Boarding Celebrity Solstice today…Boarding issues…Waiting until the last minute never pays for us…Final expenses for two nights at hotel…

  I ordered this Cobb salad during the two nights at the Showcase Restaurant located in the Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Hotel.

Yesterday, we received an email from Vacations to Go to inform all of their cruiser passengers regarding today’s boarding on Celebrity Solstice’s Alaskan cruise as to the following:

“We are writing to provide you with necessary information regarding the Celebrity Solstice out of Vancouver, Canada, on May 17, 2017.

Celebrity Solstice will be docked at Canada Place along with two other vessels.

Due to the increased number of guests from all three ships, port officials estimate the disembarkation process will take longer than usual.

Check-in for your cruise will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the cruise terminal. To facilitate the check-in process, we kindly ask that you complete online check-in at if you have not done so already. Since there are three cruise ships at Canada Place on May 17th, all guests will need to meet at the Convention Centre Hall C (over Canada Place), where they will be organized into small groups before proceeding to the cruise terminal. Once at the terminal, guests will proceed through security and then through U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) before boarding the ship. Please note that guests from all three ships will be processed through a single security and CBP area. As a result, guests may experience delays.”

On this morning’s Vancouver news, warnings stated to expect over 13,000 passengers at Canada Place (the port) with long delays. Subsequently, we’ve decided not to head to the pier until after 2:00 pm. By then, half of the crowd, which are the disembarking passengers, will have been processed out of the terminal.

Tom also enjoyed his turkey sandwich with bacon and chips two nights in a row.

Now, as I sit in the hotel restaurant with my cup of hot peppermint tea, I see dozens of passengers being instructed to head to the pier at 10:45 am. We imagine most passengers will decide to go earlier rather than later. 

We’re comfortable having decided on the later boarding. Check-in ends at 4 pm and the ship sails at 5:00 pm.

The pier is walking distance, but we’ll have to take a taxi on the road leading to the pier is all downhill. I can only imagine how that would go with our heavy bags!

During the last boarding process in Vancouver on September 23, 2014, we were waiting, standing, sitting, standing and sitting for over three hours while we were herded like cattle from one check-in area to another.  We’ll never forget that day.  

This morning’s cloudy view of the street below.

Today, with three ships in the port at once, it will most likely be as chaotic as it was in 2014, if not more.  However, we’ll have our phones fully charged with books to read and games to play that will help pass the time.  Knowing what to expect helps keep the frustration at bay. 

We remind ourselves that such processes “go with the territory.” Who are we to complain? We’re forever grateful for our lifestyle and a few inconveniences along the way are to be expected and, tolerated with grace and dignity.

Over the past two days in the hotel in Vancouver, with a better Wi-Fi signal, we knew it was time to get some things done that we hadn’t been able to accomplish on the last 24-night cruise with the poor signal.

It never pays for us to wait until the last minute. The deals are seldom better, the options and selections become sparse and we find ourselves scurrying and somewhat stressed in booking that which we waited to do for whatever reasons.

Two situations occurred in the past 24 hours; one, renting a car for Minneapolis; two, checking in online for today’s cruise to Alaska., both of which we’d hope to complete on the past cruise. Unfortunately, the poor signal prevented us from achieving these two tasks.

Yesterday, while attempting to finalize the car rental transaction the hotel’s Wi-Fi wasn’t working well with many guests online in the morning.  We had a heck of a time booking a car at a decent price for the six weeks in Minneapolis. Prices were high and availability limited. When we hit “submit” to complete our order, nothing happened. I kept trying.

As it turned out, we received three email confirmations for three cars! Luckily, a credit card number wasn’t required to book the vehicles, although we’d have been able to cancel two of the transaction which we did promptly. 

Vancouver is comparable to many cities with lots of skyscrapers and business centers but is impeccably clean and friendly.

We’re were left with one confirmation for one car, a Ford Explorer SUV, which will be ideal during the six weeks.  Tom had been an Explorer fan having purchased a new version in fall of 1998. So he was thrilled to try a new model. 

Next, we were unable to do the online cruise check-in.  We missed the window of time required to check-in online which we’ll have to do once we get to check-in processing desk at the terminal. We called Celebrity to confirm it was OK for us to do it, which they confirmed. 

Tom had tried checking in while on the last cruise (ending two days ago) but it was impossible due to the ship’s poor signal.  We had no other option other than to try once we checked in to the hotel.  Alas, we were unable to do the online check-in. No worries. It will all work out.

Sorry, we don’t have many photos today. With the cold rainy weather after walking almost five miles on Monday, we were both needing a quiet restful day indoors.

Here are the final expenses for the hotel, drive from Seattle, shopping, and meals for our two nights in Vancouver:

 Expense   US Dollar 
 Hotel – 2-nights   $                     317.86
 Driver – Seattle to Vanc.                          792.00
 Airfare    $                          –
 Taxi to Pier    $                        20.00
 Pharmacy (probiotics)   $                     310.42
 Meals in Hotel (incl. tips)   $                     105.92
 Additional tips   $                        20.00
 Total   $                  1,566.20
 Avg Daily Cost    $                     778.10
These costs were higher than we’d hoped but we chose the “easy” type of transportation from Seattle to Vancouver with the private shuttle. With our three checked bags and two carry-on bags, it wouldn’t have worked to find other passengers to share the vehicle.
That’s it for today folks,  In a few hours we’ll be on our way by taxi to the pier, Canada Place, with the hope our later arrival will serve us well. We’ll be back tomorrow to report if our assessment of the situation was correct.
Back at you soon on our way to Alaska. If at any time you don’t you don’t see a new post come through on any of the nine days on the ship, please know that it’s entirely due to a poor signal.  We’ll be taking plenty of photos that we’ll be anxious to share as soon as possible.

Photo from one year ago today, May 17, 2016:

This is the exterior of the photo shop in Bali where we each had visa photos taken for a nominal price for our visa extensions. For more photos, please click here.