Location: Vancouver. Location varies.
Dates: December 1 – 23, 2012. After 5:30pm.
Cost: Between $30-$99
When I first discovered the Carol Ships, I mistakenly thought that the ships would meet up in a preset location and travel together as a large raft, all shining and singing carols in unison. This seemed extremely cool and like a visual treat for all people watching from the shore. I even stood by Canada Place in the rain for an hour waiting to see these magical ships during one of the times listed on the Carol Ships website.
In reality, each ship does their own thing and follows their own path for the evening… some don’t even display exterior lights.
So, to experience the Carol Ships, I had to buy a ticket. There are several cruise companies to choose from and the price for a ticket ranges between $30 – $99 depending on which company you go with. Our vendor of choice was Vancouver Cruises, because they had three levels of service to choose from ($30 for coffee and tea to $65 for a full Christmas meal) and because we could realistically get to their docking location after work without killing ourselves.
Once onboard, activities are fairly typical for a Canadian Christmas: the singing of carols, the arrival of Santa, the eating of good food, the drinking of cheap wine. The thing that makes the tour worthwhile is the interesting people and views of Vancouver from atop the boat. We lucked out and travelled on an evening without rain and could spend a fair bit of time outside.