Big, bold and wild… Alaska has long been a dream vacation I hoped would become reality. Fantasy became reality today. Stepping off the plane at the Seattle/Tacoma Airport I was giddy with excitement, and thrilled that my traveling companion, my 12-year-old son, Charlie, was just as eager for the adventure to begin.
We dropped off our luggage with Holland America representatives at the airport, who had it shipped straight to our ship’s stateroom— could not have been easier. We hopped on Seattle’s public transit system, the Link light rail— forty minutes and $4 later, we arrived at the end of the line, the Westlake stop.
Get off at the Westlake stop and you’ll be standing at the doorstep of one of the city’s main attractions— the flagship Nordstrom department story. Seattle is home to the very first Nordstrom, opened in 1901.
Although I love their shoe selection as much as anyone, we headed for another retail hub, the city’s most popular tourist destination, the famed Pike Place Market. Considered the country’s oldest continuously operating farmer’s market, there are hundreds of vendors selling everything from fresh flowers, fish and produce, to unique local crafts. It’s a delightful local treasure, not to be missed.
Another popular stop is, you guessed it… a coffee shop. Seattle also boasts the first Starbucks, located on the same quaint cobblestoned street as Pike Place Market. Crowds of coffee lovers make the pilgrimage here to honor where their beloved brew was first roasted. We saw about fifty people waiting in a line snaking down the street, all for a latte. I know it’s sacred grounds to many, but for us it seemed like a strange brew— we continued walking down to the harbor. After exploring the waterfront for a few minutes we hopped in a cab and 5 minutes and $10 later, we were pulling up to the beautiful Oosterdam at Pier 91.
All Decked Out
We had reservations to eat at the upscale Pinnace Grill for our first night. Then Charlie heard something about ribs being grilled on the Lido Deck. Needless to say our dining plans changed. Tonight was the only night where we’d be able to enjoy dinner outside during the cruise. A barbecue on the Lido Deck? Sounded like a good time to me, and it was. I was thrilled to see that mouth watering salmon was being grilled. One of the other satisfying ingredients in the meal was the good-natured humor displayed by the mostly Indonesian grill chefs. They understand the recipe to a great b-b-q requires a great attitude, as well as a good sauce. Bon appetite!
Drinking in the View
After dinner I relaxed in our room with a glass of champagne on the veranda. Charlie celebrated with a hot chocolate. What a great start to our week-long cruise. Cheers!
Join us tomorrow, when we explore the Oosterdam during our day at sea. We plan to enjoy the live music and entertainment, check out the kids activities, the dining scene and the joys of the gym. If you saw the views from the treadmill, you’d know exactly what I was talking about!
Andrea Guthmann is a Midwest Emmy Award-winning broadcast, print and digital journalist. She spent many years as a TV producer for WTTW, the PBS station in Chicago. Her writing’s been published in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Parent and on-line travel sites. She’s also the Midwest blogger for TravelingMom.com.
A native Floridian, Andrea’s now a big (windy) city mom of 3, who range in age from tot to teen. She loves sailing Lake Michigan and visiting the world class museums and restaurants in her sweet home Chicago. Being a scenery starved city girl, she loves escaping to the outdoors during vacations. She’s thrilled to be sharing tales of her Alaskan adventure aboard Holland America’s Oosterdam through daily reports on AvidCruiser.com through August 5th, 2012.
Disclosure: Holland America Line is hosting the author and her guest for purposes of this review.