Boarding the Norwegian Sun & Exploring Nanaimo, BC

It’s Wednesday night as I start writing this – 9:40 pm and we’re in the open ocean off Cape Flattery with low rollers. Some passengers are apparently feeling the effects, and I saw a large crew cleaning up a mess on Deck 12 a few minutes ago. It takes a while for the captain to get the stabilizers set correctly, but they soon eliminated the roll.

Backing up a couple of days, the weather on Monday morning wasn’t very good as we started getting ready to leave – this was the view from our hotel room at 07:20 am.
A rainy morning in Richmond, BC
Having dropped off our rental car the evening before, we took a taxi to Canada Place. Had a nice chat with the driver, and among other things, we found out how hybrid cars work. The fare was $47 with a tip, and we were in the boarding line at 11:45, 15 minutes before the gates opened.
Cruise ship boarding at Canada Place
Boarding at Canada Place is normally quite quick, but for some reason it took 90 minutes to get to the ship. Dad refused the wheelchair I had booked for the boarding lineup, but promised to let me know if he needed it (he didn’t).
Boarding the Norwegian Sun cruise ship
I always like watching the process of loading the amazing amount of food and other material that it takes to make a 7-night cruise work.
Loading food onto the cruise ship Norwegian Sun in Vancouver
1:25 pm and Life is Good – very good 🙂 This was shot in the Observation Lounge, forward on Deck 12, which can usually be counted on as a quiet place to get away. For both Dad and I, the initial reaction to the ship was very positive – it’s beautiful, and all the staff we met were wonderful.
The Observation Lounge on the cruise ship Norwegian Sun
The skies over West Vancouver threatened to dump a lot of rain on the ship, but the sailaway party was energetic, though there weren’t many people on deck compared to some I’ve attended.
Sailaway party on the cruise ship Norwegian Sun
A couple of the cheerleaders.
Sailaway party on the cruise ship Norwegian Sun
A few people got into the spirit of the event 🙂
Sailaway party on the cruise ship Norwegian Sun
The Island Princess sails under Lions Gate Bridge on her last northbound Alaska sailing of the year.
Island Princess sails under Lions Gate Bridge
At 4:52, the span of the Lions Gate passed over our heads, and we were on our way.
Sailing under the Lions Gate Bridge
The “Welcome Aboard” show in the theatre was good – it was a series of short shows by entertainers who will do full shows later in the voyage.
Theatre show on the cruise ship Norwegian Sun
Although I ride the elevators on the ship when I’m with Dad, I see lots of stairs when I’m by myself. Every bit of exercise helps to deal with all the food!
Stairs on the cruise ship Norwegian Sun
On Deck 11 at 9:00 pm. I couldn’t figure out the route we took – Nanaimo is only 2 hours away but we were going to take 16 hours to get there, and we passed close by a lot of islands.
The pool deck on the cruise ship Norwegian Sun
Nanaimo at 07:20 am.
Nanaimo, BC
Dad and I were meeting some family members for lunch, but had no other plans, so went for a leisurely breakfast. Back in our cabin, he laid down and went back to sleep, so just before 09:00, I decided to walk into town to have a look around. The great weather was still with us, despite forecasts calling for clouds and showers.
The Norwegian Sun at Nanaimo, BC
A beautiful reception centre was built on the dock 3 years ago, and the first table cruise passengers come to is one with samples of the famous Nanaimo bars. I love Nanaimo bars! 🙂
Nanaimo bars at the cruise ship reception at Nanaimo, BC
Free shuttle buses would be running all day to take us into and around the downtown area, but I wanted to walk – it’s about a mile through a quiet industrial area to the edge of downtown.
Free shuttle bus at Nanaimo, BC
The Norwegian Sun really is a photogenic ship.
The Norwegian Sun at Nanaimo, BC
Nanaimo was one of the first communities in British Columbia to take on a full heritage-based revitalization of their downtown, and as we developed our plan in Fort Langley back in the ’80s, I made 3 trips to Nanaimo to see what they were doing, and was very interested to see what it had accomplished in the long run. I was very pleased with what I found.
Historic building in Nanaimo, BC
The “Old City Quarter” is an area that I don’t remember, but it has some interesting old buildings and shops.
Old City Quarter in Nanaimo, BC
The Occidental Hotel is the dominant commercial building in the Old City Quarter. Designed by Victoria architect John Teague in the Italianate style, it was built in 1886, a boom time in Nanaimo
Occidental Hotel (1886) in Nanaimo, British Columbia
Back in downtown proper, where the Great National Land Building is the fanciest of the heritage structures. It was designed in the Classical Revival style for the Bank of Commerce in 1914.
Great National Land Building (1914) in Nanaimo, British Columbia
The historic foundation of the building inventory is the Bastion. Built in 1853, it’s the last remaining wooden bastion of the many hundreds built by the Hudson’s Bay Company across North America. It was moved a few blocks from its original location in 1890.
The Bastion in Nanaimo, BC
The Bastion used to overlook a commercial/industrial harbour, but now it’s been turned into a lovely area of small shops, walkways, parks and expensive condos. This area was re-developed after the initial downtown revitalization had proved itself, if I remember correctly.
The downtown marina in Nanaimo, BC
Walking back to the ship at about 11:00.
The cruise dock at Nanaimo, BC
I met Dad at the ship, and after our family members arrived at 11:30, we put the Mountie on duty to work for a minute 🙂 Everything about the reception at Nanaimo was wonderful – unlike so many cruise ports, it just says “small town friendly”.
RCMP oficer in scarlet at Nanaimo, BC
After an exceptionally good lunch at a local pub which used to be the railway station, we all went down to the harbour. This looked like a fine way to spend a sunny afternoon.
Lazing on a park bench in Nanaimo, BC
The Sun was only the 7th cruise ship in this season. That’s a shame, given the work the community has put into making it a good destination. A ship is pretty hard to miss even from downtown, but the passengers seemed to have little impact, either visual or commercial.
The Norwegian Sun at Nanaimo, BC
The float plane base is certainly a busy place, shuttling people back and forth from Vancouver and other smaller communities up and down the coast. A bit of a price war has reduced the cost of a flight to Vancouver to only $69.
Float planes at Nanaimo, BC
Almost the whole gang that showed up to see us – one had to get back to work. Another wonderful day!

Tonight, we had another very short voyage, and tomorrow we’d be in Victoria.


Boarding the Norwegian Sun & Exploring Nanaimo, BC — 1 Comment

  1. Truly a beautiful place to live 🙂 Thanks for the shine to Nanaimo Uncle Murray!! Come back soon!