Los Angeles to Victoria

Saturday, April 13, 2024 – flying from Los Angeles (LAX) to Calgary (YYC) to Victoria (YYJ)

Total Solar Eclipse & Mexican Riviera 10-day cruise aboard Discovery Princess – April 3-13, 2024

While I’m still on the ship, I activate the Airalo 5G data roaming, which is working well here in Los Angeles on Verizon. The Airalo data roaming also worked well in Mexico. Use my JOSEPH4203 referral code to sign up and save US$3.00. Use their app to install an eSIM – it’s simple, fast and way less expensive than paying your mobile carrier’s roaming rates!

After having some breakfast in the Lido, we leave the ship on time and take the pre-booked transfer bus to LAX. We find the gate area is a zoo, with people everywhere and everyone crowded into far too small a space (see banner image above). Despite the mayhem at the gate, our completely full flight to Calgary leaves only about 10 minutes late.

Westjet flight from LAX to YYC - 2024-04-13, 1:39:26 PM
Westjet flight from LAX to YYC

Flight time is 2 hours 29 minutes, so a bit faster than originally planned. I have hummus, mini bread sticks and a Coke in-flight for a midday snack. A toddler in the row ahead of me screams for the first part of the flight, but thankfully gets tired eventually.

Canada Border Control clearance in Calgary doesn’t take long, so despite only having an hour between flights, I have time to grab a turkey sandwich (for dinner) from a Tim Horton’s next to the gate for our flight to Victoria. Our aircraft pushes away from the gate at 5:20pm, so these Westjet flights to home are working much better than the Air Canada flights to LA at the start of the trip.

Westjet flight from Calgary to Victoria

My iPhone’s Find My app notifies me that my iPod Pro was last seen in Terminal 2 – Calgary or LAX? I couldn’t find the charging case as I was leaving the LA flight at the Calgary gate, so it must be on that aircraft. I have the earbuds with me, so rather than going through the hassle of notifying WestJet, I can get the case replaced by Apple for a nominal fee when I’m home.

We land in Victoria a bit ahead of schedule, retrieve our checked bags, and we’re soon home. Overall, this was a very successful trip to see a total solar eclipse from a cruise ship off the coast of Mexico. Unlike what some eclipse chasers across North America dealt with, the weather on eclipse day at our location was near perfect, and we had a great time along the way.


Depart San Pedro

Wednesday, April 3, 2024 – board Discovery Princess in San Pedro and leave port

Total Solar Eclipse & Mexican Riviera 10-day cruise aboard Discovery Princess – April 3-13, 2024

My friend and I wake up around 8am, having got about five hours sleep after our long-delayed flight. We have a nice breakfast in the Marriott Courtyard hotel, return to our room to pack, and ask the front desk call us a taxi. The Yellow Cab driver takes us to the cruise ship terminal in San Pedro – about a 20-minute drive, where we join the chaos for boarding the ship. Unfortunately, in the confusion we miss the baggage drop off, so have to wheel our bags onboard. My bag is selected by security since I travel with safety razors, which they insist I remove before boarding since they judge them to be “weapons.”

We are aboard and settled into our staterooms by 11:30am, and have some lunch from the Slice and Salty Dog Cafe beside the main pool. I have some time to quickly explore the ship, and discover the USS Ohio historic destroyer on display next to the cruise ship terminal behind our ship. We pass by the impressive US Coast Guard Station Los Angeles – Long Beach, as the Discovery Princess departs the harbour at 3pm by backing all the way out of the navigation channel to turn around inside the breakwater before sailing into open ocean.

I’m pleased to see there is already an Eclipse info sheet from the captain left in my stateroom. My friend and I have a very nice dinner in the World Fresh Market on Lido Deck 16, and then we have our first Martinis while enjoying the Ian Bacon Trio playing jazz classics in the Take Five Jazz Lounge this evening. It’s nice to finally relax and settle into the cruise after the stressful start with our flights to Los Angeles yesterday.

Ian Bacon Trio plaing jazz classics

Victoria to Los Angeles

Tuesday, April 2, 2024- Victoria (YYJ) to Vancouver (YVR) to Los Angeles (LAX) on Air Canada

Total Solar Eclipse & Mexican Riviera 10-day cruise aboard Discovery Princess – April 3-13, 2024

Princess Cruises sent me a notice of flight change last night. They booked me on a United flight from Vancouver to Los Angeles that had a 2.5 hour layover in Vancouver instead of the previous Air Canada flight where we wait for 8.5 hours in Vancouver. This United flight would have been much better since we arrive in LAX at dinner time instead of midnight. Unfortunately, I don’t see this flight on the Air Canada app or online, and when I check in to Victoria Airport, the Air Canada agent can’t find the reference. So we’re back to waiting 8.5 hours in Vancouver for the original Air Canada flight.

I’m ready at 8:30AM, so we drive out to Victoria airport, arriving at 9AM. When I check in, I’m on the later Air Canada flight to Los Angeles since the agent can’t find any reference to the United flight. I know today is going to be a marathon!

Aerial view of the boat basin in Sidney

My friend arrives at the gate at 11:00AM, and we depart Victoria at 12:00PM on Air Canada De Havilland Q400 for Vancouver. We have nice views along the way for the short flight to Vancouver. After pre-clearing US Customs and Immigration in Vancouver and finding Gate E81, we go to the nearby Canucks Bar & Grill to have a meal and a beer – both pretty good, albeit expensive!

Our Air Canada flight from YVR to LAX was originally scheduled to depart at 7:50pm, but after several delays, departs after 10:00pm. This pushes our arrival time well past midnight in Los Angeles. What pathetic service! While we were waiting those long hours, we were considering we might not arrive in Los Angeles in time to board the ship. We both booked airfares through Princess Cruises, we would have some protection provided by their Late Arrival Protection program, where they will work with airlines to re-book and fly us to the next port-of-call. We’re glad it didn’t come to that. We are both experienced travellers, but have a very bad feeling about this delayed flight.

An Air Canada agent shows up at 8:45pm and there are three flight attendants and two pilots in the gate area, so it looks like our flight will eventually happen. Our aircraft is coming from Calgary, so it pulls into a domestic terminal gate first and is then towed to our International gate, so the agent warns us that will take a bit of time. Our 22-year old Airbus A321 (C-GITY) finally pulls away from the gate at 10:10PM. Our flight time is 2:26, landing in LAX at 12:44 AM. I’ve never been so happy to see Los Angeles airport (see banner image above, for our final approach view)!

Thankfully Air Canada doesn’t lose our bags, however taxis and ride shares are no longer allowed at the LAX International terminal. We have to schlep our bags onto a blue shuttle, which takes us to a lot behind the terminal buildings where we hire a taxi to the Courtyard by Marriott – Torrence Palos Verdes. It is now 2AM – we are so beat!


Honolulu to Vancouver – day 5 at sea

2023 Vancouver-Hawai’i Cruise

Oct 23, 2023 – Day 5 at sea – Honolulu, Hawaii to Vancouver, Canada

This is our last full day at sea before arriving in Vancouver tomorrow morning at 7AM. I have a cappuccino, blueberry muffin and fruit parfait in the Grand Dutch Cafe, a light breakfast. I spend the morning in the Crow’s Nest Lounge browsing online and I have a second cappuccino.

Noon Captain’s Report

  • 2,138nm from Honolulu, 158nm to Vancouver
  • Winds: 30-35kts – force 8 gale
  • 8′ NW swells
  • Winds: 25-30 kts overnight
  • The ship should pass under Lion’s Gate Bridge at 6:30AM tomorrow
  • Gangways should be in place by 7:30AM at Canada Place

As I am having lunch, an announcement is made that there is a fire in engine 3. Shortly after, the captain announces there is no fire, however they have shut down engine 3 to investigate further. He assures us our arrival time in Vancouver should not be delayed.

I go to the Main Dining Room for dinner. I’m seated at a table for two with a view out the stern windows, so I have a table to myself. I have a Boston lettuce salad with green beans, walnuts, dried cherries and feta cheese to start, and a Macademia Crusted Opakapaka Fillet, kalbi sauce, sweet potatoes for my main. I finish with a cappuccino…a lovely last dinner aboard Koningsdam.

The last day of a cruise is often a melancholy time for passengers, but the serving staff do their best to cheer us. They parade through the main dining room at dinnertime – a huge number of staff!

A large parade of serving staff in the Main Dining Room

I go to see a singer Sonia Selbie’s show “Drops of Jupiter” at 8:00pm on the World Stage. “Back with a brand new show! Her personality and voice will spill past the doors!” Her fine singing voice must cover at least 4 octaves, but her show wasn’t one of my favourites. We are now less than 100 miles offshore from Vancouver.


Honolulu to Vancouver – day 4 at sea

2023 Vancouver-Hawai’i Cruise

Oct 22, 2023 – Day 4 at sea – Honolulu, Hawaii to Vancouver, Canada

This morning I attend A City on the Sea on the World Stage, which gives a behind-the-scenes look at life on board Holland America ships. We have some glimpses into how the ship operates, with vignettes from the crew. Stephanie our Cruise Director states that we have 2,024 passengers and 850 crew aboard on this sailing. The crew finish with a “Thank You For Sailing With Us” performance on the Main Stage afterwards.

Thank You For Sailing With Us - from the crew

Noon Captain’s Report

  • We are 1,696 nm from Hawaii, with 591 nm to Vancouver
  • Currently we have 8′ swells, which will build to 9-12′ swells as we approach the coast tomorrow. Waves will calm once we enter Juan de Fuca Strait.
  • 30 kt northerly winds will continue

I go to the Pinnacle Grill this evening for dinner, which is covered by my Have-It-All package. This is classic French cooking with an emphasis on surf and turf, so lots of rich sauces and desserts are featured. My choices:

  • Crab cakes – not much crab, but filled with salmon?
  • Filet Mignon with sautéed mushrooms and loaded baked potato
  • Not-So-Classic Baked Alaska – with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream inside, baked meringue, and cherries on the side
My 3-course dinner in the Pinnacle Grill
My 3-course dinner in the Pinnacle Grill

Later this evening, I go to the Crow’s Nest Lounge to have my usual Tanqueray 10 Classic Gin Martini. The room is empty when I arrive, and it remains sparse. Since the ship lurching through heavy seas, perhaps people are staying in their staterooms, or everyone could be attending the Orange Party being staged in the BB Kings Blues Club.


Honolulu to Vancouver – day 3 at sea

2023 Vancouver-Hawai’i Cruise

Oct 21, 2023 – Day 3 at sea – Honolulu, Hawaii to Vancouver, Canada

The ship’s clocks moved forward another hour at 2AM this morning. We have one more shift forward in a couple of days, and we will be on Pacific Daylight Time. It is noticeably cooler on the outside decks this morning, and some rain showers are wetting the Promenade Deck as I walk around the ship after breakfast.

Poached Lobster, Pressed Red Beet

I attend the Mariners’ Lunch in the Main Dining Room at 11AM this morning. There are some ship’s officers and crew greeting everyone as we enter, however there are no speeches, presentations or even a toast, despite the sparkling wine in glasses on every table. I start with Poached Lobster and have Seared Seabass in a lovely Saffron Butter Sauce for lunch. Pretty well the whole lower floor of the dining room is filled – a lot of passengers are 3, 4, or 5 star Mariners on this sailing! A Mariners collector Delft tile is waiting for me back in my stateroom.

Holland America Line Delft tile-Koningsdam, Nieuw Statendam & Rotterdam

I have dinner in the Main Dining Room with a couple from Sun City, Arizona who are gamblers. They were given a stateroom for only $300 each and upgraded to a balcony room. She has won $7,000 and he has won $3,000 so far. I then go to see a magician in the Main Stage, but his show is pretty lame so I slip out early. I find the BB King Blues Club to be much more entertaining. We have a great collection of talent on board!


Honolulu to Vancouver – day 2 at sea

2023 Vancouver-Hawai’i Cruise

Oct 20, 2023 – Day 2 at sea – Honolulu, Hawaii to Vancouver, Canada

I wake up at 6:30AM to a beautiful sunrise over a much calmer ocean as I get ready for the day (see banner image above). I have a cappuccino, blueberry muffin and fruit parfait in the Grand Dutch Cafe this morning, which is not busy at 7:30AM.

Noon Captain’s Report

  • 765nm from Hawaii
  • 1,517nm to Vancouver
  • 2-3m swells

I spot some small flying fish from my balcony late this morning. There is also a fair amount of small debris floating in the water, which may be from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch since we are on a more southerly course than normal to avoid two low pressure storms either side of us.

It is Dressy Night, so I put on a dress shirt, tie and jacket and go to the Main Dining Room for the Gala Dinner: escargot, beef tenderloin, and chocolate lava cake with a glass of Pinot Grigio. My table has three Canadian couples from Truro, Nova Scotia, Sidney, BC, and the Fraser Valley. One man is a former Canadian Air Force pilot who worked for Air Canada before retiring, and another volunteers at the Oshkosh Airshow, so many stories are told and discussion ensued.

After dinner, I once again enjoy the great-sounding music in the Rolling Stones Rock Room and the BB King Blues Club. The ship’s clocks continue to be adjusted every night or two as we sail east back to Vancouver.

An elephant towel art announces a ship's clock time change, along with two chocolates

Honolulu to Vancouver – day 1 at sea

2023 Vancouver-Hawai’i Cruise

Oct 19, 2023 – Day 1 at sea – Honolulu, Hawaii to Vancouver, Canada

It’s quite rough as we sail northeast to today, and it appears these conditions will continue the whole way. I go for breakfast in the Main Dining Room, having a Passion Fruit Yogurt and a Frittata for breakfast along with the essential cappuccino. I dine alone since it’s pretty sparse in the dining room this morning. I’m not sure if it’s the time change from last night or the rough weather keeping people away.

Captain’s Noon Report

  • 304 km, 149nm covered so far
  • 23kt NE near gale force
  • 3m (10′) swells from the north, should subside a bit by tomorrow

I skip lunch and sign up for the Rijsttafel dinner in Tamarind this evening, which is a wonderful experience. The food and flavours are exceptional, the service is excellent, and my martini is made well. I thank all the staff, especially my server, and leave positive comments on the Navigator app.

Rijsttafel Dinner in Tamarind


URAP – Indonesian mixed vegetables with coconut
SOTO AYAM “MADURA” – Madura chicken soup with fresh vegetables and Quail egg
ENTRÉES – Sarundeng, Nasi Goreng, Pork Sate, Sambal Goreng Udang, Ayam Goreng Serundeng Jawa, Pepes Ikan, Beef Sumatra, Sambal Goreng Kentang & Buncis
SARUNDENG – peanuts and spicy roasted coconut
NASI GORENG – fried rice
PORK SATÉ – barbeque marinated pork with peanut sauce
SAMBAL GORENG UDANG – sautéed shrimp in spicy sauce
AYAM GORENG SERUNDENG JAWA – fried Java spiced chicken, crispy coconut, sweet soy
PEPES IKAN – steamed fish, turmeric marinated, banana leaves
BEEF SUMATRA – braised beef with coconut and spices
SAMBAL GORENG KENTANG – stir-fried sweet and spicy potato cubes
SAMBAL GORENG BUNCIS – green beans flavored with sambal
KOPI OR TEH – coffee or tea
PUDDING NASI AND PISANG GORENG – coconut rice pudding and banana fritter

I enjoy both the Rolling Stones Rock Room and BB King’s Blues Club on Music Walk this evening after dinner. It has been a lovely day at sea.

BB King's Blues Club

Rainforest Hike – Manoa Valley

2023 Vancouver-Hawai’i Cruise

Oct 18, 2023 – Day 2 in Honolulu – Rainforest Hike in the Manoa Valley

I have breakfast in the Main Dining Room this morning: cappuccino, Passion fruit parfait, and a smoked salmon omelet. Afterward, I grab my notebook computer and go to the Crow’s Nest to hang out there. At 9:30AM the Pacific Collector, a US Navy Auxiliary ship is pushed into an adjacent dock by two tugs. It doesn’t appear to be under power, and has two large white domes on the main cargo deck.

Pacific Collector being towed into the harbour and docked

I go on an excursion today: Tropical Rain Forest Nature Walk. It is leaves at 11:45AM, including a 45 minute hike through the Lyon Arboretum rain forest in the Valley of the Rainbows at the head of the beautiful Manoa Valley. I take lots of photos of the many plants, flowers and birds found in the rain forest. Our guide then drives us to the Pu’u Uala’kaa — the hill of the rolling sweet potatoes above the city at an elevation of 1,048 feet. We have great views of Diamond Head, Waikiki, Honolulu, and the harbour and airport, and our ship is visible from here. We also drive through Punchbowl Crater, which is a memorial graveyard for the US Armed Services.

We return to the ship just after 3PM, well before the 4:30 All Aboard time. After getting cleaned up, I decide to wear my new Aloha shirt from our port call in Kaua’i.

4:30PM Captain’s Report – We will sail between two low pressure systems on the return voyage to Vancouver. Waves are expected to be 10′ most of the way, as both systems are generating significant wave action. Koningsdam was scheduled to depart Honolulu at 5PM, but it looks like we will be delayed by an hour due to a medical disembarkation and some late-arriving passengers from an excursion.

Our delayed departure actually works out really well, since the ship sails out of the harbour entrance at sunset, giving us beautiful views along the coastline with some dramatic clouds, ships in the distance on the horizon, all making for some good photos. After looking closer at my sunset photos, I realize there are five mirages of ships and the city floating above the ocean!


Bishop Museum – Honolulu

2023 Vancouver-Hawai’i Cruise

Oct 17, 2023 – Day 1 in Honolulu – Bishop Museum

After having breakfast in the Main Dining Room aboard the ship, I take a taxi to the Bishop Museum. I saw this museum back in the 1980s, so it is time to see this repository of Hawaiian natural and cultural history again. There are some exquisite artifacts and artwork, but it is mostly the same as before.

Pacific Hall features Polynesian culture as it is found across huge regions of the Pacific Ocean. I’m pleased to see the Lapita People are featured as the origins of more recent oceanic people. The Lapitas migrated across the South Pacific from Taiwan and East Asia during the Neolithic era (1600 to 500 BCE). All the resulting Melanesian, Micronesian and Polynesian cultures from this migration are featured in displays in this hall, as well as ocean-going sailing canoes.

Hawaiian Hall is a beautiful 3-level exhibit hall with big models in the centre and display cases on the side walls. See banner image above.

A big Tlingit House Post (totem pole) stands in the foyer between the two main exhibit halls, which I thought was a bit odd until I read the inscription: “This Tlingit House Post is a gift from the Sealaska Corp to the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the Hawaiian people to commemorate the strong ties of friendship generated by the Hawai’iloa voyaging canoe and her crew.”

There is also a Picture Gallery between the two main exhibit halls, which features paintings, photos and household artifacts from the Hawaiian royalty. They also have a good collection of stereograms and a couple of working viewers, which brings back memories to me of using a View-Master to look at stereoscopic images of cartoon characters and scenery during my childhood

I take a quick wander through the Science Adventure Center, which is mainly setup for kids with lasers, flashing lights, and interactive displays. There is a cleverly designed Make A Telescope display, which appeals to me as an amateur astronomer. The optics are configurable, so when played with, the effect of moving optic elements or using different ones becomes apparent.

After a couple of hours, I’m ready to return to the ship, so call another taxi. The museum is quite a distance from downtown, costing about US$25 each way. As always, it’s great to return to the ship. I have some lunch and relax for the afternoon.

I go to the 6PM show of Drums of Polynesia: Featuring Kauvaka a performance of a local entertainment troupe that looked promising, however I end up walking out after 10 minutes since the talent is amateurish, and not even close to portraying authentic Polynesian or Hawaiian culture.

I give my two room stewards envelopes with US$ as an early tip this evening, so if they get some time off tomorrow, perhaps they can do some shopping in Honolulu.