Pre cruise. I arrived in Seattle June 14th just to make sure that there were no delays or if there were I had plenty of time to get there. All flight were on time and I made it to Seattle a little after 10 am. I had prearranged with Go Airport Shuttle for a ride from the airport to the Hampton Inn and Suites at 700 5th Ave N. The ride took about 45 minutes as there were 3 different hotels the my shuttle was going to. This is a great location only 2 blocks from the Seattle Center and Space Needle. There is a grocery store at the corner in case you need any last minutes items or forgot to pack something. Once I dropped off my bags and found Jerome it was time to go exploring. Jerome flew in from Denver as he had business meetings there.
We walked over to the Seattle Center to catch the Monorail downtown so that we could go see Pike Place Market. It is about 4-5 block walk from the station down to the water front where the market is located. We happened to run into Jerome's parents who were staying with his brother who happens to live in Seattle at the market. His parents were part of our group of 60 or so on the cruise. We found a sandwich shop, had a little lunch and made plans to meet back up for Dinner at 6. His brother recommend Cactus located in South Lake Union, also this was walking distance from the hotel for us. We walked all over Seattle. The food was excellent. We made arrangements to meet on the ship tomorrow.
Once we walked back to the hotel we inquired with the hotel the best way to get to Pier 91. They offer shuttle service to the piers for 7 dollar per person, you pay the shuttle directly. We were able to get on the 1130 am shuttle. It took less than 15 minutes to get to the ship, a porter took our bags and us into the terminal and directed us to the check in lines. Boarding had already begun and it took less than 30 minutes to check in, get our Sea Pass card, walk up the gangway and then that magical first "ding" of the card and I'm on a ship. We headed up to Windjammer as the rooms were closed off until. 1 pm. Jerome called his mom who was in the terminal checking in. We found a table and waited for them to come join us. We had a beautiful sunny day and it was going to be a perfect sail away.
After lunch we decided to go check out our ocean view cabin, 2572. It was much smaller than what we were used to on Carnival. My first six cruises were on Carnival so I am used to the way they do things and how things function on board. Let me start by saying we had a great time and Alaska was simply stunning and amazing, but we will be happy to stick to the Carnival ships. There was once bad incident and I will elaborate on it later during the Skagway day.
Muster drill was scheduled for 3:15 pm. We followed the signals and headed for the drill. They came by and scanned your card and marked you off a list as well. Some flights must have been late as people were still getting on the ship during the drill, they were sent right to their muster stations.
The cruise director Anna Bass was simply charming. Very energetic and kept pumping the crowds up.
The staff of the Windjammer was always friendly and willing to do what ever was necessary to serve you the best experience. Our waiter Antonio (Tony) and his assistant Sun were simply the best dining room staff we have ever had. We made sure to mention them on the survey left in our room and I also sent an email praising them.
Juneau we went up Mt Roberts Tramway, the views were amazing and yes, there was still snow up there. Also walked around the downtown area and did some shopping. Played with some sled dogs that were down there. Saw Bald Eagles flying around and also spotted Orcas from the ship on the way in.
Skagway we did the White Pass and Yukon Railroad, wow, words cannot describe the beauty of the ride and all that you see and experience. Lots of snow at the top here too. The town is very charming and rustic. We went back to the ship for lunch, then walked around the town and took a horse and buggy ride around the town.
Tracy Arm was still iced in and the Captain said that we would not be able to get within 5 miles of it,so he took us to Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier instead, this is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. He got us to with 1.5 miles of the glacier, this is the closet that he has been able to get all year. The ice, the animals floating on it were stunning. We stayed about an hour and 1/2 and he turned the ship a couple of times so that everyone go a good view of the glacier. We saw a smaller vessel coming in as we headed back out.
Victoria was a charming city, this was the warmest day of the trip. I will post a more detailed review with pictures. They are all uploading right now.