Sunday, 29 May 2022

At sea it begins

I was up early on Saturday May 7, excited and anxious to get to the cruise port. While there was a restaurant next to the hotel I had read it was pretty pricey and luckily there was a McDonalds just across the parking lot. I knew I'd be eating better on the ship (most of the time) so treated myself to a breakfast sandwich and an iced coffee, while catching up on news and touching base with family.

I had decided to take the Sky train down to the port, rather than a cab. When I spoke to the shuttle driver the night prior, he mentioned it would be less expensive to catch the Sky train at the Bridgeport station rather than transferring back to the airport (about a $5 difference). So I had the hotel shuttle drop me at their sister hotel and walked the three or four city blocks to the station. The price to travel downtown the Waterview station was a mere $3.05! I certainly wasn't the only one with luggage on the train. From Waterview to Canada Place is just a couple of blocks. I missed the sign for the luggage drop-off and spent a few minutes wandering before I asked for directions.

Once my luggage was dropped off it was a hurry up and wait situation. We had to go through customs, then out of the building and back into the building, into a long line up to reach the check-in for the cruise. Here we had to provide our proof of vaccination, proof of negative Covid test, and passport, before receiving our medallions. (More on that later). From there it was another long walk before reaching the gangplank. 

All told it was about a 30-45 minute process but felt much longer because I was so excited and just wanted to get on board. I didn't expect my cabin to be ready so took my carry-on and camera and did a wander on the ship. As I mentioned in a previous post the ship is similar to other Princess ships of the same class, so once I had forward and aft in my mind, I felt pretty comfortable. The large sails are part of the Canada Place building, and the cruise ship to the right is Holland America's Koningsdam. We saw this ship a few times during our travels.

After a walk about the upper decks, I headed to the noodle bar on Deck 16 for lunch. I knew the buffet would be busy. I had a large bowl of Thai noodle soup - it was delicious, spicy and hot.  Then it was off to check out my bat cave (inside cabin).

I usually have the bed set up as a queen but decided for this cruise to try to the singles. It worked out very well for me, as I used one for my bed, and the other more like a couch and drop off spot for bags and clothing and such. There is a small desk in the room, a bar fridge, and a television on the wall above and to the left of the desk.

I should note there are light strips under the two night stands that are motion activated. These were nice to have when I used the facilities at night.

On the other hand the motion activated light between the closet and bathroom was a nuisance - it was far to bright and a shock to the system in the middle of the night. The closet has ample storage, and the door you can see on the right side holds the safe and has shelves for more storage. I won't bother showing photos of the bathroom - it's standard fare. :)

I did some unpacking, mostly hanging items that had gotten creased in my luggage. There is a laundry area on each of the cabin floors, with irons and ironing boards for those who need it. I tend to take items that don't need much more than a good shaking out, and the humidity on the ship is enough to take care of most wrinkles. I do, however, do laundry on the ship. It costs $3 to wash and $3 to dry a load. I take my own detergent pods and dryer sheets and save $3 a load.

Then it was back outdoors, with another walk-about before I headed to the Wakeview Bar, aft deck 16 for the afternoon and sail-away. (The pictures will get more interesting, I promise.) There was lots of activity on and over the water to keep me entertained. 

Harbour Air operates throughout the Vancouver and Vancouver Island area, providing commuter services to various communities. A commute from Vancouver to Victoria (on Vancouver Island) is a mere 35 minute flight - I've flown a commuter jet from the airport and there isn't much difference in time.

At one point there were a series of sirens - and I'm not capable of saying which were which - but I presume police and ambulance or fire truck. I heard a bird screeching at the top of it's lungs at the sound. Looking up and to the port side of the ship I spotted this eagle. I think it was telling them to pipe down.

I did catch a photo of another eagle later in the trip, and saw a few more, but I really, really need a better zoom lens for my camera. I didn't need a zoom for the next bird, it landed right on the railing nearby. I'm certain it was looking for a didn't get one from me.

The area got busier as sail-away time drew nearer. I was reading a book, when Karen and Dave joined me. I had mentioned on Cruise Critic that I would be there for sail-away and they made the point of finding me. We had a nice chat and a drink in the sun. Sail-away was around 5:30 p.m. and we were off and sailing around that time. This photo shows the people watching us leave port.

This was our first look at Lion's Gate Bridge. "Lion's Gate" refers to two mountain peaks situated north of Vancouver. The suspension bridge was opened in 1939. It has a height of 111 meters (364 feet) and a ship's clearance of 61 meters (200 feet). 

We passed the homeless camp set up on the shore, just as a commuter plane was landing. I'd say they have a pretty nice spot on the water, though I suspect it wouldn't be as nice on a rainy day.

Looking back towards the city as we begin our travel into the open ocean waters.

After sail-away, I left the Wakeview bar, made my way to the cabin and got dressed for dinner in the Allegro dining room. I recall I had fish that evening and it was a good, if not great meal. 

After dinner, I changed back into my jeans and headed back outdoors. This would a theme of the cruise - unless I was sleeping, it was raining, or if we were in port and I was off ship, I was out on the decks. I missed out on a lot of the entertainment they offer onboard, but after this long and seemingly never ending winter, it felt so good to be out in the fresh air. With a book and my camera, I was never bored. If I hadn't been outdoors I'd have missed the sunset that first night.

So ends the first day of the cruise. I should mention, I had taken notes each day, but somehow managed to forget to pack them or perhaps lost them, so my photos will be necessary to jog my memory. Since we visited all but one of the ports twice, I'll share the photos from both visits in one post. Unfortunately when it comes to the glaciers, there are only two or possibly three that I am certain of the names. I'll share some info from a book I purchased in Whittier, about the communities and the glaciers as well. 

Welcome aboard!


  1. I look forward to the remainder of your adventure. It was a pleasant start. It must feel good to settle into the cabin that first day!

    1. I just love being at sea, so that first day is always exciting.

  2. What a great adventure. The birds still show up for photo op even on a ship! Love seeing the eagle.

    1. The eagles got more camera shy throughout the trip. I was happy to see that one!

  3. You make me remember how wonderful cruises are. Yep on enjoying being on deck most. Interesting about the eagle responding to the sirens. My dog howls when she hears one, didn't know birds did too.
    Enjoy the peace and beauty.

    1. I had no idea either Patti, but it was clear it wasn't happy.

  4. How fun for you. Great photos.

  5. What a wonderful start to your adventure. I am looking forward to more pictures to drool over.

    God bless.

    1. There will be more for sure. You might be tired of them by the time I'm done. :)

  6. I love coming along on the cruise with you. What fun for you and what fun for me to see what you're seeing; including the room. I was curious. Looking forward to every blog.

  7. This is as close as I will get to a cruise experience. I look forward to the rest of the trip.

  8. You got wonderful pics! The sea plane coming in is neat, great captures. Your cabin looked terrific too. It always amazes me how so much can be accommodated in such tiny spaces. We in the west really live large, don't we? Anyway, I'm looking forward to see more pics, thanks for sharing!

  9. I love the float planes so there will be more photos for certain. I don't spend a whole lot of room in the cabin so I really don't need a lot of room. I know lots of people like the balcony cabins and if money were no object I'd do the same but the public decks work for me.


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