We had booked stateroom 6236 through AAA Miami Valley in October 2017 for $4123 for both of us. The cabin was a deluxe veranda room on the continental deck in the rear center of the ship on the right side (starboard). We opted for a $262 trip insurance that we didn’t use. We had to pay $500 down and the rest by June 24. We chose the prepaid gratuities (~$200 value) and the classic drink upgrade (~$200 value) packages as our free bonuses and also got a $50 shipboard credit. We could have selected the $249 Wi-Fi package instead of one of those. Excursions were optional and extra cost. Choosing to eat in one of the four specialty restaurants would also be an up charge. Choosing expensive top shelf alcohol or wine would also be n extra charge.
We signed up for “Select Dining” vs “Traditional”. Select dining allows you to eat in the main restaurant when you want vs having the set seating times of 6:00 or 8:30 pm. Traditional “set time” seating is best for large parties or if you don’t want to wait during peak dinner hours.
On the ship, we chose to purchase the ship WIFI service for one device for the entire cruise for $249. We were able to sign on our phones and iPads, one at a time, with reasonable network speed.
Our cabin steward took good care of us without being any bother. Our room was smallish but comfortable with the two beds pushed together to make a queen-size bed. We were able to unpack four suitcases worth of stuff without too much trouble, storing our empty suitcases under our beds. The bathroom was a little cramped but worked well enough. The shower was good with plenty of hot water. We didn’t notice noise from our neighbors much, just some loud talking on the balcony on the first day. The balcony was great. We noticed almost all their cabins have balconies that have two chairs and a table.
30 August - We returned our rental car to the Sea-Tac airport and used Shuttle Express for a ride ($51 two people, reserved for 7am, but you can show up anytime within 24 hours) to our Homewood Suites (208 Western Ave. West) hotel near the Space Needle. We were lucky to be able to check in to our room at 9:00am instead or placing our bags in storage. We walked the one-mile to the Space Needle, Chihuly Gardens and Pop Culture Museum. We purchased City Pass ticket bundles for entry into all three places plus the Seattle Aquarium and a Argosy harbor cruise ($89 per person total). You have nine days to use the five admissions so we planned to visit the remaining two when we returned from the cruise.
The Space Needle ride to the top required us to trade our tickets for a “time to return” pass. Since it was not very crowded, our time to return was immediate. Great views from the top as well as a glass floor section that slowly rotates around.
The Chihuly Gardens were very impressive and well worth visiting if you are into glass sculptures. We had an excellent although expensive lunch at their Café.
The Pop Culture museum was right up our alley with sections on fantasy, science fiction, horror and rock and roll. Lots of props and costumes from movies and television. The temporary exhibit was about Marvel comics and movies.
7 September - We got off the ship without much waiting. I had scheduled a Shuttle Express ride ($18 each) to our Hampton Inn hotel (18850 28TH Ave South) in the SEATAC airport area (again 7:00 reservation but show up within 24 hours). We had a 15 minute wait at the very end the pier for our Shuttle Express after we checked in.
At the Hampton Inn, we were lucky enough to be able to check into our room at 09:00 instead of leaving our bags in storage. We used the hotel shuttle ($5 tip each) to get to the Angle Lake light rail station. For $6 each we purchased a round trip ride to the West Lake downtown stop near the Seattle Aquarium. The ride took about 30 minutes with 12 stops along the way. It was a short three block walk to the aquarium. We used our City pass tickets for admission. The Aquarium was worth touring especially since we arrived just in time to see the 11:40 Sea Otter feeding. Afterward we used our last city pass ticket to reserve passage on the 12:40 Argosy harbor cruise leaving from the next pier. While waiting, we had lunch at The Fisherman near the giant Ferris wheel that’s on the pier between the aquarium pier and Argosy harbor tour pier. The harbor tour was interesting but not spectacular. We saw the city skyline, a close up view of a sea lion, a navy dry dock and the giant cranes loading 40-ft steel containers. A good dinner at Dave’s Diner within walking distance of the hotel wrapped up our day.