Cruising: shore excursions

Green dream ... the Capilano Suspension Bridge.

Green dream ... the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Photo: AFP

"We booked the tour as a pre-cruise shore tour, before we started our cruise up the Inside Passage.

"They picked us up from our hotel and took our suitcases, so when we got to the ship our luggage was on.

"The tour was six hours and gave us a really good sense of Vancouver.

Pat Gotley enjoyed the totem poles.

Pat Gotley enjoyed the totem poles.

"We drove across Lions Gate Bridge, which we later went under on the ship, and went to the Capilano Fish Hatchery, where they have display windows so you can watch the salmon trying to make their way upstream.

"We also walked across the Capilano Suspension Bridge, where you can look down on the huge trees in the forest.

"They have one tree that they call 'The Big One' and you just can't believe how big it is.

"The bridge was a little bit scary because there were a lot of people on it, so it wobbles a bit as you go across.

"Our guide was excellent and told us a lot about the local history, then gave us a couple of hours to walk around and do our own thing.

"There's another walk there that they call the Cliffwalk, where there is a perspex screen and you look straight down into the rainforest, which is a bit daunting.

"There's also a large collection of totem poles and I was really interested to see those.

"Our guide then took us to Grouse Mountain and we rode an aerial tramway and then a chairlift to the top of the mountain, for views over Vancouver.

"They say that whole area is covered in snow in winter but it was a perfect day when we were there.

"They had grizzly bears in enclosures at their wildlife refuge and it was a chance to see them up close.

"We had lunch at Grouse Mountain and then our guide delivered us to the cruise terminal to join our cruise."

Value for money

The Vancouver "Pre-cruise North Shore tour with port drop-off" cost $143 a person.

Pat says it was an excellent overview of Vancouver and also saved having to organise their own transport from the hotel to the cruise terminal.

"The tour guide was brilliant; he was very informative and very interested in his job," Pat says.

"We booked several tours through Viator and they saved us a lot of money.

"If you're computer-literate, you can find the tours online and compare them to other options you've been given.

"You can also pay in Australian dollars before you leave home, so it's all organised and paid for."

WHO Pat Gotley of Hervey Bay, Queensland, on her second cruise.
WHAT Pre-cruise shore tour of Vancouver.
WHERE Vancouver is in the south-western corner of Canada, making it the starting point for many cruises to Alaska's Inside Passage.
THE SHIP Pat cruised with her husband, Brenton, on a seven-night trip from Vancouver to Seward in Alaska. They cruised on Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas but organised their shore tours independently through Viator.com.

As told to Jane E. Fraser

Have you done an interesting shore excursion? Drop us a line at travelshd@fairfaxmedia.com.au.