Vancouver to San Diego (California)
10 days with Silversea Rating:
Day 1 Vancouver
Departure 8:00 PM
Boasting mountains, sea, culture, art and so much more, many cities claim to have it all, but few can back it up like Vancouver. Famously livable, just visiting this highrise city - surrounded by staggering natural beauty - is a thrill. Offering all of the creature comforts of an ultra-modern, worldly metropolis - even downtown has a hint of mountain-freshness to its air - and part of Vancouver's appeal is how easily you can swap the skyscrapers for whale-filled oceans and mountain-punctured skies. Head up to the Vancouver Lookout Tower for the ultimate 360-degree views of the city glistening, amid the beautiful embrace of the beckoning wilderness beyond. But what to see first? Art lovers might choose the Vancouver Art Gallery or the Contemporary Art Gallery. Nature lovers might rush for the ferry to visit Vancouver Island - where they can encounter grizzly bears, whales and orcas. Culture vultures, on the other hand, will probably head for the sights and sounds of Canada's biggest Chinatown. From steaming dim sum for lunch to Chinese apothecaries offering herbs to soothe any illness, it’s all here thanks to the migrant workers of the 19th century. The one-of-a-kind treasure of Stanley Park brings wild wonder and natural beauty to this cosmopolitan city's doorstep, and the pine-tree clad park offers isolated trails and amazing views. Wander the Seawall that encircles it - a 20-mile coastal path, full of joggers, whizzing skaters and wandering couples. Grab a bike and cycle between Coal Harbour and Kitsilano Beach. You can top up your tan on the shore, as you soak in the glorious views of the mountains and cityscape from the sands.
Day 2 Victoria (British Columbia)
Set on the southern tip of Vancouver Island (although nowhere near Vancouver the city), Victoria (the city) is nowhere near Victoria Island. Confused? Victoria may be Vancouver’s smaller sister in size but what it lacks in bright light big city bustle, is more than made up for by its fantastic foodie scene, historical background and its glorious natural surroundings. What’s more, stop any local and you’ll find a charming population, full of friendliness and pride for their city. Easily walkable, Victoria is full of blooming gardens, coastal paths, engaging museums, and beautifully restored 19th-century architecture. Pods of friendly whales have been known to visit the harbour, attracted by the fertile waters. Three resident pods of Orcas live in the nearby Puget Sound, Gulf and San Juan Islands. Nothing beats the feeling of standing on the viewing deck, binoculars in hand, listening to the eerie communication of the beautiful black and white beasts. Discovered by Captain James Cook in the 18th century, Victoria – and Vancouver Island – had long been home to many indigenous families. The city retains its roots to its First Nation culture, thousands of examples of which can be found in the spectacular collection housed at The Royal BC Museum. People flocked to the area after gold was discovered in 1858, bringing adventurers from as far afield as Australia. This diversity of population was further cemented in the 19th century when thousands of migrant workers were brought in to build the railway.
Day 3 Seattle (Washington)
Even if you think you know Seattle, we guarantee that by your next visit, the city will have changed. Because that is the nature of Seattle, always marching unashamedly towards the future. This is the city that gave us Starbucks, Nirvana and Fraser (plus numerous other celebrities from music legends to retail giants). It’s a city that knows how to surf the next wave with aplomb and grace. It is the city of the future. That is not to say that it doesn’t treat its past with respect. Settled by five pioneer families in 1851, the town quickly grew after the Northern Railway was extended to meet the coast in 1893. The Gold Rush of 1897 sealed the city as one of the great places on the west coast. The history of the city’s 100 Mercer girls – girls that were brought back by pioneer Asa Mercer who deemed the city had shortage of marriageable women – is just one of the quirky facts that makes the Seattle impossible not to love. Seattle is the largest city in the state of Washington, yet there is a village vibe that is uncommon in metropolises. If you truly want to enjoy the unique hybrid of tradition and progression, then take a tour of Pike Place, Seattle’s famous farmer’s market. This was where the term “locavore” was coined, and local producer-customer meetings are not only commonplace, but are encouraged. Go hungry as the huge indoor market is laden with tasty options of food options, from fresh vegetables and fruit from to prepared food that can be eaten whilst enjoying a great view of the bay.
Day 4 Day At Sea
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
Day 5 Portland (Oregon)
Portland, Oregon’s largest city is located at the merging of the Williamette and Columbia Rivers. Two groups of indigenous Chinook peoples inhabited this area long before American pioneers started arriving in the 1800’s. Once the Oregon Trail, a 2,170 mile historic east–west, large-wheeled wagon route connecting Oregon to the Missouri River, opened in the 1830’s, large numbers of settlers started arriving. Portland’s original name was "Stumptown" because so many trees had been cut down to allow for development. Two men owned the land - Asa Lovejoy of Boston, Massachusetts and Francis W. Pettygrove of Portland, Maine. They decided to rename it, but disagreed about the new name. They wanted to name it after their respective hometowns, so they settled this disagreement with a coin toss, which Pettygrove won. Today, Portland is ranked the 26th most populous city in the United States, and is especially known for all its bridges, many of which are historic landmarks.
Day 6 Astoria (Oregon)
Located on the Columbia River, near the Pacific Ocean, Astoria is a pretty American West Coast port that is part bohemian, part all-American. At just three hours from Seattle (and six from British Columbia), Astoria enjoys the hipster cool of San Francisco, while maintaining small town appeal. Beachwise think miles of secluded beaches, sand dunes, crashing waves, lighthouses and towering forests. The extremely picturesque port revels in its new found status as being the place for Millennials to put down roots. Thus, organic coffee shops (with ultra-fast Wi-Fi) sit side by side Victorian antique shops that have been in families for generations, giving the whole town a multi-generational, modern feeling. The town itself is quaint – as the oldest Euro-settlement on the north Pacific Coast (it was established in 1811 and named after John Jacob Astor, founder of the American fur industry. It is also the first American settlement west of the Rockies), it has kept a lot of its turn of the century houses which overlook the mighty Columbia River. Lewis and Clark made the port their home during the early 1800s, setting up camp in Fort Clapsot, and despite the duo having to return home the way they came, the area has remained an integral part of their expedition. A replica of the seven-room fort built by members of the expedition in the National Park is a great way of gaining a deeper understanding of the trials that the team endured, with talented rangers and re-enactors on-hand to answer any questions.
Day 7 Day At Sea
Day 8 San Francisco (California)
With its spectacular bay, iconic bridge and contagious energy, the question is more what isn’t there to do in San Francisco rather than what is? It’s the city with a little bit of everything… Hippie havens, digital geniuses, oodles of American history and of course, Alcatraz. There is a hot arts scene, a cool restaurant culture and style, substance and sass in spades. It’s no wonder Tony Bennet left his heart there all those years ago… At just seven miles by seven miles the city might be tiny but it’s impact is huge. This is where the Gold Rush pioneers came, where the hippie movement began, where start-ups went from conception to creation and where tolerance became not a word but a way of life. Add in some heavyweight landmarks such as Fisherman’s Warf, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz island and you have an argument that SF (never San Fran) is possibly the best city in America. With its privileged setting on a spectacular bay and myriad of hills, SF is no stranger to natural beauty. In just one day you can hike along coastal paths that goes from Mexico to Oregon along the Pacific Ocean, climb rocky cliffs that stretch up into the enigmatic fog and stroll sandy beaches that are as challenging as they are spectacular. A quick change of scenery takes you downtown to golden age Art Deco palaces, Chinatown’s lantern-strung streets and fantastic city views from the Hamon Observation Tower. Hop on the ferry from Pier 33 to Alcatraz for some modern history, and you too will leave your heart in SF.
Day 9 Day At Sea
Day 10 San Diego (California)
Arrive 7:00 AM
Attention all sun, sea and surf lovers! Welcome to the place that considers those three words the only three little words worth saying. This is where the vibe is cool, the living is easy and weekends are spent worshiping the holy trinity, beachside. The southernmost city in California, San Diego borders Mexico which gives the place a slightly transient feel, although as America’s eighth largest city, it is anything but. Made up of little neighbourhoods, each has their own personality which gives a blended family feel. There’s Mission Beach, Little Italy, the Gaslamp Quarter, Downtown… all in all 17 neighbourhoods range from quirky to cool result in a city which is much more than a sum of its parts. European settlers arrived in the mid-18th century although Iberian explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo claims to have discovered San Diego Bay in 1542, 200 years previously. Regardless of when the Europeans arrived, there is proof that Native Americans populated the land 12,000 years before, and a trip to the San Diego History Centre is both educational and inspirational. The town became part of the United States of America in 1848 (it had been under Mexican rule before that) and since then has carved out a niche for being “America’s finest city”, a moniker that you’ll see everywhere from t-shirts to bumper stickers. If it feels familiar, that’s because it is. Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe filmed Some Like It Hot here and the city’s slightly worn around but ever so glamourous feel has remained.
All This Included
Think of the American West Coast and many things spring to mind: the towering redwoods of Portland, the Space Needle in Seattle and the ever beautiful Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Yet who would think of the staggering biodiversity that can be found along its shores? Think humpback whales breeching along California’s coast, orcas in Victoria Island and, Osprey, Bald Eagle and Red-tailed Hawk circling the skies overhead.
Cruising: Cabin onboard Silver Cloud
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