After a fast passage through Georgia Strait, the body of water West of Vancouver and North of Vancouver Island, we sailed under the Lions Gate Bridge at 06.15 hrs. and were docked by 07.30 hrs. It was a miserable morning with drizzle and wetness but luckily no wind and that made for an easy arrival. Still even in the rain and gloom Vancouver harbor was able to look nice. See photo by my hotel director Bert van Mackelenbergh at the end of this blog. The end of the season is approaching and that means that some ships are already going southbound, with no doubt very happy captains on board, especially after last week’s weather.
We have now finished our Seward season, the interior is packing up, going into winter hibernation and most of the hotels will close. Only some of the Holland America Hotels in the larger towns will remain open such as in Juneau and Sitka. Our friend the Celebrity Century who has been sailing with us for the whole season, to and from Vancouver is doing some alternative cruises and suddenly ended up in Prince Rupert, which is not known to be a large cruise ship attraction. Other companies are lingering on with their ships for short cruises until they fit in the winter schedule. Others have an extra day in the schedule so that they arrive on the right day in their winter homeport.
As a result the berth of the Century was taken up today by the Star Princess. She was starting today her southbound cruise after the end of her Alaska season. Victoria is only 80 miles away and that means very slow speed all the way. Thus we saw the Star making a very wide turn while leaving Vancouver in the evening to kill some time for a 07.00 hrs. arrival. After that she does Seattle and then starts hopping down the coast. If you live on the beach near Victoria you will see in the coming 10 days a whole stream of cruise ships making their way down to better climates. We will be the last ship in Vancouver on the 29th of September and thus we are closing the season.
With Seward already closed down our last cruise is a 7 day. Calling at Vancouver – Juneau- Skagway –Glacier Bay – Ketchikan – Vancouver. The same cruise we did twice in the beginning of the season, before Seward (read the Alaskan interior) opened up. We then officially start our cruise down the coast to San Diego which is partially part of the South Pacific cruise and partially a coastal, with a stop at San Francisco.
These coastal cruises are a great way to get familiarized with a cruise product. If you do not know a company, try a coastal for a few hundred dollars and if you do not like it, you at least are not thousands out of pocket. In Europe where the ports are much closer to each other, they do something similar but then with a one or two port mini cruise or a cruise to nowhere. My wife keeps a close eye on what comes on the market for these short hops as it is a great way to spy out other companies. In that way we were able to finish all the Cunard ships, and we are making good headway with P&O and also did a quickie on Celebrity, going to Ireland and back.
Tonight we will sail through the Inside Passage, with the Seymour Narrows tide at 01.00 hrs. then we will race to open sea. The challenge is that the swell from last week is still there, enhanced by a 2nd weather system further off the coast. We have to wait and see how that will affect us, as I have nowhere else to go.