12. No big cruise ships...the only thing for us to do on one is eat...we are early to bed, early to rise people and 3 days on a wonderful Alaska Marine Highway Ferry was enough to convince us that we didn't want to go big! The ferry was clean, small cabins with everything you need, good food...if I ever got to that coast again I would use one again.

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  13. I have to say, I like the idea… And then it rsrely holds up under scrutiny. Viking river type cruise, maybe.?? Although… It seems like so many decisions are taken away from you. A big transatlantic cruise? It sounds so glamorous and cool, but would it get boring? That really might be fun, though. I did sail on the QE II, just from New York to Boston, and it was mostly… People gambling. Those Caribbean cruises, I am so sorry but it just seems like people get sick all the time. I know that’s not true, just my paranoid opinion. I do love the ferry from Woods Hole to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, though! All in all, though, I have to say… Well, I was going to say it’s kind of tempting, but that might be going to far. I wonder why this is such a dilemma? Why is it such a tough decision?

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    1. Maybe if you had the boat all to yourself? I think when you add in all the people and all their germs, the appeal fades!

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    2. Clearly, all the Reds (official and un-) need to do a small ship cruise together. That solves three of Hank's problems: we know each other, so it won't get boring, I'm pretty sure we'd rather read books than gamble, and I'm confident we all know enough to wash our hands regularly!

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    3. It does depend on the cruise line -- Norwegian is conscientious about health issues, and smaller ships would have fewer problems. We were on Uniworld in Portugal and the American Queen line has a good rep.

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    4. Hank, European river cruises are amazing...no gambling...ships are small, stop in 1 or 2 ports every day and you can do your own thing or take a walking tour with guides. I've done Uniworld...Rhine and Danube. Both fantastic. Taking a big ship cruise this fall out of Seattle ...cruising the Pacific Northwest.

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  14. I have been on one "cruise ship" vacation. I can now check that off the life list and I never have to revisit the experience. I'm just a little too spur-of-the-moment when it comes to travel. I enjoy being able to change my itinerary as unplanned opportunities appear.

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  15. Another naysayer here, Ingrid. The photos don't tempt me at all, nor does the food. A canal trip meandering around the canals of France or England--yes! A ferry to get from point A to point B--yes. I don't even do Cedar Point, the local amusement park, so a big no to the waterslide also. It's just all so over the top--what is the point?

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    1. A canal cruise sounds lovely, Flora. You can never go wrong with meandering!

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  16. We are here at the National Juvenile Arthritis Conference and will head out on one of these ships next. I was surprised to find this industry here. So much had changed in 10 years. I hope this is good for the locals as it is a once in a lifetime experience for us.

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    1. I bet you'll have a wonderful time, Patti. I've been on boats big and small, and honestly, it's what you make it.

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    2. Patti, here in Portland, Maine, we've seen a large increase in the number of cruise ships stopping in port. So many, in fact, that a few years ago the city built an entirely new terminal on the waterfront, with easy access for busses and other ground transportation. The ships are small by Alaskan/Caribbean standards, but they've brought a LOT of money in to the local economy, and hopefully spurred some visitors to come back to Maine on their own!

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  17. I am on the zaftig side, and all I could think was I would need about 1/4 of the butter to get me down that slide. As far as a cruise? Too many people with no where to hide, not for me.

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  18. Water slides of any kind are out of the question!

    A couple of times a year, I take the Port Jefferson/Bridgeport Ferry to visit friends on Long Island. I love it but I know there are people who get seasick on it. If I could afford an actual cruise, I would opt for a riverboat cruise.

    DebRo

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  19. I will say that when we were on a big boat to Alaska (family gathering of multiple generations) my husband and I chose to do things off the beaten path, and it was great. We went hiking, took a helicopter to a glacier and did ice climbing, chose to eat in the smaller restaurant. We sought out things that accommodated fewer people and had little interaction with the crowds. We always commented that if you moved 1/4 mile away from the port, it was as if you were there on your own.

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  20. I'm a scared cat. Too scared to go on an ocean cruise, though I may be open to travelling on a river cruise like the Danube river cruise in Europe. If the ship sinks, at least I can swim across the river!

    Diana

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  21. No thanks for me. Marcia Talley wrote a mystery set on a cruise ship, and just hearing about her research was enough to put me off even if I had been tempted. It's not just the crowds and the illnesses--these huge ships are meccas for crime.

    I'd love to do the Queen Mary or the QE2, though. I think. But I'm afraid my vertigo would lend itself to seasickness. A Viking River Cruise, maybe, although I'm not crazy about the guided tours. I love to travel but like to wander around and find things on my own.

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    1. Debs, the Queen Mary 2 or the QE2 are my first choice as well. I love the idea of a tranatlantic crossing - such a civilized way to get from New York to England and the continent.

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  22. Oh, and the water slide??? No way in ----!!!

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  23. That's a big "nope" for me on the water slide, but I might add a cruise to my list in my never-ending quest for Vacation Spots that are Cooler Than Texas. I was all set to book a few days on the northern coast of California this year, but then it caught fire. Ditto last year with Durango, Colorado. Now I'm thinking Portland, Maine? Newport, RI? Suggestions, anyone?

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    1. Newport is lovely and so is Portland. But, if you're tempted by New England this year, my favorite is always Block Island, RI. And cruises are pretty much out for me--the big ones seem like floating jails and the hub has been known to get sick on the Block Island ferry--50 minutes from Point Judith to BI. Not a seafaring sort of guy! That water slide, though, I'd be tempted!

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  24. Rhode Island shore is lovely. Newport is touristy. Suggest Point Judith

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  25. ETSU used to organize storytelling cruises, class times scheduled while at sea and often using shore excursion experiences as materials for building stories. I did much prefer the smaller ships with more of a feel of being at sea, and decks to walk and watch from. Our organizer said it didn't matter what cabin she arranged for me, as I was seldom in it. I've put some of my journaling on my storytellermary.com site . . . should probably work on putting up a few more. Two of my favorites no longer cruise, the Delta Queen cannot have overnight guests (wooden boat) and the Sea Breeze sunk (on the way to dry dock, no passengers). I do confess that I like being spoiled . . . ;-)

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    1. That sounds very cool, Mary. I love the idea of a themed cruise that combines learning a subject with visiting new places.

      Maybe a Jungle Reds cruise...;)

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  26. I'm surprised there are so many "no" reactions here, I thought the idea of a cruise would be a big hit.

    Not for me, though. After years of hearing people praise cruises, the wonderful places, food, people met and so forth, I decided to try one. My wife, who had been on a couple of Caribbean cruises, was delighted. We decided on an Alaska cruise, fly there, cruise back. We picked a cruise line (I'll not name it) with a sting reputation, chose a smallish ship, splurged on a balcony stateroom.

    Turns out the ship was old and tired. The pool-side bar/cafe was closed, as was the afternoon buffet. The breakfasts were Denny's quality (if that) and the other meals were only so-so. All the wonderful food everyone had talked about didn't exist. The ship didn't have a pool or other facilities, even the ships' library was closed, though there was a spa my wife visited once. We loved the views of Glacier Bay and the Inland Passage, but the ship part was a bust. We ordered hot cocoa in our room and got a pot of hot water and a packet of instant. Honestly, we were glad to be off the ship when we got to Vancouver. I know they couldn't all be so bad, but no more for me, and as for the floating city ships, absolutely no thank you.

    A river type cruise, however, might be a possibility, and I've done white water jet boats on the Rogue River here in Oregon, and that was a blast.

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    1. What a disappointment, Rick! I've been on a few small boats, and they were memorable because of the great service. At least the natural beauty of Alaska wasn't a let down!

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    2. No, it was stunning. We'd go again, but need to figure out a better way.

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  27. I mis-typed. The ship had a pool, but no slide or other pool facilities.

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  28. I keep thinking that a cruise should be appealing, but it just isn't to me. First, I don't like being confined to something over which I have no control and no escape. I can handle flying because it's not that long for which I have no control. The longest flights have been the ones from Kentucky to Honolulu, and while I don't relish being over the ocean as long as I am, I somehow seem to deal with it. And, with the cruise, there is the matter of when major catastrophes strike and everyone is sick and the bathrooms aren't functioning and it's at least a couple of days to shore. That would be the cruise I would be on for sure. Short boat trips, such as the Key West Ferry to Ft. Lauderdale, 4 hours, is about my limit for boat confinement. I haven't gotten sick on the ferry trip, but I can imagine how awful it must be to get seasick. Oddly enough, the only time I've gotten queasy on water is when I did the submarine trip on Oahu. I'm not sure why, whether it had to do with the close confinement or rocking or what, but Dramamine took care of it.

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  29. When I started traveling years ago with my aunt, she bugged me to take a cruise. Looking at endless ocean creeps me out. Well. she took a short cruise with a neighbor and never mentioned it again. I've enjoyed many boat rides on rivers, lakes, and bays but the ride between Honolulu Harbor and Pearl Harbor was very uncomfortable for me. I don't think the open sea is for me.

    People say there is so much to do on a cruise but you can go to Disney World or another resort and have many options on dry land.

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  30. My perspective has changed....from a #never cruise person to #cruises work for this time of our lives :=)
    A sudden Central Nervous System disorder changed everything for us. I travelled occasionally to our world wide offices while working and we travelled the world in retirement.....and then it all came to an end. We live in the San Francisco bay area and decided that we would take advantage of whatever ships left from there and made a round trip back. Wheel chair on and off...no flying and we are still able to enjoy some travel. Big ships are what you make of them! After dinner I am ready for tea and bed, and my husband enjoys the shows and wandering around the ship and I don't feel guilty that I am keeping him from having fun, and he feels comfortable that I am safe. Like Ingrid, I was able to experience a helicopter ride to a glacier thanks to an amazing crew who made that happen.....an incredible memory for me. We have been to Alaska 4 times round trip from S.F. and find that two blocks away from the tourist areas we are on our own to explore in peace......one of our favorite all time stops is Haines Alaska.....no t-shirt shops, no souvenir shops, a wonderful book store "Babbling Book" and good fish at the Bamboo room. Overheard on the Grand Princess last May.....husband to wife "This is the only ship I have ever been on where the library is busier than the bar". And now off to Vancouver Canada in October.

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    1. Sounds like a wonderful way to keep traveling, Helen! When the boat stopped in Ketchikan and Skagway, we walked for five minutes and then found ourselves in nature, with no souvenir shops! It was amazing!

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