A Travellerspoint blog


North to Alaska - Crystal Symphony


sunny 71 °F

After a very smooth and efficient debarkation from the ship, we took the transfer to the Vancouver airport. As a result of an airline schedule change I chose to spend the night at the Airport Fairmont Hotel rather than take the dreaded red-eye. The Fairmont has a package that offers a 10:00am check in which worked perfectly. After reorganizing some luggage for the flight home tomorrow, I decided to take Canada Rail Skytrain back in from the airport to the waterfront and do a Hop-on, Hop-off tour of Stanley Park and the city of Vancouver. I have done Hop-on, Hop-off in several cities and it is a very efficient way to see the main sights of any given city. After the tour, it was back on the Skytrain to the hotel to get ready for an early morning flight.


Posted by rpickett 17:23 Archived in Canada Tagged vancouver Comments (0)

North to Alaska - Crystal Symphony


sunny 70 °F

Our last stop was Victoria, an absolutely gorgeous city, and home to Buchart Gardens about 30 minutes outside of town. Our excursion today was a visit to the gardens with English Tea!

"With a former limestone quarry for her backyard, Jennie Butchart envisioned landscaping a sunken garden in its place, transforming the property for her family—and visitors—for generations to come. As cement production exhausted the limestone deposits, Jennie envisioned a grand garden in its place and began transferring top soil by horse and cart. Little by little, the quarry blossomed into today’s Sunken Garden. Between 1906 and 1929, the Butcharts expanded The Gardens, designing the Japanese Garden on the seaside, the Italian Garden on their former tennis court and the fragrant, overflowing Rose Garden.Today, The Butchart Gardens is a National Historic Site of Canada. You’ll find remnants of the original cement plant and millions of bedding plants in over 900 varieties." [Buchart Gardens Website]


Posted by rpickett 17:01 Archived in Canada Tagged victoria Comments (0)

North to Alaska - Crystal Symphony


rain 65 °F

We woke up early today after a superb dinner at the Five Sails Restaurant in the hotel. it is rated in the top 12 restaurants in the city. The weather is cloudy and we expect light rain this afternoon. Typical for the Pacific northwest.

After a leisurely morning, we boarded the ship at about 12:30pm. The rest of the day was spent unpacking, resting and wandering around. As predicted, it rained!


Posted by rpickett 16:23 Archived in Canada Tagged vancouver Comments (0)

North to Alaska - Crystal Symphony


semi-overcast 72 °F

Today's project was flying from Charleston to Vancouver BC for the start of our 10 night Alaska cruise aboard Crystal Symphony. We spent the night at the Pan Pacific Hotel, which is situated directly above the cruise terminal. In addition the hotel offer a complimentary service to take your checked bags directly to the ship, so you don't have a lug them downstairs to the terminal.

The flights were all early, which is nice, and we say a huge Russian transport plane in Seattle. The US does not have enough heavy lift aircraft to satisfy the demand, so companies often charter Russian planes for the task.

As always, flying in the Pacific northwest is very scenic, even on a partly cloudy day.


Posted by rpickett 11:21 Archived in Canada Tagged vancouver Comments (0)

Sapphire Princess

Northbound at sea


We woke up to fog and mist as we were well at sea. The fog started about 0345 as we started hearing the mandatory ship's fog horn every three minutes or less (required by COLREGS - International regulations for the prevention of collisions at sea). The Alaska travel guides say that there should be quite a bit of wildlife including Orka's but we struck out, though, except for various sea gull type creatures, we may have seen some puffins swimming avoiding the ship. We started the day with Breakfast in Sabatini's - one of our suite perks and then lounged around reading and relaxing - maximizing our naps as we adapt to life at sea. After talking to several clients who are also on board, I think at least two naps is the order of the day. It was formal night on board, but we opted out of that tradition preferring to head to the buffet. There was a good selection of fresh preparations, and we enjoyed a relaxing dinner. After that - we headed back to the cabin to watch whatever we could see of the sunset and then off to bed - still trying to catch up on sleep, missed on travel from the east with three time zone changes. Tomorrow, we arrive in Ketchikan for a rather brief stay as we get underway at 2:00pm local (Alaska) time - four hours behind the east coast.

Movies under the Stars

The Sanctuary

The fog and mist on a flat calm sea

Posted by rpickett 07:42 Archived in Canada Tagged of north vancouver seaward Comments (1)

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