Our Alaska cruise with the "Norwegian Sun"begins in Vancouver, Canada. First we drive north through the Inside Passage, visit Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan in Alaska, we cross in Glacier Bay National Park and then we drive south.
Here the stops of our trip are Victoria on Vancouver Island and Astoria in the US state of Oregon, before we reach San Francisco on the eleventh day.
Before the cruise - Two days in Vancouver, Canada
After almost 10 hours of flight, our plane lands in Vancouver early that afternoon. Canadian immigration is very well organized. All formalities are already done after 5 minutes, but we wait some time for our luggage.
We booked a hotel in downtown Vancouver on Granville St, a good one kilometer from the cruise terminal at Canada Place.
Canada Place - Cruise Ship Terminal
From the airport we take the Canada Line to Vancouver City Center and take the bus for the rest of the way. That works great. Connections are fast and secure, and information on routes, times and prices is easily available below www.translink.ca to find.
Our hotel room is comfortable. There is a living room and bedroom, bathroom and balcony. Everything is very spacious and well-kept. The location is ideal for us. You can find details in our article Vancouver landmarks.
On the Vancouver Lookout Tower
At five o'clock we are on our way again, with a bus to the Waterfront and Canada Place. The bus stops directly opposite the Harbor Center with the 177 meter high "Lookout Tower". An elevator can take you to the viewing platform at a height of 130 meters, which offers a 360 ° panoramic view of Vancouver. The weather is great, and since the visibility is also excellent, we go up. Vancouver from above is an absolute must. You get a good overview of the sprawling city and Burrard Bay. Then we go to Canada Place and look at the ships that are there today.
We are tired. The time difference of 9 hours is noticeable. According to Central European Time, it would now be around 04:00am the next day. We stroll along the pier and land for a beer in an Irish pub. Then we go up to the Lookout Tower again and see Vancouver in the evening mood. Really great and recommended to anyone who is in Vancouver overnight. Admission to the viewing platform is valid for one day, so you can go up several times without paying multiple times.
Vancouver in the evening
Vancouver by bus and SeaBus
If you mainly use public transport like us, you buy in Vancouver preferably a day pass. Important: The Day Pass is always valid on the day it is purchased, not after the first validation. For less than CAD 10 you can use the trains, buses and the SeaBus, the ferry from Downtown Vancouver to Vancouver North, all day. It's like a harbor tour and the view of downtown Vancouver is fantastic.
This is how we start today. Just the thing for a warm sunny day. It's Sunday and it's still very quiet at Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. There is an attractively designed pedestrian area with small shops, restaurants, bars and a large viewing terrace on Burrard Bay with a view of downtown Vancouver. We go back by bus. The route goes through the suburbs below Grouse Mountain, then past the Capilano Gorge, over the Lion's Gate Bridge and through Stanley Park. We get off there.
In Canada's largest city park
The Stanley Park is located on a peninsula between Downtown and North Vancouver and is the largest urban park in all of Canada. An almost 9 km long path, separated for pedestrians and cyclists or scaters, leads around the park on the bank. The proximity to the city center, the beautiful forests and the more than 200 kilometers of walking paths always attract many residents and guests. Here you will also find the aquarium, the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, tennis and golf facilities and so on. We walk to the Totem Poles at Brockton Point.
Totem poles in Stanley Park
This is a collection of nine totems, all replicas of various indigenous peoples in British Columbia. They are an absolute magnet for visitors to Stanley Park. We continue to follow the riverside path to the lighthouse and the sculpture "Girl in a Wetsuit". The bronze figure shows a young woman in a diving suit and diving goggles and otherwise looks astonishingly similar to the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen.
Relax on English Bay
In the Park Loop we take the bus to Denman and change to the English Bay. There, in Morton Park, the “A-maze-ing laughter” awaits us, a bronze sculpture consisting of 14 people about three meters high who laugh in different ways. What a great sculpture.
A-maze-ing Laughter at Morton Park
We take a walk on English Bay. On the beach, which by the way is a beautiful long sandy beach, there are debarked tree trunks that can be used by bathers as seats or shelves. We think it's a good idea.
Downtown Vancouver and the waterfront
We take the bus back to downtown and have a look at the particularly beautiful buildings there: the Fairmont Hotel, the Christ Church Cathedral - unfortunately closed -, the Living Shangri-La, the Coastal Church and the Marine Building. We continue to the Convention Center and the Fly Canada pier. This is where the seaplanes take off and land to and from Vancouver Island. Sightseeing flights are also offered. In the harbor area there is a lot of bustle, many people are out and about on Sundays in the nice weather.
Seaplane Terminal at the Vancouver Convention Center
We do some sightseeing by train. We take the Expo Line to Main Station, just to look and take photos. So we also see something of Science World and the Plaza of Nations.
We end our tour today in Gastown. We leave the Expo Line at Stadium Station. At Cambie St we come to Victory Square, a neglected little park. Here one meets more drug addicts and homeless people, bottles, syringes and other rubbish are lying around everywhere. Gastown is only two blocks away and a different world. The old town area of Vancouver is a tourist magnet. There are narrow cobblestone streets, old buildings that have been carefully restored and of course the statue of Gastown's founder, Gassy Jack, and the old steam clock. You can find stylish shops and inviting bars, everything is very neat and a bit old-fashioned. An ideal place to relax after an eventful day.
The Gastown Steam Clock
Continue reading: Day 1 - Embark in Vancouver