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Ovation Goes North, Way North to Alaska! 11 Nights, May 13, 2019

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On 5/6/2019 at 11:44 AM, twangster said:

 

Skagway

Glass blowing has always fascinated me and having done many of the other must do Skagway activities this year is going to blow.  I figure what better way to find a keepsake memento from an Alaska cruise than on a glassblowing activity leaving me a lot of daylight to explore Skagway on my own.

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Was this excursion available the entire time in the cruise planner?  It's not in ours for our June 2020 cruise, and I would love to do it since I too am enamored with glass blowing.  Just curious if it was something added closer to the cruise.

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44 minutes ago, betatke1480 said:

Was this excursion available the entire time in the cruise planner?  It's not in ours for our June 2020 cruise, and I would love to do it since I too am enamored with glass blowing.  Just curious if it was something added closer to the cruise.

Pretty much, yes.  One of the first excursion I bought.  Then it went on sale and I saved $30.  

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21 hours ago, monctonguy said:

Wish I could see your pics!  For some reason I cant see them again in either Chrome or IE....so weird....and only at work....but doesn't happen to anyone else's blogs...

 

Must be the bot factor!...ha

 

Enjoy!

Any chance you are behind a firewall blocking IMGUR?  I believe @twangster hosts his photos there.

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The adventure begins...  currently sitting in the Delta Skyclub in Salt Lake City waiting for my connection to Vancouver.  

The plan is settle into my hotel room and take the Canada Line into the city.  I hope to catch Ovation's sail under the Lion's Gate Bridge tonight.

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Looks like Ovation just arrived into Victoria.

Webcam:

http://www.bigwavedave.ca/webcams.php?cam=10

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While we don't have Victoria on this itinerary this will be a critical port of call for Ovation this summer since it keeps the Seattle based round trip cruises legal with respect to the PVSA.

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1 hour ago, twangster said:

Looks like Ovation just arrived into Victoria.

Webcam:

http://www.bigwavedave.ca/webcams.php?cam=10

337282593_OVinVic.thumb.jpeg.ca54b408b4db465d589dfa07d1ffdf99.jpeg

While we don't have Victoria on this itinerary this will be a critical port of call for Ovation this summer since it keeps the Seattle based round trip cruises legal with respect to the PVSA.

Isn't She Going To Pull In To Vancouver At  Eight Tonight? 

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4 minutes ago, twangster said:

No.  Victoria is on an island and it would take too long to see her leave Victoria.  I plan to be at the bridge in Vancouver when she arrives. 

Oh So Sorry! I Mess Up! I Meant  Would You See Her Pass Under The Lion Gate Bridge In The Vancouver Harbor. Thanks And Sorry For The Mess Up.   

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Will your item you create glassblowing be shipped to you?

I did this at the Corning Museum of Glass, it was fun and HOT. I went back the next day to pick up my 'snowman' made of glass, as it has to sit in an annealing oven to let the temperature drop slowly.. to anneal the glass.

Have you done a fishing trip, if you have, did you have your catch shipped home?  Yum.

 

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7 hours ago, twangster said:

The adventure begins...  currently sitting in the Delta Skyclub in Salt Lake City waiting for my connection to Vancouver.  

The plan is settle into my hotel room and take the Canada Line into the city.  I hope to catch Ovation's sail under the Lion's Gate Bridge tonight.

How is the SkyClub in SLC? I’ve never been through that one. 

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On the way up to Vancouver we flew past Mt. Hood which is hard to miss unless it's cloudy which it became right after I took this photo:

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Unfortunately those whisps of clouds turned into full cloud cover that we flew within for the remainder of the flight.

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Landed at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) on time at noon.  Deplaning and once walking through the terminal I saw a half dozen wide body international planes from a number of countries.  Ugh.  That meant Canada customs was going to be busy, and it was.  So busy there was a holding area on the second floor for international guests because the main immigration area on the first floor was packed.   They were releasing them in batches as the queues on the first floor depleted.  

Lucky for me my Canadian passport saved me from that madness and downstairs the queues for Canadian passport holders was relatively short.  I was at the baggage carousel waiting for luggage within 15 minutes.  

YVR like Montreal when I flew in to Adventure's Snowbird Migration cruise last year has immigration kiosks that scan your passport, asks you the normal immigration and customs questions then prints out a piece of paper you use to proceed.

However there were luggage issues.  Our bags started arriving 30 minutes later then a luggage jam occurred somewhere below us and they had to call maintenance.  Somewhere around 60 minutes after landing my "priority" luggage arrived and I was able to queue to leave the Canada customs area which only took another 10 minutes.  

I saw a number of other cruise line luggage tags and kiosks were set up for Holland and Princess cruise lines.  If I was on a cruise departing that day I could only imagine the added stress of waiting so long for immigration and luggage.  Flying in the day before was definitely the right thing to do. 

Finally outside and across the traffic lanes to the general shuttle area to wait for my hotel shuttle which arrived with 15 minutes.

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After an hour or so to decompress in my hotel room I made plans to head downtown using the local transit system.  My hotel is in between two Canada Line light rail stations.  Using the transit feature of Apple Maps it calculated my route to my destination.   This included walking to a train station, transferring to a bus and then walking about a mile.

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Walking a mile?  Well yes, given that my destination was the Prospect Point lighthouse through Stanley Park which is loaded with trails for biking, jogging, strolling, etc.

After sitting all day in planes a walk was perfect. 

At the train station I purchased an "All Day" Compass Card for ~$16 CAD which ended up on credit card at ~$12 USD.  This would get me there and back to my hotel so all in all a pretty decent fee for a day pass.

Stanley Park is beautiful and you could easily spend a day exploring it.  I was on a mission to reach the lighthouse so I'm hardly doing it justice with these simple photos.

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First glimpse of the Lions Gate Bridge that separates Vancouver Harbor from Burrard Inlet and passages towards the Pacific Ocean.

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I timed my arrival for low tide which today was 6:41pm.  Actually I was a little early so I could explore the area before the main event and the real reason I made this journey.

With tides on the way out I could see much more beach exposed compared to high tide.

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The original Prospect Point Lighthouse was built here in the late 1800's.

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Long before the bridge was built in 1938 the original lighthouse was in response to numerous shipping incidents like the SS Beaver that ran aground on the rocky shores in 1888.

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These narrows have tricky tidal currents that I could see as the tide went out.  Looking out under the bridge there were patches of smooth water and areas with strong currents marked by swirling water and waves.

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Interesting sea life including these purple sea stars.

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Some seals playing or feeding in the water.

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The large difference in tides is apparent and you can see the high tide mark along the wall.  Where I'm standing would be over my head at high tide.

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This is important because technically there isn't enough height over water for Quantum class ships to pass under with the standard safety margins that are required for safe navigation.  However using the tides to their advantage the extra 12 to 15 feet of tidal differences allows ships like Ovation to pass under the bridge if they time it just right.

Before Ovation can arrive and dock at Canada Place, the cruise terminal in downtown Vancouver, a few ships need to get out of town.  This included the Star Princess and two Holland America ships, Westerdam and Noordam.

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The area is popular with the outdoor type folks and the backdrop of the bridge made for a popular selfie station.  If you look along the waterline to the far left you see a tiny ship on the horizon.  Ovation of the Seas! 

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A cargo ship also had to enter the port just before Ovation arrived.

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As I waited the sun was moving lower on the horizon making pictures in this direction challenging so I used the lighthouse to block the sun and I hid in it's shadow as Ovation approached.

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One thing I noticed was how the currents had settled down, the rippling and waves were gone, the water was smooth.  This too is important so any ship can stay within the narrow channel and pass under the bridge at it's highest level.

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Ovation continued it's approach with a tug at the ready just in case.

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Closer, inching closer...

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Success!  Clearing under the bridge with a large safety margin North Star was under.  I could hear the roar of the crowd on the ship all cheering and celebrating which is rather ironic because it marks the end of their journey.

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The bigger challenge was the funnels and aft part of the ship.

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Also under with plenty of clearance.

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Woohoo!  My cruise can continue as planned!

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To be honest it was a bit anti-climatic.  I expected her to be closer to the bridge.  I was confident she would fit, they wouldn't risk the bridge or the ship but I feel like Anthem passing under the Verrazona-Narrows bridge in New York is tighter.

1335845592_OvationDay0-22.jpg.e8bdb5005b81e3371b6373767b9440b5.jpg

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My trip back toward my hotel meant a transfer from bus to train at Waterfront station so I took the opportunity to walk downtown on this slow Sunday evening and to visit the Canada Place cruise terminal.

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The side of the terminal that Holland America uses and the site of last weeks "kissing ships" when the two company vessels scraped balconies with each other.

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Ovation was still setting lines when I arrived.

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Beautiful skies tonight with the sun close to setting.

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One of Ovation's smoking areas captured from an angle you don't see too often.

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The proximity to downtown and easy access to the transit system make this a great port.

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With that it was approaching 9pm and time for me to head back to my hotel. With nearly 10 miles under my feet it was time to grab a sandwich at Subway and watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones in my hotel.

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