From: John Sisker on
"Tom K" <tkanitra(a)> wrote in message
> On 7/10/10 6:15 PM, John Sisker wrote:
>> All in all, what did you like best about your cruise? I would assume
>> that Vancouver was your home port. Do anything exciting there? That's
>> one of our favorite City's by the way.
>> Smooth sailing to all...
>> John Sisker
> We have 3 days in Vancouver prior to the cruise. What things are "must
> see's" in Vancouver?
> --Tom

Thanks for asking Tom. A better one to answer this would be Deborah. But
since she recently fell and fractured and dislocated her shoulder, let me
just add my 2-cents until she can get back to the keyboard. To me, there are
at least three main things that come to mind right away. First, get an
all-day Skytrain pass, which also includes the Seabus across the harbor. We
just rode it wherever it took us, getting off and on in places that looked
interesting. The was the best, and least expensive way for us to see not
only Vancouver, but much of the surrounding area as well.

In addition, a visit to Gas Town would be most interesting; a restored
section of town close to the harbor and within walking distance of Canada
Place, which you will want to explore as well. We have all seen pictures of
Canada Place, for it is always highlighted with any visit to Vancouver.
Incidentally, visit Gas Town during the day, not at night. It had lots of
stores, shops and restaurants.

Another place that I really like, while close to Vancouver, is the Capilano
Suspension Bridge. It is accessed via the Lion's Gate Bridge in Stanly Park,
which by the way, is 1,000 acres of open space and nature trees right in the

I'm sure Deborah has her own list of places to see as well, including I can
almost bet, a very special French Restaurant. Maybe she can dictate what she
wants to say, and I can type it for her.

Smooth sailing to all...
John Sisker

From: John Sisker on
"Tom K" <tkanitra(a)> wrote in message
> On 7/10/10 6:15 PM, John Sisker wrote:
>> All in all, what did you like best about your cruise? I would assume
>> that Vancouver was your home port. Do anything exciting there? That's
>> one of our favorite City's by the way.
>> Smooth sailing to all...
>> John Sisker
> We have 3 days in Vancouver prior to the cruise. What things are "must
> see's" in Vancouver?
> --Tom

Hi, I'm John's wife Deborah. I highly recommend sightseeing at the local
churches and parks. There is one restaurant I would really like to
recommend. It's calls Bacchus French Restaurant at the Wedgewood Hotel &
Spa, at 845 Hornby Street. (604) 608-5319.

My husband and I read about this great restaurant in a local Vancouver
magazine. The restaurant was recommended by actor Jason Gray-Stanford,
better known as Lt. Randall Disher on the TV series Monk. I'm happy to
report that the restaurant is a lovely section of town, where you can
explore other shops and sights.


From: Marcia on
John Sisker wrote:
> "Marcia" <Marcia(a)> wrote in message
> news:i1aftl$ea6$1(a)
>> John Sisker wrote:
>>> "Marcia" <Marcia(a)> wrote in message
>>> news:i17n0d$jq7$1(a)
>>>> I'm not going to do a complete trip report, because most of you know
>>>> more about this cruise than I still do. ;-) However, I do want to
>>>> make some points relative to my pre-cruise questions.
>>>> I don't know what other cruise lines are like, but when we first
>>>> boarded the Sapphire Princess in Seattle, it was sell, sell, sell.
>>>> They also gave us a card to have stamped in each of the stores to be
>>>> entered into a drawing. While we didn't bother with it, all we
>>>> heard as we were leaving port were muffled announcements calling out
>>>> the numbers of the winning cards. That was a major step down from
>>>> my only other cruise, when they played the Love Boat theme as we
>>>> were leaving port. I think the first moments of a cruise should be
>>>> special, but that's just me.
>>>> Our room was in a perfect location. It was steps away from the
>>>> center elevators on the Baja deck, and our balcony was way more
>>>> private than the ones we could look down on. The last time I was on
>>>> a cruise, I had the room to myself. It did take a while to get used
>>>> to only 2 outlets in the room for hairdryers and phone and camera
>>>> battery chargers. Plus the bed felt like a cement slab. Again, I
>>>> don't know if that's the norm on cruise ships or just the Sapphire.
>>>> We had anytime dining, which worked out well. However, some rooms
>>>> were better than others. We never had any problems getting a table
>>>> for 2. The Pacific Moon wasn't much, the Savoy was a little
>>>> better...although the waiter we had didn't have much personality.
>>>> We ate in the Santa Fe room 3 times, because we loved Michael, the
>>>> best waiter. The few times we had breakfast or lunch in the big
>>>> traditional dining room, the Maitre D' there always seemed annoyed,
>>>> so I don't know if traditional dining would have been any better. I
>>>> also don't quite get what the Vivaldi dining room is all about. It
>>>> seemed to be a combination of traditional dining and some
>>>> reservations. We did get to eat there the second to last night,
>>>> which turned out to be lobster and Baked Alaska night. They do have
>>>> Baked Alaska in the anytime rooms. We asked Michael about it on our
>>>> last night in the Santa Fe, and he said they did the parade at least
>>>> in that room.
>>>> My travel agent told me when I got back that the reason we were in
>>>> Victoria such a short time was that the ship needs to make a stop in
>>>> an international port. We just about had time to take the shuttle
>>>> downtown, take a look at the Empress Hotel and walk through some of
>>>> the shops and then wait in a very long line to take the shuttle back
>>>> to the ship. We did get our passports stamped when we got back by
>>>> some very funny customs guys...or whatever they were.
>>>> We took our own luggage off the ship, because my niece had an early
>>>> flight. We discovered a shuttle service that took us to the ship
>>>> from the airport Doubletree where we stayed the night before the
>>>> cruise and from the ship back to the airport...both trips were $12
>>>> per person each way.
>>>> Marcia
>>> Marcia,
>>> Thanks for your thoughts and evaluation in reference to your recent
>>> cruise. We too were on the Sapphire Princess not too long ago, and
>>> your mentioning about stamping the card in each of the stores, did
>>> remind me that it was the same with us. Yet, we too simply ignored
>>> this; as possibly just another way to get passengers into the
>>> different stores to hopefully purchase something.
>>> On the other hand, your cabin sounds like things evened out somewhat
>>> from the basis sell, sell, sell premise of today's Princess. Other
>>> than limited outlets and the hard bed, it appears all was pretty good
>>> there. On the other Princess ships we have been on, we too found all
>>> the beds way too hard. Of course, in the hotel in Copenhagen, that
>>> was way too soft. So how can they please everyone?
>>> Anytime dining usually fits the bill for most people now days,
>>> obviously offering a lot more choices in not only times, but
>>> restaurants as well. Incidentally, the Savoy use to the the specialty
>>> Steakhouse on the Sapphire Princess, but is now just one of the
>>> Anytime dining room choices. Likewise, we found each of the dining
>>> rooms to be a little more different in overall design and decor, than
>>> they were on the Star Princess, and it was a lot easier to get a
>>> table for 2 on the Sapphire Princess as well. Unfortunately, we
>>> didn't get to see, or just possibly missed, the Baked Alaska Parade
>>> on the Sapphire Princess, but did see it while on the Star Princess.
>>> And this was also in one of the Anytime dining rooms.
>>> Too bad you could not see more of Victoria, but the part (downtown)
>>> you did see was actually the heart of our trip there as well. On the
>>> other hand, we did have time and opted for a City tour, which was
>>> interesting, but was disappointed as to the so called City panoramic
>>> view high atop a hill. It wasn't much at all. However, the Parliament
>>> and other government building of this Capital City were well worth
>>> the trip, at least to us.
>>> In addition, it appears that your departure from the ship went pretty
>>> smooth. This is not always the case with some. Yet, on the other
>>> hand, sometimes they are a little too rushed, with an air schedule
>>> that doesn't leave much room for any type delays.
>>> Again, thanks for this critique and impression of the Sapphire
>>> Princess. While one would think that all the other Princess ships
>>> would be run pretty much the same way, this is not always the case.
>>> We found there were some difference, especially when it came to
>>> dining. All in all, how did you like the overall design and decor of
>>> the ship itself? How about the size? What did you do on the ship
>>> while not in a port? Was there enough for you to do, or did you feel
>>> a little board?
>>> Smooth sailing to all...
>>> John Sisker
>> One more point about the anytime dining rooms that I was confused
>> about. Each room has one dish that is not on the basic menu and unique
>> to that room, however it is the same dish every night. I thought they
>> had a different dish each night.
>> There was a lot to do on the ship when we weren't in port. Every time
>> I thought I'd be able to sleep a little later, there was something
>> planned for 10:00 that I wanted to do, and the main dining room stops
>> serving breakfast at 9:00, so we were up! We did get room service for
>> breakfast a few times, which helped...especially on the day we went
>> through Tracy Arm. While sailing, we went to the cooking demo in the
>> Princess Theater followed by the galley tour, the backstage tour of
>> the Princess Theater, a few different trivia contests, played Outburst
>> and spent a lot of time just sitting out on the balcony enjoying the
>> cooler weather.
>> It wasn't the stamping of the cards that bothered me. It was the
>> muffled announcements of the winners while we were first leaving
>> Seattle. It wouldn't have been much better if we could understand
>> what they were saying, since that still wouldn't have been my choice
>> for the first moments of a cruise.
>> It was nice that they didn't wait until the last night when we were in
>> Victoria to do the Baked Alaska, but the timing of it was opposite the
>> Captain's Circle Cocktail Party. We caught the very end of the party
>> after we had dessert.
>> I did enjoy seeing The Empress Hotel and Parliament in Victoria. I
>> don't know how there would have been time to take a tour there. The
>> shuttle service that took us to downtown tried to get us to take their
>> tour to Butchart Gardens. I don't know if people then had to wait in
>> line to get the shuttle back or they dropped back off at the ships,
>> but there wasn't much time or daylight to see much of anything once
>> you got there.
>> Marcia
> Marcia,
> You are indeed correct Marcia, I had forgot about that extra menu item
> in each of the rooms. And while you are also right in that it was always
> the same, we were a bit surprised that on the Star Princess this was not
> even offered at all. Every dining room always had the same exact menu
> items - period.
> On a cruise, many times it is a give or take type of situation. We too
> found that while we wanted to sleep in a bit, in order to get breakfast
> in a sit-down restaurant, we had to get up early anyway, just to make a
> scheduled event. Sometimes, breakfast in bed helped with that, and was
> fun to boot.
> As for passengers going from shop to shop getting their cards stamped,
> that's what I remember. Personally, I don't recall any announcements
> about calling out winners. I could have missed it, or was just not
> paying attention.
> Catching the Baked Alaska Parade, especially in one of the Anytime
> dining rooms, was a nice surprise for us. It wasn't expected, especially
> when there we so many saying that it would never happen in an Anytime
> dining room. By-the-way, notice that they don't use real candles or
> flames anymore, but a small battery operated light that resembles a candle.
> We really liked the Parliament Buildings in Victoria. In addition,
> beside the City tour, we even had time for lunch on our own at
> Millstones, a really nice restaurant overlooking the harbor and
> Parliament buildings. As for getting back to the ship on time, we simply
> took a taxi. It was $7 dollars (Canadian). Actually, we had plenty of
> time in Victoria, but then again, it was a completely different
> itinerary from yours.
> Likewise, glad to hear that you found so many things of the ship to keep
> you busy. However, when did you think of the theater seating in the Main
> Showroom? We found it a little too tight, and once the show stated,
> forget it with ordering drinks. Those built-in tables in the arm rests
> were just not cutting it.
> John Sisker

The seating was fine with me, and I had no use for the little tables.
We saw 2 of the shows at 10:15 when the theater was pretty empty and
comfortable. But even the one early show we did see that was crowded
wasn't bad. I guess I'm used to the showrooms here in Las Vegas. ;-)

From: Marcia on
John Sisker wrote:
> "Marcia" <Marcia(a)> wrote in message
> news:i17s9v$3t9$1(a)
>> Jeff Gersten wrote:
>>> Marcia(a) (Marcia) wrote:
>>>> I'm not going to do a complete trip report, because most of you know
>>>> more about this cruise than I still do. ;-)
>>> Welcome back, Marcia.
>>> We're definitely not among those who know more about the cruise than you
>>> do. We've not been to Alaska yet, but are going in about 6 weeks on a
>>> different Princess ship, the Golden Princess. I'd love to read all your
>>> impressions of the trip.
>> The short version is...Ketchikan was charming, but raining.
>> Juneau was not charming and raining. We didn't do any shore
>> excursions there, but I'm not sure I would have wanted to in the rain.
>> Tracy Arm was spectacular. I thought I'd be disappointed not to see
>> Glacier Bay, but all the pics and videos of Tracy Arm don't do it
>> justice. We sat on our balcony the entire time with the television on
>> loud enough to hear the talk about what we were passing. We got
>> pretty close to Sawyer Glacier at the end of the fjord before they
>> turned the ship around.
>> Skagway was fun. It didn't rain!!! The store fronts are made to look
>> like the olden times with bunting and some costumed players around the
>> town. It reminded me of Disneyland. The one excursion we did do was
>> the White Pass & Yukon Route railroad. Aside from the fact that the
>> engine broke down and we had to wait 20 minutes to get a new one
>> attached, the ride was wonderful. I don't do heights, so I was a
>> little concerned how I'd feel, but we weren't so close to the edge
>> that it bothered me. The train picks up right outside the ship, which
>> was great.
>> Princess seemed to dock the furthest away of all the other ships when
>> we were in port. My TA said it's partly the luck of the draw and who
>> gets there first, and partly the size of the ship. The smaller
>> Holland America ship that left Seattle with us seemed to always get
>> the best parking places in the middle of downtown.
>> Please feel free to ask questions and I'll try to answer.
>> Marcia
> Marcia,
> Thanks for this synopsis in reference to your Alaska cruise. Soon, we
> too will be venturing off to Alaska, much with the same ports that you
> saw. While rain was obviously a big factor on what you saw and did, we
> do have some pre-planned activities that we would like to do in at least
> three of our ports. However, as with anything else, plans sometimes
> change. We will just have to go with the flow I guess.
> It sounds like Tracy Arm was the highlight of your cruise. You said the
> other ports were fun and charming, but no-doubt the rain was a factor as
> well. We also want to do the White Pass Railroad. After all, I am a big
> train buff. As for the location of your ship while in port, we
> discovered bigger is not always better. We experienced this while on the
> Star Princess in Northern Europe and the Baltic's, mostly docking in the
> heavy industrial areas. The ship was just too big for some of the other,
> and closer ports to town. Oh well, we weren't complaining.
> Skagway is obviously one of our ports as well, but from the pictures
> I've seen, it does look very touristy - like Disneyland as you said.
> Yet, depending on what one wants to see and do, maybe that's not all
> bad. Usually if one expects to be disappointed, they normally are.
> As for the rain you mentioned; was it light or heavy? Did the cruise
> line have to cancel any of their shore excursions because of it?
> Likewise, because of the rain, was the weather extra cold; sweater or
> jacket weather? And the further north you want, did it stay lighter at
> night? We will be going up to Fairbanks for our cruise, using both the
> railroad and a bus. Even though we will spend some extra time in
> Fairbanks itself, I'm starting to hear that others were not that
> impressed at all with Fairbanks. Of course, that was from a former
> military person who was stationed there. So I don't know just how
> objective their assessment really is.
> All in all, what did you like best about your cruise? I would assume
> that Vancouver was your home port. Do anything exciting there? That's
> one of our favorite City's by the way.
> Smooth sailing to all...
> John Sisker
We sailed from Seattle, but I'd love to go to Vancouver some day.

Yes, it was light pretty late in Alaska. Seems like it was light until
at least 10:30 or so.

We didn't hit any downpours, it was just wet. I expected that in
Ketchikan. I had on a fleece top under my raincoat and I certainly
wasn't cold. I think I wore basically the same thing in Juneau and
wasn't cold there, either. I didn't have room in my suitcase for my
long, heavy winter jacket, but I did find the perfect replacement for
$19.95 in Ketchikan. It was perfect for going through the fjord, which
did get cold out on the balcony. And now I have a souvenir from Alaska.
;-) Skagway was perfect. It was very blustery around the ship in
Victoria, but once we got downtown it got really warm.

I really don't know if any excursions were canceled, but I guess they
expect that kind of weather there so probably not.

Tracy Arm was probably the part I liked the best, although we did pass
some spectacular scenery on our way out of Skagway which finally looked
like we were actually in Alaska. I wish I had seen more of that.

From: Tom K on
On 7/10/10 9:23 PM, Marcia wrote:

> We sailed from Seattle, but I'd love to go to Vancouver some day.
> Yes, it was light pretty late in Alaska. Seems like it was light until
> at least 10:30 or so.

If you guys want midnight sun, you need to do a cruise to Norway that
goes above the arctic circle up to the North Cape. It's actually much
further north than even where the Ice Road Truckers go. They get about
2 months of total sunlight in the summer. The sun never sets. But it's
never high in the sky either. It circles like around a halo just above
the horizon. But you can see it all day and all night. And the amazing
part, because of the Gulf Stream, the weather is very mild. The day we
were in the North Cape, it was warm enough to go swimming in the ship's
pool in the afternoon.

In St. Petersburg they have the white nights... but the North Cape is
much further north. You're on the Arctic Ocean.