Vancouver is a great city. Unfortunately, we booked our hotel too late and wound up on the outskirts. Fortunately, it was a 25 minute Sky Train ride to the heart of downtown and the waterfront…giving us an opportunity to get a good overview of the entire layout. It is now on our list of cities to visit with lots more time to explore.
Since we didn’t have to be on the ship until mid-afternoon, we visited the Vancouver Gallery of Art, the city’s exceptional art museum. Two contemporary exhibits were really special and thought provoking.
Canadian artist and author, Doug Coupland (hadn’t heard of him before) boldly incorporates everyday material into contemporary iconography. “Growing up Utopian” (above) uses legos. His “Secret Handshake” gave us a whole new understanding of what and who is Canada.
There was also an evocative sound installation by Janet Cardiff.
A Thai festival was set up on the grounds of the museum with food and art and exhibitions, all contributing to the melting-pot, Pacific-rim feel of Vancouver.
After and art-walk of parts of the city it was time to leave Canada and board our ship bound for Alaska. Of course we had to clear immigration, customs and security as we boarded. Good thing we remembered our passports. It went very smoothly.
Here’s a selfie with Linda and Josh, our special friends and oft-time travel companions. In common, our first ocean-going cruise. We probably looked more like crew than passengers. But we quickly got our sea-legs with the enormous buffet lunch they had for our arrival. After all, dinner was a long couple of hours away. Our state rooms (cabins) were much more comfortable then expected with a queen bed, separate sitting area and unencumbered window views on the starboard (like my nautical banter?) side.
The Statendam, our Holland America ship was relatively small (1,200 passengers, 600 crew) and much more “manageable” than we had imagined. The Dutch operations staff and Indonesian and Filipino crew were outstanding. After our mandatory safety drill…
We were on our way with a day and night of sailing in the north Pacific toward the Gulf of Alaska.
Talk about a camp for adults — the ship had endless activities to choose from while sailing. Linda spent early mornings walking the 1/4 mile “walk-around” deck. I spent the first two mornings at the fully-equipped gym, before I fell into my sloth-mode for the rest of the trip. We took tours of the ship (to avoid getting lost later…which did happen anyway), and a tour of the enormous kitchen – a logistical marvel. Keeping in the theme we went to one of many to come cooking demonstrations. This one, preparing salmon (surprise, surprise). Then a Q&A with the captain, chief engineer and hotel director, several documentary films about Alaska. Then a beautifully prepared dinner.