Seattle to Alaska's Inside Passage on the Carnival Spirit - Seattle Edtion - Mt. Rainier

Here we go with my first attempt at a travelogue; totally out of my genre of political commentary and philosophy but since I just got back from a nice trip, I thought I would give it a shot. The vacation was a cruise on the Carnival Spirit, which sailed out of Seattle, Washington, and spent seven nights travelling through the Inland Passages of Alaska; returning to Seattle. Every person I have ever talked to who has been on an "Alaskan" cruise or has talked to people who have been on such a cruise gushed all over it and said how overwhelmed they were by the trip. I am here to report that I was ... underwhelmed, sorry to say.

That is not to say it wasn't beautiful, for it was, but let me set the stage a little bit. I have been on five other cruises: two to the Caribbean one from Rome to Ft. Lauderdalevia Spain; Funchal, Portugal, and Saint. Martin; another from Vancouver B.C. to all of the islands of Hawaii, and from Long Beach, CA to Mexico. I have also made land trips to England, Northern and Southern Europe, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia (mostly courtesy of the federal government. I had a two-week stay in Slovakia, also courtesy of the Air Force, that I highly recommend to you; I thoroughly enjoyed my stay there, above and beyond my work, and intend on going back someday. Finally, once I make it to North Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin, and Michigan for a period of two days or more, I will have managed to have visited every State in the U.S. Did I say I had timeshares and that I was old? My point, of course, is I have a wide base for comparison and as it pertains to the Inland Passage Alaskan Cruise, it fell a might short.

As an aside, before moving on, let me say one of the things I regret the most in life is not having a talent in taking good photos; in fact, I a barely reach the level of bad photos; and in writing good travelogues. I have had the very good fortune to have seen an extraordinary amount of things in my life and it is almost a crime not having the ability to share the myriad of the sights, smells, and sounds I have experienced with others; it is not all that much fun keeping them to myself.

Seattle Views

Click thumbnail to view full-size
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, EAST OF SEATTLEBAINBRIDGE ISLAND, EAST OF SEATTLEMY WIFE THOUGHT SEATTLE WAS A LITTLE FISHING VILLIAGE LIKE THE KIND THEY HAVE IN MAINE!SEATTLE DOCKSSEATTLE DOCKSPUGET SOUND from a map on the Bainbridge FerrySEATTLE SKYLINESEATTLE SKYLINE WITH THE NEEDLESEATTLE SPACE NEEDLE UP CLOSESEATTLE SPACE NEEDLE
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, EAST OF SEATTLE
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, EAST OF SEATTLE | Source
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, EAST OF SEATTLE
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, EAST OF SEATTLE | Source
MY WIFE THOUGHT SEATTLE WAS A LITTLE FISHING VILLIAGE LIKE THE KIND THEY HAVE IN MAINE!
MY WIFE THOUGHT SEATTLE WAS A LITTLE FISHING VILLIAGE LIKE THE KIND THEY HAVE IN MAINE! | Source
SEATTLE DOCKS
SEATTLE DOCKS | Source
SEATTLE DOCKS
SEATTLE DOCKS | Source
PUGET SOUND from a map on the Bainbridge Ferry
PUGET SOUND from a map on the Bainbridge Ferry | Source
SEATTLE SKYLINE
SEATTLE SKYLINE | Source
SEATTLE SKYLINE WITH THE NEEDLE
SEATTLE SKYLINE WITH THE NEEDLE | Source
SEATTLE SPACE NEEDLE UP CLOSE
SEATTLE SPACE NEEDLE UP CLOSE | Source
SEATTLE SPACE NEEDLE
SEATTLE SPACE NEEDLE | Source

Seattle, Wa

We began our trip by arriving in Seattle, WA a few days early to take in the sights. I was in the are once before, 35 years ago when I as stationed at Fort Lewis, an Army post South of Tacoma, WA after returning from Vietnam; Seattle has changed, it has a skyline, more of one anyway, for starters, and traffic!

My wife was very surprised, she was actually expecting a large fishing village, I am not sure why, but if you are familiar with Gainesville, FL, near where we are from, that would be a metropolis compared to with what whe had in mind; maybe a little village on the coast of Maine would be a better description. Nevertheless, she was pleasently surprised and really enjoyed the city. The weather also cooperated very nicely; mid-70s to mid-80s with cloudy to partly cloudy to sunny skys on our arrival; to the 80s and unusual 90s with sunny skys on our departure a week later. The pictures you see to the right were taken on our arrival.

We arrived late on Friday and stayed at a neat little hotel we found on Priceline, so it was a surprise, called the Paramount on Pine between 7th and 8th. For a downtown hotel near the Pike Street Market Place it was very reasonably priced at around $115.00. The hotel had comfortable, elegant, relaxed feel about it. The concierge was entertaining and informative; the rooms, though small, were nicely laid out and comfortable; the view of the wall of the building next door was a bit of a downer but given we weren't in our room very much, we didn't miss much.

I have to comment on the resturant at the hotel, the Dragonfish Asian Cafe, is to, as they say, die for. It has a menu made of what are effectively appetizers which are intended to be shared between two people. Consequently, dinner is made up of a selection of these "appetizers"; and, what appetizers they were! The Dragonfish was so good, we ate there twice. The first time we had dishes called GRILLED MISO RIBEYE, tempura vegetables, sweet miso sauce (this was so good we each ordered our own course the next time we ate here); THAI DUNGENESS CRAB CAKES, cilantro aioli; THAI EGGPLANT, fish sauce, thai basil, vegetable broth; MISO SOUP, tofu, scallions; and SHRIMP & CHINESE SAUSAGE FRIED RICE, vegetables, egg, onion, garlic, ginger, mushroom soy sauce. The prices ranged from $7 to $10 with the soup being $2. We ordered different things the second time around, except for the steak but while still wonderful, didn't approach these in taste.

Pictures from Mount Rainier National Park

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APPROACHING MT. RAINIER ON A SEATTLE, WA. DAYMT. RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, WA at the Paradise, WA visitor's centerKENWORTH LIME USED TO TRANSPORT TOURISTS BACK IN THE 'GOOD 'OLE DAYS' Longmire, WA.IT ACTUALLY CLEARED UP FOR A FEW MOMENTS from Longmire, WAINFORMATION STAND ABOUT NARDA FALLSNARDA FALLS ON THE WAY TO MT. RAINIER, WA.TRYING TO CATCH THE RAINBOWANOTHER LOOK AT THE RAINBOWMY THIRD ATTEMPT, BETTER.PARADISE, WA VISITOR'S CENTER At the base of Mt. RainierMOUNTAINS ACROSS FROM MT. RAINIERMT. RAINIER WAS BASHFUL THIS DAYHOW MT. RAINIER SHOULD LOOK UP CLOSE, IT DIDN'T WHEN I WAS THERE (I saw a piece of the right-hand flank)MT.  RAINIER, WA. FROM THE STERN OF THE CARNIVAL SPIRIT
APPROACHING MT. RAINIER ON A SEATTLE, WA. DAY
APPROACHING MT. RAINIER ON A SEATTLE, WA. DAY | Source
MT. RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, WA at the Paradise, WA visitor's center
MT. RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, WA at the Paradise, WA visitor's center | Source
KENWORTH LIME USED TO TRANSPORT TOURISTS BACK IN THE 'GOOD 'OLE DAYS' Longmire, WA.
KENWORTH LIME USED TO TRANSPORT TOURISTS BACK IN THE 'GOOD 'OLE DAYS' Longmire, WA. | Source
IT ACTUALLY CLEARED UP FOR A FEW MOMENTS from Longmire, WA
IT ACTUALLY CLEARED UP FOR A FEW MOMENTS from Longmire, WA | Source
INFORMATION STAND ABOUT NARDA FALLS
INFORMATION STAND ABOUT NARDA FALLS | Source
NARDA FALLS ON THE WAY TO MT. RAINIER, WA.
NARDA FALLS ON THE WAY TO MT. RAINIER, WA. | Source
TRYING TO CATCH THE RAINBOW
TRYING TO CATCH THE RAINBOW | Source
ANOTHER LOOK AT THE RAINBOW
ANOTHER LOOK AT THE RAINBOW | Source
MY THIRD ATTEMPT, BETTER.
MY THIRD ATTEMPT, BETTER. | Source
PARADISE, WA VISITOR'S CENTER At the base of Mt. Rainier
PARADISE, WA VISITOR'S CENTER At the base of Mt. Rainier | Source
MOUNTAINS ACROSS FROM MT. RAINIER
MOUNTAINS ACROSS FROM MT. RAINIER | Source
MT. RAINIER WAS BASHFUL THIS DAY
MT. RAINIER WAS BASHFUL THIS DAY | Source
HOW MT. RAINIER SHOULD LOOK UP CLOSE, IT DIDN'T WHEN I WAS THERE (I saw a piece of the right-hand flank)
HOW MT. RAINIER SHOULD LOOK UP CLOSE, IT DIDN'T WHEN I WAS THERE (I saw a piece of the right-hand flank) | Source
MT.  RAINIER, WA. FROM THE STERN OF THE CARNIVAL SPIRIT
MT. RAINIER, WA. FROM THE STERN OF THE CARNIVAL SPIRIT | Source

Mt. Rainier

ON SATURDAY, we drove down to Mount Rainier National Park. (TIP - if you are on the older side like me, you can get a life-time senior pass for under $20, I think, and sail right through the kiosk with your family.) The weather getting there, as you can see in the top picture to the right, is as overcast as it was going to get for our stay in Seattle, but, indicative of our whole trip in Alaska. On our way to the mountain was the Northwest Trek outside Eatonville, WA, a wild life preserve, as well as a place to stop to catch a small guage railroad train, the Mt. Rainier Senic Railroad in Elbe, WA. that travelled up into the mountain; we didn't stop at either; I wish we had as the mountain was clouded over and we saw next to nothing, a couple of dear, a bear at a bear crossing, some dolphin, and what turned out to be two stuffed mountain goats on the side of a mountain (more in the Alaska edition) in the way of wildlife on our trip.

After stopping in Ashcroft for a bite to eat Ashford, WA, and then entered the Mt. Rainier National Park (second picture from the top)in the SouthWest corner and sailed through the gate with my lifetime old-age er ... Senior pass. We had no particular plan, if you read my hubs, you will see I am an INTP and planning is not in my make up. We travelled along route 706 toward Paradise at the base of Mt. Rainier. We were advised not to drive all of the way to Paradise as parking was limited but to park at Longmire, WA and catch a free shuttle; I almost couldn't find parking there either but finally did. I also found my only picture of Mt. Rainier without clouds on top (third picture from the top).

We caught the shuttle to Paradise and along the way we stopped at Narda falls; a really beautiful falls; the pictures are the fourth and fifth pictures from the top. To get to the bottom where the second shot is from, it is a short, 1/10 of mile hike down a pretty steep path, but, as you can see, even for old, overweight people like my wife and myself, it is worth it. We then went to Paradise.

Our time in Paradise was short; it is basically a park visitor center and the Paradise Lodge complex. The area is one of the jumping off point for treks up the mountain and for hiking in the area and generally playing in the snow. If you look at the picture labeled "How Mt. Rainier Should Look ..." (6th picture) and imagine, if you would, panning down a bit and you would be looking at some of the buildings in Paradise. That picture, by the way, is a picture of a picture hanging outside the visitor's center at Paradise. The 7th picture is Mt. Rainier from the stern of the Carnival Spirit just before we sailed.

We had lunch of sorts, the main dining at the hotel was closed at that time, but the deli was open; there was another buffet at the visitor's center as well. With nothing to do, we are not snow people, just like to look at it, we left the park and headed back with a stop Tuyalip Casino North of Seattle,

The next hub will move on to day two where we went South and West to Fort Lewis, WA and Olympic National Park.

© 2011 My Esoteric

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Comments 8 comments

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

We have a special affinity for that area of the country, but have never done the cruise thing. Not for us, actually--I'm sure we would be underwhelmed, as well--but to drive through Alaska is an amazing trip.

Seattle to Mt. Ranier is very interesting with some lovely spots.

It's good to break the trip report up and not make a hub too long. Thanks for sharing your trip.


jo miller profile image

jo miller 5 years ago from Tennessee

Thanks for sharing this. My husband and I are going on a similar cruise next week. This will be only our second cruise. Not the way we usually travel, but they are relaxing. After an arduous trip once I told my husband we might be getting too old for that type of travel, so we're trying cruises.

Looking forward to the Alaska segment of your hub.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

@RTalloni, I appreciate your comment. I enjoy driving myself, but my wife does not. Cruising, despite the comments I will be making about about this cruise, to us, is quite relaxing, but, to tell the truth, you can see much more from your vehicle; you can stop as well when you want to. I do want to make the Land/Cruise excursion sometime, although I just heard it is a very fast-paced trip, so, now I am having second thoughts.

@Jo Miller, You are welcome, Where did you go on your first? I know my wife and I enjoy them very much and will continue doing them as long as we can; we are considering a world cruise some day before we get too old. If you like art, Carnival, Norwegian, and Regent allow a company called Park West Gallaries to hold auctions and seminars on-board. I got hooked on my second cruise; many neat things to look at even if you aren't interested in buying anything (some is very affordable) and they generally giveaway free "original", the definition is very liberal actually, art at the end of each event. They are legit and probably the best deal on board.


mib56789 5 years ago

Dude! You've been around, haven't you? Seattle, Washington is one of my favorite places that I've never been. I like it because all the people I've met from there have always been very nice. I calculated happy people = happy cities. Seems logical.

Good job! It would be great to hear more about all those other places you've been. If you can remember. (Smile!)


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Hey, Mib, I am old and I worked for the military, lol. You hit the nail on the head about the other places ... memory! However, comma, one of the fascinating things about INTPs, is they just hate gaps [in memory] and they love to fill in the blanks.

There is also an interesting AI program I played around with years ago that sort of mimics physical memory and as you started giving inputs to related things, then more thoughts finally started coming to the surface. This particular program was about trying to recall a name from a gang, either the Crips or the Jets; it was neat to see how it worked in dredging up this name and associated gang from its computer memory by inputing not very many related facts.


Jana Stephens 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing Scott. Althought it did not meet your expectations, it sounds as though you had a nice time overall.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Hi Jana, thanks for commenting - everybody, meet my business partner :-). No, question, we absolutely did have a nice time and both Mary and I are glad we spent the money and went; it is just we felt that there are things Carnival could probably do to with the itenarary to improve things a bit.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

BTW, another TIP I just found; for those of you who have American Express and use the Rewards points feature, you get about a $1 for 133 points toward the price of a ticket. Not much, I know, if you have a personal card, but if you use it for business, those points add up. JANA - we have that cruise you've been wanting. Check out the Carnival Google ads on this site, lol.

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