Alaska Cruise Day 8 – Back in Vancouver

Today was day 8 and the final day of our Alaskan cruise. The Celebrity Mercury docked back in Vancouver this morning about 7:00 am to conclude our wonderful Alaskan cruise family reunion.

After a quick breakfast in our cabin, we headed to our disembarkation station. We were scheduled for an 8:45 am disembarkation. We arrived there about 8:30 and our group was able to leave the ship about 8:40 am. As with the embarkation, the disembarkation process went super smoothly. Our luggage was waiting for us onshore segmented with the rest of our group. A bit to our surprise, our luggage, 7 pieces, was all together. It only took us about 2 minutes to get it together and head off to customs. Another 5 minutes and we were through customs and the cruise was officially over.

We had made plans to spend the day in Vancouver and to fly out the next day. We made plans to rent a car and this is where things went a bit down hill. I went over to the National Car Rental to pick up our vehicle. I was second in line behind a group of Hawaiians. Unfortunately, this National location doesn’t have an Emerald Aisle so I had to wait… and wait… and wait… The group from Hawaii was getting four cars, but was completely clueless about car rental. They had reservations but kept changing their minds on what they wanted and how long for each vehicle. It took the agent 30 minutes to get them their vehicles. The folks that had lined up behind me were getting pretty mad. I wasn’t too upset since it was still better than being at work. 😉 Once I got to the counter, gave the guy my Emerald club card, I was done in 2 minutes and off to get our vehicle.

Our first plan was to drive around Vancouver for a bit and make our way over to the Telerus Science Place – bad mistake. Vancouver is a big town with small roads and tons of cars. It was post rush hour, but the traffic was incredible. The cars were bumper to bumper every where and all roads seemed to be under construction. Vancouver will be hosting the Winter Olympics in a few years and construction is rampant. I suspect getting around town will be a nightmare until after that.

Finally, we got to the Science Place and spent about four hours there. The kids really loved that place. They had tons of exhibits set up for the kids to learn about science and have fun doing so. Our kids didn’t want to leave once we decided it was time. While there, we also saw a Omni Max movie about the history of the cowboy. It was interesting and the Omni Max theater was impressive as always.

It was mid afternoon, about 3:00, and we decided to call it a day and head to the hotel which was near the airport. The kids wanted to do some swimming plus we were hoping to turn in early since we had an early flight out the next morning. After checking in at the hotel, I decided to return the car and just take a hotel shuttle in the morning. Savannah accompanied me to the car rental place at the airport. We had a some nice father/daughter time to reminisce about the cruise. It took us about 45 minutes to get back to hotel.

Suzanne took the kids swimming at the hotel. I planned to take a shower to save time in the morning, but laid down on the bed while the kids changed and I was out. I didn’t wake up until they returned from swimming – guess I needed the power nap.

Our hotel was in Richmond which is really Chinatown for Vancouver. Everything around us was Chinese including all the signs. Some signs were in both Chinese and English. We figured we might as well get Chinese food for dinner, though Savannah and I were really looking forward to some fish and chips. We ate a local Chinese place and had a good meal.

Back in the room, we watched a quick movie, Blades of Glory. it was ridiculous, but a good laugh. We turned in about 9:30 with a 4 am wake up call in the morning. We dutifully made it to the airport two hours before our flight.

The flight to Dallas left pretty much on time and was uneventful. Suzanne and the kids stayed in Dallas while I continued on home to Tucson. Suzanne’s family lives in Dallas and we made plans for her and the kids to spend a week there with them after the cruise. She usually takes the kids and drives there in the summer for a week or two. I managed to get upgraded to First Class for my connection to Tucson. Once again, the flight was very uneventful and arrived on time.

After a brief 45 minute drive back to Sonoita, I was home. The dog went absolutely crazy upon seeing me. Only having tomorrow off before going back to work, I decided to get unpacked and the laundry done so I could enjoy the day. The vacation was over.

Tomorrow, a wrap up of the Alaskan cruise vacation…