Another full day ahead, so I stocked up on breakfast.
First stop was the VanDusen Botanical Gardens. We pretty much did everything except the maze – but only because my feet were hurting. Despite being early fall, this was a lovely place to spend a few hours.
Then the Museum of Anthropology at UBC. Seriously impressive. And in way, kind of creepy. Well, mostly just the totem pole in the last photo.
Then onto the bus for the trip down home. Because Amtrak, being a train company, had no trains running that evening. So bus it was.
Up at 7:00 a.m. and sadly, we disembarked the ms Amsterdam by 9:00 a.m.
Fortunately, Karin had a full day planned for us, so no time to mope. We checked into the hotel, had some breakfast and headed out.
Our next stop was Granville Island. The public market rivals Seattle’s Pike Place Market in sheer scope, color, size and quirkiness. Since I took too many photos (yes, really, it’s possible), I put them in this photo gallery (click to enlarge).
Then a drive through Chinatown
As a fitting finale to the day, we had dinner at the Five Sails in Canada Place. Too too delicious for words.
We went from Seattle to Victoria to Vancouver. Short, relaxing, fun and swanky. Karin upgraded us to a Pinnacle Suite. I’m pretty sure it’s nearly 2/3 the size of my house.
We boarded about 11:30 without any fuss or bother, had lunch in the Main Dining Room, sprawled out in our Suite, wandered the Amsterdam, had our muster drill at 4:15 (amazing how fast it goes when the ship has only 400 passengers aboard), enjoyed cocktails and canapes, dinner and a show. With so few passengers, there was no waiting for elevators, no lines in the Lido, no mobs in the Piano Bar – gosh, I could get used to it. And a beautiful departure from Seattle just before 11:00 pm.
First up, our sweet suite:
We were fortunate to have a bright sunshine-filled day, with just a hint of fall.
The dinner menu
The When & Where
The sisters (plus Mom) are on a mini-cruise for 3 days. And it’s a gorgeous day.
In my ongoing (and largely unsuccessful) efforts to declutter, I’ve scanned the When & Where’s and tossed (ahem … recycled) the paper copies. I apologize for the crease marks on a couple of them. But if I’m going to cram them into my camera bag, they’re getting folded.
Sailing in and out (mostly in) the fog all day. I’d see a bit of blue sky, and just when I thought it might clear up enough to see something of the lovely coastline or possibly a whale, the fog would roll back in, like some kind of taunting karmic twist, punctuated by the deep bass rumble of the fog horn from both the Amsterdam and assorted other freighters making their way in or out of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
As we entered the Strait, the fog was particularly dense. There was an awfully long bellow from our fog horn, and suddenly the ship veered right, listing steeply, as plates crashed to floor all over the Lido. I found out later that some small boat had cut across our bow and Capt. Mercer essentially slammed on the brakes and veered hard to the right, managing to avoid the other craft. Yeesh, what the other guy was thinking is beyond me. Kind of like the little cars that cut off semi-trucks on the highway. One day the dice aren’t going to roll your way and your number will be up.
After that bit of excitement, 14 of us spent a couple hours playing cards in the Kings Room. That seems to be a vastly underused space, which we were happy to put to use. Also conveniently close to the Explorations Cafe and the bar 🙂
As we approached Victoria, we spotted a couple of whales spouting in the distance. Being so far away, it was hard to tell precisely what type of whale, but the naturalist thought they were probably Orca. I snapped an admittedly not very good pic, and I’m leaning toward humpback. Any guesses?
Hubby and I didn’t go ashore in Victoria, preferring instead to relax on board. Given that the Norwegian Pearl and the Emerald Princess arrived at the same time we did, and the steady stream of passengers going ashore, I’m thinking we made the right decision.
It’s 10:45 pm, the suitcases are packed and outside the door, and I’ll be calling it a night before long.
All in all, this cruise was great fun, weather notwithstanding. Travelling with a group of friends is always a joy, and to be fortunate enough to help celebrate a 50th anniversary is a blessing.
There were a few hiccups and disappointments, and I figure to write a review in the next couple of days. But the bottom line is yes, of course I’ll be cruising on Holland America again. Unless of course, I win the lottery and then I’m going luxury cruise line all the way!
Tonight’s dinner menu
Oh my, what a terrific day. The wake up call rang, and I stumbled over hubby (my younger self would be ashamed to admit she didn’t notice a 6’3″ man stretched out next to her in bed) in an attempt to get the dratted thing to just stop. A quick shower later, I was heading off the ship (sans coffee!!!!!!) to catch the Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s tour.
I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoyed this excursion. Not only did I get to go out on a smaller boat (107′ long) and roam the deck taking pictures, enjoy the sunshine, see seals and eagles, but I got an education (cleverly camouflaged by great storytelling) in what the life of an Alaskan crab fisherman entails, how crabbing is done, what lives under the Alaskan waters, and all without a tour guide in the bunch. Engaging, informative and just downright fun. I would love to take my grandsons on this one – they’d enjoy it and I’d have an excuse to do it again.
Gala night dinner, so hubby and I dressed up (a bit) and enjoyed shrimp cocktail, sunchoke soup, and surf-n-turf in the main dining room. (Know the difference between shrimp and prawns? Different gill structures, etc., but prawns are meat eaters, shrimp are vegetarian. Something I learned today.)
And tonight’s Gala dinner menu.