Alaska Cruise – Day 5

Today was our first port day, sailing in to Ketchikan, AK early in the morning. We sailed past quite a bit of coastline and got to see some bald eagles from our balconies. After grabbing a quick breakfast at the buffet, Reese and I got off the ship and found our group for the zipline excursion.

We took a 20 or so minute bus ride out to Alaska Canopy Adventures, getting some info on the local area from the driver along the way. Once there, we went through the safety briefing and got our harnesses on. I kicked myself for not bringing the GoPro with me as they had helmets with mounts for them, but what’s done is done. We had a short test line to go down to make sure we understood all of the instructions and techniques before we got in to the main course. Reese went first, and did really well, so I had to follow. The rest of the course was amazing. We had two really long lines, both over 600 feet long, a number of shorter ones, as well as some suspension bridges to walk over. The views were amazing, being 75 or more feet above the ground gives you a much different perspective. After we finished the course, we nosed around the gift shop, picked up some swag, and then headed back in to town. On the way back in we lucked out and saw a decent sized pod of orcas. After we were all back on the ship we found out that all of us were in about the same area at that time and all got to see the same pod.

We met up with Heather and went over to Sweet Mermaids for lunch. It’s a small, locally owned cafe that has some seriously good food at reasonable prices. I had a meatball sub, Reese had a quesadilla, and Heather had a sandwich. All of it was delicious, appropriately sized, and reasonably priced. We shared a table with a local and got to talk to him for a while, getting more of the local flavor in the process.

After lunch we walked around town, doing a little shopping and a little sightseeing, making sure to track down locally owned businesses. I picked up some gold nugget earrings for Heather, Reese got some toys and hats, and I snagged some locally roasted coffee. We just about used up all of our time in port, so we made our way back to the ship, getting back with plenty of time to spare.

Alaska Cruise – Day 4

Today was our first sea day, which we used to relax and get ready for the port days. While going through the excursion reservations we realized that Reese and I had nothing for Ketchikan. He and I looked through what was available and chose a ziplining canopy tour, which was thankfully still open.

Since it was a sea day, Princess’s pub lunch was available, which I took advantage of while everyone else hit the buffet. It was crowded, but as a single I got seated pretty quickly and enjoyed the fish and chips with an Alaskan Amber.

After that, we went up to the One5 for the Cruise Critic meet and greet that I had arranged. Attendance was low, but the traffic on the roll call thread was light so I wasn’t surprised. We had a good time talking to everyone and got some good tips for the various ports.

Tonight’s dinner was the first formal night, which we used to get some good photos of us with Reese, as well as enjoying the great food in the main dining room.

Alaska Cruise – Day 3

We took a shuttle over to the cruise terminal and worked our way through the check-in process. It was pretty painless, better than last year’s experience in Galveston, and we were on the Grand Princess in time for lunch in one of the main dining rooms. We’ve got adjoining balconies on the port side of the Caribe deck and have the dividers opened up so that we can move back and forth without going out into the hallway.

Sailaway was the usual party, which we mostly avoided, instead staying up on deck taking pictures of the city as we pulled out. We also got to see a Navy submarine under tow as we headed out into Puget Sound. Reese and I did a little exploring of the ship, finding some of the kids activities, while everyone else rested up. When we got back, our luggage had arrived and we started unpacking and getting ready for dinner.

We were pretty beat, so after dinner we just went back to the cabins and crashed out. Tomorrow is a sea day so we’ll be able to rest up before we start getting to the ports.

Alaska Cruise – Day 2

We got out pretty early, went to a small bagel place for breakfast, and then back to Pike Place Market for more shopping. We were tired yesterday and didn’t get to explore everything, so we took care of that today. It’s a really neat place, and if we lived in Seattle, we’d be shopping there pretty regularly. We grabbed a quick lunch at a little Ecuadoran place and then headed back to the hotel to drop off our loot.

After that we took the monorail over to Seattle Center to walk around the grounds and go up the Space Needle. We’d initially planned to go to the EMP Museum as well, but there just wasn’t time. The Space Needle was really cool. The view from the top was amazing, we could even see where the cruise ship was going to be docked tomorrow. Once we finished there, we went back to the hotel to get ready for the cruise.

Alaska Cruise – Day 1

We got up pretty early, finished the last of our packing, and then took the shuttle to the airport to catch our flight to Seattle. The flight was pretty uneventful, and we arrived on-time to a refreshingly cool PNW afternoon. After meeting up with Sandy and David, we hiked across what felt like the entire airport property in order to get on the light rail train in to town. We got checked in to the hotel, dropped our bags, and then headed out to get some food and do some shopping.

After a quick stop at Target to get David some sunglasses, we headed out to grab some dinner. We were initially planning on heading to an Irish pub we found on-line, but decided that it was too far, so we popped in to Pike Brewing Company instead. It really wasn’t a bad choice as the beer was excellent and the food even better. Reese even tried the steamed clams and liked them. After that, walked around some of the Pike Place Market, doing some nosing around and shopping.

After that, we went back to the hotel and settled in for the evening. We’re going to do more touristy stuff tomorrow.