Sunday, March 27, 2011

Our cruise to Canada.

The first cruise our family went on was a 3-day cruise on the Celebrity Cruise Line.  We left Seattle, WA on Friday afternoon.  The Bon Voyage party was super fun with great music, dancing, and tons of great food!!  We actually boarded the ship at about 1:00 p.m. so that we could explore and have lunch.  I would highly recommend this idea.  The buffet was stocked and not very crowded, so we had a great time. 

After the party, we had the emergency drill and then dressed for dinner.  They had the menu posted by the dining room and we decided early what we would have.  Our waiters were so great, and they were especially nice to my children.  The nightly entertainment that evening was a comedian who was really very funny.  We wanted to get to bed after the comedian so we would be rested for our day in Vancouver.

The next morning, Saturday, we had breakfast on the ship.  We found some vendors waiting for the tourists when we got off the ship, and purchased passes to ride the trolley cars around Vancouver.  It was October, and the trolleys were decorated for Halloween.  Each trolley driver gave us a tour of each part of Vancouver.  They were so fun and filled with Vancouver trivia.  We went straight for Stanley Park as our first stop and saw the totem poles.  What a spectacular park!

Our next stop was to a ferry boat to take us to Granville Island.  The market there was stunning with displays of frest fruits, vegetables, and all sorts of prepared food.  We had some smoked salmon that was to die for!  There were street performers outside the market and the whole place bustled with energy. 

Next stop was China Town.  How tranquil and peaceful.  The water throughout the sanctuary and the string quartet playing was so delightful.  The shops in China Town were great too.  I bought a silk scarf that I keep on my winter coat.  It's a light lavender and so so soft.  A stranger approached us and gave my daughter some origami roses.  She felt very special that a stranger would give her something so beautiful.

Back to the ship for dinner.  Upon boarding the ship from Vancouver, some of the crew were waiting for us with steaming mugs of hot cocoa or coffee.  We chose the cocoa and it really did the trick in warming us all up.  We had about 90 minutes before going to dinner, so I took a nap with my son and my husband took our daughter to try sushi for her first time.  She was happy to have some time with her dad, but later said that she didn't need to have sushi again anytime soon. 

Dinner was another epicurian delight with service that unbelievably attentive.  We grew to love our servers.  The entertainment for the evening was dancing from around the world.  Since my son and I had napped that afternoon, we were ready to enjoy the performance, but my daughter slept through most of it. 

The next day, Sunday, was visiting Naniamo, which is a city on the east side of Victoria Island.  Barbara Streisand had a residence there and it's also home to the Nanaimo bar.  I'll post the recipe for these tasty treats.  They are also home to bathtub racing.  Again, a trolley was available to take us around, but this service was free.  We went up to a shopping area with quaint shops selling everything from hand-made crafts to bronze sculptures.  Fun clothing stores and cute little cafe's were among all the shops.  Back at the sea shore, we talked with a couple of Canadian Mountees and walked through the Nanaimo fort.

Since Nanaimo doesn't have a deep-water port, we were tendered to the island, so we boarded the tenders to go back to the ship when we had seen all we could see and ate our fill of Nanaimo bars.  The entertainment this evening was a man who was a master at juggling.  He was fantastic!!

I would highly recommend the Celebrity Cruise line for great food, fun entertainment, and impecable service.  We also had the best travel agent that gave us 2 ocean-view staterooms, adjacent to each other for the price of inside cabins.  We can't wait for our next cruise.

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