Vancouver’s Floating Christmas Party Returns: Climb aboard the Carol Ships

Photo sourced from NorthVancouver.com

Photo sourced from NorthVancouver.com

It might just be the world’s only floating Christmas parade.

Each year, more than 50 boats and cruise ships festooned with strings of Christmas lights make their way through the waters around Vancouver.  For 23 straight nights in December, the brilliantly lit flotilla makes the rounds, part of the uniquely Vancouver tradition known as the Carol Ships Parade of Lights.

This year’s parade runs Dec. 6-Dec. 23.  And as gorgeous as the spectacle is to watch from shore (it’s visible from waterfront spots downtown most nights), it’s even more fun to be on board.

As part of the carol ships tradition, local cruise boats invite passengers aboard for a festive night of singing, dinner and dancing on the water.  Some 30,000 passengers take to the water each year for a night to remember.

Each local cruise line offers a slight variation on the same theme.   Continue reading:
Vancouver’s Floating Christmas Party Returns: Climb aboard the Carol Ships

Carol Ships Return to Vancouver: Holiday dinner cruises, Dec 1-23

Photo credit: orbital-vancouver | Flickr

Carol ship season is upon us.

Every night from Dec. 1-Dec. 23, as part of one of Vancouver’s most eccentric holiday rituals, dozens of cruise ships decorated with brightly coloured lights will circle the waters around the city in a floating parade.

The Carol Ships Parade of Lights tradition began more than 50 years ago with a single boat decorated with Christmas lights in Coal Harbour.  This year, more than 50 boats – strung with hundreds of thousands of lights – will carry some 30,000 people during the month-long festival.

Multiple cruise lines offer carol ships packages, which generally include a holiday dinner on the high seas, accompanied by carolling, live entertainment and some quality time with Santa. Continue reading:
Carol Ships Return to Vancouver: Holiday dinner cruises, Dec 1-23

Top 5 Holiday Light Displays in Vancouver for 2012

Photo credit: Capilano Suspension Bridge

Now that we’ve made it through Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there’s nothing left to do but admit it: Holiday season is officially here.

Over the next month, expect to see the streets, parks and even ships of Vancouver come alive with millions of multicoloured lights in celebration of the season.  Here are the top five holiday light displays around town:

Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical GardenEvery year, the stately botanical garden in the heart of Vancouver is decorated with thousands of strings of coloured lights.  The centrepiece is a “dancing lights” display over Livingstone Lake, a choreographed light dance set to seasonal music that illuminates every half hour.  Also on hand are roving elves and food vendors serving holiday treats.  Dec. 7 – Jan. 1, 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.  Closed Christmas.  Adult $14.25; Senior and Youth $10.50; Child $7.75.  

Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension BridgeThe iconic, 137-metre suspension bridge is decked out with  lights every December – forming a glittering string of pearls over the Capilano River.  Walk across and step into an enchanted rainforest, bedazzled with hundreds of thousands of lights.  There’s also a scavenger hunt, gingerbread cookie decorating, glass blowing demos and sing-along carols.  Dec. 1 – Jan. 5, 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.  Closed Christmas.  Adult $31.95; Child $12; $65 per family (2 adults and 2 kids).   Continue reading:
Top 5 Holiday Light Displays in Vancouver for 2012

Free Vancouver Holiday Events – 5 Free Things to Do in Vancouver this December

Private homes on Vancouver's Trinity Street create a free holiday spectacle with their exuberant Christmas decor.

There are just ten more days to Christmas 2011 (December 25) and Vancouver’s biggest Christmas and Holiday attractions are already in full swing. But what about free things to do between now and the end of December? Yes, there’s the free ice skating at Robson Square (which runs through February 2012), but there are also five fun, free events happening around Vancouver that will get you in the seasonal spirit without touching your wallet.

5 Free Things to Do in Vancouver in December
Continue reading:
Free Vancouver Holiday Events – 5 Free Things to Do in Vancouver this December

Holidays on the High Seas: The carol ships return

http://www.flickr.com/photos/vincealongi/2128341956/

It’s a holiday fantasia, staged on the high seas.   At dusk all throughout December, dozens of  ships sail out of Vancouver’s harbor.  Carrying thousands of passengers and decorated with hundreds of thousands of brightly colored lights,  the festive boats embark on a slow procession along the city’s shoreline.

Christmas carols echo from inside, glasses clink with toasts to the season and lavish meals are served:  all part of the cherished Vancouver tradition known as the Carol Ships Parade of Lights.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the parade, which depart nightly at approximately 7 p.m. through Dec. 23.  Continue reading:
Holidays on the High Seas: The carol ships return