post

Vancouver Arrival

April 30, 2023 – Sunday – Arrival in Vancouver and onward to home in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

2023 Panama Canal Cruise

I’m up at 6am to experience the beautiful light as we sail past English Bay, under Lion’s Gate Bridge and Stanley Park, down Burrard Inlet to the harbour. I grab a cappuccino and a chocolate croissant from the Explorations Cafe to take back to my stateroom. The ship docks in Vancouver a bit ahead of time, despite having two cruise ships docked at Canada Place ahead of us: the huge Discovery Princess and the much smaller Brillance of the Seas. This is the end of the cruise for me, and a return to reality!

Since I’m rolling my own bag off the ship, I’m one of the first off the ship, leaving at 8AM. Canada Customs and Immigration don’t want to talk to the departing passengers, so I make my way to the nearby Skytrain Waterfront Station and board the Canada Line which goes to the airport. It takes 35 minutes, so I’m at the airport station by 8:45am, catch the shuttle to the South Terminal, and check my bag with Pacific Coastal Airlines for my flight home to Victoria.

My flight doesn’t leave until 12:45pm, so I try going to the observing platform outside the terminal to spot planes, but the breeze is cold and there are very few aircraft moving at this time of day. Retreating back to the terminal building, I grab a muffin from the Galiano Cafe and settle in to wait by editing some of my photos on my notebook.

The flight goes without a hitch, however the dull grey weather means I take few photos out the aircraft window. We land on runway 13, which is unusual, but brings us very close to the apron in front of the terminal. My family are waiting for me, and my bag is the first on the belt. We pay the $2 parking fee and drive home, where the rest of the family are waiting to greet me.

post

Victoria

April 29, 2023 – Saturday – Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

2023 Panama Canal Cruise

I don’t want to miss a thing as the ship approaches my home town, so I’m out on my verandah at 7:15am as we round Cape Flattery, sailing into Juan de Fuca Strait with Neah Bay, Washington visible through the fog bank. The snowfields on the Olympic Mountains to the south of us are impressive, and the Race Rocks lighthouse stands out from the marine mist as the Sun burns it away on the north side of the Strait.

Race Rocks lighthouse

Later, the pilot from Victoria arrives onboard as we sail past Sooke and Metchosin. Our ship docks at Ogden Point in Victoria about a half hour early at 11:30am. The Discovery Princess is already docked in the slip beside our ship, so that means about 5,000 passengers are going ashore today – 3,000 from the Discovery Princess and 2,000 from the Nieuw Amsterdam!

It is a bright sunny day, and it is warming up nicely, so I put on sunscreen before leaving the ship to be a tourist in my own town, at least in the James Bay neighbourhood. I walk slowly along Dallas Road to Fishermans Wharf, where I encounter hordes of cruise ship passengers. I guess the food and tour vendors on the wharf are happy to see them, but I’m surprised that the dock doesn’t sink under all that weight!

I walk further along the harbour, but there are so many people and traffic on Bellville, I decide to divert to Superior Street where it is quiet. I need a break, so I go to Discovery Coffee on Menzies Street and enjoy a traditional cappuccino away from the crowds and noise. The sunshine is great, making for a lovely day, showing off all the Spring flowers in bloom around the city.

My plan was to take the tour of the BC Legislature, however the building is closed to tours on the weekends and a protest on the front lawn is just winding up. Also, the Causeway and downtown are packed with tourists, so after taking a few photos of the Inner Harbour and the outside of the BC Legislature, I once again divert by wandering south on Government Street. I take photos of the old historic neighbourhood along the way and then turn right at Dallas Road, walking slowly from Holland Point along the waterfront to return to the ship by 5pm.

The above map is a 6km (2.5 mi) route, with a total walking time of 1 hour, 15 minutes if you don’t stop. It took me 2.5 hours with a 15 minute rest stop at the coffee shop, and a bit slower pace than normal to appreciate the sights and take a few photos. There are no hills and all the walking is on sidewalks.

Filet of Beef Wellington

I enjoy my last dinner aboard ship in the Main Dining Room this evening, having Smoked Salmon Rosettes with salmon caviar to start, Filet of Beef Wellington with mashed celery root, peas and carrots for my main course, and Baked Alaska for dessert..

Our ship departs at 10:50pm to slowly sail overnight to Vancouver, arriving early tomorrow morning at Canada Place.

post

Victoria to Fort Lauderdale

Apr 7, 2023 (Friday) – Apr 8, 2023 (Saturday) – Flights from Victoria to Ft. Lauderdale via Toronto

2023 Panama Canal Cruise

My Air Canada Rouge flight (AC1900) on an Airbus A320-214 (C-GFCH) from Victoria (YYJ) to Toronto (YYZ) leaves Victoria at 11:24PM. This red-eye flight has lots of empty seats, so we can spread out a bit to rest, with some passengers have 3 seats to themselves, so they can lay down to sleep better. I have a good rest, but as usual don’t get any sleep. Flight time is 3:57, and the sunrise is pretty out the aircraft window as we land at Pearson Toronto Airport at 6:37AM the following morning.

My Air Canada Rouge Airbus A321 aircraft at the gate

Going through US security and Customs and Immigration pre-clearance is the usual sh*t show, which involves taking off shoes and jackets for security. The immigration line only takes about 10 minutes, so I don’t bother with the Mobile Passport Control (MPC) | U.S. Customs and Border Protection app before getting in line to talk with border security agent “Hernandez”. He appears to be pretty bored with all the cruise passengers he must be dealing with, asking me how long the cruise is and then waves me through.

My Victoria-Toronto flight arrival gate is in Terminal 1 and thankfully my Toronto-Ft. Lauderdale departure gate is in the same terminal. So after finding the gate for my Fort Lauderdale (FLL) flight, I start looking for a quiet place to have a cappuccino and some breakfast since I’m pretty hungry by this time. As it turns out there are few options, so I end up at the Hearth restaurant for breakfast, paying CA$30 for a vegetarian omelette and a cup of coffee!

I put an Apple Airtag in my checked bag before leaving home, so I now flash up the ‘Find My’ app on my iPhone. It indicates my checked bag is very close to me in the same terminal…a bit of a relief considering Pearson Airport’s recently newsworthy baggage handling fiasco.

When I return to the gate area, I still have about three hours to wait for my flight to start boarding. Passengers are gathering for a flight to Miami, leaving mid-morning. Huge numbers of parents with young kids completely fill the waiting area. The gate staff are making it clear that not all the carry-on bags will fit in the cabin, so they are urging passengers to check their bigger carry-ons.

The boarding process for my flight is a similar mess. It’s a full flight with lots of folks with wheelchairs, walkers, baby buggies and lots of oversized carry on bags that they eventually have to check, since there’s no more room in the cabin. Despite the chaos, the gate agents board everyone quite efficiently, and our Airbus A321-211 (C-FJNX) starts rolling off the apron at 12:45pm. The pilots start one engine using the power wagon, then start the second engine after they roll away from the gate.

This 2-hour 51-minute flight is fine, once everyone settles down. The kids are good, and my seat mates in the 3-3 configuration are fine as well. We fly south offshore from the Atlantic coast of Florida, and since I’m in a window seat on the right side of the aircraft, I have some good views of the ocean, beaches and cities before we turn in at Fort Lauderdale to land at 3:48 PM.

Atlantic shoreline at Hillsboro Beach

Since we pre-cleared in Toronto, we go straight to the departures area. To my great relief, my bag appears early on the belt, so I can get ahead of the crowd. I take a taxi to the nearby Hotel near Port Everglades | Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port Hotel, where I check-in and get settled in my room. I soon go downstairs to the R Lounge for dinner: tasty Mahi-mahi fish tacos with chips and salsa and a Space Dust IPA | Elysian Brewing for a total of US$35.

I’m quite pleased with how the flights went. I used some of my Marriott Points to pay for the night’s stay in this very nice hotel, which is in a good location.

post

Arrival in Vancouver & home to Victoria

Oct 24, 2022 – Arrival in Vancouver, BC, Canada & flight home to Victoria

2022 Hawai’i Cruise

I’m awake as the ship passes English Bay and under the Lion’s Gate Bridge, sailing into Vancouver Harbour. The ship docks at Canada Place at 7:15AM – precisely as the captain predicted yesterday! I get dressed and go down to the Grand Dutch Cafe for my usual cappuccino, blueberry muffin and yogurt/fruit parfait. There is quite a line, so it takes about 20 minutes for Kaye to make my cappuccino, but I’m in no rush. After breakfast, I return to my stateroom and finish packing. By that time, the announcement is made that the ship is cleared and disembarkation is starting. 

Since I’m a 4-star Mariner, I can disembark anytime I wish up to 9:30AM. It feels pretty good to be able to bypass all the passengers waiting for their group numbers to be called as I have my keycard scanned for the last time, and roll my bags down the gangway and into the terminal. The CBSA agent welcomes me to Canada after I give them my declaration. They don’t ask to see my passport, so I walk out the terminal and turn left onto Cordova Street to walk the block in the rain to the Skytrain terminal to board the Canada Line to the airport. I mistakenly get onto the train to Brighouse-Richmond instead of YVR, but no worries since I get off at Bridgeport and board the following train to YVR three minutes later.

The South Terminal shuttle is waiting right outside the pedestrian bridge at the US departures, so I’m checked in at Pacific Coastal Airways in short order. Now I wait five hours for my 3PM flight departure to Victoria. I settle in to work on my travel photos, but have a cappuccino from the Galiano Cafe first, and then an hour or so later I have some delicious seafood soup for lunch.

Bombardier Global 6000 executive jet taxiing at YVR
Bombardier Global 6000 executive jet taxiing at YVR

I spend an hour or so this afternoon plane spotting from the platform outside, taking photos of each aircraft as they takeoff and climb out. A Bombardier Global 6000 executive jet taxis past the platform to the private terminal next to South Terminal. Perhaps there is a VIP aboard? My flight is delayed 20 minutes but otherwise the flight goes smoothly. The pilot must have had a takeoff time slot booked, since he really hustles down the taxiway to the button, not even stopping at the stop line before taking off! The flight to Victoria was a bit bumpy, since we were flying at 2,000′ below the clouds. We fly a straight in approach over Sidney to Victoria International Airport, and roll onto the taxiway 15 minutes after our takeoff from Vancouver. There is an Air North Boeing 737 aircraft on the apron in Victoria, reminding me of my flight to Whitehorse back in May.

My family is waiting for me in the baggage claim area. My checked bag is one of the first to appear on the belt, so we are out of there in quick order, driving home in the rush hour traffic.

post

Departure from Vancouver

Oct 8, 2022 – Departing Vancouver aboard the Koningsdam – heading for Hawai’i

2022 Hawai’i cruise

I have a coffee in my hotel room this morning before I repack my big bag and check out of the Metropolitan Hotel, walking 10 minutes downhill to the nearby Canada Place cruise ship terminal, arriving at 10:30AM. I pre-clear US Customs and Immigration, and then wind my way through the various Holland America check-in procedures. This is the first time I’ve used Priority Boarding, since I’m now a 4-star Mariner, but we end up waiting in the terminal for almost an hour before boarding commences. I must have missed the bag drop earlier, so I wheel my big bag up the gangway, all the way onto the ship and to my stateroom, arriving at Noon.

After a quick lunch in the Lido, I wander around the various venues, since the Koningsdam is my first Pinnacle-class ship. I have a martini in the Crow’s Nest Lounge, hanging out there for awhile admiring the view of beautiful Vancouver harbour on a sunny afternoon. Later this afternoon, I meet some friends on the Sun Deck 11 as we watch our departure from Vancouver. I have my GoPro action camera fastened to my verandah rail shooting a time lapse video of the ship’s beautiful evening departure, while I’m elsewhere on the ship observing and photographing our departure using my Canon R5 mirrorless camera. 

Grilled prawns in the Canaletto
Grilled prawns in the Canaletto

Once we are clear of Vancouver, heading south through Georgia Strait, I finish unpacking and get dressed for dinner. I head for the Main Dining Room by 6:15PM, but is very busy on this first evening of the cruise, with huge lines of people waiting. I decide to have dinner at Canaletto (an Italian specialty restaurant), where I drop-in since there’s hardly anyone up there this evening. I’m fine with paying the US$12.92  charge (discounted from the regular $18 since I’m a 4* Mariner) in order to have a quiet place to eat with excellent service. The food is very tasty: Canaletto salad to start (green salad with candied pecans and vinaigrette), Grilled prawns with rice pilaf as the main, and I have an Affogado for desert and a cappuccino to finish.

BC Pilot leaving the Koningsdam offshore from Victoria
BC Pilot leaving the Koningsdam offshore from Victoria

I attend this evening’s presentation in the Main Stage – The Origin Story: Holland America Line. Jayme the Cruise Director tells the 300-year story of Holland America Line, which is quite interesting and a well-done multimedia presentation. He even mentions more recent history, where in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, Holland America worked hard to get their guests home, and to later repatriate all their crew to their home countries.

The Koningsdam is offshore from my home town of Victoria, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island around 9:30PM, where the BC pilot leaves the ship. My stateroom is right above where he transfers to the boat to take him ashore, so I get a great view of the action.

post

Victoria to Vancouver

Oct 7, 2022 – Fly from Victoria to Vancouver & stay overnight

2022 Hawai’i cruise

Skytrain bridge over the Fraser River
Skytrain bridge over the Fraser River

After lunch at home, we drive to Victoria airport, where I take a Pacific Coastal Airways flight to Vancouver South Terminal (YVR), flying over the Strait of Georgia looking SE on a smokey afternoon. I take the shuttle from the South Terminal to the main terminal, and get off at the first stop (International and USA departures), walk across to the Skytrain terminal, and take the Canada Line to City Centre Station at Pacific Centre – about a half hour trip costing CA$9. The Skytrain is quite scenic as it crosses the Fraser River.

I’m staying at the Metropolitan Hotel (a Marriott), which is a half block walk from the Skytrain station. For nostalgia’s sake, I walk back to the intersection of Georgia and Granville Streets to take a few photos, and then do some last minute shopping at the London Drugs store on the corner where Birk’s Jewellers used to be when I lived here in the 1970s. The Birk’s clock is still there, but is now buried in the high-rises. After returning to the hotel, I have dinner at the hotel’s Gala bar and restaurant – a chicken clubhouse & Granville Island Pale Ale, before retiring for the night. I board the ship tomorrow.

Panorama of Georgia at Granville – Hudson’s Bay, London Drugs, Pacific Centre
post

Vancouver Arrival

June 5, 2022 – Arrival in Vancouver and returning home to Victoria, BC, Canada

2022 Yukon & Double Denali Alaska land/cruise

I’m awake at 5:30AM, get dressed and go up to the Crow’s Nest on Deck 11 forward where the Explorations Cafe is located. The staff are preparing for opening at 7AM, but I’m interested in watching the ship pass under Lion’s Gate bridge as we sail into Vancouver. It is raining and gloomy outside, but I manage to take a time lapse video with my iPhone that captures the few minutes it takes the ship to pass under the bridge. The North Shore industrial terminal is on our left and Stanley Park is on our right as the ship makes its way through Burrard Inlet to the Cruise Ship Terminal at Canada Place in Vancouver harbour, arriving right on time at 7AM.

Time lapse video of the Nieuw Amsterdam passing under Lion’s Gate bridge, entering Vancouver harbour

I grab my last cappuccino from my favourite barista and head back down to my stateroom on deck 5, where I’m facing the dock at Canada Place. My preordered breakfast arrives at 7:30AM, right on time – my last lox, cream cheese and bagel for breakfast while aboard the ship. My debarkation time slot is second to last, so I have lots of time to relax and let everyone leave the ship. No doubt some are in a hurry to get to flights home and other onward travels. When my turn comes to leave the ship for the last time, my keycard is scanned by ship’s security, and I’m soon in the Canada Place terminal with throngs of other travellers.

Cruise passengers make their way into the city from Canada Place

It is actually pretty well organized, with lots of staff to point everyone in the right direction, and keep people moving. The Canada Border Services officers are waving everyone through, taking our customs declaration forms, but they don’t want to see passports, vaccination cards, or our bags. Perhaps this is the benefit of everyone onboard having previously entered the required personal information into the ArriveCan app. I’m soon directed to a line to wait for the bus that transfers us to Vancouver Airport. A half hour later I’m dropped off with my bag at Domestic Departures, and walk a bit further to the free South Terminal shuttle, which soon arrives, taking me on a 20-minute drive out the main terminal area and back into the south terminal area.

The south terminal used to be Vancouver’s main airport, which I can remember taking flights from when I was a kid in the 1960s. Now, it is home to Pacific Coastal Airways and other small airlines serving people travelling to small BC destinations. I arrive at 11AM, but my flight doesn’t leave until 6:30PM, so I have the whole afternoon to kill before I fly home. I surf the Internet for awhile, but I’m soon bored, so I have a plate of fries at the Galiano Cafe for lunch.

Air France Boeing 777-200ER climbing out, bound for Paris
Air France Boeing 777-200ER climbing out, bound for Paris

I’m looking at a lot more waiting time before my flight, so I go outside and soon discover a plane spotting platform on the north side of the terminal. It has a great view of the executive jet facilities next door, and the main, southern east-west runway, which is being used for takeoffs this afternoon. Plane spotting using my long 100-500 lens keeps me busy for a couple of hours. I spot a couple of executive jets landing or taking off, an Air France flight taking off for Paris, a Japan Airways flight destined for Narita, along with the usual traffic. Vancouver YVR is a very busy airport.

I clear security and wait for my flight in the only secure boarding lounge in the South Terminal. My flight to Victoria aboard Pacific Coastal Airways takes off a few minutes early, since everyone has checked in and are onboard. The flight takes about 20 minutes, and os clear enough for me to take a few photos out the window with my iPhone as we fly over Georgia Strait and the southern Gulf Islands before arriving at Victoria Airport at 6:30PM. We retrieve my bag and drive home, where my Jack Russell Terriers are waiting to give me a frenzied welcome.

post

Inside Passage

June 4, 2022 – the Inside Passage between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia, Canada

2022 Yukon & Double Denali Alaska land/cruise

Map of my photos taken between Ketchikan, Alaska and Vancouver, British Columbia, including the Inside Passage
Map of my photos taken between Ketchikan, Alaska and Vancouver, British Columbia, including the Inside Passage

I have breakfast in the main dining room, but they don’t have a group to seat me with, so I eat alone. The Nieuw Amsterdam emerged last night from protected waters after leaving Ketchikan into Hecate Strait, and is proceeding down the Canadian Inside Passage: Queen Charlotte Strait, Johnston Strait and Georgia Strait. The ship will wait overnight in the strait before arriving in Vancouver harbour the following morning around 7AM.

I take some photos of the rain and fog outside as I sip my morning cappuccino in the Crows Nest Explorations Cafe. I’m eventually driven out of there by the noise and crowds playing some game with a host, so I wander around the ship at loose ends. Since the shipboard Internet hasn’t worked for me for the last several days, I complain to Customer Service. They can’t get my connection working either, despite insisting it is working for others, so they give me a 2-day credit.

Crow's Nest - Explorations EXC & Explorer's Bar
Crow’s Nest – Explorations EXC & Explorer’s Bar

I meet friends on the Lido pool deck for lunch, which is protected today with a closed canopy. I have a Beyond Meat version of The High Dive burger and fries, along with a beer. My friends tell me the crew have said are only around 700 passengers aboard, but there are 1,700 passengers boarding in Vancouver tomorrow. I believe the ship holds about 2,100 passengers, so currently they are only one-third of capacity. Having so few passengers aboard but with a full complement of crew means we have been spoiled on this voyage with excellent service. Although some of the crew are new, and they are operating under new protocols like having to wear masks the whole time they are on duty, they have all done very well. I know the passengers have appreciated their work…I certainly have!

Lido Bar setup for evening service
Lido Bar setup for evening service

I go to my favourite premium restaurant this evening at 6PM. Tamarind is an Asian Fusion restaurant which I find offers superb service, very creative and tasty food, and it is located mid-ship on the top deck, offering wonderful views while dining. There is a dedicated sushi chef and eating area for those who go for that cuisine. Personally, I like my seafood cooked and served in a traditional way, so I stick to their main dining area. They also offer a lovely bar, which offers a nice, quiet area during the day, since Tamarind only operates in the evening.

Mongolian barbeque lamb chops - Tamarind
Mongolian barbeque lamb chops – Tamarind

I have a Classic Martini to start, made with Tanqueray 10 gin. Some Shrimp Chips with soy sauce & sweet and spicy sauces goes well with my cocktail as I take in the view of northern Vancouver Island sliding by as we sail south through Queen Charlotte Strait. My starter is Lobster and Shrimp Potstickers, served with smoked shoyu and pickled ginger. I have a couple of glasses of Le Grand Courtage Brut Rose French wine with my main course: very tasty and tender Mongolian Barbecue Lamb Chops, with baby bok choy, toasted sesame seeds, mirin plum sauce, with Dungeness Crab fried rice. I finish off with a dessert called Mango Posset – coconut macaroon, passion fruit jelly, mango sorbet. I leave a glowing review – JoeTourist recommended!

I go to see the Step One Dance Company: Presents Off The Charts in the main stage at 9PM. It is a pretty good song and dance show, flashing back to the 1960s, 70s and 80s performing artists. There is also a singer from the BB King venue adding her wonderful voice to the blues review part of the performance.

I walk around the Promenade Deck to get some exercise and fresh air before returning to my stateroom. It’s time to pack and put my bag out for pickup this evening, in preparation for disembarkation in Vancouver tomorrow.

post

Victoria to Vancouver – May 2022

May 22, 2022 – Flying from Victoria to Vancouver

2022 Yukon & Double Denali Alaska land/cruise

I finalize packing this morning, since I leave this afternoon on a 1:05PM flight to Vancouver – the first leg of my Alaska Cruise with Holland America.

We leave for Victoria airport at 10AM, which is incredibly early, but I want to check in and navigate security without having to stress about the new procedures. The Pacific Coastal Airways agent tells me I have about a half hour before the security area will be very busy, so I proceed directly there. It is all very easy – all I need is my boarding pass QR code, my passport, and my federal COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination QR code. I have a couple of hours to kill, but after a few flights depart, my aircraft arrives and the flight is announced. We take off 5 minutes early at 1:00pm in a Pacific Coastal Airways Beechcraft 1900D (10 rows of 2 seats). Chad is our pilot, Tyrone is our copilot, there is no flight attendant, and there are about a half dozen passengers aboard the flight. Once we arrive at the South Terminal of Vancouver Airport, three of us collect our checked bags and then take a shuttle to the main terminal. I walk back to the Fairmont Vancouver Airport hotel, which is right inside the terminal at the east end and check-in.

Joe having a martini with lunch in the Fairmont Vancouver Airport hotel bar overlooking the gates and mountains

Once I unpack a few things, I go downstairs to the bar for some lunch. There are seats right beside the windows that look out on the gates and aircraft aprons, with the North Shore mountains and the City of Vancouver visible in the distance. My lunch is rather expensive ($60 with tip), but I don’t care since I am hungry and I have a martini to celebrate my first time travelling in over two years. When I return to my room, I freshen up and have a nap. After waking up, I go for a walk through the pocket park, which is just east of the hotel, located between the main road approach to the terminal (Grant McConachie Way) and the servicing areas for the aircraft. The Canada Line Skytrain runs overhead, but it’s good to get outside for some exercise – the fresh air smells good believe it or not!

My room faces south over the southern 08/26 east-west runway with the South Terminal visible in the distance. The main road approach to the airport is directly below and the Skytrain is there as well. Despite all this, my room is quiet and very comfortable. Since I had a late lunch, I don’t bother with dinner.

post

Ft. Lauderdale to Canada

April 3, 2020 – returning home to Canada from Fort Lauderdale

2020 South America cruise

Fort Lauderdale

By mid-morning, we are called to leave the Rotterdam, so we put on our face masks and gloves before leaving the ship. US customs and immigration wave us through, as does US Health, since ship’s staff pre-processed the required paperwork the previous day. As we board our buses, many of the staff in the terminal wish us well, and one woman is waving a Canadian flag – very touching and much appreciated! We wait in the buses for about an hour, and then the Broward County Sheriff officers take us on a half-hour motorcade to a private area of the Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood airport (FLL). I must say that despite the circumstances, it’s a very impressive ride!

We are then checked in by US officials and airline staff, and walk aboard the aircraft to find our seats and get settled. We wait for over two hours while the rest of the passengers board the aircraft. The Eastern cabin attendants are fully-suited up (see banner image above) and only offer basic services. The 1978-era Boeing 767-300 charter aircraft is a wide-body cabin with 2-3-2 seats across two isles, and has a capacity of 375 passengers. Every seat is taken. Once we take off for Toronto, we have several hours to get into the bagged meal given to us as we boarded.

Flight path from FLL - YYZ - YVR - YYJ
Flight path from FLL – YYZ – YVR – YYJ

Canada

After our arrival in Toronto, we are processed by Canadian Border Services and Public Health Canada, given a kit describing the quarantine conditions we will be operating under for the next two weeks, a digital oral thermometer and a new mask. They take my temperature, ask me some health questions, and get me to dispose of the mask and gloves I’ve been wearing all day on the aircraft. I’m on my way to Terminal 1 and my domestic flights from Toronto to Vancouver, and then Victoria. I barely make it aboard the Toronto-Vancouver flight, since the shuttle driver doesn’t know where she is supposed to take us, and once we arrive at the terminal, the Air Canada staff are confused about how to get us to the gate!

The flight to Vancouver is otherwise uneventful. Once we make the short hop from Vancouver to Victoria, my travel buddy and I drive (independently) to our respective homes, adhering to the Canadian quarantine rules we are now bound by for the next two weeks. Air Canada manages to lose my checked bag, but the baggage claim clerk takes a description of my bag and assures me they will deliver it tomorrow afternoon (which they do).