On the morning of our cruise, we ate breakfast and called a limo service for the trip to Pier 91. I had read about the service on cruisecritic and it cost us $80 one way. We are 2 couples traveling together in separate staterooms. We needed a larger van etc for the extra luggage. On the flip side going back to the airport upon return, we were able to secure a van at the pier for only $40 (with a $10 tip). Upon our arrival at the pier, we stepped out of the van at about 10:30 am and was met with a guy with a cart. He put our luggage on the cart and we swiftly went through check-in.
We had about a 15 minute wait for our number to be called to head to the ship (we were group #5). We went straight to our rooms which were adjoined with balconies. Our luggage hadn't arrived, but that was ok. We also took our own water and cokes onboard. I would suggest that if you plan to try to sneak any alcohol on board, it wasn't worth it for us.... (we bought liquor, cokes, bottled tea, water and alcohol and it cost $140 in Seattle. Generally during happy hour, you can get 2 drinks for a total of either $7.20 aprox, or $9.15--buy one get one for 99cents... and I won't discuss my 'method') We went to the Lido Deck to have lunch. We had a very nice cruise and some of the highlights or tips that I would pass on are: Crow's Nest/Library on Deck 10 for looking out forward, and happy hour at 4pm there as well. We enjoyed the food onboard, and the only qualm I have with HAL are the small glasses for tea... altho they did occasionally have the larger glasses mixed in. And above all, look for Septi in the Lido dining area serving coffee water and tea, she is absolutely the sweetest!
Alaska was warm, and we are hearing this week that it is even warmer. When we went to Mendenhall glacier, we were sweating even tho we hauled jackets with us. We had clear skies, so if no fronts are moving in and it is warm, you shouldn't need jackets. People were swimming in the water coming off of the Nugget Falls at the Mendenhall Glacier. Wear comfortable shoes for the mile or so round trip walk. We arranged our own excursions etc. once in port. We weren't quite sure what we would do in Victoria BC, but once off the ship (tip:get off after the crowds), we were able to get a reasonable price on a tour by one of the waiting vans/limo's. You can also walk to the waterfront as well, but we went to the Gov't House and saw the garden, altho, if I didn't do that, I would suggest going to the Gardens that were mentioned in the excursion's ... can't remember the name at the moment. Nightlife on the ship could be a little slow, but we were generally tired at night, so it didn't matter to me. I enjoyed the shows in the Vista Lounge. I loved Alaska, and I hear a lot of people say they want to go back, and I am not sure whether I will go back, but being a FL girl, I have spent time skiing in the Rockies and seeing 14K foot mountains, and I remember the awe I had when I first seen them, and it draws you back, and I can see why people have to return. Seattle was nice and we regret not allowing more time for our trip to the Air and Space Museum. We did go to Pike's Market on the waterfront and after a few hours, I was ready to get out of there. It was so crowded. The trip was very educational, and we were told that only 5% of glaciers are healthy and still growing. That is why I wanted to make this trip to Alaska sooner than later.