Vancouver childrens water park.
The ship docked in Vancouver while the majority of passengers disembarked and a set of new ones got on. We got off for the day and headed out of the centre and towards Stanley Park for some fresh air and trees and a visit to the aquarium.
The walk out followed the harbour was was really lovely. Good to stretch our legs. The aquarium was fantastic. We had a good couple of hours walking about and exploring the different areas. The stingray touch tank was amazing (They feel like a wet slimy bar of soap) and we saw other feelings and bits. They do have larger marine mammals (something I don’t always agree with … Sea life should be in the sea, not a tank) but after talking to the staff it seems almost all of their animals are with them from rescue not capture and they have provided homes for a number of animals not suitable for wild release.
After a few hours we had to head back to the ship to re-embark. Wow. So. Much. Queuing. But the sunset when we left was amazing and made the late leaving time worth it. Well almost.
It transpired that the queues through US customs (clearing all passangers ahead for Alaska) delayed the ship by 3 hours. Which meant we missed our tides through the narrows.
But it all worked out OK in the end. We still got to stop everywhere we were meant to. And saw all we wanted to see. And had an afternoon/evening at sea that was definitely ‘at sea’. So much so the never travel sick hubby and I took Dramamine!
So after leaving Vancouver and a day at sea we were headed to Juneau. And whales 😉
Victoria BC was probably our favourite stop during the first week. The weather was fabulous and it’s a great place. We stopped by the butterfly gardens first thing and spent an lovely hour or so there. It’s a small place but really worth a visit. We got the local bus out there, longer but much cheaper!
After we we got back into town we headed out to Beacon Hill park for a walk and some fresh air. We walked from town into the park, which is no more than a couple of blocks. Then through the animal farm park. Man those goats were cute! Then down to the coastline and along the coastal path. We saw deer and bald eagles and harbour seals. It was lovely way to escape the crowds from the sip in the town centre and we mostly saw locals on the walk. The whole city is wonderful but that particular green space really blew us away.
We even got to drop the kid off at the ships kids club afterwards and grabbed a drink in the evening by the harbour.
(We did also stop in Astoria on the Oregon coast on the way up. It’s a sweet little town and we rented a car and did a bit of a drive about. We climbed the column and walked to the cathedral tree. The coast is so beautiful. It would be such a wonderful place to visit at leisure in the summer. But it was super grey and overcast so no pics besides anything I snapped for Instagram. Sorry!)
Happiness is a carousel.
San Francisco was fun. We saw Alcatraz and rode the cable cars. Did a little shopping and found some great playgrounds for the kid too.
Yeah, I’ve got Enya’s Oricano Flow on repeated in my head. That’s what happens when you cabin share with a 5 yr old who likes bedtime music.
We successfully located and boarded the sip in LA. Although not before a white knuckle ride along the ‘freeway’. No reflection on our driver who was actually great. But coming from NZ. Single lane, overtaking on the right only. It was eye opening. Or more commonly known as terrifying.
The ship is huge. No lie. It’s taken me 3 days to just be able to find our cabin without referring to a map. The staff are uniformly delightful, friendly and helpful. Also possibly saints given how I’ve witnessed some people treat and speak to them. Why it seems acceptable to be rude to someone who is serving you is beyond me. The kid appears to be trying to cover any shortfall by uttering loud and prococious ‘hellos’ and ‘thank yous’ at every given opportunity. Thank god she’s fairly cute.
Being at sea in general is really fun, the sunsets are spectacular, we are all enjoying being relatively unplugged from the Internet. We do have access for keeping on top of work so it’s not manic when I get home, and I have 4G for when we are on land so in contactable and can Instagram repetitive and boring holiday pictures. Sorry. Not sorry really.
Speaking of photographs. I should probably put in a little mention to hubby. Nearly all the pics that I will publish for this holiday will be taken by him. I do have my camera with me. And I will possibly add a few of my own pics to the posts. But 99% will be his images. He is, quite honestly, a much better, more patient photographer than I am. No question. So for this trip, he has been given (foisted aggressively into him) the title of official photographer.
The first sea day went well. The kid tried the ships ‘kids club’ and enjoyed herself which is fabulous as not only does it give us a break from her and her a break from us but also allows her to cut loose with some little people of her own age. We have mooched about and even done some exercise. Yup! Excercise. Both hubby and I ran for 45 mins and are actually trying to use the time to ditch processed sugar.
Which I am aware is an odd thing to do while on holiday. But really for us it’s the perfect opportunity – no work, cooking or cleaning to worry about. No excuses to snack. It’s a 50:50 success so far. But not an epic fail so I’m calling that a win.
We flew in and out of LA pretty fast. Two nights. One full day.
I won’t lie and say that I loved it as a place. It’s interesting. A good place to people watch and the food is awesome. Every type of food you could want. We stayed right next to the Grove and The Farmers Market.
The California Science Centre was amazing. Easily somewhere you could spend a whole 8h day and still have places to go back and see. We popped in for half a day to see the exhibits and the space shuttle Endeavour. I wish we had time to visit the natural history museum and the art centre.
We used Über to get about. In complete honesty I was sceptical. Strangers picking us up? In their own cars, just using an ap. But hubby assured me it was safe (my primary concern) and easy to use. Actually I have to give this to him. Our drivers were delightful and it was incredibly easy to use and fast to. You want picking up from a random kids playground? In 3 minutes? No worries.
I guess I should also mention the flight over. There not a lot to say about 12 hour flights. They are long. Rather boring. Most notably I didn’t have a panic attack at any point and the kid slept for over 6 hours. We flew Air NZ as I know and trust them. Also I’m a nervous flyer and they have an impeccable record. The food was good. They didn’t both us once dinner was served (my pet hate is airlines that try and feed you every 3h throughout a flight … Seriously leave me alone I’m drugged and trying to sleep!) and served breakfast about an hour out of LA.