The writer was hosted.
A luxurious and sensory journey along the Pacific Coast designed for lovers of fine wine and gourmet cuisine aboard the elegant Discovery Princess set sail from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, last fall with me on board. The 6-day Pacific Coast Wine and Food Experience voyage offered a unique opportunity to explore some of the most renowned wine countries along the California Coast and in the Pacific Northwest.
Our Cruise Experience
Upon boarding the Discovery Princess, we were greeted with a sophisticated atmosphere. It blended the modern luxuries of a world-class cruise ship, the newest in the Princess Cruise Line’s fleet, with the charm and elegance suitable for a wine-themed West Coast expedition.
The ship’s design showcased contemporary decor, spacious public areas, multiple dining venues, comfortable staterooms, and expansive deck areas for relaxation and sightseeing.
The stateroom I booked was spacious and well-appointed. It had a small couch with a coffee table where my Room Service breakfast was served every morning. A desk and chair created the perfect work environment for me during the cruise, with a built-in cabinet containing a small refrigerator.
The best feature, however, was the oceanview balcony with two chairs and a small table. I enjoyed sitting on the balcony when we were pulling into ports, sipping my morning coffee, and watching the sunset. Every day was a new experience on the ocean.
Best Cruise for First-Timers
Princess Cruise Line earned “Best Cruise Line for First-Timers” by Cruise Critic Editor’s Choice. Cruising from Vancouver on the Discover Princess was my first luxury cruise, so I understood why they received this designation.
Cruising is a convenient way to travel. You unpack once and enjoy ports of call along the way.
The cruise fare includes entertainment, dining, accommodations, wifi, and countless activities. No transportation fees like trains, airfare, or buses to get you from one city to another figure into this equation.
Tips are included in your cruise fare, so there is no question about how much to tip the restaurant servers and the room attendants. And the service is outstanding.
Shore excursions (for an additional fee) are offered at every port. You can sign up when you book your cruise or wait until you reach the port to select an activity. The excursions help you make the most of your time while in port.
Because I recently visited Victoria, BC, and San Francisco, I chose to spend more time at destinations in Victoria that I missed on my first visit. I took a side trip from San Francisco to Concord for the Northern California experience.
SheBuysTravel Tip: When you participate in a cruise-sponsored shore excursion, the guide ensures you will return to the ship with a healthy time margin. When you go ashore on your own, you must get transportation to the next port of call if you miss the departure. They run a tight ship and are serious about leaving on time.
One of this Pacific Coast cruise’s highlights was the curated selection of onboard activities and experiences centered around wine and food. We had the opportunity to participate in wine tastings led by expert sommeliers from Rodney Strong Wines and Caymus Vineyards/Wagner Family Wines. We attended a kitchen tour with Chef Rudi Sodamin, the first Head of Culinary Arts for Princess Cruises since 2022.
Each meal was an adventure, pairing exquisite dishes with the perfect wines to enhance flavors and create unforgettable dining experiences.
Of note was the 360: An Extraordinary Experience. Like a theater in the round, there isn’t a bad seat in the house. I and 19 other guests were seated facing the center of the secret dining room. Immersive technology inspired this seven-course experience with sounds, scents, and projected images of Mediterranean destinations.
Exclusive to the Discovery Princess and the Enchanted Princess, the 360 dining extravaganza makes it worth selecting a Pacific Coastal cruise or Caribbean cruise where you can experience it for yourself.
The itinerary on our October sailing included stops at key destinations known for their wine-making heritage. At some ports, guests could embark on excursions to local vineyards, enjoy guided wine tastings, and learn about the wine-making process. Other tours also provided a glimpse into the regional culture and cuisine, allowing us to immerse ourselves in the local lifestyle.
The cruise began from Vancouver with our departure date of October 1 and made the first stop in Victoria the following day, where our shore excursions were dampened by rain. Many hardy travelers went into town and enjoyed sightseeing at the world-famous Empress Hotel, Butchart Gardens, and the impressive government buildings.
Initially, the Port of San Diego was on our itinerary but was removed because of too much ocean traffic. Cruise lines reserve the right to change the itinerary, but that wasn’t a problem. With so much to see and do onboard, I could have stayed on the ship the entire time.
On Day 4, we cruised under the Golden Gate Bridge and docked at the Port of San Francisco. We had about 24 hours for shore excursions. Upon our return to the ship, we were treated to practice flyovers right over the ship for Fleet Week before setting sail again. When it was time to depart, the captain played the theme from “Love Boat” over the loudspeakers with the ship’s horn. It was undoubtedly a Love Boat experience.
At our final destination in Los Angeles, we arrived in the early-morning fog and disembarked soon after breakfast.
Sailing From Vancouver On Other Princess Cruises
Several Alaska cruises starting in Vancouver include the 4-Day Sampler, which stops at Ketchikan, Alaska, and ends in Seattle, Washington, and a 5-Day Sampler with two port stops in Sitka and Ketchikan, Alaska, and returns to Vancouver.
Longer cruises include the train and lodge at Denali National Park & Preserve, Glacier Bay National Park visits, scenic cruising, and the ultimate 14-day Voyage of the Glaciers Grand Adventure, including up to 11 port stops.
Cruising the Inside Passage, you will see whales, seals, and bald eagles. I highly recommend the Denali excursion if you have the opportunity. You’re not assured of seeing the mountain because Denali makes its weather, but we were fortunate to see the mountain when we were there. It is remarkable and one for the record books.
California Coast Cruises
You can experience the entire California Coast from Vancouver, Canada, all the way to Ensenada, Mexico, on Princess ships. From no ports of call to five port stops on the 11-Day Classic California Coast, you can see as much or as little of the state as you wish.
You can cruise the Hawaiian Islands with Princess from 19 to 111 days. There are three one-way and round-trip sailings from Vancouver.
Princess Getaway Cruises aims to help you rejuvenate and relax at sea on short cruises. Choose from three destinations, California Coast, Cabo San Lucas, and the Caribbean, for a weekend or short itinerary getaway.
One-way or round-trip itineraries allow you to explore the local lifestyles or stay aboard and enjoy food and wine tasting, pools and hot tubs, or other entertainment.
Tahiti & South Pacific Cruises
If you are looking for an extended cruise vacation and cruise deals, like 30 days, for example, you can snatch the 30-Day Tahiti, Hawaii & South Pacific Crossing for under $2,000 (as of this writing) with a small deposit. Pricing is per person, double occupancy, USD. Some 11 ports include Victoria, Canada; Astoria, Oregon; and Honolulu, Hawaii. See the Princess website for details.
If you want to see more islands in the South Pacific and Oceania, reserve the 29-Day Tahiti, Hawaii & South Pacific Crossing originating in Sydney, Australia, with port calls in New Zealand, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hawaii, San Francisco, California, and ending in Vancouver, Canada. Sailing dates are for 2024 and 2025.
Princess Ships That Cruise From Vancouver
- Crown Princess
- Discovery Princess
- Grand Princess
- Majestic Princess
- Royal Princess
- Sapphire Princess
Comparing the Competition
Princess Cruises, Cunard, and Celebrity Cruises are all famous cruise lines.
Princess Cruises is known for its wide range of itineraries and ships, offering destinations and onboard activities for different types of travelers. Unique experiences and personalized services are the earmarks of Princess.
Cunard, on the other hand, is a luxury cruise line with a rich history. They are famous for their iconic ocean liners, such as the Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth, and the QE2. Cunard offers a more traditional cruising experience, with elegant decor, formal evenings, and a focus on classic ocean liner traditions.
Celebrity Cruises is a superior cruise line that offers a modern and stylish experience. Their fleet includes the Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Eclipse, and the Celebrity Solstice. Celebrity Cruises is known for its innovative design, culinary excellence, immersive onboard activities, and modern luxury.
The Discovery Princess cruise ended for me with a rich collection of memories, a deeper appreciation for wine and food, and a longing to explore more of the world’s culinary delights.