Thursday morning dawned sunny and warm. We docked at Victoria, British Columbia about 11am. Most of us had booked the 1 hour horse drawn trolley ride thru Victoria. Let me say that I've had the priviledge to visit this beautiful city many, many times. And I've done the trolley ride before but it's been my experience that each time you see a little bit different part of the city. Victoria is truly a unique city. Not nearly as expensive as Vancouver, BC and I think more charming. They say the Royal London Wax Museum in Victoria is better than the one in London. (Jeannette maybe we can get up there and you can see for yourself) And Victoria also has the Royal British Columbia Museum (I could stay in there all day). I really was not feeling well this day but after the trolley took us back to the ship, Barbara, Lynnette and I boarded a shuttle bus back into town. Neither of them had strolled thru the Empress Hotel...we wanted to take High Tea but you have to have advance reservations, so it didn't happen. The only thing I wanted to do was go to the little store where, in the past, I'd been able to get my favorite Marks & Spencer shower gel. It took a walk thru The Bay and into a beautiful enclosed multi-level mall area to get to this store. But alas it is no more. My $21 Canadian that I'd saved since my last visit had to come home with me. Oh, I forgot we did go to McDonald's and eat lunch that day. So that took a few dollars.
Barbara & Lynnette were worn out, too so after walking to different areas and looking around we decided to head back to the ship. We were all walked out.
The ship pulled away from the dock at 7pm to begin our final cruise along the Staits of Juan de Fuca and then a right hand turn into Puget Sound and Seattle. It's not very far, even by water and we weren't supposed to dock until 7am Friday, so we think the Captain put the coordinates in and let the tide do the rest. Believe me it doesn't take 12 hours to make that trip. But I guess they were being kind, not getting us into Seattle at 2 or 3am. Thursday evening they had the entertainment at 7:45pm (just one show that night) so knowing that a lot of people would be there, we went up early and found good seats. (For those who couldn't find seats or wanted to finish their packing the program was broadcast on the ship's TV channels.) It was sort of a potpourri of all the entertainment we'd seen during our week long adventure. The Elvis impersonator, the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers, the jugglers, the comedians, etc. And lots of audience participation. They certainly like to liven up the audience....at one point 1,500 people were up on their feet, clapping & jumping to the song "Jump." (Those ships are very sturdy !!)
Our last dinner was bitter sweet. Dan & Georgia heading back to Phoenix, Carolyn back to San Diego and Judi would head back to San Diego on Monday after spending the weekend visiting her mom. The rest of us all live within about 50 miles of each other but we'd just spent this last week together and dinners would never be the same. Judi had made arrangements for 2 bottles of Champagne and toasts were made, I think there may have been some teary eyes. We enjoyed our dinner and managed to drag it out as long as possible. When we finally left the table it was a little after 10:30pm and we only had until 11pm to get our packed suitcases in the hall. From there they were moved down into the holding area of the ship to be put off in Seattle Friday morning.
So Lynnette and I rushed down to our cabin and to finish packing, keeping out clothes, makeup, toothbrush & tooth paste, medications...all the stuff we would need in the morning. Everything else was packed in suitcases clearly marked with our names and the special colored tags we were given for our luggage and then placed in the hall. It was an amzing sight...to look in both directions and see all this luggage sitting there. Imagine the work in getting all that down for 2,400 passengers.
We set our alarm for 6:15am Friday morning and when we woke up we were already at the dock in Seattle...the same scene out our window we'd seen the previous Friday when we boarded. Breakfast was served in the Windjammer until 8:30am so we hurried and got dressed, put our faces on and headed out to eat. Nancy had told us we could use the cabinuntil around 8:45am but then she had to clean it. After breakfast we came back, got the last of the stuff we were carrying off ourselves, checked all the drawers, looked under the beds....you know all the things you do when leaving any hotel. Our special tag was GREEN 1. Which meant we were among the last to get off. Priority was given to those who had airline reservations before noon, then the next level was for those with airline reservations after noon, etc. etc. We were designated to wait in the Masquerade Theater until our tag color and group number was called. We all found each other and spent the time visiting and recalling the events of the week we had just shared. Finally about 9:45am they called Green Group 1 and away we went to disembark.....saying good bye to our beautiful floating hotel. I had called Bob on my cell, so by now he was circling the parking lot waiting for me to come out with all my stuff. I did have my hands full with my rolling suitcase, a garment bag and four shopping bags of goodies I had purchased. Next time, I'll do things a little different. Maybe one of those new rolling shopping bag affairs that fold up when not in use.
Well that's it folks....I hope you enjoyed this experience even half as much as I did. I will remember that week for as long as I live. And I'm serious about wanting to go again next August. I'm going to let you know prices, etc when I get them. I've even had her check on group rates incase there are some out there that want to do this with me. It would be wonderful to meet some of my J-land friends and any others to see this beautiful part of Alaska together. Linda