Visiting Seattle Before Going Aboard My First Princess Cruise

Brittany and I had traveled to a lot of places, but we were getting ready for our most exciting adventure ever. We were heading on a cruise to Alaska.

This was to be Brittany’s first cruise and my first trip to the 49th state – which actually was the 50th state I would be visiting, therefore completing the United States. It was the most planned trip I ever took. I put a lot of time into every detail. The fact that I was traveling in a mobility scooter made it a little more challenging, but everyone I spoke to in advance was very helpful.

The cruise we had chosen was roundtrip from Seattle, Washington. I had been to Seattle three times before and it was a city I really loved. I didn’t want to just have it be a jumping point to get on the ship, especially since Brittany had never been there.

I worked with the Visit Seattle team to plan out a trip that would have us see a lot, without a lot of transportation, both before and after the cruise.

I usually fly out of Champaign, but we needed a late evening flight, so we had to go to Chicago O’Hare, about two and a half hours away. We had a friend drive us and everything went smoothly to get on our American Airlines flight. I was even able to get us an upgrade to Main Cabin Extra. I hadn’t flown in that in a while and it was really nice to have the extra room on an almost five-hour flight.

It was nearly midnight by the time we arrived at the Homewood Suites Downtown and we were both exhausted. We dropped our bags and went right to sleep.

Since there was a two-hour time difference from the Midwest, we ended up waking up early. We enjoyed the hot breakfast at the hotel and decided to head out for sightseeing. CityPASS had given us a code for the pass that would give us tickets to five popular Seattle spots.

I divided the places we wanted to go to between the ones that were easier to get to from the Homewood and the ones that would be closer to the place we would be after the cruise, the Hilton Motif. It was an easy walk (for Brittany, and scooter for me) to our first stop, Chihuly Museum and Gardens. 

Even though it was a Saturday, we had gotten an early start, and nothing seemed crowded. We showed our pass and went right into the museum.

I didn’t know a lot about Dale Chihuly beyond the beautiful art he created with glass before this. I had just seen a few pieces among the museums around the world that had them. I knew the Chihuly Museum and Gardens featured a selection of only the Washington artist’s works.

Everything there could only be described as breathtaking. As we went from room to room, my mouth was constantly saying “wow” and Brittany, who dabbles in art herself, was wide-eyed at every creation. I am not sure if I was more impressed with how the glass pieces were created, or how perfect the color combinations were.

The gardens were just as spectacular, especially with the view of the Space Needle in the background. That would be our next stop.

I’m not sure how, in all my trips to Seattle, I had never made it to the Space Needle. It was easy to take the elevator to the top in the wheelchair. It was just a separate elevator that we needed to get on going down.

The view of the city, ocean, mountains was certainly different from the Chicago observation deck.

We could even see our cruise ship from there. Many people were taking selfies in different positions. It certainly helped that it has the world’s first revolving glass floor.

The top of the Space Needle also has a wine bar and a coffee bar. The latter sounded really good, but we were running tight on time and really wanted to go to the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP). I’m glad we did because it quickly became one of my favorite museums in the country.

MoPOP is focused on entertainment, especially music. The place is huge, and you could easily spend more than a day here, especially since it’s filled with videos to watch and music to listen to. 

The music is from everywhere, but there are exhibits highlighting local bands and performers, such as Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Foo Fighters. I also spent some time browsing the Hip Hop exhibit and looking at the pile of famous guitar.

The television and movies represented in the exhibits Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction, Roleplaying, Scared to Death, and Fantasy included artifacts from Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Harry Potter, the Wizard of Oz, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, and Michael Jackson’s Thriller

We were hungry, but were saving lunch for the ship, so we just had a snack at the museum’s Culture Kitchen before we headed back to the Homewood Downtown. We packed up our carry ons for easy boarding. We were soon heading to Pier 91 to board the Royal Princess on a voyage to Alaska. 

I was hosted on this trip, but opinions are my own. 


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