This was the first cruise for both my husband and I. Neither of us had been to Alaska, either. We booked this to celebrate his 60th birthday, which was later in September.
We arrived in Seattle one day early and stayed overnight at the Moore Hotel, which was in easy walking distance from the light rail (which we took from the airport to Westlake) and the Monorail (which we took to Seattle Center later that day) and Pike Place Market; among many other downtown spots. The hotel itself was very quaint and comfortable. We would definitely stay there again, weather permitting. I say that because it is a "green" hotel with no a/c. Since the temps were in the 50's & 60's while we were there, not having a/c was not a problem at all. We opened the windows until we got a little too cool, then closed them and were comfortable all night. They have a very nice coffee shop in the hotel as well, so we were able to just go down and grab some delicious specialty coffees before heading to the Pier.
Hotel staff called a cab for us when we checked out. We took the cab to the Pier, which I think ended up costing about $15. Embarkation was easy - always someone standing there telling you where to go and what to do next. Lines were not bad at all. We were on board the ship by 11:00 am. Celebrity staff greeted us with champagne/mimosas and we walked to Cafe al Bacio to have a seat and enjoy our drinks. The ship is HUGE and it's beauty is overwhelming.
We had a lovely Verandah stateroom. Plenty of room for the two of us. We were very impressed with the whole room overall - bed was comfy, bathroom was nice, and balcony was wonderful - especially on the morning of Tracy Arm Fjords. :) My husband liked that the life boats were just one deck down - made him feel secure. Ha! Other than the fact that they photobombed all of my pics taken from the balcony, their presence there didn't really bother me. The room was quiet - only noise was occasional neighbor slamming the door to the cabin next to us. I slept with ear plugs in, though, so it wasn't disruptive. The room was close to the elevators & stairs, which was nice. We were very happy with the room and would book it again.
We walked down to Pike Place and had lunch at a seafood place that had excellent fish & chips! Then shopped a while in the market. The market is a definite must-see! Later, we walked to the Westlake Center and boarded the monorail to Seattle Center to see the Space Needle & other attractions there. We were pretty tired by dinner, so just walked from the hotel to a nearby Subway, got sandwiches & headed back to the room.
The coffee shop inside the Moore Hotel is really good. They also have breakfast offerings, but we didn't get anything to eat. The staff at the hotel are helpful and friendly, and called a cab for us when we were ready to go.
We had booked the Mendenhall Glacier trip with Celebrity, but somehow we missed it and had to book a different bus to take us there. Had we known we could do that, we would have done it to begin with. Those buses run every 15-20 min, so we were able to stay as long as we wanted at the glacier and go back when we were ready.
We didn't get off the ship at Victoria. It was after dinner and we knew we couldn't just get off the ship and walk around - you had to take public transportation to get in to town. So we just sat on our balcony and looked at Victoria from afar. :) It was very pretty!