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Gardyloo

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  1. What do you plan to do with your pictures? Enlargements for the wall, posting on social media, photo album...? Assuming your camera offers a few million pixels (say 6m or more) you can probably crop most wide-angle shots to concentrate on some feature in the picture, without losing very much detail, at least to the naked eye. Remember too that flights can be choppy, so a telephoto image runs the risk of being blurred by movement, while the wide angle shot will be less so.
  2. First, it's the Pike Place market, not "Pike's." Second, no, 5 AM is too early. I believe Lowell's - Lowell's Restaurant Seattle | Almost Classy Since 1957 (eatatlowells.com) - is the earliest restaurant to open at 8 AM, although the "original" Starbucks (it isn't really) opens for carryout at 6:30. La Panier, a very good bakery, opens at 7, but I'm not sure if their indoor seating is available (it's very limited anyway) but that might be a good option. And there might be some other places open before 8 that I can't think of, but those would be the leaders. Note it's still pretty dark at 5 AM hereabouts. Where are you staying? If it was me I'd head to Lowell's when it opens, get a table with a water view, and have breakfast, then walk around the market afterward.
  3. It should be but the hotel's website says they have a free shuttle, too. Hotel at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport - Crowne Plaza (ihg.com) Scroll down to the FAQs.
  4. A couple of years ago the Silver Cloud Stadium hotel (across the street from the ballpark) offered complementary shuttles to both cruise terminals, but there's no mention of it any more on their website. Other Silver Cloud branches also used to offer shuttles (not to the cruise terminals but to other places like Seattle Center) but none of them mention it on their websites either, so I assume it's a company-wide policy. It seems reasonable that they'd discontinue such perks given the health requirements they'd have to comply with (masking, distancing etc.) as well as being the only ones.
  5. The choices you're facing are not uncommon, and I'd emphasize the points you make in your post: 1. You can't see everything in one trip unless you can stay for a few weeks. 2. Prioritize what you want to see. I'd amend point no. 1 by simply removing the bold/italic words. You can't see everything in one trip - period. First, organized cruises, even the "small boat" (big price) ones only touch upon some of the sights in the Inside Passage and southeast Alaska region. It's too big and generally sailing schedules only allow a few port calls, often in towns where multiple ships will tie up on the same day, with passenger and crew totals that can even exceed the towns' populations (most common in Skagway.) Second, even the road system in southcentral and interior Alaska is very limited compared to the size of the state. While road-tripping in Alaska is terrific, getting off the road system - in the air or on a ship - will reveal the vastness in ways you can't see from a car or a bus or a train's windows. Which brings us back to point no. 2. Only through considerable research and evaluation of your priorities can you come up with an "ideal" plan, but you still need to refer back to point no. 1. What takes your fancy? Mountains? Glaciers? Marine mammals? Birds? Bears? Russian-American or Native Alaskan culture and history? Gold rush towns? Fishing? Archeology? Midnight sun or Northern Lights? Are you foodies, hikers, geocaching addicts? Photographers? I'm not trying to confuse the subject or overwhelm you with choices, only to suggest that for a first trip you might want to get a snapshot of various aspects of Alaska that you could use - if inclined - to hone your plans for your second (or third, or tenth...) visit. If it was me (and it most certainly is NOT) I'd maybe look at some combination of activities. For example, a one-way cruise to Alaska from Vancouver to either Seward or Whittier (not possible this year, hopefully easy by next) would show you a snapshot view of SE Alaska including some of the main towns. Then spend a week or two with a car touring various parts of the road system - the Kenai Peninsula, Anchorage, Denali, etc., seeing sights like Denali and the Kenai Fjords, maybe a Prince William Sound glacier cruise, some hikes or historic sites visits. Then maybe get on a plane and visit some bush community, maybe one like Kotzebue above the arctic circle or historic Nome with its gold mining heritage (as well as some roads out into the Seward Peninsula bush) or maybe Kodiak with its Russian and Native heritage as well as its vibrant fishing community and, oh yeah, some big beasts out there. You could do a three-day (or so) visit so someplace that would reveal a part of Alaska not seen by all that many visitors. But that's just me. Refer back to point no. 2.
  6. Maybe use Amazon Prime or Instacart to order some to be delivered to your hotel in advance of your arriving.
  7. Although predicting the weather is a fool's game (more so now than ever) it's certain that on May 22 there's going to be a LOT of snow on the ground at the Paradise visitor center on Mount Rainier - probably six to ten feet - and a better-then-even chance that the mountain will be socked in. I'd seriously rethink your plans for that day, and instead consider using the car to explore things around the city and/or the Puget Sound area. For example, here's an imaginary tour route - https://goo.gl/maps/1AeJUyS2YKk2hJv47 - which would make for a terrific day, even if the weather is not perfect. You'd start with breakfast at the Bay Café overlooking the boats at Fishermen's Terminal, home port for much of the Puget Sound (and a big part of the Alaska) fishing fleet. Fishermen's Terminal is off the beaten tourist path, but it's a terrific destination; walk off the carbs by strolling along the piers. You might well see some of the big crab boats made famous on a certain TV show. From there, head north to the pleasant suburban town of Edmonds, and catch the state ferry over to Kingston on the Kitsap Peninsula. Drive up to the extremely picturesque old village of Port Gamble, then down to the waterfront town of Poulsbo, which is fiercely proud of its Norwegian heritage. Then swing over to the Native American village of Suquamish and visit the evocative grave of Chief Seattle, the city's namesake, then cross over Agate Pass to Bainbridge Island and a visit to the remarkable Bloedel Reserve. This is one of the country's best botanical garden, and in late May the rhododendrons and other spring flowers will knock your socks off. Head into Winslow, the pleasant main town on the island, and have a late lunch/early dinner/whatever at Doc's or the Harbour Pub overlooking Eagle Harbor on the island. From there it's a couple of minutes to the Bainbridge ferry terminal for your (spectacular) ride back to Seattle. This would give you a terrific (and car-friendly) day with a lot of variety. Then, when you return from the cruise, use the day to see some of the sights in downtown Seattle. Have breakfast at the Pike Place market (be gone by 10 or 10:30 to avoid the crowds) and explore other areas. Note that the Memorial Day weekend is when the (free) Northwest Folklife Festival takes place on the Seattle Center grounds, so while the Space Needle and Chihuly exhibits will be operating normally, there will be a lot of people around. Again, with a morning visit you might be able to avoid the worst of the crowds, and note you'll need to be at the airport in plenty of time for the (probably) long lines for security. This driving tour is one of many possible options you could take for a day with a car. Remember that you're going to be seeing plenty of snowy mountains during your cruise, so maybe trying something different might be rewarding.
  8. I'd personally choose one of the limos that are waiting in the area next to the taxis. It will be about the same price as a cab but way more comfortable. Right now Ubers are expensive due to a shortage of drivers.
  9. Taxi, Uber/Lyft or towncar/limo. All are served from the third floor of the airport parking garage, accessed by skybridge from the bag claim area.
  10. There haver been and will be, once the US-Canada Covid restrictions are lifted.
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