The first port of call was Nanaimo B.C. Nanaimo is pretty laid back and isn't setup to cater to tourists. However, it is a picturesque city with friendly people. We opted to do some shopping in Old Town and went to a local craft fair along the waterfront. Tendering was handled very well.
Victoria B.C.: Docked at the Ogden Point Docks and went on a Celebrity shore excursion to the Victoria Butterfly Gardens and Butchart Gardens. The butterfly gardens were very nice and contained a very large collection of exotic butterflies, flora, flamingos and Koi. It got a little crowded when a second bus came in.
A short drive took us to Butchart Gardens and it was fabulous! It has the famous sunken gardens, Rose Garden, Japanese Garden and Italian Garden. In between each was a dazzling array of color in every direction! Not to be missed if your in Victoria!
Drove through downtown Victoria on the way back to the ship. That's for another day.
Docked at the Bell Street pier which makes everything within "walking distance" to downtown. We walked downtown and took the Monorail ($4.00 round trip per person) to the Space Needle and took the tour ($18.00 per person). As expected the views were spectacular and the gift shop was extensive. There are alot of other attractions at the Space needle including the Music Experience and a Science museum.
Took the Monorail back to downtown for a little shopping. Seattle has a very vibrant downtown with all the big stores and about anything you could possibly be looking for. Walked over to Pike Place Market which is filled with vendors selling flowers, fruits, vegetables, seafood, gifts, crafts, snacks etc. Don't miss the guys tossing the seafood!
Shopped for the obligatory T-Shirts along the waterfront shops before walking back to the ship. I love Seattle.
We docked at Pier 36 and got to spend thirty six hours in port. Our first excursion was a tour of Alcatraz which we purchased online (National Park Service vendor for $24.00 per person). The tour leaves from the pier next to where we were docked and is a very short walk once you get outside the pier. When you get to Alcatraz you are given headsets that narrate a complete tour of the facility which you do at your own pace. There is considerable walking and it's all up hill when you get there. Very interesting tour! We spent the rest of the day and after dinner exploring Pier 39 (shopping), Fisherman's Wharf, Ghiradelli Square, The Cannery and the Hyde Street cable car terminal. These are within walking distance. On day two we took a Celebrity shore excursion to Muir Woods National Monument and shopping in Sausalito. The first stop was on the North side of the Golden Gate Bridge for a picture stop. Then off to Muir Woods which is a large and scenic grove of Redwoods and very impressive. We had about an hour which is just barely enough time to cover the regular trail. We then went to Sausalito to walk through the shops for an hour and then headed back to the ship. Still had enough time to walk back to Pier 39 for some last minute shopping. The trip out of the harbor and under the Golden Gate was fantastic with great views of the city, bridge and Marin headlands. I cannot wait to get back to S.F.!
We were tendered into the Old Fisherman's Grotto pier which is lined with shops and restaurants. We took the Celebrity shore excursion that covered the old Cannery district of Monterey and the "17 Mile drive" which included seacoast picture stops, celebrity home drive bys, several golf courses and an hour at Pebble Beach Golf Course. Since it is a public course everything is open including the beautiful golf club house, pro shops and the famous eighteenth hole. We were then taken to Carmel by the Sea for about an hour. That turned out to be far too little time to explore that town!
We were tendered into the town of Avalon which is relatively small. However, there is great tourist shopping and all within a short walk of the tender pier. We opted to just shop and get those final grandchild T-Shirts. Several other people mentioned that they visited the "Casino" (not really a casino) and really enjoyed it.