Planes, Trains, Boats, Automobiles… and a Bus

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.

At SeaTac

At SeaTac

I couldn’t resist a photo of Mt Rainier as we take off and head south.

20150319-IMG_8053

As for the automobile part of the trip, a taxi from LAX to the cruise ship pier.

taxiCheck-in

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 D717

Cabin D 717

The ship is 950 feet long which makes for some long interior corredors

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.

20150319-IMG_8062

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

A Mojito and a Margarita seemed to be the appropriate beverages for the occasion

So long, Los Angeles

So long, Los Angeles

A police escort to make sure we didn't change our minds and try to return to the pier?

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

Clearing the harbor entrance and heading north

Sunset on our first evening at sea

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...

A Grey Goose Martini with a twist for her…

...and a Hendricks Martini with olives for him

…and a Hendricks Martini with olives for him

Dinner at the Crown Grill

Dinner at the Crown Grill

A few scallops

A few scallops

This was probably a veal chop

This was probably a veal chop

If it's too difficult deciding on which dessert to order, your server will bring you a sampler

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

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

Whipping up a little Tiramisu

One of the five or six kitchens onboard

One of the five or six kitchens onboard

Food art

Food art

A watermelon in an earlier iteration

A watermelon in an earlier iteration

By day, the Crown Grill was turned into an English Pub.

Steak and Kidney Pie anyone?

Steak and Kidney Pie anyone?

No shortage of beer here

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.

20150320-IMG_8109

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

Outdoor movie screen

Bundled up people watching outdoor movie

Bundled up people watching outdoor movie

The sun sets on our first full day at sea…

Sunset 2

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

Chetan from India

The principal researcher

The principal researcher

The rest of the research team surrounded by nautical ambiance

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

Vitally with crawfish

A little seafood appetizer

A little seafood appetizer

Lorette goes for the Burrata appetizer

Lorette goes for the Burrata appetizer

Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella, while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream.

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?

Tiramisu. From today’s cooking demonstration?

Saturday sunrise.

20150321-IMG_8133

Looking east

Looking north

Looking north

Looking down

Looking down

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!

20150321-IMG_8134

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.

20150321-IMG_8137

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

This is the Piazza-style Atrium which usually had entertainment as well as a number of food and beverage options

20150321-IMG_8154

The Pizzeria turns out some mighty fine hand crafted pizzas

The Pizzeria turns out some mighty fine hand crafted pizzas

The Wine Bar

The Wine Bar

The International Cafe was well stocked with sandwiches, salads...

The International Cafe was well stocked with sandwiches, salads…

...and pastries

…and pastries

Clear sailing on the Pacific Ocean

Looking north toward British Columbia

Looking back toward California

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!)

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

Making a right turn into Juan de Fuca Strait on the way to Vancouver

View of Vancouver from our balcony

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

A little knitting to kill the time while waiting to disembark

Goodbye, Grand Princess, it was a pleasure

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 Sky Train from the cruise terminal to Vancouver’s main train station

The Pacific Central Station where we boarded...

The Pacific Central Station where we boarded…

... the Bolt Bus. A ticket from Vancouver to Seattle cost $13.

… 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

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.

20150322-IMG_8202

 

The End!

Comments

Planes, Trains, Boats, Automobiles… and a Bus — 4 Comments

  1. Pingback: It’s My Blogiversary– | The Knitting Doctor

  2. VERY interesting! Thanks for all the pictures. (I’m a knitter like your wife and have followed her blog for many years.) Never been on a cruise…..but your pictures sure make it look enticing…..

  3. John,

    What a great experience! The food looks delicious. I love the way you recorded every step of the way. I almost feel like we were there with you.

    Judy

  4. Hey, John and Lorette,

    A very lovely presentation.
    This trip looked like a lot of fun. Another outstanding “mini-first class voyage”!

    Our best,

    Patti and Jeff