The Port of Seattle is the preferred choice for Alaska, Pacific Northwest and West Coast cruises. It has hosted over 1 million passengers in 2017 and is expected to host even a higher number by the end of 2018.
There are two cruise terminals in Seattle – the smaller Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal at Pier 66 is located directly on the central waterfront, a 5 min car ride or a 20min walking from the city centre. The Terminal is very well organised and facilitated and offers luggage storage, tourist information, wheelchair and scooter rentals, restaurants and recreational services. There is also parking space for cruise passengers. The Terminal is 20 min car drive to the International Airport. There are no immediate public transport links near the port, the nearest train station is the Stadium Station Downtown Seattle, 5 min taxi drive or about 12 min walk from the terminal.
The second and larger terminal is the Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91. This one is further from central Seattle and again very well organised. There is again luggage storage, tourist information, wheelchair and scooter rentals, with the addition of a cell phone waiting lot for passenger pick-up and drop-off, a rental car shop and a parking space (including for RV and trailers) with a complimentary shuttle. The terminal is 20 min car drive from the International Airport and about 10 min drive from central Seattle. The nearest public transport link is 5 min walking away, the Elliot Ave W & W Galer Street bus stop to Downtown Seattle.
The local currency is the American dollar (USD). All major credit cards are accepted everywhere. There are ATMs everywhere as well and exchanging money is very easy, however the rates at home in UK seem to be better than in the States, so do some research prior to travelling. Some of the recommended currency exchange shops are Verity Credit Union and Wells Fargo Bank. Withdrawing money from an ATM is the most straight-forward way to get dollars, but make sure you are aware of any fees your bank may charge you and that you have notified them that you would be spending time abroad.
Opening hours and bank holidays. Most independent shops in Seattle are open all week. The shopping malls are open 10 am to 9 pm, or 10pm in summer and 7 pm on Sundays. The opening hours for most of the markets are 10 am to 6 pm, later for the restaurants. Banks and post offices would be open 9 am until 5 pm weekdays and some of them would work until midday Saturday as well. Most museums would be open 10 am until 5 or 6 pm, closed on Mondays and some of them Sundays, and would stay open until late one evening of the week as well, usually Thursday. There are a few bank holidays in Miami, and the banks and post offices will be closed, however most shopping malls and other outlets will work as normal.
Tipping culture is huge in Seattle. As a general rule, you should tip any service staff. Many of them are paid low hourly rates and rely heavily on tips. Between 15 and 20% of the bill at a restaurant is considered normal but beware that some establishments include it in your bill, especially for larger groups. Hotel staff should also be tipped about a dollar per bag for the bellboy and about 2 USD per day for the housekeeper. Taxi drivers and spa saloon staff expects between 10% and 20% of the bill, if the service has been exceptional, feel free to leave more. Bartenders expect about a dollar per drink, more if the place is more upscale, and tour guides anything from 15 to 20%, depending on the length and the size of the group.
The local time in Miami is GMT - 7 hours and the dialling code is +1. There are more than one area codes in use, they are 206/425/253/360.
Things To Do
The Space Needle is one of the landmarks of Seattle, built for the World’s Fair in 1962 and still lookin futuristic to this day. Enjoy the 360 degrees views of the Emerald city of Seattle from the Observation desk at 184 metres, step into the Loupe – the world’s first and only rotating glass floor, take the virtual reality bungee jump, experience the illusion of floating though the open air at the Skyrisers – the tilting glass walls or enjoy a meal at the rotating restaurant at 152 metres.
Visit the nearby Museum of Pop Culture (the EMP Museum) to see the largest collections of Seattle born musicians Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix’s artefacts. The building’s unique design resembles a smashed guitar and was created my Frank O. Gehry. The museum is dedicated to the ideas that fuelled and fuel modern day pop culture with a focus on the rock ’n’ roll music. It attracts more than 750 thousand visitors per year with its interactive Sound Lab, the largest LED screen in the world at the concert venue, the opportunity to play in your own virtual rock band and a collection of over 140 thousand historic music objects from the Northwest.
For an insight into the community and culture of Seattle, head over to the Pike Place Market – the longest continuously running Farmers’ market in the United States, established in 1907. Shop some local organic produce, check out the artisan shops and eateries and take home some local arts and crafts. You can do so much more at this nine-acre historic district, rather than just shop – see the world’s largest collection of giant shoes at Giant Shoe Museum, take a food tour, eat chocolate covered cherries at Chukar Cherries, meet the market vendors at the North Arcade, learn a magic trick at the Market Magic Shop, or try the best ginger beer in town at Rachel’s Ginger Beer.
There are a few more unique and fascinating museums to see – the Seattle Pinball Museum where you can play vintage games that you may actually win (!), see the Pacific Science Museum, the Seattle Art Museum and the Olympic Sculpture Park, the Museum of Flight and the Future of Flight Aviation Centre and the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI).The people of Seattle are especially proud with the Chihuly Garden & Glass garden-gallery. Celebrating the work of Washington born glass artist Dale Chihuly, the garden is the best place to hang out at a rainy day with its colourful and whimsical display of glass art.
The Central Public Library is also worth seeing, as is the city’s Chinatown – International District. Seattle is the home of the now international Starbucks chain and here you can experience the coffee production at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting room.
If you would like to experience more of the lovely outdoors in and around Seattle - take a Washington State Ferry to Bainbridge Island in only 35 minutes, breath the fresh air at Kerry Park, go to South Lake Union, hire a kayak from Alki Beach in West Seattle or try some of the local wine at Woodinville Wine Country.
All Cruises and Flight details are subject to availability and price variation. Final package price is available upon payment of deposit and confirming your ATOL & ABTA protected cruise holiday