Saturday, June 17, 2017

Alaska Adventure: Pre-Cruise in Vancouver, BC.

It's 9:46 am EST on Wednesday, May 31, 2017.  I'm somewhere over the midwest, courtesy of Jet Blue.  

Our day began at o'dark thirty and our flight began at 6:44 am.  For those doing the math at home, that's a 4 am wake up call and we were staying at a hotel at the airport!   We live over an hour from the airport, and parking is outrageous, so it was as expensive or less to stay at the hotel and get an extra 2 hours of sleep instead of driving or taking a limo from home.

I dozed for about 2 hours of the flight, and now, 3 hours in, my neck is stiff, my throat is dry, and my body already tired of sitting, but I'm excited.  This day has been over 18 months in the making. 

Why a cruise?

My husband and I first took a cruise for our honeymoon, nearly 5 years ago. It was our first.  We were not sure if we'd like cruising.  We didn't. We LOVE it!  

This will be our 5th cruise.  All of our previous cruises have been to the Caribbean.  In talking to other cruisers and reading about destinations, everyone seems to agree cruising to Alaska is a bucket list cruise, and quite possibly one of the most beautiful one can take.  We've talked about doing it someday ever since our first cruise.  We decided life is short, so we'd make it our 5th anniversary cruise!

We are loyal to Royal (Caribbean) cruisers, so the cruise line was easy to decide upon.  We (mostly I) spent countless hours researching when the best time to sail was.  The Alaska cruise season is short, because, well, ice, cold, and darkness.  So late May through early September is the window.  Given our schedules, the kids' school and summer commitments, and the availability of my parents to be able to fly up from Florida to stay with the kids, we decided on early June.  

Planning the Alaska Adventure

I booked the cruise the day the Alaska 2017 itineraries went on sale for Crown and Anchor members (we get a one day jump on the general public), so we had our pick of cabins.  That was in February of 2016.  There was also a 30% off sale going on.  We chose a junior suite on the starboard side of the ship toward the back.  We also booked a 10 day cruisetour, so after the 7 day cruise, we have a 3 day land tour.  Royal awards double points for suite guests, and junior suites are not *that* much more expensive than a balcony cabin, especially on the smaller ships.  We'll make emerald status once we have completed this cruise!   I tracked the price of that cabin category from that day and there was never a lower price, in fact increased by over $1000 at one point.  Take home message:  Book your Alaska cruise as early as possible. 

I have spent a lot of hours researching and planning our trip.  Trying to decide what tours and excursions to take, what clothes to take, what flights to take, where to stay pre-cruise, what to do pre-cruise, and recently, potential weather we will encounter.  We will be on the 3rd cruise of the season. The range of weather we must be prepared to deal with ranges from the low 40's (with a relative wind chill on the deck of the ship) to the mid 70's.  Rain is also very likely, and looking at the 7 day forecast, very likely for much of our adventure.  Wtih highs in the low to mid-50's.  I did not expect it to be gorgeous weather every day, but I am hopeful it won't be cold and rainy every day, either.  This made packing a challenge in terms of having to pack for 13 days and two or three seasons of weather. We take far less to the Caribbean!!  

And today, it begins!  

We landed at Sea-Tac at about 10 am local time.  We rented a car from National, the only rental agency that allows you to pick up in the U.S. and drop off in Canada.  I had researched the direct vs. a more leisurely and scenic route, but we opted for the direct route.  It was less expensive to fly into Seattle and we wanted a rental car for a few days anyway, so this was how we planned it.

Driving from Seattle to Vancouver was about a 3 hour drive.  It was not terribly scenic travelling Interstate 5, and there was more traffic than one would have expected going around Seattle in the middle of the day, but we did get a nice view of the city without driving through it.  Mt. Rainier was hidden in the clouds, unfortunately.  

Whirlwind tour of Vancouver's gems

It was about 2.5 hours to the Canadian border.  The roads got increasingly more scenic as we approached B.C.  Lush, green trees and a gently curving roadway.  The border crossing was quick and easy.  More like a toll booth than anything else, but instead of paying a toll, you showed your passports, answered a few questions about the purpose of your trip, and you were on your way.  We waited maybe 5 minutes for our turn.

Mt Rainier?

The road to Canada


The traffic in Vancouver was also surprisingly heavy for 2:30 or 3 pm in the afternoon.  We stopped at Van Duesen Botanical Garden, which was part of the plan.  The afternoon was increasingly cloudy and threatening with rain.  We walked around the garden for about 90 minutes, which was just enough time.  It started to lightly rain just as we were leaving.  







From there we went to our hotel.  It was in an area of Vancouver that was being rebuilt. Many tall office buildings and hotels were under renovation or being built.  We stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn.  It was easy to find (the city is a grid).  There were 22 floors, it was quite large.  More than adequate for our needs, and one of the more economical mid-range hotels from what I've read. Breakfast, which was included, was surprisingly good.  Quite a variety of options despite it's continental/mini buffet feel.

Our only full day in the city,  Thursday, we drove to North Vancouver, to Capilano Suspension Bridge park. It was raining and we arrived shortly after they opened. They provide free rain ponchos if you are not prepared.  It was $80 CDN for two of us, but worth every penny.  What a gorgeous place. It's in a temperate coastal rainforest.  Redwoods abound. Damn, they are huge!  

The park is so much more than the suspension bridge, although that is spectacular.  You do need to cross it to get to the bulk of the attractions on the other side.  Those afraid of heights will find this a challenge to cross.  

Capilano Suspension bridge.  Yikes!

Cliff walk! 

Beautiful nature walk


BIG trees!

Look up, not down! 


We were there about 2 hours. We walked across the suspension bridge first.  Holy cow. If you've never walked across one before, they are narrow, high, and you can most definitely feel the movement as people traverse it.  Most people stopped for photos along the bridge. It spans the Capilano river.  

Once on the other side, there is a gorgeous and lengthy canopy walk. It involves stairs and mini suspension bridges with informative plaques/signs along the way and gorgeous, literally bird's eye views.  There is also a nature walk along trails and boardwalks at ground level.  The rain really gave it a unique beauty almost making the green pop.  

We went back across the suspension bridge (only way back), and then did the cliff walk, which is an arched narrow (one person single file) suspension arch (no movement) from a cliff.  It offers a different perspective on the river below and how nature prevails with trees that grow out of/around the rock.  Educational signs and exhibits about water conservation and geology of the area dot the pathways to and from the cliff walk.  

Of course there is a gift shop and three options for snacks, a light meal, and beverages on both sides of the bridge and park.  Parking is self-pay for the parking lot or it's accessible but bus from the city as well.  It's well worth your time and dollars, especially if you love being literally immersed in nature.  

From there, we went to Stanley Park.The rain tapered off, although it remained mostly cloudy the rest of the day.  Stanley Park is huge, 17 miles around the perimeter which is called the sea wall.  It offers paved bike and walking pathways on the seawall and many hiking trails through the middle.  There is also an aquarium, a few playgrounds, a beach, and several areas to grab a snack or light meal as well as a few gift shops. There are even totem poles.  We spent a few more hours there, walking and exploring.  

Stanley park sea wall and the Lion's Gate Bridge

From there, we went to Canada Place. Our intent was to check out where our cruise ship would be leaving from the next day.  Canada place is interesting as it is attached to the Convention Center. There is also a Fly Over Canada movie, which we did. If you've ever been to Walt Disney World, it was Soarin' over Canada.  It was well done.  We wandered around for a while, then watched sail away for the Seaborn ship.  Given it was now about 5:30 and we had not really eaten a meal since breakfast, I was starving.  There was a bevvy of food options and we settled on an Italian place. It was okay, but at least we had food in the belly!

Canada Place

By now, especially with the time change from the east coast, we were tired.  We walked a few blocks to to get a case of water for the cruise and sea bands.  Then we went back to the hotel and crashed.

In hindsight another day at least would have allowed us to see more of the sights in the city.  It is a lovely city, and there are parts of the city I had wanted to see, but we are not city people, which you may have guessed given our choice of how to spend our time.  :-)


If you are cruising our of Vancouver, it's definitely worth your time to spend a few days exploring and experiencing this beautiful city and all it has to offer.  

Tomorrow, we cruise! 

31 comments:

  1. By using Car Rental 8 you can find the cheapest car hires from over 50,000 international locations.

    ReplyDelete
  2. DIVORCE AND MARITAL BREAKTHROUGH

    It all started when my husband cheated on me with another woman unknowing to him that the woman is a wizard, the woman castes a spell on my husband which made my husband change his feelings towards me and the kids and broke our 6 years marriage. i was confused and stressed because of the pains of being a single mother, when i called a friend and explained my marital challenges to her, she instructed and directed me to contact a great powerful spell caster called Dr. Ugo Wonders living in Florida. i contacted Dr. Ugo and explained my problems, he assured me his help and it was 100% guaranteed. i provided the materials for the spell and in 48 hours, after Dr Ugo Wonders of generalspelltemple@gmail.com finished casting the spell, my husband was free from the evil woman spell and he came back home to us a day after begging us to forgive him. i was so shocked and short of words and here i am today happily testifying so the world can know how this great man helped me with his real powerful spell.
    To every one with marital problem, divorce issues, lost lover or any relationship related issues, you can contact Dr. Ugo wonders the ultimate spell caster via his email address generalspelltemple@gmail.com or call his mobile number directly on +13863369876

    http://generalspelltempleblog.wordpress.com



    DIVORCE AND MARITAL BREAKTHROUGH

    It all started when my husband cheated on me with another woman unknowing to him that the woman is a wizard, the woman castes a spell on my husband which made my husband change his feelings towards me and the kids and broke our 6 years marriage. i was confused and stressed because of the pains of being a single mother, when i called a friend and explained my marital challenges to her, she instructed and directed me to contact a great powerful spell caster called Dr. Ugo Wonders living in Florida. i contacted Dr. Ugo and explained my problems, he assured me his help and it was 100% guaranteed. i provided the materials for the spell and in 48 hours, after Dr Ugo Wonders of generalspelltemple@gmail.com finished casting the spell, my husband was free from the evil woman spell and he came back home to us a day after begging us to forgive him. i was so shocked and short of words and here i am today happily testifying so the world can know how this great man helped me with his real powerful spell.
    To every one with marital problem, divorce issues, lost lover or any relationship related issues, you can contact Dr. Ugo wonders the ultimate spell caster via his email address generalspelltemple@gmail.com or call his mobile number directly on +13863369876

    http://generalspelltempleblog.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi everyone,
    Real & Powerful Love spell caster to get your Ex lover back fast online.
    I'm so excited.
    My ex-boyfriend is back after a breakup,I’m extremely happy that will are living together again.
    My name is Silvia Soulez
    My boyfriend of a 4yr just broke up with me and am 30 weeks pregnant.I have cried my self to sleep most of the nights and don’t seem to concentrate during lectures sometimes I stay awake almost all night thinking about him and start to cry all over again.Because of this I end up not having energy for my next day’s classes ,my attendance has dropped and am always in uni and on time.Generally he is a very nice guy ,he ended it because he said we were arguing a lot and not getting along.He is right we’ve been arguing during the pregnancy a lot .After the break up I kept ringing him and telling him I will change.I am in love with this guy and he is the best guy I have ever been with.I’m still hurt and in disbelief when he said he didn’t have any romantic feelings towards me anymore that hurt me faster than a lethal syringe.He texts me now and then mainly to check up on how am doing with the pregnancy,he is supportive with it but it’s not fair on me, him texting me as I just want to grieve the pain and not have any stress due to the pregnancy.i was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr.Goodluck can help solve marital problems, restore broken relationships and so on. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a spell for me. 17 hours later, my bf came to me and apologized for the wrongs he did and promise never to do it again. Ever since then, everything has returned back to normal. I and my bf are living together happily again.. All thanks to Dr.Goodluck. If you have any problem contact Dr.Goodluck now and i guarantee you that he will help you.Email him at: goodluck05spellcaster@gmail.com
    Call or Whats-app him: +2348138654465
    or on his website. http://lovereunitingspell.webs.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. DOWNLOAD $12,234 in 2 months Betting App?

    Let me get it straight.

    I don't care about sports. Shame on me but I don't even know the football rules. Never cared less.

    I tried everything from forex & stocks to internet advertising and affiliate programs.. I even made some money but then lost it all when the stock market went south.

    I think I finally found it. Download Today!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. if you have an issue regarding your norton setup you can visit help.norton.com. Here, you will manually setup your norton Antivirus

    ReplyDelete
  6. Quickbooks Tech Support provide best technical support service for users who have got any kind of issue with Quickbooks software. they can contact them immediately.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Really great article, Glad to read the article. It is very informative for us. Thanks for posting.Norton™
    provides industry-leading antivirus and security software
    for your PC, Mca, and mobile devices Visit @: - McAfee.com/activate | norton.com/setup | McAfee.com/activate

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank™ you for sharing excellent information. ✆ Your website is so cool. I am impressed by the details that you have on this website ☞ It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked♠ this website page, will come back for extra articles. You, my friend, ROCK£ I found simply the info I already searched everywhere and simply could not come across. What a great website. Visit௹☞ Norton.com/setupoffice.com/setupTelstra supportPlumbers Near Me | office.com/setup | Nurton.com/nu16..

    ReplyDelete

  9. To install office setup you have to select the downloaded file otherwise insert the office setup CD disc. If you use the CD disc then you have to enter the Office Product Key for authorizing it. After selecting the downloaded file you have to run or setup this file on your computer.

    office.com/setup

    ReplyDelete
  10. If you are looking for laser printer, then Brother is the place for you to look for it. If you’ve purchased a Brother Printer but don’t know how to setup the printer with your computer, then don’t worry. All you need is to give us a call for technical assistance and get a step-by-step solution to install your machine. Brother Printer Support is available 24/7 to help tackle unique problems you face with your brother printer.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for sharing such important information which is very useful .I really appreciate your way of work.
    123.hp.com/setup | HP Printer Assistant Software | 123.hp.com/Laserjet | 123.hp.com/envy5540

    ReplyDelete
  12. You could definitely see your skills in the article you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. All the time go after your heart.
    Factory Reset Computer

    ReplyDelete
  13. Are you looking for HP Printer Assistant. Visit Help Number USA to fix technical error. Get support from HP Printer Assistant!
    HP Printer Assistant download |
    HP Support Assistant download |
    How to change password in Outlook |
    How to reset apple id password on iPhone |

    ReplyDelete
  14. It has been great to read this article it was quiet to be nice you every detail about the topic Thanks for sharing this article with us.
    How to reset mac computer

    ReplyDelete
  15. Awesome blog. I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work!
    How to reset your Wireless Router successfully

    ReplyDelete
  16. Really nice information. Geek Squad Tech Support provides the best technical help and guidance. Get in touch with extensively trained tech support team for all sort of queries and issues regarding your devices. You can contact Geek Squad Tech Support round the clock according to your convenience.

    ReplyDelete
  17. To get protection, download, install and activate norton setup with 25-digit alphanumeric product key at norton.com setup. In case a new user, then create an account or log In by entering email address and password.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Download Or Install Office Setup Step 1. Go to www.office.com/setup - Sign in, 2nd. Enter product key, and 3rd. we can also help you with office.com/setup online.

    ReplyDelete
  19. www.trendmicro.com/downloadme
    For Trend Micro Download , you must create a Trend Micro account from trend micro that can help you in smooth Trend Micro installation. Protect your systems and online data from multiple threats, including viruses, spyware, identity theft, malware, rootkits, Trojans, phishing attacks, ransomware, Adware, Worms, Bots, Horses, and other threats.You can activate the Trend Micro software by installing the Trend Micro download

    ReplyDelete
  20. Business users may choose the product according to their business level. Other product by the antivirus is for different categories and users across the world rely on it to secure their data.For More information Visit Our Site: 
          norton.com/setup  norton.com/setup   office.com/setup    

    ReplyDelete
  21. the user must purchase a license of Avg antivirus from the retail store or online. Though download AVG software is the easiest process, your system must match the essential prerequisites of Avg antivirus. Once you will get AVG activation code and will create an AVG account , then you can install AVG with license number. install-avg-with-license-number | www.avg.com/activation | www.avg.com/retail

    ReplyDelete
  22. You can purchase the McAfee Antivirus software online or from the local Retail Store as it is available on all the retail store available near you. www.mcafee.com/activate | mcafee.com/activate

    ReplyDelete
  23. www.trendmicro.com/downloadme
    For Trend Micro Download , you must create a Trend Micro account from trend micro that can help you in smooth Trend Micro installation. Protect your systems and online data from multiple threats, including viruses, spyware, identity theft, malware, rootkits, Trojans, phishing attacks, ransomware, Adware, Worms, Bots, Horses, and other threats.You can activate the Trend Micro software by installing the Trend Micro download www.trendmicro.com/downloadme

    ReplyDelete
  24. www.trendmicro.com/downloadme
    For Trend Micro Download , you must create a Trend Micro account from trend micro that can help you in smooth Trend Micro installation. Protect your systems and online data from multiple threats, including viruses, spyware, identity theft, malware, rootkits, Trojans, phishing attacks, ransomware, Adware, Worms, Bots, Horses, and other threats.You can activate the Trend Micro software by installing the Trend Micro download www.trendmicro.com/downloadme

    ReplyDelete
  25. Norton is a reputed and cost-effective antivirus suite
    company which offers protection so that no virus can damage
    your computer. It also provides many other products and
    services apart from antivirus.

    norton.com/setup

    ReplyDelete
  26. Norton is a reputed and cost-effective antivirus suite
    company which offers protection so that no virus can damage
    your computer. It also provides many other products and
    services apart from antivirus.
    norton.com/setup

    ReplyDelete