This was our careful return to cruising after a 3-year pandemic hiatus. While both fully vaccinated, we were determined to exercise prudence and avoid crowds. We used Westjet credits from cancelled flights and traveled from Toronto to Vancouver, with pre-cruise stay at the Exchange hotel, 3 blocks from the terminal. We were very satisfied with this property. Dinner was at the Cactus Club Café nearby, but there were many other restaurants around.
Our scheduled embarkation at noon took only a few minutes, and we were on the ship well before our cabin was ready for 1:30pm. We’ve been on this ship 12 years ago, but hardly recognized it after it was refurbished. We had an aft balcony 7674, which was spacious and well appointed. The large balcony (probably over 85 sq. ft.) was quiet and private, with both sun and shade, 2 new loungers, 2 chairs and a small table. Yes, it was a fair walk to the elevators (140 steps), but it was a good way to burn calories.
The ship was 70% full according to the affable captain, and we managed to keep space while dining. The only crowded places were the small cinema (which we avoided), and the tender boats in Santa Barbara.