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Tancyn's Port Reviews of San Francisco, Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver
Sapphire Princess cruise in May 2013
Sapphire Princess
Member Name: Tancyn
Cruise Date: May 2013
Embarkation: Los Angeles
Destination: British Columbia
Member Review: Tancyn's Sapphire Princess Review
San Francisco
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Made our own plans and paid much less than the Princess excursions.

Did a "San Francisco Insider's Tour through San Francisco Comprehensive Shuttle Tours ( This was a great overview of places we would have missed, including the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, which was a highlight. Made our reservations online the week before our trip; very well-organized, friendly, and a good price.

We had lunch, walked all over, drank in a beautiful day and generally had a wonderful time in this great city.

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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
What a great city! Can't wait to get back there!

Fell in love with Pike's Place Market; took a million photos. Why do they even have florists in this town when the most beautiful flowers in the world can be found at the market?

Did an Underground Seattle walk that we'd arranged by ourselves, at a MUCH lower price than the ship charged for the same thing, only they had to go at 9 a.m. and we did it at 1 p.m. without a huge crowd of ship people. As I said in my review, it's worth $16 but wouldn't be worth the price Princess charges.

Explored all over, ended up taking the Monorail to the Space Needle, and thoroughly enjoyed our day.

We'll be back!

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Double Decker Bus Tour Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
This was the only cruise excursion we took, and it was very overpriced. We did it because we'd never been to Victoria and wanted a quick overview of the city, which we got from a friendly driver/tourguide, before exploring on our own. It had been raining earlier, so the people who had to sit outside in the back of the upstairs part of the bus were stuck with soaking-wet seats. Maybe in future the drivers could at least towel off seats? The inside part of the upstairs was immediately filled which left us sitting sideways downstairs -- not a great way to sightsee, and very conducive to locked necks. The lady next to us had doused herself in Giorgio perfume that morning; we got off as soon as possible, by which time I had a splitting headache, but thankfully a little fresh air cured that. Loved Victoria, even though it rained on and off all day. Had a great pub lunch at the Irish Times. Walked to the Emily Carr House. Took a million photos. This would be a wonderful place to retire!

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Port Rating: Not Rated
Disembarked and checked in at Hotel Vancouver. Walked to Canada Place and got tickets for the Big Bus city tour so we could get an overview. (We bought two-day ride tickets because the second day was only $5 more and we were able to use it again the next day to get to Stanley Park.) It was a pleasant hour's tour all over the place. Gave us a good idea what to do on our own.

Went to Capilano and did everything there -- the Treetops experience, the "Skywalk" (not NEARLY as precarious and exciting as the photos make it look!) and of course the big Suspension Bridge. What a great experience!

Got dropped off in Stanley Park by the Hop-On-Hop-Off double-decker, and walked to the lighthouse then all the way back to our hotel along the sea wall. Stopped for beers and pretzels at the marina when we were almost back to Canada Place.

Spent some time at the biggest music store we've ever seen, and ate an absolutely fantastic Dim Sum lunch in Chinatown.

I didn't love Vancouver that much, because the large population of aggressive drug addicted panhandlers was a bit off-putting. In the Hotel Vancouver one needs to use the room key in order to get into the lobby washrooms as well as to go up in the elevator; we'd never seen that before, but we understood it when we saw the hotel staff graciously and politely dealing with a filthy, drugged-out young woman in the lobby looking for change to use the payphone. There was a major police action the next morning right in front of the hotel. I didn't enjoy feeling as if I had to have my safety radar on in so many places in the city.

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