Seattle, Washington, USA
Name: Cruise Seattle
Address: Pier 66: 2225 Alaskan Way, Terminal 30: 2431 E. Marginal Way South
Pier 91: 2001 West Garfield Street
Seattle has two cruise terminals, Pier 91 and Pier 66. Pier 91 is located slightly north of downtown, while Pier 66 is located in the center of the waterfront on Alaskan Way. Pier 91 serves as home port for Carnival Line, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean. Located at the north end of Seattle’s waterfront on historic Smith Cove, it’s just 10 minutes from the city’s retail core and famous Space Needle.
Pier 66 is conveniently located along Seattle’s downtown waterfront. This vibrant pier is home to Celebrity Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line.
Shuttle buses take you from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, south of the city, to many downtown Seattle hotels in 30 minutes or less. Look for more hotel information in the main terminal of the airport. The easiest way to get to downtown is by Seattle Express mini-bus that has one-way transport to either cruise terminal and downtown hotels. Fare is $12 a person.
Seattle has a range of cab companies including Yellow Cab, Orange Cab and STITA Taxi. Costs vary depending on departure location but most fares from the airport to downtown is $40 – $50. Most fares from downtown hotels to the cruise terminals run approximately $15 – $25, depending on proximity of hotel to the waterfront and time of day.
Seattle, Washington, is located on the northwest tip of the United States with its downtown core facing out onto the Pacific Ocean. It is about 217 miles south of Vancouver, B.C., and 142 miles north of Portland, Ore.
With 75 hotels in Seattle, (many more in surrounding King County) there’s a wide selection of locations. A plethora of good hotels are near the cruise port and in the downtown core, including the Edgewater Hotel, the Seattle Marriott Waterfront and the
Best Western Pioneer Square Hotel. Major hotels like The Hilton, Fairmont Olympic, Alexis, Westin, Mayflower Park, Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, Stouffer Madison, Seattle Sheraton, Vintage Park, among many others, are within a six-block area.
In Seattle, residents brag about their bookstores. It’s said that is because it rains a lot and during the winter there’s nothing else to do but read.
That’s not true, of course, but reputations and perceptions are often difficult to change. For Seattle is a place of intense activity, both physical and artistic, at all times of the year. Opera, books, sailing and baseball blend easily into a style of living that’s both unique and the envy of anyone who has visited.
Bracketed east and west by freshwater Lake Washington and saltwater Puget Sound, the city occupies a north-south corridor, slender at the waist and embracing several hills.
The downtown commercial core is about 15 blocks north to south and eight blocks east to west. Dominated by the 76-story Seafirst Columbia Center, it’s the financial hub of the Pacific Northwest and it hosts the city’s conventions at the downtown Convention Center. You can easily travel around the financial district free on city buses marked for that service.
Yes – and let’s be frank about it – it rains here, as it does all along the entire Pacific Northwest coast. But not nearly as much as Seattle’s reputation suggests, though it might help explain Seattle’s love affair with coffee shops and bookstores. In fact, more sunglasses per capita are purchased than in any other city in America even though the winters are defined by low, water-saturated clouds.
If you’ve not been to Seattle in the past five years, you may not even recognize the place. Not only has there been construction of buildings in the downtown area, the city has also rehabilitated previously run-down sections and has transformed them into prime living and visiting areas.
In recent years a new art gallery center has been constructed downtown near a new performance hall for the Seattle Symphony; a new performing arts center has been constructed for theater and Seattle Opera performances; and a music museum – the Experience Music Project – unlike any in the country enthralls and entertains anyone who visits it at its Seattle Center location, the site of the 1962 World’s Fair. And the city now has a library that is one of the Pacific Northwest’s finest architectural jewels.
The city is a major league city in every sense of the word. Its professional baseball and football teams, the Mariners and the Seahawks, play in their own stadiums that stand next to each other near Pioneer Square, the city’s old town.
Greater Seattle is one of the fittest cities in the country, a distinction based on degree of activity that takes place within and outside its borders. Locals spend much less time than the national average in front of the television and they lead the nation in participating in sailing and kayaking.
Seattle is a place where its citizens partake in its good fortune. It is ranked fourth in America in sales at eating and drinking establishments, fourth in frequency of opera performances and in spending money for its libraries, and it has more theater performances annually than any other city except New York. And Seattle thrives on its sea culture at restaurants beside Puget Sound, Union Lake, or Lake Washington.
Tourism and daily living are integrated, where nothing has been imposed, and where virtually every interesting place is there for a reason. In fact, there just may be fewer tourist traps per square foot in Seattle than anywhere in North America.
First-time visitors are usually astonished at the wealth of natural beauty in and around Seattle, the 23rd largest city in the USA. Literally touching the city’s boundaries are thousands of square miles of evergreen forest and salt and freshwater shorelines.
Seattle is a city of parts, small enclaves that have distinct identities and unique character and that invite walking. Even the Seattle waterfront, where commuters board the Washington State Ferry system that sails the inner channels of Puget Sound, is accessible.
Most of the piers have been transformed into shopping centers, especially piers 55 & 56. The Omnidome and the Seattle Aquarium share Pier 59. The Beatles fished from the window of room 272 of The Edgewater Hotel during their first American tour in the summer of 1964.
The Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Repertory Theater, and a variety of theater companies; choral, chamber music, art galleries, museums, and dance companies provide a daily menu of intellectual nourishment.
The Museum of Flight and its world-class, Great Gallery, is every airplane buff’s dream with 35 original Boeing aircraft – including a B-29 – hanging from the ceiling or and standing on the grounds.
High above the waterfront area, the Pike Place Market, in the heart of downtown and on the ocean’s edge, is Seattle’s soul and its sense of smell and taste, the oldest continuing working market in the U.S., filled with delightful characters hawking their fresh fish and produce in a dozen accents.
The market is a menagerie of competing sensual pleasures as stall owners bark to passing clients and where every corner has a spot occupied by street musicians, puppeteers, or mimes. You can, in fact, spend most of a day walking through the 250 permanent shops or going through the wares of more than 200 artists and artisans.
Downtown is walkable and includes some of the city’s most famous sites – Westlake Center, Pike Place Market and the waterfront, Seattle Center, or Pioneer Square.
The Seattle Center contains the Space Needle, Opera House, Pacific Science Center, and a Fun Fair that includes a laserium, arts and crafts centers, amphitheater, and several theaters. A Children’s Museum is in the Central Hall.
Downtown’s Pioneer Square Historical District is where residents of the fashionable Magnolia district buy their art. And while the only reminder of the original Tlingit Indian village that preceded Pioneer Square is a 60-foot totem pole and a bronze bust to Chief Seattle, it is a central place for gathering – where people sip their coffee, in countless books stores and talk about…well, the weather.
The Seattle Pike Place Market is a wonderful, energetic market that offers plenty of local food and wares, but for something more out of the ordinary, head to the Fremont Shopping District (north along Fremont Avenue.) For the ultimate in mall shopping experience, check out the Westlake Center in downtown Seattle (400 Pine Street), a beautiful four-storey retail complex. For more exotic souvenirs, shop in the International District (between 4th and 12th avenues and Main and Lane streets). The downtown area is also where you’ll find Nordstrom’s and other major shopping outlets
Things to do:
Watch for whales. The Pacific Northwest is home to gentle, intelligent sea mammals — whales! Catching a glimpse of them is often the highlight of a visit to this area of the world. Whale watching tours are most popular between April and September, but many companies offer water tours during the off-peak season as well.
Be sure to catch the Seattle Art Museum (1300 First Avenue); the Seattle Asian Art Museum (1400 East Prospect Street, Volunteer Park); and the Olympic Sculpture Park (2901 Western Avenue) for exhibits that span the globe.
See weird stuff. From mummies and shrunken heads to rare collectibles, you’ll find the oddest stuff at Ye Olde Curiosity Shop at Pier 54 (1001 Alaskan Way). With a sideshow museum, this gift store will satisfy visitors with a penchant for the weird and wonderful. Buy a giant stuffed microbe to take home or something more conventional like some west coast native art.
Of Special Interest:
Ever wondered what the largest building in the world is? The Boeing Plant, located 40 kilometers north of Seattle in Everett, Wash., is 98 acres in size. It is where 747s, 767s and 777s are assembled. You can to tour the facilities, but be prepared: the tour lasts almost four hours! Many tour companies will pick you up from your hotel and take you directly to the Boeing Plant, for example, Seattle Tours. Call them at 1-800-305-9617 for more information.
– By Ray Chatelain