A while back, I was reading through some travel-related emails and came across a discounted three-day cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver. It was one of those wild hair kind of ideas and we decided to make it into a long weekend getaway. So, here’s the story of taking as many modes of transportation as possible in four days.
First off, we had to get to Los Angeles to start the cruise. To my pleasant surprise, Alaska Airlines has $125 fares from Seattle to LA.
I couldn’t resist a photo of Mt Rainier as we take off and head south.
As for the automobile part of the trip, a taxi from LAX to the cruise ship pier.
We were on the Grand Princess, capacity: 3,100 passengers. I never got a good photo of the entire ship from a distance but here are some interior pictures.
Cabin D 717
The ship is 950 feet long which makes for some long interior corridors
The cruise ship terminal is part of the Port of Los Angeles, a major west coast cargo operation. Here’s the view from our balcony.
We set sail (I suppose that is an archaic nautical term since we really didn’t have any sails) about 5:00 PM. So as to not mess with tradition we went topside for the sail away party.
A Mojito and a Margarita seemed to be the appropriate beverages for the occasion
So long, Los Angeles
A police escort to make sure we didn’t change our minds and try to return to the pier?
Clearing the harbor entrance and heading north
Sunset on our first evening at sea
With no stops between LA and Vancouver, our focus turned to what was available on board the Grand Princess. We quickly discovered that there were numerous bars and multiple dining options.
A Grey Goose Martini with a twist for her…
…and a Hendricks Martini with olives for him
Dinner at the Crown Grill
A few scallops
This was probably a veal chop
If it’s too difficult deciding on which dessert to order, your server will bring you a sampler
It seemed like every time we left our cabin, George, our attendant, would freshen up the place. Sweet Pea, the traveling bear, became part of the evening turn down service.
A well traveled bear
One of the onboard activities was a cooking demonstration by the ship’s maître d’hôtel, the head chef and the head pastry chef followed by a tour of one of the kitchens.
Whipping up a little Tiramisu
One of the five or six kitchens onboard
A watermelon in an earlier iteration
By day, the Crown Grill was turned into an English Pub.
Steak and Kidney Pie anyone?
No shortage of beer here
When we booked the cruise, we didn’t know that Canada’s schools would be on break. The indoor pool seemed to be a magnet for the younger set.
Princess Cruises features Movies Under the Stars with a big screen on the top deck by one of the outside pools. Movies are shown throughout the day. This might be a cool feature if the ship were in in a tropical zone but not so much when it happens to be cruising up the west coast in March with a temperature of 55 degrees. Nevertheless, it was free and some passengers couldn’t resist.
Outdoor movie screen
Bundled up people watching outdoor movie
The sun sets on our first full day at sea…
After some serious research, we determined that the best bar on the Grand Princess was the Wheelhouse, located amidship. It scored top honors for the friendliness of the bar stewards and the nautical ambiance.
Chetan from India
The principal researcher
The rest of the research team surrounded by nautical ambiance
The other specialty restaurant on the Grand Princess is Sabatini, an Italian eatery. We tried it the second night and liked it so much we made reservations for the last night as well. A big reason, in addition to the food, was our waiter, Vitaly, from Ukraine.
Vitally with crawfish
A little seafood appetizer
Lorette goes for the Burrata appetizer
In case you’re not familiar with Burrata, it’s a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella, while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream.
Tiramisu. From today’s cooking demonstration?
The of the ship’s TV channels monitored our progress. Here we are passing Florence, Oregon. Sam, we waved as we sailed by but you must not have seen us!
Lorette took her flute along and managed to get in a few practices. I took my gym stuff along and managed to get in one workout in the ship’s fitness center. Here’s a photo of Lorette practicing in the Princess Theater. There are no photos of me working out in the fitness center.
And now for some random shots from around the ship…
This is the Piazza-style Atrium which usually had entertainment as well as a number of food and beverage options
The Pizzeria turns out some mighty fine hand crafted pizzas
The Wine Bar
The International Cafe was well stocked with sandwiches, salads…
Looking north toward British Columbia
Looking back toward California
We had a balcony like one of those below. Except on the starboard side. And aft. (See how much lingo I picked up in only two days!)
Alas, all good things must end.
Making a right turn into Juan de Fuca Strait on the way to Vancouver
After traveling 1,113 nautical miles, we woke up to a view of Vancouver from our balcony
A little knitting to kill the time while waiting to disembark
Goodbye, Grand Princess, it was a pleasure
And to round out the travel theme of this post, the final modes of transportation to get back home…
The Sky Train from the cruise terminal to Vancouver’s main train station
The Pacific Central Station where we boarded…
… the Bolt Bus. A ticket from Vancouver to Seattle cost $13.
The Bolt Bus let us out at King Street Station in Seattle where we caught the Sounder link back to the airport to complete the loop
Last but not least, we picked up Lewey at his kennel for the drive home.