It’s been a while since I’ve been on a trip where I’ve been looking forward to it for so long, I can barely sleep!
Like I really look forward to all the trips we take (travel is a bit commitment and I don’t see the point in going on trips you’re dreading or even just feeling “Meh!” about – what’s the point?).
This trip was a whole different level of excitement though. Like for days before I couldn’t sleep and I ended up watching videos – that were actually just photo slideshows on YouTube, in my excitement to get as much information as possible prior. It was ‘kid going to Disneyland for the first time’ levels of excitement!
What was the trip itself? (I kinda realise now I probably should have started with that part) – The trip was a cruise to Alaska.
For starters, I’d wanted to go to Alaska for probably 7 or 8 years now and had never fully figured out the best way to do this. I distinctly remember seeing a brochure in London about it, shortly after our first trip to Iceland and had been obsessed with it ever since.
I think Iceland had a big part to play with changing my mindset about travel to what is stereotypically seen as a cold destination and Alaska very quickly became somewhere I wanted to visit.
Then there was the part of the cruise itself. I’d also wanted to do a cruise for a while now.
When I was a teenager, I assumed cruise ships would move around like little boats in the big ocean – the thought of which kinda terrified me… but as I got older, I realised that they were more like taking your hotels with you on your travels, sometimes you couldn’t even feel that the boat was moving! Better still – no repacking and unpacking at each destination!
To top things off, I’d heard that Celebrity Cruises were pretty good (I kinda struggled initially to know which ones were the best and it was literally from speaking to people who’d done cruises in the past that I started to get a sense of which ones were atop the list of cruise companies to travel with).
By and large, Celebrity Cruises came on top as one of the best cruise companies to go with and so with that, we booked in for a Cruise on the Celebrity Cruises Solstice to Alaska.
We started off our trip in one of my favourite US cities – Seattle! Seattle was actually the very first US city I visited so it kinda feels special (and very familiar) to me.
With the cruise, we had one night in the city, before hopping aboard the ship and after getting picked up and dropped off at our hotel by Celebrity Cruises, we hopped into a taxi and went straight to Pike Place market, where we marvelled at how much yet how little it had changed.
(*I know, sounds confusing but it felt different here yet so much of it still felt so familiar – right down to our favourite place for Clam Chowder – the aptly titled Pike Place Chowder).
Actually, now that I think about it, we didn’t go to Pike Place market first.
Eager to see some whales, we actually headed down to the pier to see if we catch an afternoon whale watching tour (seriously, we’ve tried all over the world and seen nothing – we were even in St John, Newfoundland in Canada which is one of the best spots for whale watching in the world and saw nothing!)
Turns out, the whale watching tours leave from a totally different part of town and it would have been a whole thing to even attempt to do it so we just decided to give it a miss and walk over to Pike Place market first, hoping to see some whales on our cruise.
After lunch at Pike Place Chowder (where we had lobster rolls and clam chowder *licks lips*), we hopped into a taxi and made our way over to the Space Needle where our plans to go up the needle swiftly changed as we saw that the Dale Chihuly museum next door to it was open.
I’ve seen Dale Chihuly’s work all over the world and we’re both pretty big fans of it.
The pieces are actually quite different yet they have his trademark on it so much so that even when you are standing in hallways in Hong Kong, looking at our lobby in the Bellagio in Vegas and even exploring the V&A in London (all real-life scenarios), we instantly recognised his work, hanging on the ceilings above us.
Walking through the museum felt exactly the same, each piece absolutely beautiful, unique and with such brilliant detail yet each of which you instantly recognised as being Dale Chihuly’s work.
Dale Chihuly is actually a son of Seattle, ergo why the museum is probably here and learnt some of this craft by living on the Venetian island of Murano, famous for its glassware and artisans.
This museum is hands-down one of my favourite museums and one I’m so glad we got to visit while in Seattle!
The exhibit doesn’t stop inside…
Outside, interspersed within the plans are beautiful glass sculptures, looking like they actually belonged to the surroundings around them and grew out of the earth like the plants all around them.
Anyway, I’ll just cut this long story short by saying how much I absolutely loved the gallery and how it’s one worth making the time to check out when you’re in Seattle.
Exploring like this is also great for jetlag because, by the time you’re done, you can have dinner and go to bed relatively early for a proper night’s sleep before the start of your cruise the very next day! 😀 (Which is exactly what we did. 🤗 )
The next morning, I literally couldn’t stop fidgeting in excitement! I was literally beaming from ear to ear the minute we saw the ship! Finally, the day had arrived!
We booked in concierge class which meant we got to skip the regular queue and, as the concierge class queue gives you priority boarding, we were on the ship in a matter of minutes! It was amazing and soooo worth it – especially given how excited I was (there’s more to it than just this, of course, but I’ll tell you when appropriate as we go along :-D).
As we arrived pretty quickly on board, our rooms weren’t ready which was actually fine as you get to go for lunch straight away
*Oh, I almost forgot to say – we got picked up from our hotel as well so literally, you don’t have to worry about making any plans from the moment you arrive at the airport.
**And another thing – you don’t have to take your luggage with you from the hotel. You hand it over at your hotel for pick up and it makes it way to your room on the cruise ship.
Lunch was such a surprise here for me.
I was expecting a quick buffet style thing, perhaps with light snacks – especially considering we hadn’t actually set sail yet but lunch was actually a proper 3 course, sit down meal with wine selected with the help of a sommelier on the ship! (I tried to be calm about this but was furiously Whatsapp’ing our group of friends about how we had amazing the ship was and how it was even waaaaaaay nicer than I even expected… and I had pretty high expectations).
Lunch over, our rooms were ready and so off we went to drop off the rest of our stuff there (I always hold on to my camera bag with me), upon which we arrived to find a bottle of bubbly and welcome fruit waiting for us (plans sorted for the rest of the afternoon, methinks! 😉🥂).
Just before we set sail, we decided to go for a little wander around to check out the rest of the ship. Celebrity Solstice isn’t even the biggest of the Celebrity Cruises ships but boy, is it huge!
Stopping off briefly to wave farewell to Seattle in the distance (which had somehow turned cloudy just as we left), we carried on through the ship.
I made mental note to return to the outdoor cinema, popcorn in hand for a movie on one of these evening (spoiler – we did this sans-popcorn but with cocktails and bubbly to make up for it)…
…found the library, outdoor nooks and even the martini bar (also another one to return to during our trip).
With that, I put my camera away, and hop into the hot-tub – cocktail in hand.
I didn’t reach for my camera until dinner time the next day. (*We’d spent all day sailing anyway so I didn’t really need my camera).
Dinner time was at one of the speciality restaurants (you have to book in for these ones – it’s different from the grand dining room we had lunch the day before – and very different from the top dining hall upstairs – which I realise I haven’t shown you yet).
The restaurant we chose was Silk Harvest – the Japanese restaurant, where we started off with some rather fiery cocktails (soooo good) before kicking things off with gyozas and edamame beans.
Next, we had an egg-y dish – I know, not the best description 😄 – but even in Japan, this is a dish I’ve never been a particular fan of. I’m really weird with eggs… all to Lloyd’s delight, who ended up having double the portion all to himself.
We followed this with Udon noodles (which I made disappear into my tummy at record speeds)…
…before switching cocktails for a fruitier twist (for myself anyway, Lloyd stuck to his fiery cocktail).
Oh, I almost forgot – all the while here, I also had myself sake which went brilliantly with the sushi and sashimi, our final courses of the evening!
By the time it was time for dessert, we both had to throw in the towel! The food was so good, we hadn’t stopped to save room for dessert. Then again, #NoRegrets as that’s what holidays like this are for. 😀
With that, after a quick pit stop to check out the hilarious stand up comedian (who we didn’t even know was going to be performing – we didn’t quite know at this point how to plan our evenings on the ship yet – turns out, it’s fairly easy as every day, you get a brief of everything that’s going on on the ship), we decided to call it a night.
Tomorrow, we would be arriving at our very first spot in Alaska and I couldn’t wait! Catch you in the next post for all of that. 🤗