Trip Report: A trip to the bridge and Victoria, British Columbia

Ed. Note: This is part five in our six-part series of “Trip Reports” from our recent trip to Seattle, British Columbia and Alaska aboard the Celebrity Solstice. You may also enjoy parts 123, 4, and 6

After recovering somewhat from our death-march in Skagway the day before, we headed down to our favorite on-ship bar, Cellar Masters, to participate in a Riedel Wine Tasting Workshop. This was actually pretty cool.

Our Riedel tasting mats at the Riedel Wine Tasting on our Alaska cruise aboard the Celebrity Solstice. This occurred the morning of our stop in Victoria, British Columbia.

Our Riedel tasting mats.

The sommelier poured us each four wines – a chardonnay, a sauvignon blanc, a bordeaux, and a cabernet sauvignon.  We had the chance to taste each using a standard bar wine glass  (the “Joker” glass) and the correct corresponding Riedel glass for the varietal, which are supposedly shaped to enhance the taste of each type of wine. And we were pretty surprised – there definitely was a difference! Even better, the workshop came with a certificate for 4 free Riedel glasses, so we can continue our wine experiments at home as well.

Once we returned to our stateroom, we noticed that we had received an invitation.  For being members of the Cruise Critic message board, we were offered an exclusive tour of the Bridge — the main command center of our cruise ship.

A tour of the bridge as we made our way towards Victoria, British Columbia.

The first mate (left) had to keep driving while the rest of us got the tour.

We passed through a security screening before being allowed in, but eventually, behind a series of programmed and locked doors, we got up to the very front of the ship.  The second mate explained to us the many gadgets using one of the side command stations — our ship had three command stations, one in the center where they handled most of the “driving” and one on each side where they handle “parking”.

A tour of the bridge aboard the Celebrity Solstice on our way to Victoria, British Columbia.

The hubby was really into it.

Hearing about all the onboard whatzits and doodads was neat, BUT the tour happened to occur during the roughest seas of the whole cruise, and between those seas and being at the very front of the ship and out on one of the side bridge “wings,” soon the sea wasn’t the only thing tossing and turning.  We spent most of the rest of the day in our cabin, where I tried my very best not to hurl.

The strait of Juan de Fuca marks the end of motion sickness as we approached Victoria, British Columbia.

Land, ho!

So, when I saw the above strip of land appear out our balcony window the next day I was ecstatic — that meant we were entering the Strait of Juan de Fuca and calmer seas would soon be at hand.

The welcome sign at the port of Victoria, Canada

O, Canada.

By the time we reached Victoria, British Columbia, my seasickness was all but past, and we disembarked to see what our brief Canadian port stop had to offer. We found the city itself to be very walkable, and just a short jaunt from the cruise ship port we found the beautiful Parliament building (the featured image for this post). A few more blocks over, and we reached the historic Christ Church Cathedral, though unfortunately we were too late to take a tour and see the famous stained glass windows inside.

The Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria, British Columbia.

The Christ Church Cathedral. It stood in brutal contrast with the tent city across the street.

After our stroll through town, we headed over to North 48, a gastropub whose name is a reference to the latitude on which Victoria is located. There we were thrilled to get a respite from the cruise food and indulged with delicious homemade Cheese Whiz and  “General Tso’s” duck wings, followed by a burger for me, and a fancy hot dog for the hubby. The duck wings were the true highlight of the meal, though, and would fall off the bone almost the minute you picked them up – absolutely delicious.

Buck-a-duck wings at North 48 in Victoria, British Columbia.

The duck wings (right) were a-buck-a-duck and were amazing.

With that, we headed back to the ship via the Beacon Hill Park where we ran into some of the loudest Canadians we’d ever encountered…peacocks!

A peacock in Victoria, British Columbia.

Strut your stuff, pretty bird.

Canadian geese in Victoria, British Columbia.

And also some Canadian geese.

Eventually, we bid our feathered friends adieu and re-boarded the ship for our final night at sea. Check back tomorrow for updates on our final two vacation days, exploring more of Seattle! But first: one final gorgeous sunset.

The sunset over the Canadian Rockies as we sailed away from Victoria, British Columbia.

The sunset over the Canadian Rockies.