Pacific Coast: Los Angeles USA to
Vancouver BC , Canada
May 11 - 14, 2011
We just completed a short 3-day cruise up the Pacific Coast
on the Golden Princess that we booked for our wedding
anniversary (May 11) while on the Sea Princess in November last
The cruise was from Los Angeles USA to Vancouver BC Canada and was
May 11-14, 2011.
As we live in Victoria British Columbia, Vancouver Island Canada I
arranged for us to fly Victoria via Vancouver to Los Angeles the day
prior to the cruise and fly from Vancouver to Victoria the day after
If I say so myself that was a wise (Owl pun of course) move as when
we docked in Vancouver on May 14, 2011, another four ships also
docked at the same time. Instant pandemonium was experienced by all who were
waiting for taxis and busses including the ones arriving to get on
As we got off the ship, I saw a person with a shuttle bus sign to
hotels or airports so was able to get the shuttle in about 45
minutes and we were in our hotel by about 11:30 am, while our friends
were back at the terminal still waiting for the ferry bus to
Vancouver Island at 1pm. We stayed at a boutique hotel (Sutton
Place) in Vancouver that for dinner also had a Chocolate Fountain
Buffet and all the sins you could eat. My wife was very excited.
Back to going down to LA. We flew to Vancouver then went to USA
pre-clearance where they showed us our luggage on the computer
screen in color to verify it was ours, nifty as we did not have to
transfer then between fights.
We must have been asked five times for our passports and boarding
cards while going through Homeland security area and I got moved
aside for extra wand checking where it beeped on top of my bald head
and my shoeless feet.
Give me a break.
We flew on an Embrer I90, about a 2 hours 30 minutes flight into
LAX and our bags arrived on time but to get to the pickup area you
have to walk by where all the outbound security are is, a tight
We took a taxi to Long Beach where our Hotel Hyatt Regency is
located as were told more shops existed in that area as I originally
wanted to stay at the Queen Mary Hotel. The taxi ride was about $65
US and the ride from that hotel the next day to San Pedro for
Princess cruise port was about $30 US.
We took a walk around the Hotel which is lovely but went the wrong
direction as the next four blocks were all dining or fast food
places, no shops or malls in sight. Had we gone the other direction
we would have seen the marina and shops and the beach but we had
fun. The staff at the hotel are very nice and say hello. It is a
clean and safe hotel but no safe in the room for passports and
tickets and they charge for WiFi. Otherwise we had a good time and
used room service for our supper while in the morning we had coffee
and muffins in the lobby. Then they ordered a taxi for us to the
pier. Next time I might use the hotels in San Pedro but taxi costs
will still be about the same.
If you use a taxi, tell then you want to pay by CC when you get in
as they do not carry change over $5 US.
I elected to get cash prior to our trip.
Finally , we got to the ship about 12:30pm and boarded in about 30-45 minutes. I tipped the porter who I had to find as our taxi
dropped us off behind a pile of bus passengers, she was only a few
feet away, gave her $5 for our two bags and she smiled and called me
"dear'" then pointed to where we should go and promised our bags
would be on the ship. At least I made her day.
Go in the terminal, a pile of people, a lot of families with
children from Disney World and five bus loads of folks from Las
Vegas, Lots of Canadians on this trip. Quite a mixed bag of cultures
It was a sunny day, left port on time and averaged 20.7 knots for
2,700 kilometers from Wednesday afternoon to Saturday Am at 7am.
It was all sea days and the dress code was smart casual , staff were
fine considering they would only know us for a few days and we had a
mini-suite with two TV's but the remote batteries were weak so one
had to stretch to adjust the controls. Balcony was fully out from
the ship , not enclosed but the weather of course dropped into the
fifties F so we did not sit out a lot but we could have course enjoy
the breeze and the sea.
We had swells such at lunch the main dining
room (MDR) windows were clear from middle
of MDR and then the you could see the swell come up halfway in the
window. Stabilizers help and one lady said as she walked, "I've not
had anything to drink."
We were at a table for eight for 1st seating (6pm) but felt like Mum
and Dad. One were a young couple in twenties, other a brother and
sister (she left hubby and son at home) in thirties, and another
couple who must have just got connected (fifties) as he fed her food
all the time and she just smiled and said nice things. They were
great to know as we all got to know each other but we were a diverse
Service was very good and prompt as we got to see the shows this
time and our wine when ordered was delivered on time. Lately I
noticed on last two Princess ships you have to remind staff in MDR
to give you your receipts while elsewhere not an issue.
Front desk and cabin staff were great but the Library has been
reduced to about three chairs inside the Internet Cafe which as
usual has it often slow moments.
Casino was running all day and night as we were cruising for three
days and it was doing a good business, course on the Golden
Princess you still have to walk through the casino to move from
stern to bow and the MDR you have to walk down the photo shop deck to
use the stairs to get to the MDR as the kitchens are in the middle.
Art Auctions was doing a great business and people were buying
anything for hundreds of dollars in a fast pace. It still amazes me.
One day they had a Trivia contest in the main bar while we sat near
the windows reading as my E-Book (a Kobo) while Liz shuffled her
paperback and tried to prevent ourselves from yelling out the
All the meals were great including room service and we really had no
complaints but you do notice a slight difference when on a short
re-positioning cruise in that all of a sudden you have to pack on
the third evening and Princess has not yet gotten to the point where
you can stay in your cabin till your number is called as we had to
leave the cabin by 8am Saturday. We met in the Vista room for a
scheduled 9:05 am departure but did not leave till
9:40am approx. as Canada Customs had only assigned four staff to the
2,800 people leaving our ship.
All in all we had a great time and going back to my earlier entry in
this post, 'Owl' made a very wise decision to book a hotel for the
night after arriving in Vancouver and getting the Shuttle Bus to the
Hotels instead of a taxi.
The lesson here is that if five ships are unloading passengers in
Vancouver and getting new passengers on the same day be prepared for
a wait or find alternatives as in take a cruise ship bus to the
airport or a post cruise hotel to bypass and relax as you deserve
Photo Courtesy Princess Cruises