ONE DAY CRUISE MAGIC
8-9 May 2010
What a stroke of brilliance …….. the ONE DAY cruise!
I have a good friend who knew this even before I did. Last year she booked a one day cruise from Vancouver to Seattle with a girl friend … the shopped all day in Seattle and then took the AMTRAK train back to Vancouver.
This year, the dates came out, she sent me a note and I started thinking about the benefits of going on a one day cruise.
Not a huge time commitment. Do it on a weekend. No time off work. Not very expensive. Feels like a real treat. Get a way from it all. Get to see Seattle (Pike St Market, take in a Starbucks coffee, see the flowers). Treat myself to a Mothers Day event. Go with friends. Return to Victoria on the Victoria Clipper on Sunday. It is all possible.
So I spoke to my partner, who, by the way, seldom gets to go on my work related cruises and gets left behind when I travel with my mom and friends ……. and he was so happy to be invited to go with me that he jumped at the idea of a weekend cruise. We spoke to another couple, really good friends of ours who also live in Victoria. They also jumped on the idea. We did a little research and I booked the cruise, we paid and also booked the Clipper return to Victoria.
John, our friend, knew the city bus routes and checked out the schedules. We left in the morning and walked to the city bus stop and took an express bus out to Schwartz Bay ferry terminal. We arrived in Tswassen about 100 minutes later, and back on a Bee line city bus headed for Bridgeport station.
It was early still and sunny and gorgeous in Vancouver. The bus trip was uneventful except for the creeping excitement of getting on a cruise ship. There is just something about that anticipation. We all had our lightly packed shoulder back packs with toothbrushes and overnight items (I brought 4 scarves to wear and to offer a change of look to my limited wardrobe). I don’t think I have ever packed so lightly in all my life, and certainly not for a cruise!! Donned in cruise-wear, I was pretty happy to be looking and feeling special.
From the sky train station to Waterfront downtown Vancouver is mostly underground so we did not get the lovely tour of the big city … however, it is a most efficient and fast way to travel in the city, and especially on a Saturday when the cost is ½ what it would have been on a weekday. All was just going our way. Bit of a line up as three cruise ships were to be loaded up from Vancouver pier. We were in a long snake like line up for quite a while. People budging in line to get their faster (??) is just a bit annoying …….. but we ended up about 10 couples back from Christa and John and kept seeing them on the corners as we snaked around. It was fun though, people watching at its finest, for sure.
What kind of people cruise? People going to Alaska, people who are just going (like us) for a get a way, people with children, older people who have cruised many many many times before. People who dress up, people who did not. People in hats, some with hair pieces and some with no hair at all. It was fun for me to check them out as we rounded corners and could over hear snippets of conversations. It is all so intriguing really and funny, sometimes. We got through the gates, the paths, the line ups and the staff guiding us along. We got our pictures taken and our new key card and off to the ship.
We got our picture taken, the 4 of us and a few of just the women. Later we were to discover that these pictures were very good …. but as with a lot of things on a one day cruise …. you either get it now, or let it go. We let the moment pass.
On to the ship, off to our staterooms to get rid of our bags. And meet for our first cruise meal. Due to the line ups we missed the lunch in the dining room. Ah well, the Lido is always good for great food and lots of it. We ate our fill and checked out the ship. Walking, sitting, checking out the city sky line on this warm May day. It feels so special to be aboard and waiting to go out to sea.
It was exciting and relaxing, and fulfilling. All that you want from a vacation, and it was an ordinary weekend with extraordinary itinerary. I am thrilled even in the re-telling of it.
We laid out on the wooden deck chairs. How luxurious. Steve got a glass of champagne for me and we set sail for Seattle. We went back to the staterooms and I threw on a different scarf, brushed my hair and away we adventured for meal number two …… the feeding frenzy had begun.
Our stateroom was lovely, our friends had a balcony and we were upgraded to a full window floor to ceiling but a tender life boat was in our view. Beautiful never the less, ice in the bucket and spacious floor plan.
We had a lovely dinner with another couple, the 6 of us at a window. One of the things I have learned from any time dining on a cruise ship, is to always ask for a window table. It is a good idea if the cruise is longer than one day <smile> to reserve the table you want for dinner, first thing in the morning while you think of it …….. so when it is time to eat, your spot is ready.
Lovely meal, plenty of dessert and off to the show. Glitz and glamor. Stage and Screen was the singing and dancing theme for the show. It was high energy and the costumes were beautiful. After that we walked through the art gallery and “shopped” for things that were pleasing. We found the shops and wandered through them as well, looking for tidbits and ideas, enjoying the shiny stuff. Steve and I went dancing in about 3 lounges and enjoyed the music and the dancing that we have been away from for a while. It was a romantic and beautiful evening. We went up on the top deck and enjoyed the scenery … Is that Victoria we see off in the distance, in the dark?? Can it be Beacon Hill park, the lighthouse, Dallas Drive??? Time for a tea, and a little of the late night buffet.
Back to the stateroom for a wee nap. Plans to meet our friends by 7 am for breakfast in the dining room and off to a day in Seattle. The sun shone brightly and warmly all day. What a treat. Seattle at its very best ….. Mothers Day Sunday, sunshine, Pike St Market, the ocean, the sea wall, the shops, the people, the colors of the flowers, the fish throwing, the crowds …… the quilt store. The unique gifts, postcards and pictures, paintings and drawings by local artists. Seattle is lovely. Starbucks on every corner. The guys headed off to the Space Needle and some museums to fill their day.
We met up again, made our way to the Clipper pier, had a bite to eat in a fish shop along the waterfront. Sat outside in the warm sun and enjoyed the sensations that come when a restful sit follows a busy walk. On the Clipper (a catamaran that holds a few hundred people) and a few hours later, home to our lovely Victoria.
Exhausted and satisfied as if a big meal — a turkey dinner feast — the weekend adventure at sea.