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PNW Traveler

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About PNW Traveler

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    WA State, USA
  • Interests
    cruising and rving
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Royal Caribbean and Celebrity
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Northern Europe and Panama Canal

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  1. Cruiser Bruce is correct, "there is no better side." Even if the weather is "not so good," spend time on your balcony wearing a jacket. Pay attention to the signs - "bait balls" will attract birds and marine mammals. Look for whales and scan the shoreline for bears. Bald eagles can be seen overhead and in trees. Look for their characteristic white heads and listen for their distinctive calls. Alaska has abundant wildlife. The landscape scenery is amazing - so many islands, inlets and coves - photo worthy views to say the least. You have only to spend some time on your balcony (either side of the ship.)
  2. We have done the "school bus" tours twice, once at the end of May and again at the beginning of September. The guide was great and spotted amazing wildlife. We maintained a list of the animals we spotted and stopped counting on the May tour when we reached 300. You very much feel a part of nature and learn about the animals on this tour. The seats were not uncomfortable. This was an amazing experience and I would do it again, perhaps with a new camera!
  3. PCWalton 1 - Thank you for posting about your visit. I live a bit farther south now, but Seattle is my city. 🙂
  4. Seattle is a big city. The "6 block area" is not near the cruise port docks, either the downtown dock or Smith Cove dock farther north. People live downtown, go to work, and life goes on. If you cruise from Seattle you do not have to book a hotel downtown. There are many other options. If I were arriving at SeaTac airport for my cruise and wanted a nice hotel for a precruise overnight - I would choose Cedarbrook Lodge near the airport. It has classic Northwest architecture, superb food, upscale ambiance and the best of service. If I wanted to tour the area I would visit the outdoor gems that reflect the magnificent scenery of the Northwest.
  5. There are many places to visit outside of Seattle, including Mount Rainier. The lodging and restaurants in Mount Rainier National Park have not yet reopened. The most popular entrance to the park, the Nisqually entrance, has just reopened. Mount Rainier would be a great day trip even if the park is not fully open. The end of July is generally our nicest summer weather. Consider visiting the Olympic Peninsula for amazing scenery and picturesque small towns. Two of my favorite state parks - Fort Flagler State Park and Fort Worden State Park are just a ferry ride and short drive from Seattle. Both parks have lighthouses, low bank waterfront and beaches, forests and trails. Nearby Port Townsend has numerous lodging options and is a picture-postcard fun place to visit. If you enjoy the outdoors, travel another hour west to Port Angeles and do the drive into Olympic National Park to Hurricane Ridge. You should be in time for mountain wildflowers and the best of views. The outdoors a good place to be during the time of Covid.
  6. October weather is likely to be cool to cold with significant rain and not much chance of sun. The average daytime high (per Accuweather) in Skagway is 48 degrees. You are farther north so shorter days and longer nights. Seas may be rough if your itinerary includes cruising the outside western shore of Vancouver Island.
  7. We stayed at the Listel Hotel (smaller boutique style hotel) last year - walking distance to the port, mostly downhill. We travel with wheeled bags and no large luggage. I booked directly with the hotel, a large room/suite for $220 CDN so less than $200 US. We took the Skytrain from the airport to downtown Vancouver.
  8. Our big box store travel agency delayed our final payment 10 days. Their final payment date (at the time of booking) was two weeks before Royal's. This has held true in all cruises we have booked through them. The extension must be requested.
  9. We usually get to the port between noon and 1 pm. There seem to be more cruisers boarding between 11 and 12, perhaps getting to the ship in time for lunch. We try to time arrival for staterooms opening at 1. Getting of the ship at the end of the cruise is a busy time. My guess is that those from eastern states may be trying to get to the airport for flights. The three-hour time difference from the east coast makes a difference to those who are trying to get home on same day flights. It might be easier to Uber to light rail than to take a bus to the station. Seattle has two cruise ports. One is downtown on the waterfront and the other is north and in a semi-industrial area, not necessarily easy for walking. Royal Caribbean uses the Smith Cove (north one) port for most of its cruises. In answer to your second question - Seattle cruise port is still closed with no published opening date. Washington state is in phase one of reopening, but not much open. New Covid cases are being reported, but fewer than at the "peak." We are asked to "stay home, stay healthy" until May 31st. Many of us have a dose of cabin fever. 😞 Wish we were cruising out of Seattle this summer!
  10. Uber is easy when arriving at SeaTac airport. You will walk from the main terminal across a skybridge to the parking garage, then follow the signs to Uber. Look for a row of Uber cars waiting for passengers. Embarkation - Seattle's cruise port embarkation has generally been organized with short lines. If you just have carry-on luggage and no large bags, proceed past the porters and luggage drop-off directly into the terminal. Regarding disembarkation - we usually walk off the ship with our bags. There is often a short wait for prearranged shuttle services heading to SeaTac airport. You may wait for a cab - taxi fares to the airport are flat rate. There is a separate area for Uber but expect a short wait there also.
  11. Sorry - I meant to say that within Washington State, King County has the most cases and deaths. You are correct on a national basis.
  12. The Port of Seattle has closed its cruise port until "resolution of the public health emergency." There is no published date for reopening the cruise port. The port is located in King County, home to the largest number of Covid-19 cases and deaths. We are currently subject to a restrictive "stay home, stay healthy" order. Our phased reopening will proceed very slowly. Cruise ships may not be sailing out of Seattle this summer.
  13. Seattle Cruise Port is closed indefinitely until "resolution of the public health emergency." At this time, there is no published date for reopening the port. Round-trip Seattle cruises may be canceled for all of 2020. King County, where the Port is located, has the largest percentage of Covid-19 cases and deaths in Washington State. With the planned phases of our state's "return to normal," non-essential travel won't happen even locally until well into the summer. At this point, we are still under a very restrictive "stay home, stay healthy" order.
  14. Yes, you are correct. I read the Princess advisory because their ships have been in the news.
  15. Thank you for the update. I had been relying on old information. After you posted, I read the health advisory PDF published by Princess this week. While screening and embarkation guidance has been enhanced, there was no mention of a "doctor's letter."
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