Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cruise update and port report April 29, 2015

Well it has been a busy four days with visits to San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Catalina Island and Los Angeles.
We are now on our way back to Vancouver - we will spend the next 2.5 days cruising up the Pacific Coast, throught the Strait of Juan de Fuca and into Georgia Strait and Burrard Inlet before tying up at Canada Place.
I have taken lots of photograph but with the slow internet on the ship I will post those on my return.
Well today should be one of those days where you sit back and enjoy a day at sea - well fine in theory but in reality it is not all that enjoyable on board - we have heavy seas, high waves and the boat is root tootin rockin.
Hard to concentrate when you don't knwo nwhen the next major shake is going to occur - the Captain did warn us last night that it would be a rough day - the skies are sunny but there is a very strong persistent northerly wind.
I am sure that many people are feeling ill at ease and in the stomach as well. 
Fortunately I haven't had problem with sea sickness in the pass so hoping to continue that string.
Tonight is formal night which menas that it will be the buffet for me and where is the buffet - up on deck 14 where the winds are most noticeable.
Unlike Norwegian when they have a dress up night they designate on the dining rooms for causal dressers - not so with Princess.
More later.

A review of my ports:
1. Victoria - walked along the seashore to the Quadra street entrance to Beacon Hill Park and then explored park before heading into the downtown core. I stopped by the Legislature and went inside and looked around. There was a private function for the MLA's in the main rotunda. First time inside the building since the 1970's when I sat in the visitor's gallery and we were introduced by our MLA Garde Gardom as part of a visiting student Liberal delegation.
I did spot the office of my current MLA Sam Sullivan but didn't knock on the door.
Then proceeded along the waterfront to the houseboat marina and Barb's Fish and Chips. 
The waterfront walk is now called the David Foster Heritage Walkway in honor of one of Victoria's more recent native sons.
Then it was back to the ship.
Weather - sunny, windy but cool.
2. San Francisco - lots to write about here but will only provide the highlites.
Once cleared of customs headed for the Embarcadero station and the "N" line train to Golden Gate Park - I started near the 6th Ave entrance and worked my way down to the Ocean Beach by 1:30 which was also my turn around time.
Back on the train and straight to the Golden Gate ferry for the 35 minute trip across to Sausalito to meet up with Adele and Cliff for dinner.
After dinner a brief walkabout and then back on the ferry and back to the ship.
The following morning I headed out early and walked all the way to Fort Mason - about 4 kms.
Then it was back on the ship for an early afternoon departure and we are headed for Santa Barbara.
Weather - mixed - started out nice then late afternoon and evening shower and then sunny for the sail away.
3. Santa Barbara - I wasn't originally going to do a ship's tour but onboard decided to do a tour to Montecito where many of the stars lived. It wasn't the tour that I hoped for - We saw none of there million dollar homes - only the gated entrance and long driveways.
After the tour I walked through the town taking in the Stearns Wharf and the Red Brick walking tour that I had downloaded from the internet. It was quite worthwhile.
Weather - Sunny and warm
4. Catalina Island - another ship's tour - I had been here once before so had seen some of the sights - today's tour would lead us pass some of the famous Wrigley family houses and up into the interior of the Island. We are travelling in an old 1953 bus that was in great condition and handled the nearly 20% grade without do much trouble.
Our first stop was a a bald eagle reserve near the Middle Ranch.
Our seciond stop was at an overlook looking down onto Little Harbour - beautiful pristine looking beach and apparently where the surfer's like to surf.
Our last stop was at the Airport in the Sky - would have liked more time here but as we were running late only time to grab a side of fries and a pop.
Back on  the bus for return trip to town - then walked along the waterfront in both directions. 
Weather is sunny and warm and my arms and newck are getting fried.
5. Los Angeles - we were originally suppose to dock at Long Beach at the Carnival dock next to the Queen Mary but the Captain announced the night before that because the gangway was having mechnical trouble we would dock in San Pedro instead.
For me this wasn't much of a concern as I had a 5 hour Los Angeles tour booked.
This was my best tour of the cruise.
We may our way through various neighbourhoods and Century City - pass the Fox studios - Beverly Hills and finally came to the Farmer's Market - this is a real tourist area and entertainment and upscale shopping destination. As we had an hour here it was our lunch stop as well. I ordered a burger combo and couldn't finished it.
I was joined on this tour by Charles and Phyllis McLean - I have known Charles for years when he was a member of the downtown Y - saw him on board on Day 2 and we have chatted a few times since.
Our next stop was at the Chinese Theatre - at Hollywood and Orange which is also where the Dolby Theatre is located - this is where the Oscars are presented. It was a fun stop - a little too short for some.
We continued to see the sights including the Capitol Records builkding at Hollywood and Vine before heading to our last stop at the Pueblo de Los Angeles - where LA was founded.
I had visited the area once before as it is only a couple blocks from Amtrak's Union Station.
Then it was through downtown LA, passed the Staples Center and back to the ship.
Weather was sunny and hot.
Hope you enjoyed this brief summary of my port visits.
Once back I will add some photos.

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