Alaska Day Two (link to more photos)
Breakfast at the hotel. I order a breakfast sandwich, intrigued by the tomato jam ingredient. In case you are wondering, tomato jam tastes like catsup.
Taking a deepening breath for calming serenity. The good news about the drive about is that we have a better sense of local traffic patterns and behavior. And we drove by the Olympic Countdown Clock three times. Off to Stanley Park.
Stanley Park – – is a 1,000 acre park on the peninsula beyond downtown. Big trees, totem pole park, a seawall drive, etc.
Per the Stanley Park website :is an evergreen oasis of 400 hectares (1,000 acres) close to the downtown core. Its natural west coast atmosphere offering a back drop of majestic cedar, hemlock and fir trees embraces visitors and transports them to an environment rich in tranquility. The park abounds in wildlife and its features appeal to the naturalist, the plant lover or one who would do nothing more than relax in beautiful surroundings.
From there, we took care of a shopping errand and headed off to Canada Place.
After unsuccessfully trying one parking garage, we find another one at the pier and descend into the bowels of concrete and pillars. Inconclusive signage is the kindest comment that will be offered. Apparently, many that work there know what to do and sort of know where to go. For those getting there the first time, good luck.
Facility signage is also bleak, inconclusive and confusing. I am really starting to have a “Where’s My Sign?” moment. We queue up for luggage drop off (hopefully onto the right one of four cruise ships), security, check-in and then finally customs. The crowd is cordial as we herd ourselves through the channels and up to each checkpoint.
One more hurdle before we board the Radiance of the Seas, the first commercial photo op. Never mind that we are struggling with carryon, cameras, and whatever other burdens we are toting. Drop many things, smile up and move on, folks are clogging up behind us. One final security checkpoint of our Seapass and we enter the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Radiance of the Seas. Waves of relief cascade the tension away. (well much of it, unspoken and spoken thoughts of luggage delivery.)
The cabins are not open to passengers yet, so we the three of us, Patty, Bobby and myself, head up to the ship cafe for lunch. By 1 PM, the announcement is made and we get to see our home for the next seven days. Starboard side stateroom with balcony, deck nine, right in the middle of the ship.
We dump our stuff, grab the three cameras and set off on a familiarization tour of the ship, waterline to top deck, bow to stern, peek inside the lounges, dining rooms, pool areas, auditorium, et al. There is glass everywhere. Pretty much wherever you are, you can see the sea.
While waiting for departure, we see an Eagle soaring over the terminal along with an flock of seagulls.
At 5 PM, the horns blast, the ship smoothly backs away from the pier, turns to the right and heads out. Westward out of the harbor, alongside Stanley Park and under the Lions Gate Bridge and into the Barrard Inlet. Our first cruise is underway. The overnight route is up the Strait of George, with Vancouver Island off the port side. This is the Canadian Inner Passage.
Dinner, every dinner is an event. Our table waiter is Raymond from Jamaica with his assistant Edith from Peru. The daily menu selections varied from the feature of the day to the standard other opportunities, portion sides were respectfully appropriate, elegant wine service, tasty breads, deserts that would not be ignored, and concluded with after dinner cordials. Then it was always showtime!
Throughout the evening, our luggage is delivered. Well, two out of three anyways. We have to go to security to claim one. But all is well and always gets better.
Sleep came easy.