2016 Canada Pre-Cruise Tour We meet sue and angie!

2016 was our Ruby Wedding Anniversary, Christine's 60th Birthday and she retired in August. She we had to do something special for a holiday. We'd been looking at Cruisetours from Holland America, so when we visited NextCruise at the end of last year's Western Mediterranean cruise, we decided on splashing out on Royal Caribbean's Cruisetour of Canada and Alaska, which included a cruise up the inside passage between Canada and Alaska.

This album contains photos and explanations of events during the Pre-Cruise Tour, a a 6 day combined coach and train ride from Calgary to Vancouver, including a tour through the Canadian Rockies from Jasper to Vancouver on a sleeper train.

We had planned to meet our cousin Susan and her three teenage daughters, but got a pleasant surprise when we met Sue outside our hotline Vancouver. Our other cousin Angela had secretly flown over from London, Ontario and was staying with Sue for a few days! It was Angie who joined Sue in greeting us!

FLIGHTS TO CALGARY

Rather than flying from Newcastle to Heathrow then to Calgary, BA decided to send us to Dublin, Dublin to Heathrow, Heathrow to Calgary. Our first leg was run by Aer Lingus using an ATR-72. I used to fly this in flightsim so was quite excited at the prospect.

However, while checking in at Newcastle, I realised I'd left the Canadian and American currency in the drawer at home! Luckily there was a Currency Exchange at the airport and I bought a reduced number of Canadian and American dollars for use when hard cash was needed.

Curious giraffes in Heathrow Terminal 5 Cafe

The cafés at Heathrow Terminal 5 and Calgary featured animal models.

Prehistoric animal models crying out to be photographed/

Fun at the Calgary Fairmont Hotel

Christine felt pampered when she found bath robes in the wardrobe.

At breakfast the next morning they had Porridge, or Oatmeal as they call it. They mainly use 'Steel Cut Oats'?! There was a good selection of topping available.

We had porridge made from 'steel cut oats' to which I added berries and Maple Syrup.

Also in the breakfast restaurant there was a selection of old machinery and this money counting or change giving machine caught my attention.

On the way out of Calgary, we visited the Calgary Winter Olympics Site where Eddie the Eagle flew.

We had a glimpse of our Banff Fairmont Hotel en route to Sulphur Mountain Gondola. We'd be back later.

WE MEET DAVE AND GAIL

One of the included trips was this visit to Sulphur Mountain Gondola. On the way p, we shared a car with Dave and Gail from our coach. Gail was petrified and Dave kept teasing her to look down. They're from Luisiana and we loved the accents!

Rivers and Lakes

We visited a fast flowing river which went over some rapids. There was an Indian chief in full regalia. The river carries on to a waterfall.

Then we went down to Lake Minnewanka with various water sports and boating activities with a wonderful mountainous backdrop

Walking down to the lake, we heard a loud rustling sound coming from these unusual trees!

Christine, down by Lake Minniewanka
After walking over this Bridge into Banff, we had dinner at this Lobster themed Restaurant

We Walked on Athabasca Glacier

Christine at Lake Louise, a large Glacial Lake, en route to the Glacier Walk.
Dave and Gail joined us on this excursion too.
The red line shows where you mustn't pass or you'll fall in cracks!
Me on the glacier.
Our transport to and from the Glacier. A bus with giant wheels and VERY low gearing!
We also did a Glacier Skywalk nearby, on a narrow glass ledge overlooking part of the Glacier

Jasper Fairmont Lodge

En route from the Glacier Skywalk to the Lodge, we saw an Elk at the side of the road

Christine found this rustic sofa in the Lodge reception.

Here's Christine poking her head out of the Lodge back door (it overlooked a river).

Stanley is the hotel's dog and had his own 'Canine Cabin' in reception.

Downtown Jasper

We were dropped off in Jasper to catch the VIA train to Vancouver, sleeping overnight on the train (quite an experience)

At the station, they told us the train was late (freight takes precedence in Canada) and they gave us vouchers for one of the meals we would have had on the train.

They were for a local pub / restaurant and the food was great, so was the company.

One of the three locos.
Its a long train!
One of the observation cars.

Sleeper Tain Journey

In the Sleeper Car, I was in the top bunk with my laptop and Christine was in the bottom one and used her iPad.

We had breakfast in the Dining Car and I had Reindeer Sausage. Christine was not impressed!!

When we passed through Chilliwack Station, we rang Sue on the mobile and she waved from the hillside overlooking the railway. Obviously we couldn't actually see each other!

Then we pulled into Vancouver over this impressive road/rail bridge, on the background photo.

Vancouver station was busy!

Vancouver Lookout and Stanley Park

From Vancouver Station, we visited Vancouver Lookout Tower and had a 360 degree view round the city.

Looking over Vancouver
Impressive building

We could even see the Cruise Terminal from there. Next we went to Granville Island for Lunch.

Honey from Chilliwack on Granville Island Market

Here there was a humungous fresh food market where we selected our lunch and some street entertainers. After lunch it was back to the coach.

Next we went to Stanley Park which is famous for over 40 Totem Poles!

Some of the Stanley Park Totem Poles
Some more Totem Poles.
Does the water statue look familiar? A model of the Danish mermaid.
Christine stands on a giant very old Cedar tree.

We left Stanley Park which is almost an island by the Lions Gate Bridge shown in the background photo and went to the hotel.

Dinner in Vancouver

When we got back to the hotel, we decided to eat out. We walked up and down the street opposite the hotel where the concierge said there were some good restaurants and picked an Italian quite close to the hotel.

Surprise in the Hotel Room

In the morning after arriving, we had been short of coffee and tea bags and I'd mentioned the reason for our cruise to the receptionist. When we returned from our Italian meal, we were greeted by this cake!

Earlier on Granville Island, we'd bought a selection of Macarons and ate them with our Tea / Coffee that came with the congratulatory cake.

Ferry Trip to Victoria

On our second day in Vancouver we took a BC Ferries trip (on the bus!) to Victoria 'Island'.

This Fire Truck had been converted to a Café at the Ferry Terminal
Once on the island, we found several Native American shops
Christine with a Totem outside a shop, a common sight.
Christine makes a friend!
...and another!

After a look round Victoria, where Christine found lots of totems outside shops, we boarded the bus and went to Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens and the Ferry Back to Vancouver

I also took some video of the fountains

The Butchart Gardens were full of lovely flowers and famous for the first garden created after mining finished in the area. The quarry was converted to a low level garden, called the'Hidden Garden', only visible by looking over a balcony or down some steep steps. At the end of the garden was a fountain which was beautiful in today's sunshine.

On the Ferry back to Vancouver, we witnessed a lovely sunset and again spent most of our time up on deck, rather than in the lounges.

Family Surprise

Lovely Steel Cut Oatmeal and an All American breakfast, then we checked out and stored the luggage.

I think they spotted me in the doorway at the same as I did them.
Imagine my surprise to find that both Sue and Angie had come to meet us!
Sue takes a photo at the Hotel entrance.
Angie takes our photo with Sue in reeption.
We all sit for a natter and more photos.
Well we are kissing cousins!

To have a longer chat we decided to go for a coffee and Sue and Angie both agreed the best place would be 'Timmies'. Christine and I had no idea what one of those was until we saw up the street 'Tim Hortons'. Kind of like Costa on steroids.

My Earl Grey came in a proper Tim Horton mug, Sue had some amazing kind of cold coffee, Christine had Cappuccinos, I think Angie's was a Latte.

Taxi Ride and Cruise Ship Wave Off

An added bonus to their visit was that they came in our taxi to the cruise terminal and waved to us before we set off!

An added bonus for me was the seaplanes taking off and landing, which reminded Sue of Hartley Bay!

Well, that was the Pre-Cruise Tour. The next Adobe Spark Page wil cover the 7-Day Cruise up the Inside Passage.

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