Tuesday, November 5, 2019

End of Blog

 Well, I had good intentions. As you can see below, there are very few posts in this blog. I started it at the beginning of our cruise to Alaska. But we were having too much fun to keep up with posting once we sailed from Vancouver. It was much easier to just tweet photos and blurbs about our activities. You can see those at https://twitter.com/jcb37310. I also started blogging about our travels in my regular blog at https://jcby.com/blog/travel.

So, for now, this blog has been discontinued. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019


We sailed away from the docks of Vancouver about 5:10 pm. What a ship! You'll have to forgive my unbounded enthusiasm: I've never been on a cruise before. The ship is just fantastic. Elegant, spacious (which I really did not expect, despite their ads), and sophisticated. This is going to be a great seven days.

Isn't this an amazing world we live in. I'm sitting here, cruising along at 15 knots (a guess; I don't really know how fast we're going) in, really, the end of the world, to which I'm connected by a high speed connection, and typing some thoughts for all to read. I don't know which is better, that, or the bottle of champagne we just finished.

I hope you all are having as good a day as Debbie and I are.

Sailing Day!!

We got up early and walked down to the pier to watch our ship, the Crystal Symphony, come in. I especially wanted to see her dock. It was amazing the way the ship handler nudged her up to the dock's edge with no bumps--and without any assistance from a tug. Can't imagine what it's like maneuvering something that big that precisely.

Now we're back at the hotel, getting ready to embark this afternoon. We should be on the ship by 3:00 pm.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Vancouver: Third Day

We walked to the Vancouver Visitor Centre to decide what to do today. Folks there were very helpful. We decided on a hop on, hop off tour conducted by Landsea. Our tour bus yesterday was nice, but the Landsea buses were new double-deckers. Very nice.

We hopped off in Stanley Park at the first of three stops and walked among the flowers and along one of the trails. Hopped on the next bus and went to Prospect Point, where we had lunch and spent time looking at the ships and boats moving in and out of Burrard Inlet. We thought from the map that there was a lighthouse here, but it was down near the water--Prospect is atop a cliff--and accessible only by walking (or biking) the seawall path.

We hopped the next bus and rode to the Aquatic Centre. From here, we took a False Creek Ferry over to the Museum of Vancouver. Spent two hours going through the museum. Vancouver's history and trends through years is almost exactly like the U.S. The 1950s display looked like home I grew up in and was complete with a 1956 Ford Fairlane.

Back on the bus, we repeated most of the areas we saw on the tour yesterday and got back to our hotel just in time to grab a cab to head to the Trattoria Italian Kitchen in the Kitsilano section of town for dinner. Good meal.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Vancouver: Second Day

Took a Grayline Westcoast Sightseeing tour of the city. Housing costs are incredible here. According to our tour driver Rick, a downtown studio apartment rents for $2,000 to $2,500 Canadian a month. Right now, a Canadian dollar is worth about 75 cents U.S. He pointed out houses on our tour that looked like they were 1,500 - 2,000 square feet in a nice, but not particularly upscale, area. Said they sold for over a million dollars.

The first stop was Granville Island, a renovated industrial area that is now filled with markets, shops, and restaurants. You could spend more than the hour or so we were here. The Public Market is an amazing place where you can buy anything from local crafts to a wonderful assortment of food and groceries.

The tour continued through sections of the city: Chinatown, Gastown, the Sports Arenas, and Canada Place, from which we will sail on Tuesday.

Next stop was Stanley Park, a thousand acre city park northwest of the downtown area. We saw some beautiful flowers near the entrance. We will come back tomorrow and see those on foot. The stops on this tour were the totem pole display and Hallelujah Point, from where you could see the downtown skyline across Burrard Inlet and Coal Harbour.

The tour continued over the Lions Gate Bridge to the north shore and the Capilano Suspension Bridge, 450 feet long and 230 feet above the Capilano River. Quite a wobbly adventure walking across the bridge. Rick said this was Vancouver's predominant tourist attraction (I thought Stanley Park was a much better attraction).

Dinner was at Five Sails, in the Pan Pacific Hotel. Scallops, halibut, and salmon were all fantastic, as was the service. Recommended.