Starting Our Cruise In Seattle
Our Alaska cruise from Seattle in July was for 7 days. We considered flying between Toronto and Vancouver. It was a short hop between Vancouver and Seattle. But when we researched flight costs, it was much cheaper to fly into Seattle – even with the same carrier!
We booked our trip to Seattle to come in before the July 4th holiday. This gave us time to get on west coast time. We knew there would be no shortage of things to do in Seattle.
Canada Day was celebrated in Toronto and then Independence Day in Seattle. We arranged to meet our friends from California (@Always5Star) in Settle and enjoyed a luxurious Afternoon Tea with them.
Boarding Our Cruise Ship
On the morning of our Alaska cruise from Seattle, we were up early. From our hotel window, we scanned the water watching for the arrival of our ship. Right on schedule we watched Oceania Cruises Regatta sail in.
After 5 days in Seattle, we arrived at the cruise ship and settled into our cabin. As we walked about the ship, we met many staff we had cruised with before. It was a wonderful welcome. We felt like we had come home!
As we sailed out of Seattle, we said goodbye for a week.
A Very Different Cruise Experience
Our Alaska cruise from Seattle was not our normal cruise experience. This cruise was very over-booked. Many cabins had 3 or 4 people. Most of this was because the Alaska cruises were marketed to families with kids getting a great price break. It was cute to see the young kids all dressed up for dinner in the Grand Dining Room. But the public areas were not the quiet oasis we were used to.
Some kids were visiting Alaska with their grandparents. We hoped that they found enough to keep them engaged when we were not in port on excursions. But many groups were large multi-generational families. These groups kept themselves very noisily entertained. I am sure that this was a trip of a lifetime for them!
If you book an Alaska cruise from Seattle in July on a cruise ship that is normally adult only, be prepared. The average age on board will be much younger and there will be lots of kids. You may have trouble finding a quiet spot outside your cabin! But if you are around when the kids see the whales close to the ship, their delight will make your day!
Transiting Between Seattle And Alaska
Our Alaska cruise from Seattle was on the smaller of the Oceania Cruises ships. The great advantage of travelling on the smaller ships was the ability to get into places that larger ships couldn’t. On our trip up the coast, we had a great transit through the Inner Passage, between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia. It was warm and sunny and the scenery was stunning. In many places, the shore was quite close to the ship. People watched the great scenery go by from the front lounge, from deck chairs or from their balconies.
The ship travelled along Johnstone Straight and had to pass through Seymour Narrows. Not only was this a narrow passage but the fast moving water, 12 knots, meant we had to transit when the flow was least. The captain timed his passage to be at slack water during a low tide time.
We spent a lot of time sitting up in the lounge overlooking the front of the ship. Everyone was on the watch for wildlife. When a whale surfaced and spouted in front of us the first morning, the excitement started to grow. When the large pod of dolphins played in front of the boat on our first day, we grew even more excited.
Most nights we watched for the sunsets. We have seen some of the best sunsets at sea and our Alaska cruise from Seattle was no exception!
The Rainforests of Alaska
Our first excursion on our Alaska cruise from Seattle was a high speed boat ride to an island to walk in the rainforest. I normally would not think of Alaska for rainforests. We walked up through the forest enjoying all that nature brought to Alaska.
If you think that Alaska is all snow and ice, you will find lots of green space when you do an Alaska cruise from Seattle in July!
Icebergs, Fjords and Glaciers
We spent a full day cruising the Tracy Arm Fjord to the Sawyer Glacier. We moved down the ever-narrowing channel, floating along with the small icebergs that had come off the glacier. The fjord was stunning with high cliffs, narrow valleys, waterfalls and the polished rock left by retreating glaciers.
We went almost right up to the Sawyer Glacier, sitting on the rocks as it retreated at this point.
If you do an Alaska cruise from Seattle in July, the waterways should be open. You should be able to travel up the Tracy Arm Fjord to the Sawyer Glacier. But be prepared for lots of floating ice that may turn back your cruise ship.
The Small Towns Of Alaska
Our second port on our Alaska cruise from Seattle was in Sitka, Alaska. We enjoyed a stroll through the small colourful town.
Our Sitka boat trip excursion took us to a small uninhabited island where we got to walk the black lava beach. The misty shores were offset by the green of the trees and the bright yellow kelp.
When you do an Alaska cruise from Seattle, you may not always get wildlife on your cruise excursions. But there will always be something interesting to see.
Grizzly Bears and More
We took and Alaska cruise from Seattle in July expecting to see lots of wildlife. We were a bit disappointed with how little we saw on our early excursions. But when we stopped in Prince Rupert, BC for our last port, our expectations were exceeded. We had the most amazing boat trip to the Khutzeymateen Valley Grizzly Bear Sanctuary. On the trip there were several grizzly bears and we even caught a salmon wolf strolling by a bear.
We also stopped and caught sight of several humpback whales. Our cruise excursion finished with a great eagle experience.
Do an Alaska cruise from Seattle in July and you may have the wildlife experience of a lifetime!
Returning To Seattle
It was time to finish our Alaska cruise. Leaving Prince Rupert, we cruised down the Outside Passage off of Vancouver Island. Everyone was on high alert for whales. On the previous Alaska cruise from Seattle they had seen “mega whales” in this spot. We saw our first humpback whale breech on this transit. Unfortunately we didn’t listen to the guy claiming he saw a really big splash. We didn’t get our cameras up quickly enough. But if we were watching, we could see the whales all around!
Our Alaska cruise from Seattle ended back in Seattle. Our ship sailed in as the sun was coming up. It was time to say goodbye!
We had one more stop after our Alaska cruise from Seattle before we headed home to Toronto. A quick trip to Vancouver would let us visit with family. There are many ways to travel between Seattle and Toronto. We love to take the train but this time we tried something else. Never again will we book the Quick Shuttle. It was anything but quick.
Vancouver is a frequent stop for us. We stayed downtown and enjoyed being close to False Creek and Granville Island.
There is much to do in Vancouver if you visit Vancouver on your Alaska cruise.
Flying Home To Toronto
We didn’t learn our lesson enough and kept our reservations on the Quick Shuttle bus back to Seattle. We again waited for over an hour due to incorrect pick-up information we had been emailed. The bus dropped us at the SeaTac Airport and we got a quick shuttle to an airport hotel for the night.
In the morning we headed to the airport early. We flew Business Class and had lounge access. We left the lounge for the gate when the flight was showing an on-time departure. The sign still said on-time when we were standing in line waiting for the previous flight to deplane! At least we had some interesting art to look at while we waited!
The window seat views when we fly from the west coast are always a great show. Leaving from Seattle was no different. The weather was clear and sunny. We got the great views as we climbed and headed over the mountains. The window seat view as you fly in and leave is a bonus when you book an Alaska cruise from Seattle.
We had the wind at our back and arrived in Toronto almost on time even though we had left over 30 minutes late. The pilot announced we were on approach and everyone got ready to land. But then the aircraft began a series of turns. You could see people wondering why we were turning in circles and kept flying away from the airport. As a private pilot, I had a good idea of what was happening. The flight path display confirmed my thoughts. We had an initial hold before we got into the Toronto zone and then had to fly a standard pattern for a landing to the west.
The great benefit of flying Business Class was getting our bags faster. Our condo is very close to the airport. So we were home before we knew it!
We Enjoyed Our Alaska Cruise In July
This Alaska cruise from Seattle was a taste test for us. We wanted to see what Alaska was like in the summer. We certainly wanted to visit in whale season. There were a lot of interesting excursions when we stopped. But on our next visit to Alaska, we will head further north. We want to see more of the snow and ice of Alaska next.
Have you tried an Alaska cruise from Seattle? Did it live up to your expectations?