We arrived in Seattle a day before our cruise even though a flight from Sacramento would take less than 2 hours. I just prefer being early for any event, especially a cruise vacation. On embarkation day, we arrived at Pier 66 for boarding the Pearl. Being Latitude Rewards members, we were escorted to the counter to begin processing our paperwork. After a short wait, our boarding number was called and we boarded the Pearl to a very upbeat reception by some of the ship's crew. The ship was bigger than I had expected. We found our stateroom to be very spacious. With the exception of the sofa (which converts to a bed for a third person)the furnishings were very comfortable. Our bath even had a bathtub.
The sail-away party was fun. The view of the Seattle skyline as we sailed into Puget Sound was very beautiful. Weather was fantastic.
Dining: We dined primarily in the Garden Cafe, the ship's buffet restaurant. The food was very good, but they seemed to serve the same menu every day. Seating was adequate except right at meal time. We learned to arrive early or later to avoid the crowds and get a seat. We also dined in the Indigo and Summer Palace Main Dining Rooms. These were very nice and the food was excellent. We also ate in Cagney's and Teppanyaki specialty restaurants for my wife's birthday and our anniversary. Food was excellent here as well.
Entertainment: We did not see any of the show, but heard that "Oh What a Night" was fantastic. This is about the Four Seasons and all their hit songs.
The shops on the ship are adequate since most shopping is done in the port cities.
Disembarkation: We were on the "Best of Seattle" excursion so we were allowed to leave the ship as a group. Our luggage was easily located and we then boarded our tour bus for our Seattle sightseeing tour. The three hour tour took us to the Space Needle, Pikes Market Place, and through Pioneer Village.
Since this was our second Alaska cruise, we opted to just walk around town. The weather was raining and cold when we left the ship, but cleared up as the day progressed. There were four other cruise ships in port, so the stores and sidewalks were extremely crowded. We were going to visit Mendenhal Glacier to see how much it had receded since our last trip, but did not have time to do that.
Another crowded port due to four cruise ships being in port. We did a self walking tour of town and visited a small ivory museum in town. It was free and well worth visiting. Weather was cold and windy so we didn't stay long in town.
Victoria is a very beautiful city. We had already visited Victoria twice before so did not do any tours. For first timers however, I would definitely recommend Butchart Gardens. Also, a city tour on the double decker buses is recommended.