We left Vancouver’s cruise ship terminal, Canada Place, on a Saturday at 1630hrs on the dot, but before we set sail, I thought I would just give a quick overview of our embarkation process.
In our case, it was easy peasy, our hotel was within walking distance of Canada Place, so we made our way down for 1000hrs, official boarding, we were told prior to this, was 1100hrs. We got to the terminal, walked down a ramp (rather than queue inside the building for the lift) to the luggage drop off. Top tip: print your luggage tags at home and if you want, order some protective luggage tags specifically for cruise ship tags. In our case I just handed our printed tags to an attendant who stapled them around our luggage handles for us; your luggage will then be delivered and placed outside your cabin. After that we followed the signs to get us to the check-in desks. As we had booked a suite we were lucky to bypass the queue, although, there really wasn’t much of a queue at that point. We got our cabin cards, info sheet for the days’ activities, and were sent on our way to the US immigration area. As British Citizens we joined a throng of others waiting their turn; this was the longest we queued for during the whole process; it took about an hour, and warning, it was quite hot in there with all those people waiting, oh, and you are not allowed to use your cell phone! After that it was a quick walk down to the ship and onto the embarkation ramp we went! We were advised that our room should be ready by 1130hrs and until then we were invited to explore the ship. Note that the buffet restaurant on the Lido Deck is the only place open for food and drink at this point and will get very busy.
So, after having a bite to eat we made our way down to find our cabin ready for us (the interior of which can be seen in my previous post). As per usual cruise etiquette, most people assemble on the top deck for sail away and enjoy a glass of bubbly. We decided to buck that trend and did the same on our balcony. That way we were able to enjoy the views without jostling for a space and I was able to take photos without worrying about accidentally photobombing someone else! We were lucky that our cabin was on the Forward Port side of the ship, so we got wonderful views of Vancouver, Stanley Park, and Lions Gate Bridge.
The weather that morning was not the greatest, very overcast with rain, but as we left the port the clouds broke a little and some sunshine did make it through!
Stanley Park, Vancouver
On our way out we passed Stanley Park, which is Vancouver’s first and largest urban park. It is a 400-hectare green oasis with natural rainforest, wonderful views, and the Seawall which goes all around it. There is a ton to do and see in this park, from walking along the trails inside the park, to renting bikes, or take in a tour via horse-drawn cart.
Brockton Point, Vancouver
The lighthouse stands at Brockton Point in the park and is 100 years old. Nearby are several hand-carved totem poles all made in British Columbia. Originally, Brockton Point was used as a graveyard for the early settlers. There used to also be a lighthouse keeper from 1855 onwards; the gentlemen in question served for 25 years and is credited with having saved 16 people from drowning. The lighthouse you see today was built in 1914 and is outfitted with an automatic light.
Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver
As we rounded the corner at Brockton Point Lions Gate Bridge came into view. This bridge was opened in 1938 and connects the City of Vancouver with the municipalities of the District of North Vancouver, the City of North Vancouver, and West Vancouver. It’s official name is actually First Narrows Bridge, but has become Lions Gate Bridge named after a pair of mountain peaks north of Vancouver. A pair of cast concrete lions were placed either side of the south approach in 1939. In 2005 the bridge was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
Lions Gate Bridge with Prospect Point to the right
Under we go
Once we got under the bridge Stanley Park started to fall back a little, but not before we got to enjoy the views of Siwash Rock. The rock is between 15 and 18 meters tall and is the only sea stack in the Vancouver area. The rock is part of a legend among the local Indigenous Squamish people. There are a number of different accounts of this, but one says that the rock is a man who was transformed into the rock as an indestructible monument to Clean Fatherhood. A plaque nearby states that it is Skalish the unselfish who was so transformed.
Siwash Rock, Stanley Park, Vancouver