When we told the big kids (now 16/15) we were going to take a cruise to Alaska, they weren’t real happy with us.
“But what about the beach!”
“That sounds so boring!”
“Cruises are for old people!”
“What will we dooooooo?”
And then we told them there were bears. And eagles. And maybe bears. That changed their mind and they were all in.
We booked a 7 night cruise on the Carnival Legend, leaving mid-June so we would be in Alaska for Summer Solstice. I mean, if you’re going to a place where you get little to no darkness during the summer, go so you can be there on the longest day, right?
We knew that two adults and two basically grown teens would make for a cramped stateroom, but we opted to have just one. But we sprung for the extended balcony room, knowing that we would spend a lot of time on the balcony, especially with one day being at sea and one going through the Tracy Arm Fjord. It was a solid decision.
The kids loved being able to tour the boat on the website, look at excursions, scour Pinterest for ideas about Alaska, shop for the perfect outfits, and decide what to eat every day.
The buzz of excitement got louder, the closer we got to leaving. We packed. We planned. We triple checked passports and plane tickets and reservations.
Seattle – Part 1
On the Monday morning, really early, we headed to the Atlanta airport, bound for Seattle. Brianna hadn’t flown since she was a tiny baby, so this was essentially her first flight.
Knowing we were going to be in Seattle for such a short amount of time, we scheduled our flight for as early as possible. Each kid got to pick what we did that afternoon. Brianna wanted to do the Space Needle. Henry wanted to do the Museum of Pop Culture. We had gotten tickets in advance, so we knew it was all paid for and we could get in. For things like this, I never take a chance on getting tickets when we get there, even for a discount.
When we landed in Seattle a little before noon, we settled in at the hotel and headed to the Museum of Pop Culture. Since this was Henry’s request, he got to set the pace for it. The first thing we did, was eat at Culture Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck. For a museum restaurant, it was really good. We had burgers and beer and then hit the ground running.
Originally founded as the Experience Music Project by Paul Allen of Microsoft, MOPOP is a non-profit museum dedicated to music and pop-culture. Notably, it’s where you can find all-things-Nirvana and Pearl Jam, as well as an exhibit about Prince. That’s 99% of what we were there for. Enjoy the photos:
The museum really was quite impressive. A few things we learned:
- Prince was really REALLY tiny
- Kurt Cobain probably smelled really bad based on how dirty all his stuff was (also, Courtney did it)
- There are a million different types of guitars
- If Henry’s going to be a mega-star, I have to start keeping everything so it can be in a museum one day
- Music is my child’s religion
After MOPOP, we were off to the Space Needle. Brianna had chosen this excursion, so she was in charge. It’s really tall.
Let me preface this part by saying I am PETRIFIED of heights. My anxiety was at Code Red and we were still on the ground.
The walk to the elevator was pretty neat. There were photos of the workers building the Space Needle ahead of the 1962 World’s Fair. These guys, y’all. These guys were 600′ in the air with nothing holding them onto anything. I applaud them and can’t imagine being their wives. I would worry every second of every day.
Oh, did I mention the elevator is glass AND OUTSIDE? Let’s just say, I did a lot of research but didn’t look into the Space Needle a lot because I didn’t want to chicken out. That would have made me chicken out.
But the good people at the Space Needle know what’s up. After you’re loaded into the elevator and shot into space (while turning and facing the solid wall and breathing in and out evenly to keep you from hyperventilating), the doors open to a glorious bar where a gentle bartender seemingly has a $15 glass of wine ready to hand you. I guess it was good. I don’t know. It went down far too easily.
After gathering myself and realizing that people had their small children up there so it couldn’t be THAT bad, I relaxed a bit. We meandered around and took in all the sites. It was absolutely gorgeous — the day, the view, everything.
Once we were done there, we moseyed back to the hotel. We rode the monorail they have in town. We walked through Pike Place Market and saw the original Starbucks.
Knowing we would be short on time, we didn’t plan anything for Tuesday morning pre-embarkation. But once we were there, we decided we would surprise the kids with the other things they wanted to do.
Seattle – Part 2
Tuesday morning we got up and Brian told Brianna they were going to the original Starbucks. They walked down to Pike Place Market and checked out the fish market and flower market and made it through the line for some frilly coffee drink. Brianna was super happy!
I told Henry we were going to Viretta Park, the park where Kurt Cobain wrote and spent time next door to his house. We took a Lyft about 20 minutes from downtown and got dropped off in the middle of a neighborhood at a park with two benches.
After the surprise outings, we headed over to the port to get on the Carnival Legend.
I couldn’t wait to see the kids when they saw how big the ship was. They had researched and looked at the deck plans, but there really is no way to prepare someone for the size of a cruise ship. It’s safe to say, they were in awe of the size. And once we got on the boat, they were in awe of the fanciness of it all.
First thing we did was go to the top deck. We toured the ship, one floor at a time, stopping wherever we could get ice cream or desserts or burgers or drinks.
When Brian and I cruise, we do opt for the Cheers! drink package. While it may seem really pricey at $51.95/day, we find we get our money’s worth out of it. It includes most every beverage you could want on the Carnival ship, whether it’s fruity, on the rocks, bubbly, or flat. If you consider that each alcoholic beverage is $10+, you’ve paid for it in 5 or fewer drinks. Add in a coffee and a few bottles of water and you’ve gotten your money’s worth for sure.
For this trip, we also purchased the Bottomless Bubbles package. This allowed them to get Cokes (sodas for you non-Southerners) whenever they want. And at $5.95/child/day, it was definitely worth the money.
One of our requirements was that each night in the Dining Room, where we chose the Your Time dining option and could go at any time, we all had to try something we would never order anywhere else. The kids took that challenge and over the next few days, ventured into the world of weird foods.
At the end of the day that started early in Seattle, we toasted on our balcony to the week ahead of us. A week where the sun, quite literally, never set.
To be continued…
I am not paid by, nor do I partner with, Carnival Cruise Lines. All opinions and thoughts are my own.