Tag Archives: victoria

The San Juan Islands

photo by jeffgunn, Creative Commons

You may have been wondering why this blog has been dark this past week—well, our blogger has been out of town!

She traveled up to the San Juan Islands, always a lovely destination in the summertime. Just a few hours north of Seattle, the islands are a beautiful escape for travelers within the Pacific Northwest. She definitely recommends visitors charter a boat while they’re there! The San Juans are best enjoyed by sail; unlike a motorboat, sailing allows for a more leisurely enjoyment of the islandscape. Chartering a boat is also the best way to catch sights of some sealife and local birds! A plethora of wildlife awaits you in the San Juans—seals, sea otters, orcas, dolphins, puffins, eagles and many more.

Visitors can also charter a sea plane for some fantastic bird-eye views, go kayaking around the beaches, hiking or bicycling.

Naturally, there is a well-developed ferry system that connects the islands. And don’t forget your passport—beautiful Victoria harbor and Vancouver Island await just across the Strait of Juan de Fuca!

Did you know?

–          The islands have an average of 247 days of sunshine a year.

–          There are no traffic lights anywhere in the islands.

–          San Juan Country has more miles of shoreline than any other in the USA, capping at 375 miles.

–          Roche Harbor’s Hotel de Haro is one of the most famous hotels in the area, with patrons as notable as Theodore Roosevelt and John Wayne.

Call Willamette Intl Travel for great travel connections to the San Juans. We’ve chartered boats, wildlife viewing tours, and rented idyllic cabins for couples and families. Call us at 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

photo by jeffgunn, creative commons

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Filed under Cruises, Family Travel, North America, Our Travel Agents, The Pacific Northwest, Travel by Ship, USA

South, Sunsets, Seattle!

This week WIT agent Wailana is concluding her days aboard Celebrity Cruises’ Infinity up to Alaska. Today, we take a look at Victoria and the ship herself.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012 – At Sea

Another day “at sea” is a terrific opportunity to explore the ship’ services. Besides the onboard spa, fitness center and pools, there are ample activities all around the ship, including:

–       bingo night

–       basketball h.o.r.s.e. tournament

–       watercolor art class

–       presentations by a qualified cultural historian and naturalist

–       music trivia

–       wine tasting

–       and much more

As one of the last days onboard, there was a festive air throughout the ship. The gift shop held sales and the lounges specials and events. Photographers shot scenes of impeccably dressed guests against the backdrop of a fiery sunset.

I took advantage of this day to explore Michael’s Club, the shipboard equivalent to a pub. You can sip on a beer from their worldwide selection, enjoying the lounge with its muted lighting, tasty edibles and live music. I was once again impressed with the general unpretentiousness and high standard of food and service. It was also English-themed trivia night, a hilarious event as the etymology of the word soccer came into question.

Thursday, 6 September 2012 – Victoria, BC

The morning began with a crew talent show and cooking contest. This was a great chance to see all 900+ crew members on stage at once, some of them displaying incredible feats of magic, dance, song, comedy and theatre. It was also a terrific opportunity for the passengers to show our appreciation of the hard work behind the scenes.

After, it was on to late lunch. My number one recommendation on any Celebrity ship is to try one of the specialty restaurants onboard. It’s not that the regular restaurants are inadequate–on the contrary, the main dining area Trellis is a culinary delight each seating—but the attention to detail, quality of ingredients, and presentation are up a whole new level. After the entertainment of the A.M., we headed down to the SS United States, the specialty restaurant focusing on French cuisine. The setting had a very clean and 1950’s ship interior, complete with Jazz lounge music, white polished décor, and porthole windows with wooden panels. You can order courses paired with wine or à la carte and just sample from an array of delicious and masterfully prepared appetizers. The peak of the dinner was the jaw-dropping desserts—but those, readers, I’ll let you discover for yourselves.

Specialty Restaurants: Blu (Aquaclass only), SS United States, Qsine

Disembarkation Time: 6.30 pm

Arrival into Victoria was perfectly timed for the afternoon. The sun sinks down over the harbor and bathes the waters in blue and gold. It’s a lovely 30-minute walk or brief shuttle ride into the heart of downtown. In the summer, street performers line the docks just below the capitol building—jugglers, musicians, traders. I would advise cruise passengers to spend their charming, lamp lit evening in Victoria eating out at one of the yummy restaurants in Old Town.

Embarkation Time: 11.30pm


In the end, cruises are luxury resorts set against beautiful backgrounds. They are opportunities to enjoy some fine entertainment, cuisine, and accommodations. Your activities are designed with a demographic in mind, which changes depending on the route. It is important to remember that, with less than 12 hours in any port of call, less focus is given to the destination and more to onboard experience.

With this in mind, Celebrity Cruises stands out as a luxury cruise line. The service is what makes this ship exceptional. The staff was friendly, amusing, approachable, relatable and accommodating. I am not surprised that the Infinity has the highest rated crew in the entire fleet.

Willamette Intl Travel regularly books clients on Celebrity and other cruises. Call WIT at 503.224.0180 or email info@wittravel.com to book a cruise today!

P.S. Wailana’s photographs from the cruise will be appearing on the blog next week, so stay tuned!

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Filed under Alaska, Canada, Celebrity Cruises, Cruises, North America, Our Travel Agents, Travel by Ship, USA, Vendors, Where in the World is the WIT Agent?