I’m almost sad to be writing this my last post lamenting about our Alaskan Voyage of the Glaciers cruise. In this post, I will tell you about the last 3 days of our vacation
1) Our last day on the Coral Princess…
2) Disembarkation in Vancouver…and…
3) An Orca whale watching excursion trip that took us to Victoria on Vancouver Island. A strategically planned trip just so that I could meet a very special friend that I had met on Facebook via my Newfoundland dogs. This would be our first ‘in-person’ meeting–more on that later. 🙂
So, after saying goodbye to Ketchikan, we were ‘at sea’ for a day. I only took one exciting picture on this day. 😉 On sea days the crew brings out a plethora of different chains and you can have them made to fit. Cute little option, and not expensive at all…, I purchased a couple of bracelets.
We mostly used this day to relax, pack, shop for souvenirs, and just explore parts of the Coral Princess that we hadn’t seen yet. Then, the next morning, we woke up and were docked at Canada Place in Vancouver, B.C…
Disembarkation went extremely smoothly as it always does, Princess runs like a well-oiled machine, they are very organized and efficient. We were escorted to our waiting motor coach that would take us to our hotel for the next couple of nights. The The Westin Bayshore…
We had big ideas of what we might like to do on this day, but, in reality, we took a little walk along the water, found a Subway, and r-e-l-a-x-e-d.
The next morning I woke up with butterflies in my stomach; I was so excited that the day I had been waiting not so patiently for had finally arrived! First, I was going to see Orcas, and second and more importantly, I was going to meet up with my friend Liz!! YIPPEE!! We didn’t have to go far to catch our whale watching excursion boat, it was parked right at the dock outside of our hotel. We had booked this excursion online months and months in advance and it was finally time to climb aboard and experience the Prince of Whales excursion. We were not disappointed on the way to Victoria, after cruising under the Lion’s Gate Bridge, we spotted Orcas pretty quickly and enjoyed watching the J and L Pods as we made the crossing to Vancouver Island…amazing creatures that move effortlessly through that beautiful water, a site not to be missed if y’all ever have the opportunity. 🙂
We also eyed a harbor seal haul out–these cuties were just lounging around sunning themselves…ahhhhh, the life…;)
As we were getting close to docking in Victoria, we passed our boat’s sister ship…
The trip from Vancouver to Victoria (Vancouver Island) was absolutely breathtaking, the shores were tree-lined in places and in others there were lovely homes with sprawling properties that one could just melt into as they dreamed of how life might be living in this part of the world. The Pacific Northwest is one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever seen. As we were pulling into the dock, we saw the Fairmont Empress Hotel right in front of us, what a gorgeous place. If we had stayed in Victoria and booked through Princess, that is where we would have stayed…next trip. 🙂
Here is a little video snippet for you of the Orcas!
So, okay, we were snuggly moored up to the dock and it was *finally* time for us to meet my friend Liz. Liz and and I met on Facebook through the smallish Newfoundland dog community. She and I have a love for animals of all shapes and sizes, but we have a real affinity for our “Gentle Giants”, our Newfies; there is something very, very special about this breed of dog. ❤ All right, now for a little backstory on Liz, she used to be a professional chef, was a food critic writer for over a decade, is the author of several cookbooks (I brought this one with me for her to sign A Real Newfoundland Scoff), and she is an awesome blogger ~~ >Food 4Thought. She is the one who encouraged me to start this blog. Liz and her hubby used to live in St. John’s Newfoundland and Labrador–you know, over here on ‘my’ side of the Country, but her hubby got transferred and they had to pick up and move all the way over to the west coast. Liz and I had been wanting to meet for years and years and when they moved west, I told her that it would be more likely that she and I would get that opportunity (because my hubby and I routinely travel to Alaska and routinely disembark in Vancouver). AND, low and behold, my hubby and I planned another cruise to Alaska; I just couldn’t go without touching base with Liz and seeing if we could set up a meeting. She was thrilled and was on board with us stopping by for a visit, she and her hubby even went to the trouble of coming to the dock to pick us up. Now, I rarely meet anyone new without bringing them a little gift, so while I was still at home, I collected several items that I thought might give them a taste of where we come from and packed them in my suitcase, I also packed up a gift bag, and ribbon (so I could make her a bow for on the package), and tissue paper. I put the gift together while in the hotel room and carried that big bag on the whale watching boat…I didn’t get too many odd looks, well that I saw anyway…haha. Even if I had, I wouldn’t have cared…lol. As I was walking up the gangplank, I could see Liz at the top waiting for me, arms open wide, with the biggest grin I’d ever seen all over her face!! I practically ran into her arms and we hugged and cried for a good little bit of time. OH I was so happy to finally be meeting this lady!! AND her hubby who as you can see in the picture below was chuckling at us while we stood there making quite the spectacle out of ourselves while hugging and crying…It was an awesome moment!!! ❤ (I think she loved all of her little gifts too…you can see the bag in my hand there…haha…I was a site carrying that bag, no doubt about it…lol)
Once back at their home, I got to meet their Newfie Jack!!! OMGosh, what a big LOVE he is…he is as calm as they come…the epitome of how a Newfoundland dog is supposed to be. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to meet Liz’s sweet Newfie girl Fleur, she had passed away a month ago on that exact day. 😥 Liz was so sweet and said that our visit helped her get through that day and gave her some good memories to recall on that ‘anniversary’. Bless her heart!! ❤
We were only able to stay there for a couple of hours because we had to catch a motor coach that would take us over to the other side of the island so that we could catch our boat that would take us back to Vancouver. Trust me though, we made the very most of our short time together; Liz had prepared a gorgeous meal for us…OH dear me, Liz created the best fish chowder that we’ve ever and I mean EVER had based on the kind of seafood we love…it couldn’t have been more perfect (and it was figure friendly, but we didn’t know that until after we were finished eating…haha…). It was SO good!!! YUM!! For the rest of our visit, we talked and laughed, and cried and laughed through tears, we loved on Jack, my hubby and her hubby got along famously and chatted almost more than Liz and I did. 😉 ALL was right with our worlds in those couple of hours…honestly, it was one of the very best visits I’ve ever had with anyone. Liz and I definitely have a very special friendship, one that I will cherish for the rest of my life!! **LOVE ya Lizzy**
<Sigh> Unfortunately, it was time for us to go and catch that motor coach, so we climbed back into Liz’ car and she and her hubby took us to our drop-off point. Talk about a bittersweet parting…OH I didn’t want to leave, that was a very difficult goodbye…
So we pulled ourselves away and headed to our motor coach that would take us to The Butchart Gardens. I had had no expectations about this place as I had been so focused on our visit with Liz and her hubby, but, when we arrived, I was blown away by the beauty that stood in front of us. As we meandered our way through the Gardens on our way to our transportation back to Vancouver, I was in awe and mesmerized by the sheer beauty of that place…
We hopped back on our whale watching tour boat and away we went back to our hotel in Vancouver. I will admit that I sat on that boat and was very sad, sad that I was leaving one of my dearest friends behind and I was also sad that tomorrow I’d be leaving this part of the world that I’ve come to love so much.
We pulled back into the Westin Bayshore’s dock, disembarked, headed up to our room and packed our bags…Tomorrow we’d take a taxi ride to the airport and head back to our humble abode.
Every time we go to Alaska, I always say it is “the trip of a lifetime”, and we’ve been blessed and lucky enough to have been able to do that trip 4 times. Who knows, we might go back again, I hope we go back again. So in closing, let me take a moment to thank you Princess Cruises for another amazing journey, one that allowed us to bask in Alaska’s beauty, cruising through Yakutat Bay, into Disenchantment Bay and then experiencing the wonders of Hubbard Glacier, gliding through the pristine waters of Glacier Bay culminating in the stupendous calving of Margerie Glacier. Then traveling through the Inside Passage where we experienced the three vastly different ports of Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan. Thank you Canada for again welcoming us with open arms and hearts and for bringing two friends together, even if it was only for a couple of hours. Oh what an amazing journey…yes, **definitely** the trip of a lifetime!
Until next time, y’all take good care! ❤
Here is one more link…I wrote one post describing the Cruise Tour that we took in 2012…:) It covers our travels from Anchorage to the Princess Mt. McKinley Wilderness Lodge, on a jet boat excursion to The Devil’s Canyon (out of Talkeetna), then onward to the Princess Denali Wilderness Lodge, and then on a train ride back to Whittier (Anchorage) where we hopped on the Diamond Princess and enjoyed another Voyage of the Glaciers cruise. 🙂
I’ve also written two other blog posts that go hand in hand with these blog entries. Here is a link to my Alaska Wardrobe Choices entry. And here is a link to my What’s In My Carry On, My Must Haves, and Packing Tips & Tricks entry.