Cruising to Alaska on Rhapsody of the Seas – Pros
Scenery – awesome
Wildlife – good, but we didn’t see enough, probably should have sprung for a tour
Meals onboard – almost always good, sometimes excellent
Service onboard – friendly and capable
Music onboard – good and sometimes excellent
Ports – interesting and sometimes unforgettable
Change of itinerary – trading wind and rain in Skagway for beautiful Endicott Arm, worth it
Cruising to Alaska on Rhapsody of the Seas – Cons
Change of itinerary – it felt like we traded cruising the Inside Passage to being out of sight of land for gambling, yuck!
Coffee – made double strong all the time, almost made me a tea drinker
Cabin – I knew I was getting an inside cabin, but never dreamed I would have to crawl off and on the end of the bed
Sneaky fees – park the ship at the most distant pier and then wait in line and pay an extra fee for a shuttle to where we were supposed to be in the first place
You can see our photo album at http://picasaweb.google.com/pastorscott.com
We spent our last vacation day exploring downtown Seattle. Jackie especially wanted to visit the Seattle Central Library which is famous for its design and unique architecture. We arrived just in time to join an architect led tour of the library. It was quite interesting and I recommend the tour to anyone.
We, and about every person in the Seattle metro area headed for Pike Place. It was packed. Still, we enjoyed checking out all the flower and fish and vegetable venders. We also had lunch at a crowded and busy little fish and chips place. After an hour or so at Pike Place we headed up the hill a ways, bought some coffee and sat down for a nice break.
All the downtown area is a free ride zone on the city bus system, so we hopped on and off at several places before boarding the monorail to City Center where we watched a street performer doing some nifty juggling.
We finished off the evening at the Cheesecake Factory. Neither of us could eat all the food that we ordered. From there it was back to the hotel for final packing in preparation for an early flight home.
When we awoke on Friday morning the ship was docked in Seattle. We had a leisurely breakfast because our time to disembark was 8:50. As we ate, we could see people leaving the ship and heading for customs. There was a quick, last visit to our room, a word of thanks to our stateroom attendant (we had prepaid our tips before departure), and a last visit to a couple of our favorite places on Rhapsody. Our departure group was called a few minutes early and our walk through customs was mere formality in which we never even stopped walking. Our luggage was waiting for us and we were soon at the Budget car rental desk. I’d rented from a different office than the one that usually services pier 91, but the fellow at the desk called for me and within 20 minutes we were picked up and taken to the agency to pick up our car.
The rest of Friday was spent exploring north of Seattle, specifically Whidbey Island. We took the ferry across to Clinton and then took our time driving and looking. Highlights were lunch at Greenbank Farm, Fort Casey State Park with its lighthouse, and Deception Pass State Park. Once we were off the island, we continued north a ways on Highway 11 and enjoyed the dramatic views along the way.
I had bid for and gotten a room at the downtown Sheridan for our final nights of vacation. We arrived back in Seattle, found our hotel, and enjoyed a very good night’s sleep.