HOTEL/TRAVEL TO PORT FOR EMBARKATION:We were scheduled to depart on Sat at 4:00pm. We got to Seattle on Friday night/Sat early morning. We opt to stay at the Hilton near the airport and bought the transfers to the pier with them-As opposed to staying at a hotel trough Holland. They are downtown but VERY expensive! and since we were not going to have time to explore Seattle downtown- it really did not make a difference to us. the Hilton was very nice. We had to call the shuttle from the airport and they picked us up- they knew we were gooing to have a late arrival. the front desk lady was very nice and process was a breeze- everything was ready for us and we went right to bed!! That day- We had last minute errands in the morning, driven two hours to the airport to take our flight at 8:00pm, changed planes (with hour and half delay) in San Fransisco, so we ended up getting to Seattle about 2am their time- so we were TIRED! in the morning- the shuttle was leaving at 10:45 am-it did make like 3 other stops before we got to the pier. It took us about 30-40 minutes or so to get there. Not that bad. Once there- there was two ways to go- one side for Holland and one for Celebrity (i think). there is cruise line personnel that greet you as soon as you step of the vehicle to guide you. we went in- got processed- and we were boarding in no time. Whole boarding experience about 20 minutes.
PORTS/EXCURSIONS: We had a fantastic time just being there enjoying the views and relaxing. however, we did sign up for excursions once we were on board- again, not knowing that the good ones would fill up fast. so by the time we wanted to book- they were closed. for example the dog sledding in Juneau. we opted for the next best thing which was the helicopter/glacier walking. we had some time before our excursion began so we walked around the town for a while and did some souvenir shopping. It was disappointing though to find out that due to the weather, our excursion got canceled and it was too late for us to book anything else. Not even the sightseeing tour;-( but it was raining and foggy and it did get worst so for safety, they cancelled. It was disappointing but we were ok. You do need a rain coat and layers!!!! as well as an umbrella, and a hood or cap. I didntt take one so we ended buying one there for like $5. take a good camera and lots of memory because there is lots of "kodak moments"!
Day 2 we cruised until we got to the glacier. Now for me that was the highlight of the entire trip. like i said im from texas and we never see rain, snow nevertheless ice glaciers!!!! it was great being up in the front of the ship just gliding in to the glacier!!! Loved it- loved it!! we got great pics and video of the ice calving!! ohhh- its just wonderful! it left me breathless i swear. Just beautiful to see and experience the whole thing!! once we were heading out of there- we went to our room (8147) and opened a bottle of wine and sat outside our balcony just admiring the marvelous view- Very romantic and intimate!! you feel "one with nature". it just makes you appreciate this earth we live in a little bit more- and you feel like you are just one tinny winny speck in this earth!! I'm glad i got to experience this and even more grateful that i did it with my wonderful husband right next to me:-) very lucky woman!! I hope you have the same experience and take your own personal "message" from it. it is COLD there so cover your ears and hands!! aside from your jacket of course. and if you want a really good view, go up to the navigation deck 8 or Deck 7 (i don't remember). there is a couple small doors at the end that lead to outside and you can see the glacier the ship approaching the glacier from high above- there is also not that many people there so you don't feel crowded. take your coffee or hot chocolate with you cause you will be outside for a long time. take your video and camera as well. and if you can, carry your binoculars as well. if you are in a suite- you have binoculars and umbrellas in your room to use- however if you are not booking a suite, don't forget to take them.
Sitka is just beautiful. you have to be in your balcony when your pulling up- it looks like the ship is going right into the town!! we didn't have an excursion here- we just walked around and had a few drinks. again more souvenir shopping. we actually boarded earlier than the time allocated- we were hungry we had dinner reservations and had to get ready. Reason why you should really plan out the day taking everything into consideration!!! Now I know for next time.
at Ketchikan we arrived very early!! so you have to be ready- we had booked an excursion that started promptly at 8am. so we rushed to get there to find out that once again- cancelled due to weather safety issues. our excursion was a 50 mile long ride on Harley Davidson Motorcycles. It would have been great but- maybe next time. we booked a sea otter and wildlife thing- it was OK but not WOW!! the best thing there was that we saw several eagles. and one flew right in front of us and dipped to get a fish and then flew back to the same rock!!!! IMPRESSIVE- those things are huge and the Wings- spread out that way was really a sight!! Great pics!! the weather that day though was horrible!! it was none stop rain and cold.
our last stop was Victoria- we went to see the gardens. if your into flowers, this is the place to go. It is beautiful! the smell and the colors are gorgeous!! however, it got dark right away- we had a good camera so we continued to take photos but most people complained that there is just not enough time to see all of it. by the end, you don't have time to shop at the souvenir store because they are closing so do it right when you go in if you really want something. oh and just FYI- i bough a coke bottle and a water bottle and I payed slightly over $8!!!! Wow- I think it was even more expensive than the ship!!!! If you can just stay and walk the town- there is alot to see just around the pier. it gets dark right away so excursions are really not worth it unless they are indoors. the place is very quaint and colorful. very clean too! very picturesque- nice place to visit.