Our Adventure Begins: Back in February of 2009 we were on a DCL Eastern that got started a day late because the ship was caught in a storm in the Bahamas and could not return to PC on Saturday. Disney made every accomodation to keep the guests happy and entertained on Saturday, refunded 20% of the fare paid, and then offered a very generous re-booking bonus as well. We booked this Alaskan trip and happily waited the 18 months until it was time to go. Our traveling party changed from the original booking and eventually ended up being a ''girls trip" - me ("a fifty-something") my DD Meg, 21 and our friends, Jody, another "fifty-something" and DD's friend Julie. We booked our own air on Air Canada and flew on Sunday, three days before the cruise. We flew from Boston and connected in Montreal - a very long day of travel. While in Boston waiting for our flight we *thought* we saw Meg's rather distinctive duffel bag being loaded on a flight to Toronto that was boarding at the adjacent gate. Unfortunately, we were right. When we got to Montreal and had to collect our bags to go through customs, hers was not there. We had a quick connection and the line for "lost luggage" was VERY long, so we consulted with an airline employee who advised us to wait until we got to Vancouver to report her bag missing. The gate agent in Montreal told us that there were "too many bags and too few employees to really do anything about a missing bag." Gee.... thanks! We arrived in Vancouver around 4:30pm (their time) but had left home at 7:30am east coast time, so we were already 12 hours into the journey. We collected our bags (minus one) and filed the obligatory "Missing Luggage" report, indicating that we were fairly certain that her bag had left Logan Airport in Boston that morning and had headed to Toronto. The woman there was pleasant and assured us that her bag would be delivered to our hotel that evening. We were tired and hungry, so we decided to just eat at a "White Spot" restaurant in the airport. Honestly... it was not bad! We had burgers and club sandwiches and an alcoholic drink each and the bill was $90.00 including tip. Off we went to find the shuttle to the Hampton Inn Airport where we were staying for the first night. Since we had arrived so late we had planned on a "cheap" first hotel (well..it wasn't THAT cheap, I guess). It was clean and had a decent free breakfast included. The two "old ladies" rested and watched a little TV, the young ones went out for a walk to explore the area and hopefully find a store to purchase some necessary items for DD with the lost luggage. Unfortunately, everything is closed pretty early on Sunday in Vancouver, and they were soon back. By 11pm we were all headed to dreamland and the front desk had not yet received her bag. Monday morning we inquired about her suitcase - still not there. The woman at the hotel desk was super helpful, called Air Canada for us ("the bag had not yet been located " they reported) so she gave us some maps of area malls where we would be able to purchase clothing, etc. We had purchased the pre-stay from Disney which included transfers from the airport and a stay on Monday night at the Fairmont Waterfront hotel, right at Canada Place where the ship would dock, so we had to take the shuttle back to the airport to get our Disney transportation. When we arrived at the airport the Disney "greeters" were not yet there, even though we had indicated that we would be there at 9 am and were actually a little late. After an overhead page they soon arrived and apologized, stating that they were expecting us at 9 PM, not 9 AM. No worry, they would get us transportation to the hotel ASAP. Within a few minutes Mary Lynn of the DCL staff had us in a white s-t-r-e-t-c-h limo! No Disney bus for us - we were riding in style! Thank you Mickey! The Fairmont Waterfront was a beautiful hotel in a perfect location. Our room was ready (before 11 am even though 4pm was the check-in time) so we were able to drop all our bags and then we headed out to explore the city. We walked for hours, stopping at anything that interested us and eventually ending up at a mall where DD reluctantly purchased some very basic supplies - socks and underwear, a few t-shirts and 1 pair of shorts. She is NOT a shopper so this was a chore, not a pleasure. I encouraged her to buy more (jeans, sweatshirts, we were going to a COLD place!) but she had had enough and said she would be fine with those items and the few she had in her carry-on. Luckily, she is not a high-maintenance girl! We also visited "Cupcakes" the bakery that is the subject of a Canadian TV show similar to "Cake Boss" here in the US. The cupcakes were good, but not he best we've ever had. We eventually made our way back to the hotel , hoping that her bag would have arrived. No luck yet. At that point I decided to talk with the DCL representatives who were at the hotel, hoping that they might have more influence with Air Canada than we did. Wendy at the DCL desk promised to "get that bag". We hoped she would! Wendy also told us to leave our bags in the room the following morning, no need to take anything to the ship, and that we could walk over with them in a group at 12:30 pm or go anytime on our own. After resting for a while we headed out to "Gastown" and ate at a fabulous restaurant called Al Porto that I had seen recommended here on the DIS. After a great Italian dinner we strolled through Gastown and bought various trinkets - hats and mittens, t-shirts, etc. We continued on to "Chinatown" - by now it was well after 8:30 pm but still very light out. Within a block of leaving Gastown the city changed dramatically. The buildings were in disrepair and full of grafiti, and many homeless folks were about, not bothering anyone, but still there. There was a police presence, but the "feel" wasn't all that great. We continued on another couple blocks and arrived in Chinatown but other than a few other tourists and the occasional police officer, the area was closed up tight as a drum. We took pictures of the architecture, but didn't linger. In all my reading up on Vancouver, I never picked up on the fact that Chinatown is a "daytime only" destination. Live and learn, I guess. Back to Gastown (whew!) and we stopped at The Steamworks Brewery for a beer. It was a lovely evening - probably in the 60's with none of the humidity that we are accustomed to back East. The girls stayed on long after we had our one beer and headed back, they were having a great night in a beautiful waterfront location. We checked with the desk - no luggage had arrived - and headed back up to our beautiful room on the 14th floor with a view of the dock. Next up - Our ship has come in and OH MY! What a surprise!