We made it to the end of National Plan a Cruise Month! I'm so excited for those of you who booked a cruise this month! You took advantage some amazing deals! To close out this fab month, I wanted to do a "wrap up" on the Carnival Western Caribbean Cruises I've taken.
I've shared trip highlights like shopping in Cozumel.
My favorite on board activities, such as catching a sunset.
Tips & Thoughts about Progresso, Mexico.
What to pack for your time aboard a Winter cruise.
A fun place for the whole family in Cozumel, Mexico.
I enjoyed sharing my cruising adventures with you, and can't wait to hear all about yours. If you have questions or your own thoughts & tips to share, I'd love to hear them! Be sure to comment below. I can't wait for my next cruise! Crossing my fingers for Alaska!
Hi there! I have one more exciting cruise port to share with you this month. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada is a major port for Alaskan cruise ships. This quaint little city is the perfect stop before heading on to Alaska, and was the perfect place to us to visit for a quick trip from Seattle. We caught a ferry for our trip there, and it was the perfect way to travel from Seattle to Victoria. This ferry also travels to and from Vancouver, BC & Seattle. We took the Clipper Ferry for our travels, and it was a nice ride. We selected an early Saturday morning departure to Victoria, then a later departure back to Seattle the following evening so we could enjoy just enough time there.
Once we arrived in Victoria, we were greeted with the most beautiful greenery, buildings, and boats. I was smitten right away! As soon as you arrive in the harbor you can just feel the warmth, coziness, and friendliness of this small city. First thing on our to do list was to grab our car & check into the hotel. There are many package deals with Clipper that offer buses and shuttles to popular attractions, but we decided to rent a car to give us more freedom in scheduling. We did, however, choose a hotel with a package from Clipper. We were paired with Chateau Victoria, and it was perfect! We had sort of a mini suite that had a room and bathroom like a regular hotel room but with a second room added to it. Since it was Lovely, myself, and my mother-in-law, it was perfect! Anyhow, once we got checked in we made a quick drive around, then headed to out to the first item on our itinerary, orca whale watching.
Can you even!? I STILL can't believe I saw this with my own eyes.
Our whale watching tour was with Five Star Whale Watching, and they did not disappoint!
We saw puffin birds, a pod of orca whales, including a baby, harbor seals, and a bald eagle.
I'm still pinching myself that we saw these WILD animals IN THE WILD!
After whale watching, we walked around the harbor a bit taking in the beautiful scenery.
We asked for recommendations for dinner from our whale watching tour guide, so we sought out that place. It turned out to be a food stand and we were more looking for a restaurant so we landed ourselves at Nautical Nellie's right near the harbor. The food was delicious, and staff was friendly.
Stuffed from dinner, we walked around a bit more. This time taking the long way around the famous Empress Hotel. When Queen Elizabeth visits Victoria, this is her place of choice.
We didn't go inside, but the outside was stunning! I loved the ivies growing all over the walls.
By this time, we were beat, so we called it a day.
Our Sunday morning, started with breakfast in the hotel's top floor restaurant with views overlooking the city. After we finished up, we checked out of the hotel, and headed to our first attraction of the day, Butchart Gardens. My boss told me about this place, and said it was amazing. She was right!
We got there as soon as it opened, which was perfect because by the time we left it was super busy.
It is so beautiful, and has so much to see! I highly recommend it.
It's a little was out of Victoria, but the drive is pretty too.
After Butchart, we drove back into Victoria to Craigdarroch Castle. This was on my mother-in-law's wish list, and boy am I glad she mentioned it! It was truly spectacular! The wood work, the stained glass, I can't even put into words just how stunning this castle is. You definitely won't be disappointed by putting this castle on your itinerary.
We spent a couple of hours at the castle, then headed to Fisherman's Wharf. My sole reason for wanting to go here was to feed the seals. There are wild seals that come here everyday, and allow you to hand feed them from fish bought at a restaurant in the wharf. Much to my dismay, it wasn't feeding time, but there was still so much more to see! We did see a sweet little otter floating around, so that helped alleviate my pain of missing the seals. My favorite part here were the colorful floating houses.We also enjoyed the floating shops, restaurants, and ice cream shops. We had lunch at The Fish Store, and ate at picnic tables there on the docs. The food was delicious! Be sure to try the grilled prawn⌐worth every penny! We topped off our lunch with an ice cream cone from Jackson's.
After our walk around the wharf, we turned in our car then began our walk back towards the harbor. We stopped off at Thunderbird Park to see the intricate totem poles. This was mostly something I wanted to do, and am glad we did. The poles were MASSIVE and so beautiful!
It's amazing that they were hand carved!
From there, we walked to the British Columbia Parliament Building, and enjoyed a horse drawn carriage ride from the Talley Ho Carriage Company. This was a lot of fun! It was the icing on the cake to this quaint little town. Our driver took us to many places we hadn't already seen, so it was a treat! We learned a lot of history, which is always a plus for me.
The carriage ride began and ended at the Parliament building, so after we walked up to the building to get a better look. It is stunning! The stone work, crests, and intricacy is incredible! It was a great way to conclude our trip. By this time, it was time to check in for our ferry ride back to Seattle. We enjoyed watching the sunset set during the ride.
Victoria is a beautiful place! I know you will love it if you visit on a cruise or otherwise. If you are visiting there on a cruise stop, hopefully this will help you narrow down what to see and where to visit. What are you Victoria, BC picks? I'd love to hear your thoughts and favorite stops here.
Welcome Back! I'm excited to share more about one of my favorite cities with you, Seattle, Washington. As I've mentioned in a previous post, it's a major port for Alaskan cruises, so it fits perfect for this month, National Plan a Cruise Month. This time, instead of sharing just highlights from my two trips there, I wanted to share my experience spending just one day in the city. My first trip to Seattle was only for a couple of days, and one of those was spent at Mt. Rainier, so I only had one day to see as much as I could of Seattle. I'd say I did a pretty good job of that! We might have ended up walking nearly 10 miles that day #notexaggerating but it was worth it! This was such an incredible city, and we had such a fun day!
If you'll recall my husband was at a 45 day training near Seattle, so that's how this whole trip came about. Aside from flight and car museums, he hadn't explored Seattle, much less the city center, at all. We started our day with about a 20 minute drive from Renton to Seattle. The drive was nice, and we had great views of the Boeing Plant & the Port of Seattle, which is pretty spectacular! I wasn't able to get pictures, but seeing all of the huge train cars coming off of ships filled with goods from all over the world was amazing and amazing to think about how many miles they'd traveled and how far they still had to go. The cars were loaded off of the ships, then onto trains, off to their next destination. Once we arrived to the downtown area, we parked, and found a Starbucks, of course, for breakfast.
We intended to go to Pike Place Market first, but we were drawn to the water. We landed at Pier 57, home of The Great Wheel. Nothing there was open yet, so we just enjoyed our coffee and taking in the sights. From there, we made our way up, heading towards the market.
We found ourselves at the disgustingly cool Gum Wall in Post Alley.
We didn't leave our mark, but since going, I've heard it's bad luck not to leave your own gum!
This alley way circles up and around right to the grand entrance of Pike Place Market.
This is one of THE most amazing places I've ever been! I LOVED everything about the market.
I took photos galore here, and will share more in a detailed post later.
For now, when you gobe sure you check out Pike Place Fish Market (right under the neon sign in the photo), all of the amazing floral arrangements, the unusual fruits and vegetables, and the amazing bakeries with cookies as big as your face (located on the side of the street opposite the sign)!!
After the market, we headed back down to the waterfront. We hopped a ride around The Great Wheel, perfect for water views, and checked out the different restaurants and shops there.
It wasn't quite lunch time, so we went to the Seattle Aquarium, right next door, in the meantime.
This is such an amazing place!! There are tide pools made to look like real life, and you can actually touch the little creatures⌐starfish, sea cucumbers, sea anemones, and more, super cool!
We particularly enjoyed the seals, otters, and views from the back pier.
About the time we finished up at the aquarium, we were ready for lunch.
We chose The Crab Pot at Pier 57, and it was delicious!!!
Lovely ordered The Alaskan Seafeast. I had the Wild Alaskan Salmon Filet.
Ummmm, can I fly there now just to eat that!!? It was THAT delicious!
After lunch, we headed to Pioneer Square. It seemed like a terribly long walk,
but in actuality it was less than a mile. Maybe it was because I was so full.
Anyway, the walk was worth it because we passed the most beautiful old buildings.
My favorites were the ones where ivies covered every inch, so dreamy!
Our destination was equally beautiful, with an ornate iron pergola (built in 1909),
intricate totem pole from Alaska, and cobblestone as far as the eye could see.
I will say, this area as home to many panhandlers & homeless, so be prepared for that.
We weren't approached, but I want to make folks aware of the good & bad.
We hadn't planned on doing anything in this area,
but while we were there, we decided to do The Underground Tour.
The Underground came to be from a fire in the early 1900s, and it's so hard to even explain, but it's like a city under the city! This was COOL!!! I highly recommend this to anyone visiting.
You'll learn a lot of history about not only "The Underground," but the entire area.
From our walking tour of The Underground, we headed back towards the market area.
This time going a few blocks further inland to Seattle Center to catch the Seattle Monorail.
This took us, round trip, to The Space Needle for less than 5 bucks each.
This was a great way to get to the Needle, and see come quick views of more of the city.
Once we departed the monorail, we spent sometime walking through the area around the Space Needle. There are some museums, Chihuly Glass Gardens
(which we visited on my second trip there, very cool), and some shopping.
We didn't go into any of the museums as we had dinner reservations,
and wanted to make sure we had plenty of time for the Needle.
We bought our tickets through the Space Needle App (rather than waiting in the long line),
then we were able to get in line to go up soon after. We couldn't have picked a better day for this!
The views were AMAZING! We could even see Mt. Rainier,
a real treat from what I understand as the weather is usually dreary.
We spent quite a bit of time here, taking in the views and grabbing a snack.
The weather was chilly, but not unbearable so we had to pry ourselves away.
We didn't notice it this time, but there is a neat computerized map inside at the top where you can enter where you are from, see people who have done the same from where you live,
and real life photos taken at the Needle. Very much worth checking out.
From the Needle, we headed back to catch the monorail. We walked back down to Pike Place Market to waste some time before our dinner reservation at 6pm. The market was still bustling even though many of the shops had already closed, but it was great to see more
and spend our time taking more photos. Our dinner reservations were at The Can Can Kitchen & Cabaret right by the market. It offers a burlesque style show along with dinner. We had SO much fun!
We laughed so much! I can't say the dinner was to-die-for, but the show made up for it!
(Be mindful this is burlesque style, so it is suitable for adults only.)
Our dinner & show ended around 8, still light out. We could have done more, like another trip to the Needle for night views, but we had to be up at 5am for a trip to Mt. Rainier. But as you can see, we accomplished SOO much in just one day! With all of these activities being very close to one another, you can easily see them all in one day. We even took our time, and didn't rush. So this is an easy "plan" anyone could do, even more so if you drove or took a taxi. I LOVED every bit of this day, and thoroughly enjoyed Seattle. I hope this "mini itinerary" helps you plan a trip, or helps you decide what to see before boarding a ship to Alaska! Feel free to comment with any questions, thoughts, and your tips for seeing Seattle. See you back soon!
Hi there! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Ours was full of rain! It rained pretty well non stop Friday through Sunday! Noah's Arc status happening over here! But thank goodness Mr. Sun has graced us with his presence today, and boosted our spirits after a dreary weather weekend. In the midst of all of the rain, and now sun, and still can't help but dream about snow! No, we don't see it much in my neck of Texas, but there is tons of it in New York City! :) So to alleviate my ready-for-winter-blues, I thought we'd get going on sharing bits of mine & my mom's trip to NYC a couple of Christmases ago. This was both of ours' first ever plane right, and when the travel bug really bit me hard! I've worked doubly hard ever since to make more of my travel dreams come true. So this trip is near & dear to my heart for really starting it all, along with experiencing it with my mom!
I decided to share NYC highlights now, because it is also a popular cruise port for transatlantic cruises. Yep, you can start out cruising from NYC to some far away land in Europe! #hellobigdreams I imagine cruises from New York to Europe to be very posh & old world-esque. I'm probably overthinking on that, but I'm dreaming of beautiful gowns, fabulous hats, fine foods, and fancy dancing. Ha! But you can catch a Carnival ship out of NYC, which would be more real-life, low-key for me. Anyway, let's hop to New York for a twirl around the greatest city in the world!
Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Views of Lower Manhattan from the Empire State Building
Grand Central Station
Radio City Music Hall
Do you recognize this bridge from the movie Elf?
Views of Central Park & Upper Manhattan from Rockefeller Center
As you can see, there was snow galore! We LOVED it! There was only one time we were terribly cold⌐my fault! Ha! But we still had a blast. The snow flurries were absolutely the icing on the cake to our stay in The Big Apple. I can't wait to share more details of our trip there with you next month!