We were a group of 7 adults consisting of family and friends. We decided to fly into Seattle on Sunday, visit Pikes Market on Monday and board the Spirit Tuesday. We stayed at Sleep Inn Sea-Tac located near the airport as it offered affordable prices, airport transfers and free limited shuttle service. We were not disappointed. I had pre-booked the rooms in advance online for the best price. We paid abt $60 per room which included a refrigerator and microwave. They have a IHOP in the parking lot, and we used their shuttle for our transportation to the light rail which takes you directly to downtown to the Pikes Market for about $3 pp. We also used the hotel shuttle to pick up a few things for the cruise ( bottles of water, soda, etc. )and to take us to local restaurants. You must sign up in advance for a time frame to use their shuttle, they will take you, drop you off and then you call for them to pick you back up. This worked very well for us and we never had any problems.
I had also pre-reserved our pier transfers with Seattle Express. http://www.seattleexpress.com/ This can be down via email and you do receive a confirmation. Check their website for a list of hotels they service, they only offer certain times to pick up and the earlier ones are usually chosen first. The cost was $12pp one way, you pay at the time of service. Reservations are not required, however we saw others who had to wait until the later pick up times because they did not have reservations. I had researched numerous types of transportation and this was by far the best price and again, we we're not disappointed. Matt is the contact and he organizes all the transfers.
At Pikes Market we booked a food sampling tour with Savor Seattle. The price was $39 pp and you get a food sampling at abt 10 food vendors. All the food was wonderful, and having the tour provided a background and history. This was a great choice for us, the market on our own would have been very overwhelming.
We arrived at the cruise terminal about 11 am. there were crowds, we had four cabins, two of which with VIP boarding and thus eliminated any waiting in lines for check-in. Once we had our sail and sign accounts we were sent to the chairs to wait until boarding which began about 12:00.
All four of our cabins were located on Deck 4. Three of the cabins were aft. #4237, was a suite category with wrap around balcony that had a inside door connected to #4239. #4241 was a regular aft balcony and the fourth cabin was a french door obstructed balcony # 4193 ( this cabin was the same size and layout of balcony cabins, but the door only opens slightly and the lifeboat fully obstructs your view. The pro to this type of cabin is you have daylight verses an inside. None of the aft balconies allowed for the dividers to be opened. There was more vibration felt in the balcony cabins, but provided a better view of both sides of the shoreline while sailing through the inside passage.
I will start with Tracy Arm Fjord, while not an actual Port, it does offer an excursion through Carnival that we experienced. A catamaran picked us up on Day 2 shortly after we entered Tracy Arm. We sailed through the icebergs to make our way to Sawyer glacier. The Spirit only goes so far, and did not make it to the actual glacier. The glacier was spectacular, however after seeing the other glaciers in Juneau for nearly free it didn't seem quite worth the $179 pp I would have rather spent that money on maybe a whale watching tour in Juneau. Everything we experienced up to the glacier could have been seen from the Spirit.