Whenever Eddie and I take a cruise, we try and make the most of our time in the cruise port city that we find ourselves in before we board our ship.

For my first (and Eddie’s second) cruise we left from Vancouver to cruise to Alaska.
Vancouver turned out to be a great place to visit and its definitely worth a trip back! It’s a beautiful city that’s full of history, natural beauty and provides many different types of things to see and do!

We spent 2 days there and followed our normal, ‘narrow down the sights’ routine.

Our criteria of places to visit includes sites:
*that we choose independently due to having a current interest in
*that exposes us to some local history
*that helps us experience some local culture
*that allows us to ‘get back to nature’ – especially if it’s scenery that we don’t have at home
*where I can find a refrigerator magnet (which are the souvenirs that I collect as they are cheap, lightweight and go onto my refrigerator instead of into a drawer somewhere!)

Here’s how our mini-vacation time in Vancouver played out:

First, we decided to upgrade our rental car from ‘cheap economy option’ to a BMW 750. Our budget instantly went over by about $300, but being Eddie is such a car fanatic, he decided that the car would be his excursion. This satisfied Eddie’s ‘Current Interest’ site and although he had a great time with his extensive test drive, the car museum would have been cheaper and saved me from the near heart attack………

We then headed to Stanley Park for a lovely drive through the forest where we saw a lighthouse and a group of totem poles. We learned that the Brockton Point Totem Poles are Vancouver’s #1 Tourist sight! I’m a little confused by that and would have to disagree, but they are worth seeing. The originals, carved in the 1880’s, are now in multiple museums and the fairly recent replicas that are there are beautiful. Local History Site…….check!

We hung out at some of the local beaches including the Spanish Banks, Jericho Beach and Kitsilano. Our friends who were with us are originally from Florida, so even though it’s hard to impress them with beaches, we landlocked landlubbers enjoyed the lovely beaches and just ‘hangin’ out’ very much! Local Culture………done!

From there it was off (really off in our BMW) to the Lynn Canyon Park and Suspension Bridge. What a beautiful place! We took a hike through the rainforest and walked over the very high, very wobbly wood slat-and-rope Suspension Bridge. All four of us have issues with heights, so I’m proud to say that I actually stopped on the bridge, let go of the rope sides and took some pictures looking down onto the stunning waterfall below! Get Back to Nature…..…accomplished!

We also spent some time on Granville Island doing some shopping (mostly the window type) where I got some wonderful local wine and my Refrigerator Magnet. Granville Island is a great place if shopping is on your itinerary, and you can drive there. There are also some awesome restaurants on the island that specialize in local seafood. Some are a little pricey, but the food and the view are well worth the added expense!

The area right near the cruise dock (which is called Canada Place), there is a place to watch the local goings-on as well as the planes flying in and out of the Vancouver Harbor Flight Center Seaplane School. While there we strolled the lovely Waterfront Walk enjoying a quiet evening and some ice cream.

We had an awesome time in Vancouver!

We stayed near the waterfront and enjoyed local Italian and Asian restaurants. We had Italian cuisine at Tavola, which was wonderful with both great food and great service. Our Asian choice was the Dynasty Dumpling House which was busy for a reason.  Always trust where the locals gather!  The food was different than anything we’ve tried before, (probably because it was authentic) and we had to have the folks at the next table interpret the menu for us.

I’ll be sharing information about other cruise port cities in future posts, and would love to hear about the things that you’ve done while waiting on a ship!

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Next time you are catching a cruise ship, make sure to make the most of where you board and disembark!

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