Sip Trips #76: One-Day Cruise Done Right

Mrs. Sip and I took it relatively easy this week, with our journey to Ireland rapidly approaching. Last weekend, however, we were aboard a one-day cruise from Seattle to Vancouver, celebrating Sis-in-Law Sip’s birthday.

As soon as we boarded the ship, we were in search of our first drink. Luckily, we stumbled upon an ad for a bucket of five Seawitch Red Ales (brewed by Alaska’s Denali Brewing for Princess Cruises) for only $15. This was basically a half-price deal, compared to buying single bottles. In true Sip Advisor fashion, I procured one for our quartet of revellers and promptly grabbed a second round solely for my own enjoyment!

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After a buffet lunch, it was back to our room for the first of four bottles of wine. Each passenger is allowed to bring one bottle with them and we had a well-rounded collection of one white, one rose, one red, and one bubbly. Rather than pay for a bottle with our later dinner seating, we simply each poured a glass to bring with us to the meal.

As platinum members of the cruise line, Mrs. Sip and I were able to get our crew access to the Elite Lounge. There, we ordered a round of their El Major Margaritas, which are priced at only $5. I’ve never seen the Elite Lounge so busy, with food running low and few seats available to late arrivals. In comparison, when we were on our cruise of Asia in May, there were times our group were the only ones in the lounge.

smoothies

Another perk of being platinum-level guests is that Mrs. Sip and I were each given a complimentary drink ticket. I used mine on the Kentucky Kiss, which has always been a favourite of the Sip Advisor. To cap our evening of boozing, we managed a first-place tie amongst 14 teams playing the ‘Finish the Song Lyrics’ quiz, earning a bottle of bubbly, courtesy the ship.

In total, the only drinks we bought over the course of the evening were those buckets of beer and a round of cocktails in the Elite Lounge. Not too shabby, given the Sip Advisor was up until 3am, drinking solo and enjoying the ocean breeze on our balcony! Emerald Isle, here we come!

Sip Trips #75: Celebrations Abound

After a relatively quiet midweek for the Sip Advisor, the weekend picked up in pace, as it usually does. With a friend’s birthday on Saturday, we started at the Salt Tasting Room in Gastown, which has a neat concept in that you order three meats/cheeses and three condiments to create your own charcuterie plate. This platter can be paired with wines selected by the staff, if you choose, but a couple cocktails and beer from 33 Acres Brewing is also available. This was my first time ever entering the area’s infamous Blood Alley and I’d like to return for more exploration.

After conquering our SmartyPantz escape room, our evening wrapped up with a trip to the TAPshack in Coal Harbour. Coincidentally, Mrs. Sip and I passed this place the week before, while out for a walk and wanted to return to check it out. While there, we enjoyed a couple beers from their menu of 20 taps (one beer each from 20 different breweries), while I tried their Maui Wowie Hawaiian pizza and Mrs. Sip ordered a serving of their duck fat popcorn and avocado toast with poached egg for a main course.

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The next day was Cousin Sip’s 12-year wedding anniversary, which she was celebrating solo, as her husband is currently working out-of-town. Therefore, Mrs. Sip and I joined her for a dinner at The Keg in Yaletown, sitting on their rooftop patio and enjoying what’s left of gorgeous summer weather.

While we had a nice meal, it’s time for a little Sip Advisor rant: To this day, I’m still saddened by the restaurant’s decision to nix their prime rib burger from the menu, in favour of their current offering. The prime rib burger provided a near orgasmic experience, while this rendition is just a run-of-the-mill product. To boot, when I first starting ordering the prime rib burger, it could be had for about $12, which was an amazing deal. Even before it was phased out, the price had only risen to about $14. This new, lackluster burger sets you back $18. I’ve even talked to servers at the chain, who have recognized the new burger just doesn’t measure up to the old one. The prime rib burger is still sold in grocery stores, so why not bring it back to the restaurant!?

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Okay, rant over. This weekend, we will be enjoying a one-day cruise from Seattle to Vancouver to celebrate Sis-in-Law Sip’s birthday. So long as it ends better than our last overnight cruise, where members of the Sip Alliance had to be quarantined, I think it will be a good way to spend the occasion… but the tale may not reach the same heights of infamy!