Wednesday, September 22, 2010 – the start of the South Pacific Cruise
Pacific Coach Lines (now the BC Ferries Connector) takes us from Victoria across the water to the mainland on BC Ferries to the Canada Place Cruise Terminal in Vancouver without a hitch. They drop us off right inside the terminal, and our bags are delivered to our cabin aboard ship…what terrific service!
Boarding the Volendam is pretty easy, despite having to go through three stages before actually stepping aboard: security screening (like airports), US Customs and Immigration, then Holland America’s own check-in.
Somehow I manage to leave my dress jacket at home, so once I’m settled in my cabin, I leave the ship and make a quick dash to Dunn’s Tailors on lower Granville Street where I buy a new dress jacket. So now I will be ready for the seven formal nights we have scheduled while on board this 30-day cruise. I arrive back on board in time for the compulsory lifejacket drill, just before our departure.
The Volendam slips away from the dock at 5PM, and we are on our way! There are some passengers who boarded today in Vancouver and who will leave the ship tomorrow in Seattle – a one day overnight cruise! No doubt they will party hard tonight to take advantage of all the fun stuff aboard.
Sailing under Lions Gate Bridge is spectacular this evening, with great views of the North Shore Mountains, the harbour, and Stanley Park. It brings back memories of when I sailed under the same bridge in 1981 aboard the Cunard Princess bound for the Caribbean. Everyone is very excited as we pass under the bridge, but then it is time for dinner. We opt for a BBQ dinner served alfresco on the (covered) Lido deck beside the pool. We watch the sun set over Georgia Strait and Vancouver Island as the ship slowly makes its way overnight to Seattle.