Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Legendary Trip North to Alaska- Seattle

Airing Our Dirty Laundry
Tuesday, June 21, 2016

In June 2016 Chris and I took an Alaskan Cruise aboard the Carnival Legend sailing out of Seattle, WA. This beautiful floating resort took us to the following destinations: 

Dawes Glacier, Endicott Arm Fjord, Alaska 
Skagway, Alasaka
Juneau, Alaska 
Ketchikan, Alasaka
Victoria, B.C., Canada 

The Carnival Legend... Our home away from home for the next 7 days! 

Chris and I have been on 7 other cruises prior to this one; 4 with Carnival, 2 with Royal Caribbean and 1 with Princess. This cruise was all about the destination as neither of us had been to Alaska. This will be a multiple entry blog about not only our 7 days at sea but a food blog, an updated Shore Excursion rating blog, a pictorial review of The Carnival Legend and a few more. Thank you SO MUCH to all my followers... without you the blog would not be as popular as it is today! Be sure to stay tuned as the posts come through over the next few days and weeks. 

The day we had been looking forward to and counting down for well over 3 years had finally arrived. We woke up early and were out of our hotel in Lynnwood, WA (a north Seattle suburb) before 7AM. We had to drive our rental car all the way back down south to the SeaTac airport to turn it in before going to Pier 91. Once we turned in our rental car we went back to the courtesy shuttle area where we planned to catch a shuttle to our post-cruise hotel, the Comfort Inn and Suites. We were then supposed to take the Seattle Express shuttle to Pier 91 but they would only do pick-ups from hotels not the airport. The Seattle Express ruins from countless SeaTac airport hotels to Pier 91 for only $12 each! We waited nearly 20 minutes for the Comfort Inn and Suites shuttle before deciding to cancel the two shuttles and just take a taxi to the port. We are habitual early arrivals to a cruise terminal and we did not want the biggest and most important cruise we have ever taken to be any different. We got into the tiny Toyota Prius with all 6 of our bags (props to Toyota, I was impressed) and had our typical taxi driver take us 25 miles north to pier 91. This taxi fare was $53 for 2 people and did count stops and traffic. I noticed as we debarked they offered a FLAT $40 rate return to the airport so I assume it should run both ways! 

We arrived at the pier at 9:45AM and had to wait for the terminal to open as they were still getting passengers from the previous cruise OFF the ship. We had a porter take our bags as we had Faster to the Fun. Our luggage tags had the FTTF sticker but we did not put a large FTTF marker on the bags as I feel they didn't need it. Boy was I wrong? More on that later. 

Once we got into the terminal we went to the check-in counter and we were #6 and #7 to check-in to the Carnival Legend. This is pretty typical for us and we were satisfied with out check-in time. We were all checked in and ready to go by 10:15AM and the priority passengers were called on board around 11AM. We had to wait to be called but still heard the glorious 1st "DING" at 11:20AM. This was not our fastest embarkation time but it was still a very good time to get on board. This Faster to the Fun perk of getting on the ship early (behind the priority guests) is well worth the $60 cost of FTTF. 

We were so tired from our Seattle trip.. We need a vacation from our vacation!
Wait... we actually get to do this!
The trip cruise of a lifetime starts NOW! 

We made our way to the aft of the ship were our aft balcony suite was located and we put all of our carry-on bags in our room and then we went to the Lido deck buffet. This ship was the smallest ship we have ever sailed but it didn't feel like it most of the time... Well, except at the Lido buffet. This buffet was small and lacking to say the very least. In addition, it did not have the Carnival 2.0 funships upgrades, which meant a very bland and boring buffet area with little to no extra fast-food style options. 

Our aft balcony suite... Cabin 7349!

The other half of the cabin! 

This was the 1st time we have had a Happy Anniversary sign in our room! 
Thank you Carnival

Immediately following lunch we made our way back to our room to see if our luggage had arrived. Since we paid for the Faster to the Fun option this meant our luggage should arrive within minutes of getting on the ship and usually your luggage is waiting in your room. However, ours had not arrived. We didn't think twice about it and went to explore the ship as we usually do as soon as we get on board. 

The layout of this ship was much better than any other Carnival ship we have sailed. All of the decks were open and not closed off by the galley like on the Conquest and Dream class ships we have sailed before. Also, the Legend has the overall best and most high class decor we have seen on a Carnival ship. We enjoyed her decor and overall feeling very much. While exploring we did notice the "Off the Grill" section of the Lido closer to the mid-ship pool but let me tell you, this was not Guy's Burger Joint. It was just OK, at best! 

Some of the Neo-Classical decor of the Carnival Legend.
We LOVED it! 

My traditional life-preserver picture!

Mid-Ship Lido Deck
The Carnival Legend was the first ship we have ever sailed without the large TV/ movie screen. Since we were sailing Alaska we didn't miss it but I think if we were in Caribbean we would have noticed it not being there

The Carnival Legend has a Serenity adult only area!
We LOVE Serenity plus it offers ample comfortable seating! 

The Atrium of the Legend

The Lobby (Deck 2) of the Legend

Bonsai sushi on deck 2... more on that later! 

The Carnival Legend also featured a Red Frog Pub!
We were not the first in the bar so we did not get the free pints but we enjoyed this area of the ship! 

After we explored the ship we stopped at the top of deck 11 on the Sports Deck for our traditional match play putt-putt golf game. This ship featured a 9 hole course based on Roman god's heads. Chris won this game 6-3 but don't worry... I will come back on the Liberty in December and take him down! 

It was now 2 o'clock and we decided to go back to our room to do laundry and unpack. We tried to not over pack (didn't work) and knew since we would be gone for 14 days we would need to do laundry so I opted to do it on the ship and not in the hotel. Once we arrived back in our room, our luggage still had not arrived. I called Guest Services and they said they would look for it. By this time all rooms were opened to passengers and there were lots of luggage bags being delivered on our hallway. Where was ours? I paid $60 for it to be here at 11AM. I was getting really mad, but I was so worn out from our Seattle pre-cruise trip that I was more tired than mad. We took a nap on our bed for nearly an hour before waking up to a loud noise. We figured it was our luggage... but instead it was chocolate covered strawberries as part of our anniversary package. I informed my PVP via Carnival's website that we were celebrating our 10 year anniversary and we received the anniversary sign on the wall and the strawberries! 

These were tasty! 

By this time it was 3:15PM and I was furious so I went down to guest services to talk to them face to face instead of get the run around. In front of me at the FTTF line was an older couple who had lost their luggage on their flight and I felt bad for complaining mine was not "early" but I did PAY for this benefit. They called for the muster station meeting while I was in line but I insisted on talking to someone. I spoke to the Guest Services manager who confirmed my luggage was on board (he described the "tacky" giraffe print to a T) but informed me that there was an issue with a cage of luggage, many which were part of the FTTF program. He told me to go to the drill and he would figure it out later. Can we ever start a cruise off on the right foot? Most of our other 7 cruises have started off TERRIBLY but I was determined to not let this ruin my cruise. 

I ran back up to the room hoping to find my luggage and I found it on the wrong side of the ship on my deck. Luckily it was the "dirty clothes" bag I needed so I took the entire suitcase full of dirty clothes to the launderette on deck 7 as the muster station drill bell was ringing. I yelled at some poor worker: 
worker- "ma'am you need to go to your muster station" 
Me- "Oh no ma'am... I need clean underwear then I will go" 
She gave me a crazy look and was kinda laughing! I apologized afterwards. 

I started the 2 loads then ran fast to my muster station. Chris and I were already laughing at the situation but knew it would all work out! 

Having fun at the Muster Station drill!
Believe it or not... it was HOT at this muster drill too!
Wait, are we sailing from Galveston or Seattle? 

The muster drill was over so we called the kids one more time before we set sail. Leaving from Seattle was such a better site than leaving from Galveston or even New Orleans like we usually do. I would recommend spending the sail away from your balcony or one of the upper decks if possible. It is just gorgeous. 

This city proved to be gorgeous but it was especially sailing away to Alaska! 

I love the Space Needle! 

Sail-away Selfie! 

The mountain (Mt. Rainer) was still out as we sailed away! 

Around 4:30PM as we were still sailing away I went back to the launderette to see if my clothes were finished. One of the washing machines was done and the other was still full of water and read "E FL", which I assume meant Error Flooded. I pulled out and rang out each piece by hand and then put them in the dryer hoping they would get dry. 

Ooops... I broke it! Sorry! 

I checked back on the dryer after a few hours and after 3 separate cycles in the dryer they were still soaking wet. Oddly enough the older couple of whom I mentioned earlier who lost their luggage was in the laundry room at the time and mentioned I should tell guest services and they should take care of it for me. So I put all of the sopping wet clothes into a large trash bag since my laundry basket I brought for this purpose was with the other luggage. There was one piece that was dry so I pulled it out not knowing exactly what it was. I was so mad as we walked back to the room I was telling Chris "Well at least this piece got dry" as I waved it all around. Come to find out as we got back to the room, it was lingerie. All I could do was laugh! There at the cabin room door was the rest of our luggage! 

I got back to the room and laid out ALL of our clothes (underwear, bras and all) on the balcony before heading out for the evening. We looked like white trash and hillbillies for sure... bras and clothes laying all over the place!  

Hahaha... I am still laughing at this! 

I called guest services and they told us to put the laundry in the laundry service bag and our room steward would take it to laundry for us and re-wash and dry. Lester, our room steward, had no idea about this so he had to call guest services and his boss and the whole process was crazy long and annoying. We had to go and count each piece and then Lester would take it  to laundry services for us and return in the next morning. Tip- When trying NOT to over-pack clothes ALWAYS be sure to go ahead and DO over-pack underwear. Always over-pack the basics... Lesson learned! Our cruise was off to a shaky start but we vowed to make it laughable and not ruin our cruise. 

Our bag of laundry ready to go to laundry services! 

As we made our way out for the evening we laughed about the whole situation and about how we are cursed with bad starts but good cruises, so we knew this would be no different. We made our way down to the Main Deck (deck 3) and headed toward the Taste Bar. The Taste Bar is a great way to taste and sample various "for a fee" restaurants Carnival offers as well as Funship 2.0 offerings! Be sure to look for the Taste Bar on your next Carnival ship. They are usually serving from 5-8PM. 

Bonsai Sushi was featured on Night #1... It was delicious! 

While in route to the Taste Bar we noticed right off the bat that this older crowd meant our usual early dinner time would have to be revamped so we decided to go the Naturalist Alaska talk and then dinner at 7:45PM. This was a good decision as the line to get a table for Your Time Dining was much shorter at 7:45PM than 5:30PM.  However, we also noticed the service in the Main Dining Room was slower than usual. The Legend was still using the old Carnival MDR menus and not the newer American Table menus so we knew exactly what we liked and wanted. This meal proved to be the overall best meal we have had on a cruise ship. Every course was perfect and fit well with each other. Despite the slow service we were very pleased. 

The view as we sat down to dinner! 

We made our way back to our aft balcony to watch the sunset. It was absolutely gorgeous over the mountain and hills of the passage to Vancouver island and the Alaska Inside Passage. This sunset oddly enough lasted for nearly an hour. 

The beginning of the sunset! This was taken at 9:45PM! 

We went to the front of the ship to continue to watch the final parts of the sunset then we returned to our aft balcony. We loved the aft balcony so much and I would HIGHLY recommend it for traveling in Alaska. You can see some much and both sides of the ship and we rarely felt swaying or even vibrations. However, do keep in mind that summer in Alaska means longer days and more sunlight. In fact, the light never really went away and the sun would creep in our room (even with the curtain closed) at 3:30AM on a daily basis. If you are someone who does not like light during sleeping hours, an inside cabin might be best for you. I like complete darkness but this aft balcony was worth it! 

We were so tired we fell asleep on the balcony and had to go inside to get real rest on the bed. We were in bed and asleep before 10:30PM, which was a new record for us! 

Day 1 was laughable and tiring but we knew this was going to be a GREAT cruise! The next day would be our ONLY SeaDay on this cruise and we were excited to rest and relax! Stay tuned for more Legend and Alaska tips and tricks! Thanks for following along! 

God is good... All the time! 

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