I love to travel and see new sites, meet new friends and relax while doing so. Our West Coast Cruise and Rail trip combines all of these travel elements. We pick you up by motor coach and after lunch take you for an overnight stay at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel. Not only is this a beautiful property with many on site amenities such as spa services, pool and excellent dining, it is just across from The Canada Line Skytrain station. For just a few dollars and 25 minutes, you can travel to down town Vancouver for dining, shopping or meeting up with family and friends who may live in the area.
After a leisurely breakfast, we will travel to Vancouver’s Canada Place where we will board the Norwegian Pearl. The Pearl will be our home for the next five nights.
She made her inaugural cruise in 2006 and was completely refurbished in 2013. Carrying 2,394 passengers, the Pearl is considered a midsize ship in the Norwegian fleet of 14. On board there is a live entertainment theatre, 15 bars and lounges, casino, shopping arcade, beauty shop, library, games room, Internet centre, spa, gymnasium, two bowling alleys, climbing wall, two swimming pools, and six hot tubs.
Dining is one of the highlights on any cruise and the Pearl has a wide variety to choose from. Eat in one of the complimentary dining rooms or select from one the six specialty restaurants that have different themes and gourmet menus. Be aware there are charge fees of $20 to $30 per person in the specialty restaurants. The Pearl has no formal dinner seating times, so you can enjoy a different venue for every meal, reserve in advance, or just show up when you are ready. This is part of Norwegian’s free style cruising approach.
Currently on this cruise, an unlimited complimentary beverage package is being offered. Order your favourite drink such as wine, beer, a mixed beverage, or a soft drink and sit back to enjoy. Please note: this offer could be withdrawn by Norwegian at any time.
We depart with a “Farewell to Vancouver” deck party as we pass under the Lions Gate Bridge. Our first port of call is Victoria, where you will have all day to take in the local sites.
After a relaxing day at sea, San Francisco is our next port of call. Don’t sleep in this morning if you want to experience sailing into San Francisco under the Golden Gate Bridge. The day is yours to explore, but be careful, as Tony Bennett would sing in his song, “ l Left My Heart in San Francisco” this city by the bay has claimed many a heart.
Following another day at sea, we arrive in Los Angeles, “the City of Angels” or simply “LA”. LA is the second largest city in the US, second only to New York City. Our coach will meet us ship side and provide a wonderful day of touring the LA area with local guide and entertainer John Daugherty. We overnight and have a free morning at the beautiful Crown Plaza Hotel in Venture, where every room has a view of the Pacific Ocean and the sandy beach is easily accessible.
Our first train journey as we begin to head north will be a day excursion aboard an Amtrak train. During our 6½-hour journey, the train hugs the California shoreline before turning inland to Salinas. Here we meet up with our coach for a drive to Monterey where we will stay two nights.
Our next railway excursion is aboard the Roaring Camp Railway. Pulled by an 1890 steam locomotive through a grove of redwoods, the journey takes you to the top of Bear Mountain on one of the oldest narrow gage tracks in the US.
One cannot visit central California and wine country without including the world famous Napa Valley Wine Train. This stretch of railway opened in 1885 and operated for 102 years before becoming the wine train. Onboard during our journey, you will enjoy a delicious gourmet lunch.
Our last train excursion will embrace spectacular scenery as we climb over the Cascade Range and down into the fertile Willamette Valley. Here our coach meets us once again for a drive to the beautiful City of Portland before heading back home the next day.
Sit back relax and enjoy this sea and land journey.
Written by: Joan Niemeier