May 26, 2000
We booked our own air and hotel for four days in Vancouver BC before the cruise and had a wonderful time. We highly recommend doing this. We enjoyed the city of Vancouver BC. It is a beautiful city with fountains, trees and flowers everywhere. We enjoyed the following sites:
Stanley Park - a beautiful park with so much to see, from totem poles to rose gardens and much more. Truly a walkers paradise.
Grandville Island - a quaint place under the bridge, artisan shops and a farmers market.
Capilano Bridge - a suspension bridge that sways as you walk across. The bridge spans a very high gorge in North Vancouver.
Gastown - old Vancouver and very charming complete with a steam powered clock.
Shopping - on Robson Street some very nice shops and other shopping in malls that are mostly located underground in the city .
Architecture - city buildings with the juxtaposition of the old and new was poetry.
We stayed at the Renaissance Harborside Hotel on Hastings. It is a wonderful hotel and in a terrific location, we had a view of the harbor an even watched the ships arrive at Canada Place.
The people were very nice and the city very clean, mostly we walked but they have terrific mass transit and a ticket on one allows you to go on all. The bus - the sky train - the sea bus. It was wonderful and easy to use. The sky train is a subway downtown then becomes a monorail and the sea bus takes you from Vancouver to North Vancouver in 15 minutes.
As a note of interest if you are leaving Vancouver via air there is a fee of $10 C to exit. But when you see their airport you will be happy to pay, it is a wonderful, clean and beautiful airport.. Also be sure and exchange your US dollars for Canadian dollars at the airport ATM. The rates are good and there is better value to deal only in the money of the country that you are in. Although most places around Vancouver take US dollars it is done at a premium. I learned this when I wanted to make a purchase and a local shop owner wanted to charge me the same in US as Canadian dollars!
The ship is clean and there seems to be activity always to maintain it that way.
The art work, in particular the sculptures, were incredible but the photos of people in masquerade costumes were enough to make one lose their lunch. I have no idea what Celebrity was thinking when they hung those albatrosses, possibly not thinking at all.
The Celebrity Theater was great, the layout allows for everyone to have a great seat. This area is well thought out. The shows were all enjoyable and the comedian Noodles still has me laughing. Just one little caveat, it would be nice if they mended the huge rip in the curtain - right in the middle about knee high - this should be repaired, it looks quite shabby.
There is a harpist on board, Collette, who we found very enjoyable on several evenings in the beautiful Stratosphere Lounge
We did eat breakfast in the buffet on several mornings, but there were long lines for the omelet station. In the dinning room you could order your eggs cooked special and crisp bacon and hubby enjoyed the herring on several mornings. The fruit, hot and cold cereal and with various toppings were great along with some yogurt. Oh and stay away from the pastries, I think they forgot the salt in the cooking process. The sourdough and croissants were outstanding.
Lunch and Dinner in the Orion dinning room was overall really great and the deserts terrific. I would skip the swan thingie. Our Waiter Comilo and his assistant Lester would always go the extra mile.
Please note that on the entire ship, no one good or decent cup of coffee can be had. So take my advice and drink tea. Another area to note is the noise level in Dinning Room is so loud that it is actually painful. So my advice here is to take something for the headache you will get from the noise, before dinner so you can enjoy the rest of the evening.
Returning to Vancouver through the Narrows made for a wonderful day, so much to see from both sides of the ship