We had been on Explorer twice before, both cruises out of Cape Liberty. This was to be our first Pacific cruise. Never having been to Seattle we arrived 3 days early. We toured the city and took in a Mariners game. We made the Hampton Inn on 5th avenue our base of operations. The room was clean and comfortable and breakfast was included each morning. (I love those waffles!)
On Friday morning (after breakfast of course) we took the hotel shuttle to the cruise terminal. Check-in went painlessly and before you knew it we were on the ship. From hotel to ship it took us about 45 minutes, the fastest check-in I ever experienced. Seeing that this was our third voyage on Explorer there was no need to explore the ship. So, after going to guest services to have our sea-passes punched and going to the dining room to check out our table, we headed up to the Windjammer for some lunch. After eating our room was ready so we checked that out. We met our room steward and began unpacking as our luggage had been delivered. Soon it was time for muster. Our station was in the Star Lounge. Great, we didn't have to stand on a hot deck! After the drill it was time for sail-away. I finally got to meet most of the people I had been taking to for over a year! I can't remember the names (I've got a lousy memory!) The only ones I remember were Rich and Patti because they lived about 40 miles from us. Knowing that we would see these people again during the week, we said good-bye and went to the room to get ready for dinner. At the dining room we met our tablemates. They were a couple from Delaware, a couple from Australia, and another couple from New York that as it turned out, lived about 15 miles from us! All were great company throughout the week.
The next morning we docked in Astoria, Oregon. After breakfast we met our excursion and boarded a bus for Mt. St. Helen. I must say, it was a very impressive tour. Even after close to 40 years after the eruption, the area was still devastated! That was an all-day tour so we went right to dinner when we returned, after our martini that is! After dinner we went to the evening show for a while and then my wife went back to the room while I went to the cigar lounge. That's where I experienced my first disappointment of the cruise. The company there was excellent. I'm a retired police officer and it seems everybody in there was related to the law enforcement field in one way or the other! The trouble is that there was no attendant/waiter in the lounge. That meant that we had to get our own drinks and nobody ever emptied the ashtrays. I know that RCCL is getting rid of the Connoisseur Clubs (which I think is a mistake), but at least wait till they're gone before you abandon them! I have to say that after that night the waiter from the Star Lounge did pop in every so often to take drink orders.
The cabin was clean and comfortable. We could have used a couple of more outlets to recharge phones and cameras. The cabin steward was excellent!
Seattle is a great city. We went to a few nice restaurants, Saw Jimi Hendrix and Bruce and Brandon Lee's graves, took in a Mariners game, and toured the Boeing factory. Also went up in the Space Needle, but everyone going to Seattle does that!
Went on the Napa Valley Wine Train.
Went to Mt. St. Helen. Very impressive!
Tour of the gardens and Tea.