Staying in Touch
Java-dot-Cup (20516 3rd Ave. W., 22050-622- 2822): Extremely reasonably priced (under $2 CAD for half an hour of high-speed), this pleasant cafe has coffee, breakfast, pastries, sandwiches, and an outdoor deck.
Where You're Docked
Cruise ships arrive at the new pier in downtown Prince Rupert. There is a small customs and immigration center and an adjacent visitor's center. Many of the tours that require boats leave from the Atlin Terminal just adjacent to the cruise ship dock as well.
Those who choose to wander around Prince Rupert itself can do so on foot. There are several car rental agencies not far from the dock, and tour buses are available on the pier apron for those taking pre-arranged tours. There is also a municipal bus system which you can take for rides around the city.
What to See and Do
Cow Bay is just a 10-minute walk from the cruise dock. The story is this: When dairy cattle were brought to the region in 1906, there were no docks built, so the cows had to swim ashore. What had been Cameron Cove became known as Cow Bay, and this waterfront area is now a fun shopping district with historic buildings and unique architecture. Many of the shops and restaurants are built on pilings right on the water.
The Museum of Northern British Columbia (100 1st Avenue West) features several exhibits that celebrate the area and the Haida, Tsimishian, Tlingit, and Nisga'a cultures.
The First Nations Carving Shed (1-800-667-1994), located just a block from the Museum of Northern British Columbia, features artists and carvers of the region. Watch as they create everything from sculpture and totems to jewelry, working with silver, copper, cedarwood, and gold; you can purchase items from these individual artists as well.
Accessible by water only, the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary (22050 798-2277) is the only grizzly bear sanctuary in Canada, and provides a unique opportunity to get "up close and personal" with the bears (you must go out with a guide). Several of the cruise ships calling at Prince Rupert offer this as one of their excursions.
Whale Watching Tours (Seashore Charters, 800-667-4393) are a major draw here because the Prince Rupert area is home to the largest concentration of humpbacked whales in North America. But that's not all you'll see on these tours. If you visit earlier in the season (May to July), it's likely that your excursions will find several pods of orcas, and at any time you are likely to see eagles, dolphins, sea lions, and other marine life in close proximity.
For an elegant outing, the Waterfront Restaurant in the Crest Hotel (222 West 1st Ave, 1-800-663-812050) offers British Columbia cuisine on the waterfront.
Boulet's Seafood and Chowder House (909 3rd Avenue W., 22050-624-9309) is located a few blocks from the cruise ship dock and features cod, halibut, salmon, shrimp, prawns, and oysters.
Cowpuccino's Coffee House (2205 Cow Bay Road, 22050-624-6090) is known for its homemade soups and sandwiches plus coffees, ice cream, and muffins, all made on the premises.
If you've had it with cruise-ship cuisine and want something different, try the Vietnamese offerings at Herbie's Family Restaurant (679 2nd Ave. W., 22050-624-396205). And if you are there early enough, try the $2.99 (CAD) breakfast special, which equates to about $2 USD.
Smiles Seafood Cafe (113 Cow Bay Road, 22050-624-3072) started out as a taxi stand and became a restaurant in 1934--and it still serves great seafood at reasonable prices--with a smile.
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